Canada will continue to provide some aid to the Palestinian Authority on the basis of third-party assurances from Russia that the money will not be diverted for military purposes or to finance terrorism by Hamas.
The announcement yesterday by Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay was a softening of the new government's previous position. Prime Minister Stephen Harper threatened last month to cut off aid after Hamas, considered by Ottawa to be a terrorist organization, won a majority in the Palestinian parliamentary election in January.
The new approach leaves some room for compromise, instead of confrontation. It may well be that Hamas continues on its extremist path, but there is more chance for evolution with a diplomatic approach. Using aid as a carrot to invite change is sound policy, it is nice to see the Conservatives acknowledge this reality. The harsh rhetoric heard in the aftermath of the Palestinian election was understandable, but it also left no room for progress.
McKay seems to parrot the new American approach, which suggests a co-ordinated policy on Hamas. If anything, a cautious agenda may allow for more moderate elements within Hamas(relative of course) to gain greater control. This approach is more conciliatory and can only help the process.