August 13th, 2020
Mathyssen sends letter to Minister regarding humanitarian assistance to Lebanon.
Yesterday NDP M.Ps sent a letter to the Minister of International Development (Hon. Karina Gould) regarding the tragedy in Beirut.
Dear Minister Gould,
The tragic explosion that occurred in Beirut, Lebanon, on August 4, 2020 created a catastrophic humanitarian crisis that requires immediate support and assistance.
The situation in Lebanon was dire prior to this disaster with political instability, wide spread political corruption, rampant unemployment and poverty, and unprecedented economic challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic had exacerbated the already desperate situation in Lebanon and the devastating explosion last week has shaken their lives in ways we cannot imagine.
While the initial announcement of $5 million in humanitarian assistance in response to Beirut was welcomed, as expressed to you earlier in the week, the amount was wholly inadequate given the political and social reality in Lebanon which made timely humanitarian assistance more critical. The NDP were pleased to see the additional pledge of $25 million for immediate humanitarian support that is desperately needed right now.
The Lebanese people have deep connections to Canada, and, during this tragic time, it is important that we stand together to support Lebanese-Canadians and their family and loved ones in Lebanon. Canadians from coast to coast to coast have demonstrated the depth of this connection by responding quickly to the dollar-matching donation program.
In addition, while we were happy to have seen the increase in immediate support, we urge the government to commit to the development and implementation of a strong medium and long-term plan for ongoing support for Lebanon in the months and years ahead.
Given the extent of the destruction of food stock, we strongly encourage a significant increase of humanitarian assistance to address food insecurity issues. We also encourage you to support Lebanon through long-term anti-poverty measures and a commitment to support democratic reform. Canada should commit to support for Lebanon through efforts within the six pillars of the Feminist International
Assistance Policy as well as concrete and sustained action to assist the international community’s long-term humanitarian efforts.
We look forward to working with you. Please feel free to contact us at any time.
We wish the best of health to you and your family.
Lindsay Mathyssen, M.P.
Critic for Diversity and Inclusion and Youth
Heather McPherson, M.P. Edmonton Strathcona
Critic for International Development
Brian Masse, M.P. Windsor West, NDP Caucus Chair