By Lee Carter
BBC News, Toronto
An estimated 40,000 Canadians remain in Lebanon.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his condolences to the families of the victims but he refused to criticise Israel or question its use of force.
He said it was the kidnappings of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah guerrillas that started the conflict and said an escalation was “inevitable”.
But friends and relatives of the Canadians killed in the Israeli air strike have accused the Conservative prime minister of not doing enough to protect Canadians in Lebanon.
They also accused Mr Harper of not caring about civilian lives.
Mr Akhras’s cousin, Hussein el-Akhras said that although he was devastated by what happened to his relatives, he also felt sad for all the Lebanese civilians affected by the strikes.
The Akhras family were among many Canadians stranded in Lebanon as the crisis worsened. It is a popular time of year for Canada’s Lebanese community to visit relatives back home.
The Canadian Foreign Affairs department said it was sending commercial ships to pick up Canadians scrambling to leave the country.
“We expect to be able to evacuate people by mid-week,” Mr Harper said. He said Canada was working closely with British and American officials on evacuation plans.
He says the response from Canadian foreign ministry officials is getting better but still wonders why it has come so late.
“It’s barely a year since the big tsunami and now the same sort of thing is happening with Lebanon,” he said. “Once again the government is reacting long after something has happened.
” I noticed the US had a toll-free number to call two days after it started happening while the Canadians didn’t have the same sort of thing set up until three or four days later.”
Mr Nader says that his relatives are going to stay where they are while they await instructions from Canadian consular officials.
He says that although communication between Canada and Lebanon is difficult, he is still managing to talk to his relatives by cell phone. Originally he was scheduled to join them on holiday. Now he cannot wait for them to leave.