Greens urge swift action to help Lebanese navigate government resignation and rebuilding of Beirut

OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada expressed deep concern for the people of Lebanon today. Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced the resignation of his government yesterday, days after a deadly explosion devastated the city of Beirut. Frustrated citizens are demanding accountability from government officials.

Green Party Interim Leader Jo-Ann Roberts said: “The death and destruction caused by the explosion in Beirut, compounded with years of political corruption and the COVID-19 pandemic, risk destabilizing the country and unleashing unimaginable suffering upon its citizens. We welcome the increase to the federal government’s “Lebanon Matching Fund” to mobilize resources, which is now capped at $25 million dollars, with a total commitment of $30 million dollars. The Canadian Lebanese community also appreciates the increase in funding, but notes that more funds will likely be needed.

The similarities to the 1917 Halifax explosion are uncanny. In the wake of that terrible tragedy, relief poured in swiftly from across Canada, the U.S., Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Like Halifax, Lebanon will need an enormous infusion of food and medical supplies as well as building materials and equipment. “Doctors, nurses, engineers and architects will also be needed. Given yesterday’s resignation by the Diab government, a portion of Canada’s relief funding should be designated to NGOs promoting democracy, to ensure the country can hold fair elections as quickly as possible.”

Green parliamentary leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) agreed that the Liberals have the right approach, dispatching financial aid to NGOs rather than to government departments. However, she noted that far more resources, financial and human, must be dispatched to help the critical needs of the people of Beirut.

“Last week’s tragic explosion has exposed the fatal shortcomings of a government long contaminated by corruption and nepotism,” said Ms. May. “We must join with the global community and do everything possible to safeguard Lebanon from becoming a failed state. Peaceful democracy is crucial to stability in the region, and Canada must act now to help the Lebanese people achieve it.”

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