Safe Third Country Agreement and Donald Trump’s New Executive Order Regarding Immigration
After a new immigration order was issued by the Trump administration, MP Anne Minh-Thu Quach (NDP) asked if the Canadian government will suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement, give border services and border communities more resources, and what the government plans to do to manage the ongoing influx of irregular migrants. Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen responded by stating that since the domestic asylum system in the United States is intact, it would be irresponsible to withdraw from the agreement. MP Jenny Kwan (NDP) stated that many refugees no longer feel that the U.S. is a safe country for them because of Trump's anti-refugee and Islamophobic rhetoric. MP Serge Cormier (Liberal) reiterated that the Safe Third Country Agreement remains an important tool for Canada and the U.S. to work together on handling of refugee claims and that it would be irresponsible to withdraw from the agreement. MP Cormier stated that the government will continue to monitor the situation and will work with the United States as it reviews parts of its resettlement program.
Motion No. 103
In a follow-up to the e-petition condemning Islamophobia in all its forms, which passed last fall, MP Iqra Khalid (Liberal) introduced Motion-103 in the House to denounce Islamophobic sentiment in Canada. MP Khalid introduced the motion that would have the government:
(a) Recognize the need to quell the increasing climate of hate and fear;
(b) Condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.
The motion included a call for the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage conduct a study on how the government could develop a national approach to address and eliminate “systematic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia" and to “collect data to contextualize hate crime reports and conduct needs assessments for impacted communities.” Under the motion, the Standing Committee would present its assessments and recommendations to the House.
Shooting in Quebec City
The House of Commons observed a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the attack at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec. All parties in the House of Commons expressed their condemnation of the shooting and offered their condolences to the families of the victims, as well as the Muslim community in Quebec. Statements condemning the attack were read by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Opposition MP Rona Ambrose, NDP Leader MP Thomas Mulcair, Bloc Quebecois Leader MP Rhéal Fortin, and the Green Party Leader MP Elizabeth May.
Liberal MP Ramez Ayoub for Thérèse-De Blainville informed the House that Canada led a resolution at the United Nations to demand an immediate cessation of hostilities in Syria. The resolution passed with the support of 122 countries. The MP then urged all members of the House to join the government in encouraging all parties involved to stop blocking humanitarian assistance in Syria so that hundreds of thousands of people experiencing the war in Aleppo receive emergency aid.
The Aga Khan’s birthday
Garnett Genuis, Conservative MP for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan made a statement in the House marking the 80th birthday of His Highness the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of 15 million Ismaili Muslims. The MP stated that the Aga Khan has always emphasized pluralism, tolerance, and the importance of humanitarian work. Furthermore, the Aga Khan has a strong connection to Canada, having been named an honourary Canadian citizen.