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.

On a separate occasion, MP Thomas Mulcair (NDP) asked the Prime Minister in light of Trump’s latest executive order regarding immigration if he still believes the U.S. remains a safe country for refugees, calling Trump’s policy racist. Prime Minister Trudeau responded by saying that his government is continuing to work with the American administration to ensure that Canadians, goods, and services can move across the border quickly and effectively and to ensure that Canadians can continue to travel freely and openly to the United States.

Statement on Anti-Semitism
MP Michael Levitt (Liberal) made a statement denouncing a number of recent incidents of hate targeting Jewish Canadians, including recent evacuations of Jewish community centres due to bomb threats. MP Levitt also recognized the growing hate targeted at Muslim Canadians. He stated that condemning these actions is not enough, that the legal system must be empowered to act against these incidents.

Support for Syrian refugees 
MP Michelle Rempel (Conservative) brought up the issue that while funding will be ending this month to help many Syrian refugees who have landed in Canada so far, fewer than half of them have found jobs. MP Rempel asked whether the government knows how much the provinces will have to pay out in social assistance. Ahmed Hussen Minister of Immigration stated that this year the government is providing $900 million in settlement and resettlement funding to support refugee integration and settlement services. Minister Hussen reiterated the government’s commitment to support refugees. MP Rempel responded by stating that the minister failed to say how many of these refugees have found jobs and that Canada will see an influx of refugees coming in with the government's decision to lift the Mexican visa requirement. Minister Hussen responded by stating that by lifting the Mexican visa requirement, the Canadian government will strengthen the bilateral relationship with Mexico and will continue to work to make sure the visa lift is a success.