Canadian PM Stephen Harper
Canadian PM Stephen HarperReuters

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday blamed Hamas for the heavy loss of civilian life in Gaza, according to AFP.

"Obviously, no one likes to see the suffering and loss of life that has occurred," Harper said in televised remarks.

"That said, we hold the terrorist organization Hamas responsible for this. They have initiated and continue this conflict, and continue to seek the destruction of the state of Israel," he added.

Canada's conservative government has long supported the Jewish state and stressed its recognition of Israel's right to defend itself.

Several weeks ago, Harper called on Canada’s allies and partners to recognize that Hamas’s terrorist acts “are unacceptable and that solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict.”

Harper’s foreign minister, John Baird, has also been supportive of Israel. Last week he called for a United Nations investigation of the discoveries of weapons caches at schools it operates in Gaza.

Baird previously called for the Palestinian Authority areas of Judea and Samaria and Gaza to be demilitarized.

Last week, hundreds of academics, lawyers, community activists and others criticized the Canadian government for its support of Israel in the conflict, a position they said in an open letter "discredits Canada."