Two-Year Conditional Permanent Residence for Sponsored Spouses
MP Salma Zahid (Scarborough Centre) spoke about the Standing Committee’s findings on Citizenship and Immigration, specifically in regards to the two-year conditional permanent residence for sponsored spouses. MP Zahid stated that the Committee found that the condition can leave some spouses, particularly women, with no option but to stay in abusive relationships for fear of jeopardising their immigration status. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, MP Ahmed Hussen (York South-Weston) stated that the measure, introduced in 2012, has been eliminated completely. He reiterated that the government is committed to gender equality and to combating gender-based violence.
Canada’s Involvement With The Fight Against Daesh
MP Erin O'Toole (Durham) commented on Canada withdrawing the Aurora surveillance aircraft in the fight against ISIS. The Minister of National Defence, MP Harjit S. Sajjan (Vancouver South) responded by stating that Canada has tripled the number of trainers and doubled intelligence when it comes to fighting Daesh. Furthermore, Canadian troops are training Iraqi security forces. MP James Bezan (Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman) stated that Canada’s contribution to the fight against ISIS expires in one month, however, NATO has recommitted its efforts to fight against ISIS without Canada taking part. Minister Sajjan responded by stating that the government has announced an expansion of Canada’s counter-terrorism mission with Operation Artemis. Furthermore, he stated that the Government is taking the time to ensure that we have the right discussions with our coalition partners to fill the appropriate gaps and continue the fight.
Safe Third Country Agreement
MP Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East) brought up the incident of a woman’s body, found in a ditch, who was believed to be an asylum seeker trying to enter Canada. MP Kwan stated that one of the main causes of irregular crossings is the Safe Third Country Agreement; she urged the government to suspend the agreement. MP Mark Holland (Ajax) serves as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions. Parliamentary Secretary Holland responded by stating that the Minister met with the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. He also stated that Canada continues to have a dialogue with Secretary Kelly on the fair treatment of asylum seekers crossing into the U.S. as there are clear mechanisms for redress in place by the U.S. government. Parliamentary Secretary Holland acknowledged that the number of individuals crossing at the border has risen. However, the government is closely monitoring the situation and current resources are working effectively. Furthermore, Parliamentary Secretary Holland affirmed that all claims will be processed, whether or not there is a normal entry. He stated that the government will continue to monitor the status of the U.S. executive order and deal with situations pertaining to U.S. entry as they arise. Furthermore, the government will be working with the U.S. as it reviews certain aspects of its resettlement program. Parliamentary Secretary Holland stated that the death of the woman is tragic and that it occurred in Minnesota and was not sure how that life would have been saved by anything being different. In addition, Minister Ahmed Hussen expressed condolences to the family and friends of the woman who lost her life.
MP Mario Beaulieu (La Pointe-de-l’Île) asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs when the Canadian government will recognise Palestine as an independent state. Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, MP Chrystia Freeland (University-Rosedale) responded by stating that Canada has a long-standing commitment to a comprehensive two-state negotiated solution that includes the creation of a sovereign, viable Palestinian state. Minister Freeland stated that Canada calls on all parties to refrain from taking any unilateral action that would jeopardise the prospect of a two-state solution.
The Honourable John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood) wished the Muslim community in his riding, and across the country, Ramadan Mubarak. Parliamentary Secretary Holland wished everybody a Ramadan Mubarak and showed solidarity with Muslims by declaring his intent to once again fast for Give 30 during the month of Ramadan, a charitable organisation that takes the savings from fasting to give to the hungry. MP Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan) recognised and commended Muslim Canadians who are fasting during Ramadan. He went on to state that Canada should stand up for religious freedom everywhere. MP Genuis recognised that many Muslims around the world are facing religious and ethnic discrimination. For instance, Muslim Uighurs in China are prevented from fasting by their government. Furthermore, Tatars in Russian-occupied Ukraine, the Rohingya in Myanmar, and minority Muslim communities face religious discrimination in many Muslim countries.
Islamic Relief Canada recognized
MP Omar Alghabra (Mississauga Centre; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs) congratulated Islamic Relief Canada as the organisation celebrates 10 years in Canada. Parliamentary Secretary Alghabra stated that Islamic Relief Canada is a humanitarian organisation that has helped 30 million individuals worldwide, "regardless of their race, faith, gender, or sexuality". In Canada, in particular, they have provided aid to Fort McMurray after the wildfires, helped to resettle hundreds of refugees, and supported soup kitchens in Iqaluit.