Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj has denied reports he said Hezbollah should be taken off Canada's terrorist list.
The politician, from the Toronto riding of Etobicoke Centre, is one of three opposition MPs touring the southern region of Lebanon on a fact-finding mission.
The group has come under fire for comments suggesting that Canada should be more open to talking with Hezbollah. Wrzesnewskyj was quoted in some newspaper reports Monday as saying the group should be removed from Ottawa's official list of terrorist organizations.
Wrzesnewskyj said Monday he favours changing Canada's laws that forbid any contact with known terrorist organizations. He said the law undermines efforts to seek lasting peace between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas after a brutal 33-day war.
But Hezbollah's terrorist status should not change, he said in an interview from Lebanon.
"I've said all along that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and will continue to be," Wrzesnewskyj said. "Where I have difficulty is with the legislation that says a group on the list cannot be communicated with."
Now just why anybody in Canada should feel the need to talk to Hezbollah escapes me, unless it be for nefarious or naive purposes.
For a good many concerned Canadians, probably naive ones, in the hopes that we can revive the old myths of Canada as peacekeeper and honest broker to the world long enough to appear to be relevant to the Middle East situation.
But for a few others--including a virulent yet vocal subset within the opposition parties, academic and public policy fields--an opportunity to put Canada squarely on the side of the Islamic bloc against Israel.
Hezbollah doesn't lose much by being on Canada's blacklist, or gain much by being off it.
But the battle over the blacklist matters greatly to the Liberal Party, which has seen the census figures and is fighting to see whether losing the Jewish vote will be more than offset by locking up the Muslim vote.