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Cablegate: Mission Canada Outreach to Democracy Activists

VZCZCXRO8975
PP RUEHGA RUEHHA RUEHQU RUEHVC
DE RUEHOT #0640 1292132
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 082132Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7827
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS OTTAWA 000640

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR DRL/SEA AND WHA/CAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KDEM PREL CA
SUBJECT: MISSION CANADA OUTREACH TO DEMOCRACY ACTIVISTS

REF: A. STATE 44903

B. OTTAWA 621
C. QUEBEC CITY 013

1. (SBU) Summary: Mission Canada personnel regularly engage
democracy activists, notably from Burma, Somalia, Sudan, and
Belarus,. Our outreach has helped to empower groups whose
links to their home country can make a difference on the
margins in the development of democracy and stability. On
occasions, our involvement has served to prod the government
of Canada to do more. End Summary.

2. (SBU) BURMA: The Political Section maintains close contact
with the "Friends of Burma," an exile group working to raise
awareness of the human rights situation inside Burma and to
urge the Canadian government to take a stronger stand to help
the people of Burma. Its advocacy, along with encouragement
from Embassy, led Canada to impose stronger sanctions against
the junta, to develop a more forceful policy on Burma, and,
most recently, to offer generous humanitarian assistance in
the wake of Cyclone Nargis (ref b). ConGen Calgary has met
with Burmese dissident leaders from the Shan region. CG
Quebec City participated in a Canadian government-organized
conference on Burma on March 27 (ref c), featuring UN Special
Rapporteur Ibrahim Gambari and numerous Canada-based
activists on Burma.

3. (SBU) SOMALIA: Ambassador met with visiting Somali
official delegations from the Transitional Federal Government
(TFG), including the Minister of Trade and Minister of
Foreign Affairs. Emboffs have been the only foreign
diplomats invited to join dinners and discussions with these
delegations that Members of Parliament (MPs) have organized.
Poloffs recently worked closely with the Friends of Somalia
to help the NGO achieve a higher profile in support of the
TFG. At our suggestion, the group will host a conference in
mid-May to raise awareness of the problems faced by the TFG;
a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs has
agreed to represent the State Department (after we forwarded
the invitation), along with a former Canadian Prime Minister,
six MPs, several Somali ministers, and Diaspora leaders from
Canada. ConGen Toronto also meets frequently with Somali
leaders from the sizable Somali Diaspora community in
suburban Toronto.

4. (SBU) SUDAN: Poloffs meet often with the Sudanese exile
who heads the Ottawa-based Canadian Friends of Sudan, which
advocates greater awareness of the Darfur genocide and
problems in ending the North-South conflict. The Friends of
Sudan is an apolitical NGO with considerable support on
Parliament Hill, linked into the wider international effort
to pressure the Sudanese government. It has been very
effective in Canada in raising the profile of the Sudan issue
and countering propaganda by the Khartoum regime.

5. (SBU) BELARUS: Emboffs have met with a variety of
Belarussian dissidents resident in Canada, usually when they
are in Ottawa for meetings with Canadian government officials
and MPs, and have helped them to set up appropriate meetings
in Washington.

6. (SBU) TIBET: PolMinCouns has met with the head of the
Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, who is also the chairman of
the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, to discuss
USG concerns about recent events.

Visit Canada,s Economy and Environment Forum at
http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/can ada

RODDY

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