"Outsiders can play a role, but we should be very humble about what role we have, and certainly we cannot impose what we think the solution should be," Bloodworth said.She is now a senior fellow at the University of Ottawa's school of public and international affairs, which organized the panel discussion.
But there is work to be done through humanitarian aid rather than with military action, she said.
"I don't think we [in Canada] have enough weight to play any major role in bringing parties together," Bloodworth said.
"We have done a lot on [the] humanitarian [side]. I think we can do a lot more.... We could do more on refugees. There are two million refugees now."
The federal government has said it will help resettle 200 Syrian refugees, and allow another 1,100 privately sponsored refugees to be placed in Canada. But that's a minute fraction of the number of refugees flooding from Syria to neighbouring Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
The resettlement announced so far is "shameful," said David Petrasek, a former special adviser to the secretary general of Amnesty International
"In 1956, we took 50,000 Hungarian refugees. We're a wealthier country today. I find that [1,300-refugee resettlement] a very inadequate response. It's not a good response to what to do about Syria, but it is something our government could be doing,"Petrasek said.