US embassy cable - 03OTTAWA367

CANADIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CALLS SECRETARY POWELL'S IRAQ PRESENTATION "DISTURBING AND PERSUASIVE"

Identifier: 03OTTAWA367
Wikileaks: View 03OTTAWA367 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Ottawa
Created: 2003-02-06 15:58:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PARM IZ CA UNSC Iraq
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L OTTAWA 000367 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/06/2013 
TAGS: PREL, PARM, IZ, CA, UNSC, Iraq 
SUBJECT: CANADIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CALLS SECRETARY POWELL'S 
IRAQ PRESENTATION "DISTURBING AND PERSUASIVE" 
 
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Stephen Kelly, 
Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (SBU) Foreign Minister Bill Graham told the Canadian press 
that Secretary Powell's February 5 presentation on Iraq 
"amounts to a transfer of the burden of proof from the United 
States to Saddam Hussein."  Graham went on to say that "we 
are not at a point where there is a need to use force. 
However, we don't have much time left.  If Dr. Blix comes 
back and says that there is no chance that Saddam Hussein is 
going to cooperate with us, the call for more time, I don't 
think, will be very convincing."  The Secretary's speech also 
drew favorable comment in the Canadian press, with most 
commentators saying that the presentation made clear that 
Iraq was concealing weapons of mass destruction from the 
inspectors. 
 
2. (SBU) While Prime Minister Chretien spent the day striking 
a health care deal with provincial leaders, Graham fielded 
opposition questions in the House of Commons after the 
Secretary's speech to the UNSC.  While the official 
 
SIPDIS 
opposition Canadian Alliance Party criticized the government 
for not lining up more strongly with the U.S. and the UK, 
other opposition parties (Bloc Quebecois, New Democratic 
Party) called for Canada to oppose any military action 
against Iraq not specifically endorsed by a new UNSC 
resolution. 
 
3. (C) All opposition parties, including the Progressive 
Conservatives, called for a Commons debate and vote on 
Canada's position toward conflict with Iraq.  Ron Hoffman, 
Foreign Affairs' Director for Defense and Security Relations, 
told us that there is no obligation or tradition in Canada 
for the Government to allow such a vote, and that the ruling 
Liberal Party caucus is too divided on this issue to risk it 
in any case.  Hoffman said that the Secretary's presentation 
will help the GoC make its case with the Canadian public, 
which is just as divided as Parliament. 
 
4. (C) COMMENT: The Secretary's speech did not change the 
minds of our critics on the Canadian political left, but it 
has helped us where it matters most, within Cabinet.  The 
evidence that Iraq is concealing WMD from the inspectors will 
help the GoC make the case that Iraq is in breach of UNSCR 
1441, and that there is justification for "serious 
consequences" even if a second resolution is not obtained. 
Graham continues to emphasize the UN process, but he has 
distanced himself from the French and German position on 
inspections for inspections' sake.  The GoC will not make any 
dramatic moves prior to the inspectors' February 14 report, 
but it realizes that time is quickly running out and is 
positioning itself domestically to support action against 
Iraq. 
KELLY 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04