CBG views Minister Baird's statement as an attempt to abdicate the Canadian Government's obligation to ensure the safety of the Canadians who will be on board the flotilla, including the Canadian boat Tahrir and to justify, in advance, any crimes Israel may commit against peaceful unarmed civilians from Canada and all over the world, as it did a year ago tomorrow.
"We are sailing to change the unjust and illegal situation Israel imposes on Gaza and to challenge the Canadian government's support for those policies," says Wendy Goldsmith, CBG steering committee member.
"Baird has characterized the Freedom Flotillas as "provocative". How is aid provocative? How is standing up for international law and social justice provocative? How is it provocative to work for the freedom of the 1.5 million Palestinians in the open air prison of Gaza?" asks Ehab Lotayef, a CBG spokesperson.
"What's provocative is the government of Israel's impunity and systemic violations of international law," says Lotayef. "What's provocative is the Harper government acting as an apologist for all of Israel's actions, even when they are illegal and immoral, like the siege of Gaza. CBG and the flotilla are nonviolent direct responses to Israeli provocation."
In his statement Mr. Baird mentions Israel's right to prevent the smuggling of weapons. "What is he trying to imply?" asks Goldsmith. "If Mr. Baird has any doubts about our mission or what we will carry, we invite him or any Canadian body to inspect the Canadian Boat to Gaza." She added.
"We would like to remind Mr. Baird that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), one of the official channels to send aid to Gaza, has itself said: "all States have an obligation to allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of all relief consignments, equipment and personnel [into Gaza]," not just those passing through channels approved by the government of Israel."  said Lotayef.
CBG is a civilian to civilian initiative funded by citizens and civil society organizations and did not benefit from any government funding or taxpayers funds as some misinformed media reports mentioned lately.
The full list of endorsements and supporting individuals and organizations is online at www.tahrir.ca.