(February 5, 2020 / JNS) Former Canadian Attorney General Peter MacKay, who is running to lead the Conservative Party, backtracked on Tuesday after initially declining to commit to move the Canadian embassy to Jerusalem, which represents a break from his party.
“I said that there is a lot of priorities, and I want to hear more about those priorities before I make these pronouncements on a whole range of issues and so we’re in this process now—consulting broadly, hearing from experts who are well-informed on these issues, and I’m very much interested in hearing their perspectives and that’s what I’m doing right now,” MacKay told The Post Millennial on Monday.
When asked by the outlet in what circumstances he would relocate the embassy, the candidate said, “Well, that’s where we need to talk to people and find out what the various perspectives and circumstances would be.”
He continued, saying, “This is a complicated subject and I’m not in a position to do it, so I can’t be presumptuous in making these kind of commitments until I hear from people. I think that would be understood that consultation just over a week into a leadership contest—it would be rather presumptuous for me to say this is what I’m gonna do based on the outcome that’s yet to arrive.”
In backtracking, MacKay said in a statement posted on Twitter, “Canada’s Jewish community knows that the Conservative Party stands shoulder to shoulder with them. When I was Defence Minister, I made it clear, ‘a threat to Israel is a threat to Canada.’ I will always stand with one of Canada’s closest allies.
“As I have stated, it will be important to consult with out diplomatic officials at our embassy in Israel to make the necessary preparations for the move. It has always been my personal view that Jerusalem is the undisputed Capital of the State of Israel, and that is where Canada’s embassy should be and under my leadership, will be located.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal Party, does not support moving the Canadian embassy to Jerusalem.
Only the United States and Guatemala have relocated their Israeli embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, both having done so in May 2018.
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