TORONTO (Apr. 30)
Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau said yesterday it is “totally irresponsible” for Joe Clark, leader of the opposition Progressive-Conservative Party, to propose moving the Canadian Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem at a time of delicate Middle East negotiations. Clark had said last week that if he becomes Prime Minister he would move the embassy.
Addressing a press conference, Trudeau said “I deem it to be the height of irresponsibility to make that kind of statement presumably just to influence some votes in this (next month’s general) election.” Trudeau pointed out that the U.S. and most Western allies have refused to change their embassy locations because it would imply taking sides at a time when balance is required.
Earlier, Arab Information Center official Hans Hilmy warned in Ottawa that the Arab states would have to “take some action against Canada” if Clark carried out his promise. He said Arabs would regard the move as clearly anti-Arab and a violation of “our basic rights.” Other attacks on Clark’s announcement came from the Arab-Canada Chamber of Commerce, the Arab Palestine Association of Toronto and the Council of Moslem Communities of Canada. A spokesman for the 5000-member Arab Palestine Association said “we consider this to be a cheap and irresponsible way of gaining votes.”