Muslims in the House: April 18-29

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.

Bill C-14 – Act to amend the Criminal Code

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould introduced Bill C-14, which would make amendments to the criminal code to permit medical assisted dying across Canada. The Bill seeks to (i) permit physicians and nurses to provide medical assisted dying so that patients suffering from an intolerable serious medical condition can have a peaceful death; and (ii) research other situations in which a request for medical assisted dying might be made. To ensure public safety, the Bill will limit eligibility to adults over 18 years of age who are capable of making decisions with respect to their own health. The Bill would require that a person be competent at the time medical assisted dying is provided, and requests must be fully informed and free of coercion. The Bill would also require that the person have a grievous irremediable medical condition.

Genocide in the Middle East

Conservatives in the House questioned the Liberal party as to why the US and UK governments have recognized the acts of ISIS as genocide, while Canada has not done so as of yet. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stephane Dion, responded that while the actions of ISIS have the hallmarks of genocide, official recognition is done by a credible judicial process, following an international investigation which will likely be done by the United Nations (UN) Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide. Canada will work alongside the UN and other allies to support the investigation.

Attacks in Lahore

MP Salma Zahid (Scarborough Centre) made a statement to the House condemning the acts of terrorism in Lahore, Pakistan. MP Zahid noted that “No religion teaches hate and violence. Terrorists are criminals and nothing more”.