17 August 2013
The former Federal Minister Sheila Copps is found mixed with the political crisis in Cambodia, following last month’s elections whose results are highly contested.
The former Liberal MP was election observer for an organization that counts among its leaders the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, head of the country for 28 years.
The group Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International (CAPDI) was officially delivered on July 28 elections, saying they were “free, fair and transparent” and calling on all political parties to accept the results.
However, the Cambodian opposition challenged his thin defeat and called for an independent panel to investigate allegations of widespread fraud by the ruling party, the Cambodian People’s Party.
The Cambodian opposition wrote to the Canadian government on Thursday asking him to clarify Canada’s position on the elections, saying that the Cambodian People’s Party enjoys the support of Ms. Copps propaganda.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded that Canada has closely followed recent events in Cambodia, but the team of observers was not sponsored by the Canadian government nor affiliated with him.
Ms. Copps has defended her decision to act as an election observer, saying the CAPDI in its ranks members of civil society, as well as former politicians from more than 20 countries.
“We were invited by the Election Committee of Cambodia to observe the practice day of the election, Ms. Copps wrote in an email to The Canadian Press. It is a common practice in election monitoring to recruit people from other countries who have experience of the elections. ”
As a citizen, Sheila Copps has the right to say what she wants, says Sorpong Peou, political science professor at Ryerson University who observed the Cambodian politics for 20 years.
“But in reality, the position of CAPDI is very political in my opinion, because it is used to justify the results of elections which are still disputed. ”
La Presse Canadienne
(Unofficially translated from French article published in http://www.radio-canada.ca)