Muslims In the House: November 14 – 18

Including Muslims in the federal review of national security

Salma Zahid, MP for Scarborough Centre, stated that the Muslim community has too often in the past not been included in the discussions on designing a national security framework.  She asked the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness how he is ensuring that all communities, including the Muslim community, are involved in the current review of national security. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, responded that national security consultations must be open and inclusive, and detailed the efforts that he is taking to ensure that Muslim voices are heard. He stated that amongst other efforts by his team, he has personally met with Canadian-Muslim organizations.

Standing against spate of recent racist vandalism in Ottawa

Pierre Poilievre, MP for Carleton, condemned the recent spate of racist vandalism in Ottawa which targeted members of the Jewish, Muslim, and black Christian communities. He stated that “the people of Ottawa stand united against the twin evils of racism and anti-Semitism.”

UNRWA funding restored

International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced that the federal Liberals are providing $25 million to The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Opposition benches cried “shame.” UNRWA had previously lost federal funding in 2010 amidst allegations that it was tied too closely to Hamas, considered a terrorist organization.

Peter Kent, MP for Thornhill and Conservative foreign affairs critic, questioned the commitment of new funds, expressing concerns that the UN agency is deeply flawed, and has been manipulated by the “corrupt Hamas government.” Dean Allison, MP for Niagara West, said this decision is the federal Liberals “compromising security” and showing their naked ambition to get the Prime Minister a seat on the UN Security Council.

The Minister of International Development responded that this funding announcement “includes a robust oversight mechanism and a stronger accountability framework”, adding that the funding “is crucial for the security of the region”. Karina Gould, MP for Burlington and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development stated that “Palestinian refugees, especially women and children, are amongst the poorest and the most vulnerable”, that this funding will support 5.5 million Palestinian refugees in gaining access to basic services, and that it puts Canada in line with all of its G7 partners.

National Defence – Fighting ISIS in Iraq and Africa

Conservative MP James Bezan from Manitoba questioned the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister whether or not Canadian troops are in combat with ISIS in Iraq.  John McKay, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, stated that it has been made abundantly clear that Canadian troops are “in a training, advise and assist mission” to assist the security forces of Iraq.  MP Bezan also stated the government wants Canadian troops “under UN command” in the conflicts in Africa, in a move to abandon traditional NATO allies in the war on terror. He questioned whether this is to get the Prime Minister a seat at the UN Security Council.  Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, responded that the allies at the counter-ISIL meetings are the same allies on UN peace operation, because all the conflicts are interlinked.