OTTAWA (Oct. 17)
Leaders of Canada’s three major parties criticized Syria and Egypt for renewing hostilities in the Middle East. The criticism came during a special House of Commons debate on the Mideast last night. External Affairs Minister Mitchell Sharp, acting as Prime Minister in the absence of Pierre-Elliot Trudeau, who is in China, said the Canadian government deplores profoundly the launching of a heavily armed attack by Egypt and Syria across the existing cease-fire lines.
David Lewis, leader of the New Democratic Party, said that “never before has the Security Council watched such a lynch-mob atmosphere with most of the Security Council members ready to tear Israel to pieces.” Claude Wagner, foreign affairs expert of the Conservative Party, declared that the Soviet Union has committed a very grave offense by assisting militarily the Arabs into the position of being able to start a war. Andrew Brewin, New Democratic external affairs critic, condemned the “unprovoked aggression by the Arab states.”
Gerald Laprise, Social Credit member of Parliament, criticized both the USSR and the U.S. for supplying arms to the combatants. All parties called for negotiations and all said Israel must continue to exist behind secure and defensible borders.
Sharp, concluding the debate, said, “There can be no victory but only losers on all sides” if the U.S. and the Soviet Union continue to ship arms to the Middle East. The major arms suppliers for the conflict, the two superpowers, have the ability to prolong the war or to exert a major influence in the direction of peace, Sharp said. If the conflict becomes “a war of attrition,” there is a great danger it will spread to major population centers, he said.