MP Wajid Khan heard strong criticism of Canada's pro-Israel approach to the Middle East under the Conservative government as he toured key Muslim and Arab states in the region last fall, documents show.
"There was a consensus view that, diplomatically, Canada is well-placed to play a constructive role, but also that Canada's credibility in the region has recently been damaged by a perceived shift in Canadian rhetoric on the Middle East," Foreign Affairs official Sam Hanson wrote.
The document, which summarized the views of the "interlocutors" who spoke with Mr. Khan in the Palestinian territories, also pinpointed Canada's "recent UN votes, as well as what many cast as an 'uncompromising and unhelpful' no contact policy towards Hamas."
The government's main reasons for redacting Mr. Hanson's e-mails were that sections contained policy advice, personal information or statements that could damage international relations.
Damage international relations, or damage Canada's "New" Government? I suppose the good news, Khan was actually doing something constructive, soliciting opinion in the region.
People will remember the Conservatives strongly dismissing any criticism, that their one-sided approach to a complicated region would eliminate Canada as "a honest broker". This defence was given, at the same time their own envoy was articulating hostility, through his discussions. Khan's conclusions beg the question- what has the government done since his visit to demonstrate a better balance? Is the government indifferent that Canada's traditional role is undermined? Do Khan's conclusions demonstrate a failure in foreign affairs, that this government doesn't understand the nuance of diplomacy? If it wasn't for the Access to Information Act, nothing Khan learned would have seen the light of day, and Canadians would remain largely oblivious to the consequences of the Conservatives approach.