Ottawa favours ‘gradual’ transition in Egypt

Canada’s position breaks with U.S.

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The Canadian government supports President Hosni Mubarak’s gradual transition plan, which would see him step down in time for Egypt’s presidential elections, scheduled for September. “A vacuum does not mean transition,” Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said on Thursday, “The transition must be orderly, we have said it from the beginning.” It is a position that breaks with other Western governments as well as the Obama administration, which is reportedly working on a proposal that would have Mubarak resign immediately and hand over power to his new vice-president, Omar Suleiman. NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar portrayed the Canadian government’s decision as hindering pro-democratic forces in Egypt, and said that keeping Mubarak in power will only magnify the civil chaos and the impotence of the government in regaining order.

The Globe and Mail