Motion Condemning Islamophobia Fails
A motion condemning all forms of Islamophobia failed to receive unanimous consent in the House. The motion, brought forward by Thomas Mulcair (NDP), was introduced after Frank Baylis’ (Liberal) sponsored e-petition received signatures from 70,000 Canadians. Several Conservative MPs had opposed the motion, which led to its defeat. Though the motion failed, the original petition is now being certified and then sent for government response to be tabled in 45 days.
Yazidi women and girls
MP Rachel Blaney (Conservative) said that Yazidi women and girls are being sold into sexual slavery, and the best the Liberals can do is simply to send advisors. She asked when the Prime Minister plans on taking action on behalf of those who are being faced with this genocide in Iraq and Syria. The Minister of Immigration, MP John McCallum, said that the Liberal government recognizes the exceptionally serious nature of this issue and the difficulties involved, so the government will be sending an expedition to investigate the situation in Iraq.
Private member’s bill to repeal Bill C-51
MP Randall Garrison (NDP) introduced a private member’s bill that would repeal all aspects of Bill C-51. He said the bill would do away with the broad definition of national security contained in Bill C-51 and with the excessive powers it gives to CSIS.
Bill C-22: An Act to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians
House resumed consideration of this motion. MP Lloyd Longfield (Liberal) said that he held a round table in Guelph with the Muslim Society, the Islamic Society, the Sikh community and other civic groups to discuss issues related to national security. MP Sheila Malcolmson (NDP) spoke to say the NDPs support the direction of the bill and MP James Bezan (Conservative) spoke to say the Conservative Party will oppose the bill as it stands. Major points of the debate included the chair being selected by the Prime Minister rather than elected by the committee and transparency of the committee processes. MP Salma Zahid (Liberal) spoke in support of the bill and referenced herself as a Canadian Muslim and as being a member of a community that has often felt unfairly targeted by security agencies and stigmatized as part of these security debates. MP Arif Virani (Liberal) also spoke in support of the bill and referenced himself as a Muslim member of the Liberal caucus. He spoke of the government commencing a nationwide consultation on the national security framework and the government engaging communities through their efforts to counter Islamophobia. He referenced $35 million over five years to create an office of community outreach and counter-radicalization, efforts to welcome victims of Daesh and efforts to improve rights of those who have found themselves on no-fly lists by creating a passenger protect inquiries office and implementing a Canada-U.S. redress working group.
Canada's arms exports program
MP Hélène Laverdière (NDP) said that a number of reports have revealed massive problems with Canada's arms exports program. We know that Canadian weapons exported to Saudi Arabia have been used in Yemen. Recent reports have suggested that Canadian weapons have been sold to countries like Libya and Sudan, despite Canadian sanctions. MP Laverdière added that the Liberal government has thus far rejected a proposal to create a parliamentary committee to study arms exports. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pam Goldsmith-Jones, responded by saying that the Liberal government will provide more rigour and transparency with respect to export controls, and that the government is currently consulting with NGOs and industry to bring legislation forward.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
MP Michelle Rempel (Conservative) stated that refugees are being forced to use food banks because the Prime Minister does not have a plan to support the refugees he brought here. MP Rempel asked the house how many refugees will require social assistance payments by the end of this year, and what the cost will be to Canadian taxpayers and to the refugees themselves. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Arif Virani, responded that there have been issues with refugees using food banks and that the government is working hard to resolve these issues. MP Virani added that our government has been commended by the UN for our refugee resettlement efforts. Now, 13 other countries want to learn from Canada's experience.
The House is adjourned for the summer until September 19.
Muslims in the House June 13 - 17
Genocide in the Middle East
Following the release of an independent report by the UN commission that concluded that genocide was committed by ISIL against the Yazidis, on June 16 the Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion stated for the first time that the government believes that genocide against the Yazidis is currently ongoing by ISIL.As a result, MP Pierre Poilievre (Conservative) called on the government to reinstate the air bombing campaign to stop the ongoing genocide. Minister Dion disagreed and responded by stating that the government has tripled efforts for training and are improving their programs for development to rescue the affected populations. The Minister also stated that the Canadian government wants the UN to carry out more investigations to ensure that these crimes are addressed.
On June 14, MP Kamal Khera (Liberal) addressed the house to wish Ramadan Mubarak to Muslims in Brampton West, Canada and around the world and to recognize the Brampton Islamic Centre in Brampton West. This week the leader of the opposition, MP Rona Ambrose (Conservative) held an iftaar at Stornoway (house of the leader of the opposition). Additionally, various Muslim MP’s held an iftaar in Ottawa.