September 12, 2001

Our first reaction to the horrible terrorist attacks in New York and Washington must be grief and prayers for the victims, their families and friends. An outflow of love and support for those so affected ought to guide our future actions.

The perpetrators of such evil acts must be brought to justice. But this must be done in a way that does not compound the violence. The law enforcement agencies must be given the resources they need to carry out their duties in maintaining order and apprehending criminals.

But revenge as an end in itself is unproductive and not worthy of the solemn obligation we have to ensure justice in the world. Rather, we must be motivated by a determination to end violence by getting at the root causes of violence. We must strengthen the international institutions working in the law and economic development fields so that more hope is given to the vulnerable, the oppressed and disposed that they can obtain the social justice that is their due without recourse to violence.

At this tragic moment, Canada has a special role to play in continuing to reach out to the United States with love and support to help the U.S. cope with a challenge of immense proportions. Canada, through its political and diplomatic work, must help the U.S. recognize that working multilaterally with the many governments, agencies and civil society leaders around the world is a far better response than acting alone. Canadian foreign policy should be directed at helping the U.S. to combat terrorism with comprehensive strategies that include the economic and social development of peoples around the world.

The New York/Washington attacks were attacks against humanity. They require a humanity-centered response.