March 7-11, 2016
“A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian”
Debate in the House picked up mid last week with the Minister of Immigration John McCallum’s introduction of Bill C-6. This is an act to amend Bill C-24, Strengthening the Canadian Citizenship Act, a Conservative bill passed by the previous government which among other things, allowed the previous Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to revoke an individual’s citizenship if that person was convicted of a terrorist crime as well as other crimes. Minister McCallum asserted quite strongly in the House that all Canadians are equal and there cannot be two classes of Canadians, which is why the Liberal government found this law unacceptable and is amending it through Bill C-6.
B’nai Brith Accusations against Muslim Community Member
Conservative MP Peter Kent brought forth recent accusations by B’nai Brith against Mohammed Khalifeh, editor-in-chief of an Ontario based newspaper, Al Forqan. The Canadian Jewish human rights organization accuses the newspaper and editor-in-chief of “directly contributing to the radicalization of Canadian youth by glamorizing murderous attacks on civilians in Israel as a sacred religions duty”.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale did not directly address MP Peter Kent’s comment and assured the House that as indicated in the Liberal election platform, the government is working with provinces, communities and organizations across the country to develop a new system of community outreach and effective counter-radicalization initiatives.
Plight of Yazidi Girls
In light of international women’s day, the plight of the Yazidi girls in Iraq was recognized in the House last week by Conservative members of the opposition including the Leader of Opposition, Rona Ambrose who questioned the Prime Minister’s commitment in placing Yazidi girls in joint sponsorship programs.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assured the House that the Liberal Party committed to bringing 25,000 refugees from Syria and that the government is open to different suggestions and ways to continue to demonstrate that Canada is a place that will accept people.
In the continuing pressure of the opposition to address the Yazidi girls plight, Arif Virani responded that when the government does bring Syrian refugees, they do it in a manner that is “ethnically and religiously blind” which stands in stark contrast to the policies of the previous government.
Office of Religious Freedoms: Obsolete or Necessary?
The government’s commitment to religious freedom was called into question this past week with Conservative MP Garnett Genius inquring as to whether the mandate of the Office of Religous Freedoms will be renewed. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foriegn Affairs (Consular Affairs) Omar Alghabra assured the House that the government is currently examining options on how to build and strengthen the work undertaken by the Office of Religions Freedom.