National Defense – Iraq, ISIL
The Leader of the opposition, MP Rona Ambrose stated that Canadian special forces recently came under fire in a battle near Mosul in Iraq. She asked how the Prime Minister can claim that Canada’s role in the campaign against ISIL is just a training mission when our troops are under fire. Prime Minister Trudeau reiterated that Canada has an important role to play as part of the coalition against ISIL by providing training on the ground and, advising and assisting local troops. Prime Minister Trudeau added that this is not a combat mission but, of course, Canadian troops will always be allowed to defend themselves while they support local troops taking the fight to ISIL.
The Leader of the NDP, MP Tom Mulcair asked why the Prime Minister has done nothing to get rid of Bill C-51. The Prime Minister stated that his government has engaged in significant consultations with stakeholders, and also made commitments to bring an oversight committee of parliamentarians in which all parties will be able to participate to ensure that the law and the Charter are being respected.
Parliament was on recess for the week of May 21 – May 29
On May 23, 1914, a ship sailed to Burrard Inlet in Vancouver. On board were 376 passengers of Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu origin. The passengers onboard, like other immigrants to Canada, came seeking better lives for their families, new opportunities, and a chance to contribute to Canadian society. When they arrived in Canada, the ship was denied docking and after a two-month stalemate, the ship was forced to sail back to India. On May 18th, 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau offered an apology on behalf of the Government of Canada for its role in the Komagata Maru incident.
MP Bob Saroya (Conservative) stated that the Liberals have failed to support Syrian refugees once they arrive in Canada and that many Syrian Refugees are using food banks. MP Bob Saroya asked how the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum, could have been so arrogant as to suggest it is a Syrian cultural value to depend on food banks. The Minister responded that his comments on the issue were insensitive and noted that his actions thus far demonstrate to Canadians quite the opposite, that he has been unequivocally welcoming to all Syrian refugees.
The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains stated that his first official action was to reinstate the mandatory long-form census. Minister Bains noted that census letters and packages are being sent to all Canadians from coast to coast. Canadians will have access to high-quality data that truly reflects the needs of our communities and businesses.
On May 4, 2015, Rona Ambrose (Official Leader of the Opposition, Conservative) asked why the Liberal party is warming up to relations with a country like Iran. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded that it is important that Canada re-engage, alongside its allies, with Iran. While Canada recognizes Iran’s history of human rights violations, the P5+1 deal showed significant progress in removing Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Prime Minister Trudeau went on further to add that it is by engaging constructively with Iran that Iran and its people can do better in the world.
Bill C-6 – Act to amend the Citizenship Act
The Executive Director for the Canadian Council of Refugees addressed the house by presenting the organization’s concerns with respect to Bill C-6. As a reminder, Bill C-6 (sponsored by John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship), seeks to (i) remove the grounds for the revocation of Canadian Citizenship as it relates to national security; (ii) remove the requirement that an applicant intend to reside in Canada if granted citizenship; (iii) reduce the number of days during which a person must be physically present in Canada before applying for citizenship; and (iv) limit the requirement of demonstrating knowledge of Canada and one of its languages to applicants between the ages of 18-54. Notably, Bill C-6 seeks to repeal some if not all of the changes that were implemented by Bill C-24 (introduced by the Conservative party). The Canadian Council of Refugees recommended that the youth under 18 who have no parent or guardian be allowed to apply for citizenship and that long wait times be prevented by requiring the government to process applications within a reasonable time frame.