December 27, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today released the following statement reflecting on 2014 and on Canada’s foreign policy:
“The end of 2014 marks the close of an unprecedented year in the fight for freedom and security around the world. We saw Russia rip up international law and use a military invasion to annex part of a sovereign nation. We saw the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] and all its gruesome brutality spread like a cancer through Iraq and Syria. And we saw Hamas terrorists try to instill fear in the Israeli people by deliberately targeting civilians with thousands of rockets and mortar shells through the air and with tunnels of terror underground.
“Canada has always approached global challenges from a principled position. We believe that the Kremlin’s expansionism flies in the face of decades of international order and must be confronted. This is why Canada has answered Ukrainians’ calls for help in maintaining their freedom and democracy and why Canada has led efforts to isolate Russia economically and politically. We believe that ISIL's actions against innocent civilians in Iraq and Syria, including members of religious and ethnic minorities, are barbaric. ISIL's expansion is a threat to international peace and security, and to Canada and Canadians. This is why Canada has joined the international coalition fighting against ISIL in Iraq, it is why we have worked to protect religious minorities and it is why we have delivered much-needed humanitarian assistance to those fleeing the violence in Iraq and Syria. And we believe that there is no moral equivalence between liberal democracies and terrorist groups, which is why we have strongly supported Israel’s right to defend itself by itself.
“But while the world may seem more tumultuous than ever, there have been rays of hope and progress from all corners. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada is saving the lives of millions of mothers and children across the globe with theMaternal, Newborn and Child Health Initiative. Canada has also led the charge at the UN and around the world in the cause ofending child, early and forced marriage and on standing with the people of Iran and North Korea. Elsewhere—from Burma to Tunisia to Afghanistan and places in between—Canada has nurtured the flame of democracy so that others may enjoy the freedoms that we in Canada are blessed with.
“Canadians can be proud of the role their country has played around the world in 2014. We have stood up strongly abroad for Canadian values and interests and the principles that make our country strong and free and the envy of the world.”
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