Muslims in the House: June 19 - 23

UN Peacekeeping Missions
MP James Bezan (Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman) criticized the Liberal government on Canada’s lack of participation in the United Nations Peacekeeping missions. He questioned why the Liberal government has turned down five UN leadership roles and has not committed to a single UN mission, despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promised commitment of 600 troops. In response, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, MP Matt DeCourcey (Fredericton), stated that the government is taking its time to decide what mission Canada will lead.

South Sudan
MP Linda Lapointe (Riviere-des-Milles-Iles) requested information of Prime Minister Trudeau on whether the government was providing assistance for the food crisis in South Sudan. Prime Minister Trudeau confirmed that the government announced an aid package for $86 million for development projects that will meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable people in South Sudan. He added that the government has also created a famine relief fund, where the government will match all eligible donations that have been made to Canadian charities by June 30, 2017.

Raif Badawi
MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Sherbrooke) raised the issue of the continued imprisonment of activist Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia, reminding the House that prior to his election, Prime Minister Trudeau had urged Prime Minister Stephen Harper to personally intervene in the case of Mr. Badawi. MP Dusseault urged Prime Minister Trudeau to intervene for Mr. Badawi’s release and questioned what plan, if any, Prime Minister Trudeau has on this matter. Responding to this question, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Consular Affairs), MP Omar Alghabra (Mississauga Centre), stated that the Prime Minister has raised the issue of Mr. Badawi’s release at the “highest levels of the Saudi government”. Parliamentary Secretary Alghabra further stated that the government continues to seek “clemency, so he can be reunited with his family”.

Bill C-6
MP Ali Ehsassi (Willowdale) rose to celebrate the recent changes to the immigration system through Bill C-6 by stating that, “Bill C-6 repudiates the previous government's cynical politics of division and once again upholds our noble calling that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian, irrespective of where one is born”. Major amendments to this bill include repealing sections allowing for the revocation of the citizenship of dual citizens convicted of certain crimes, and shortening the time requirement of being physically in Canada from four out of six years to three out of five years

MP Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East) criticized the lack of governmental action on the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, which requires refugees to request protection in the first safe country they arrive in, with exceptions. MP Kwan stated dangerous border crossings have hit an all-time high, and attributed it to the Agreement, calling for it to be suspended. In response, MP Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (York-South Weston), discussed the government’s investment of more than $700 million on refugee resettlement this year and $62.9 million for legal aid to refugees to assist with the asylum process.

MP Michelle Rempel (Calgary Nose Hill) slammed the government’s lack of action on processing 45,000 privately sponsored refugees, which is preventing vulnerable groups like Iraqi Christians, Yazidis and members of LGBTQ+ communities from coming to Canada, despite the confirmation of sponsorships. The Honorable Ahmed Hussen responded by stating that this government has “allocations of 40,000 people for protected persons and refugees”. This includes 25,000 resettled refugees from abroad, which, as pointed out by MP Hussen, is double what the previous government committed to.