Muslims in the House: March 6-10

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.

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Muslims in the House: February 13-17

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.

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Muslims In the House: January 30 – February 3

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.

 

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Muslims in the House: December 14-16

Syria 
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.

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Muslims in the House: December 5-9

E-Petition 411 and Motion 103 Condemning Islamophobia 
An e-petition condemning all forms of Islamophobia was presented in the House of Commons by Liberal MP Frank Baylis (Pierrefonds-Dollard). The petition, which previously passed with unanimous support in the House of Commons, received more support (69,742 signatures) than any e-petition in Canadian history. MP Baylis emphasized that the House of Commons has an “enduring commitment to the Canadian ideals of religious freedom” and continues to support diversity of Canadian society.

Liberal MP Iqra Khalid (Mississauga-Erin Hills) stood in the House of Commons, as a Muslim woman, in support of the e-petition. Moreover, MP Khalid put forward Motion-103, which calls “on our government to condemn Islamophobia” and continue to “work towards eliminating all forms of systematic racism and religious discrimination.”

A Call to Change Canada’s Policy towards Myanmar
Conservative MP Garrett Genius (Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan) condemned the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. He acknowledged and denounced the Mynamarese government’s continuous efforts to kill and displace thousands of Rohingya people. He urged the government to reconsider its policy towards Myanmar, suggesting the government react to the “troubling and worsening situation” facing Muslims in Myanmar.

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Muslims In the House: November 14 – 18

Including Muslims in the federal review of national security

Salma Zahid, MP for Scarborough Centre, stated that the Muslim community has too often in the past not been included in the discussions on designing a national security framework.  She asked the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness how he is ensuring that all communities, including the Muslim community, are involved in the current review of national security. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, responded that national security consultations must be open and inclusive, and detailed the efforts that he is taking to ensure that Muslim voices are heard. He stated that amongst other efforts by his team, he has personally met with Canadian-Muslim organizations.

Standing against spate of recent racist vandalism in Ottawa

Pierre Poilievre, MP for Carleton, condemned the recent spate of racist vandalism in Ottawa which targeted members of the Jewish, Muslim, and black Christian communities. He stated that “the people of Ottawa stand united against the twin evils of racism and anti-Semitism.”

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Muslims In the House: October 31- November 4

The Canadian Muslim Vote Is Recognized!

Liberal MP Shaun Chen made a statement in the House recognizing the efforts of the Canadian Muslim Vote, from increasing voter turn out during the last federal election to our goal of raising Canadian flags at 150 mosques across Canada in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday. MP Chen acknowledged the importance of mosques not only within Muslim communities, but within the greater Canadian community as “an integral part of the multicultural fabric of our society.”.

Bill C-306 – The Crimean Tartar Deportation (“Sürgünlik”) Memorial Day Act

This is a private member’s bill introduced by Conservative MP Kerry Diotte which would enact May 18 as a memorial day in recognition of the 1994 genocide perpetrated by the USSR, in which millions of Tartars were deported from Crimea.

The Crimean Tartars are ethnic groups that are predominantly Muslim. Upon the liberation of the Crimean state in 1944 by the Soviet Union, the government ordered that all Tartars be removed from the region and moved to labour camps in Uzbekistan. The Bill, in addition to designating a memorial day, would have Canada recognize the Soviet governments actions against the Tartars as genocide.

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Muslims in the House: Oct 24-28

Motion against Islamophobia passes

MP Thomas Mulcair (NDP) presented the motion for the House to condemn all forms of Islamophobia, which received unanimous approval. MP Mulcair made a statement in the House denouncing hate crimes targeting Muslim-Canadians, acknowledging that these incidents have increased in recent years and stating that we must actively fight hate perpetrated against the Muslim community.

Vandalism at Calgary Mosques condemned

MP Darshan Singh Kang (Liberal) made a statement denouncing the acts of vandalism against Calgary mosques in Ranchlands and the Southeast Islamic Centre in Queensland, along with negative posters directed toward Muslims that have appeared in Calgary and Edmonton. He called for the people who are responsible for these acts to be brought to justice and for the education of Canadians about the positive influence of the Muslim community in Canada.

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Muslims in the House: Oct 17-21

Status of Women  

MP Rhéal Fortin (Bloc Québécois) stated to the House that France's Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, was right when he said, “The full veil is essentially a means to undermine women, [and that] goes against...democratic values.”  MP Fortin remarked that if our so-called feminist and democratic Prime Minister truly supports gender parity, what is the Prime Minister waiting for to ensure that all women take the citizenship oath with their faces uncovered? Separately, MP Luc Thériault (Bloc Québécois) stated that the Muslim Canadian Congress considers so-called religious symbols such as the full veil to be more of a political statement. MP Thériault added that the Bloc Québécois believes that religion and politics should be kept separate.

The Minister for Status of Women, Patty Hajdu, responded to both comments by saying that the values that define Canada include respect and openness toward Canada’s full diversity. She remarked that Canada’s diversity is a source of strength, and politicians need to focus on bringing people together instead of promoting division. Minister Hajdu added that we should respect the diversity of Canadian communities and the government will visit people in ways that are appropriate for their communities, whether they are military communities, religious communities, or indigenous communities.

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Muslims In The House: Oct 3-7

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.

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