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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau answers questions from the media in Quebec City, Thursday August 22, 2013. (FRANCIS VACHON/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau answers questions from the media in Quebec City, Thursday August 22, 2013. (FRANCIS VACHON/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Trudeau urges Parliament recall to debate Syria Add to ...

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says Parliament should be recalled immediately to debate the situation in Syria – whether Canada plays a role in any intervention or not.

Mr. Trudeau, speaking with reporters during a walk along Charlottetown’s downtown Tuesday, said Canadians need to be clearly informed by government “about what we are going to get involved in.”

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He said Canada can play a humanitarian role, but is concerned about military intervention.

Military intervention, he says, raises complex issues, including what a military victory would look like. “I don’t think we should be playing politics with this,” he said.

Mr. Trudeau is to speak to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird Tuesday. He wants to hear what the Conservative government has in mind and for them to hear his concerns.

Mr. Trudeau did not rule out Canada participating in a no-fly zone, but he said it was one of “many ideas to look at.”

A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper says it is too soon to consider following Britain’s lead by recalling Parliament to consider intervention in Syria.

Mr. Harper spoke Tuesday morning to U.S. President Barack Obama about the situation in Syria, according to the prime minister’s office.

The prime minister’s office said Mr. Harper and Mr. Obama agreed that the world needs to deliver a response to the use of chemical weapons in a “timely manner.”

“The Prime Minister made it clear that he shares the view that the recent chemical weapons attack was carried out by the Syrian regime and described the use of these weapons as an outrage,” the PMO’s summary of the call said.

The prospect of U.S.-led western military strikes was heightened Monday, when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it is “undeniable” that chemical weapons were used in Syria, and the Assad regime must be held to account.

British Prime Minister Cameron said Tuesday he would recall Britain’s Parliament on Thursday. He tweeted : “There’ll be a clear Govt motion & vote on UK response to chemical weapons attacks.”

But Mr. Harper’s spokesman, Carl Vallée, said there’s no rush. “It is premature to discuss recalling Parliament at this time,” he said.

With files from Campbell Clark in Ottawa

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