MacKay made it clear that a threat on Israel meant a threat on Canada in his speech at an event honoring Canadian businessman Ralph Benatar, one of Canada’s veteran leaders of the North American Jewish community.
Israel’s Ambassador to Canada, Alan Baker, and the Consul General in Montreal, Marc Attali, also participated in the event.
Following his speech, which incidentally didn’t leave any room for doubt as to Canada’s support of Israel, MacKay emphasized that his government did not intend on “sitting on the fence” as far as various international issues were concerned, even if it meant taking risks.
MacKay said that the Israel-Canada relationship was characterized as a ‘mutual friendship’ with shared values, and that that would continue to be true. He also said that the message being sent to Israel was that Canada stood behind its commitments and that the struggle against terror couldn’t be dependant on political interests.
The foreign minister responded to critics who said that his support of Israel constituted a divergence from Canada’s “neutral line” by saying that Israel was a sovereign country that didn’t need permission as to its right to exist and that there was no room for neutrality since it was Hizbullah that attacked Israel.
He also said that the Palestinians had a right to a country that would exist peacefully beside Israel according to the road map. MacKay made it clear that Canada would not agree to an elected government that supported terror.
The consul general concluded by saying that he was relieved to hear yet another speech that did not leave any room for doubt as to Canada’s unequivocal change in policy towards Israel.