Welcome to our weekly edition of Muslims in The House for the week of October 22-26, 2018.
This week’s edition covers the Jamal Kashoggi and Hassan Diab.
TCMV is organizing its annual Visit My Mosque Day this year on November 10, 2018. To learn more about this initiative and to participate in Visit My Mosque Day this year, please visit https://visitmymosque.canadianmuslimvote.ca/.
Canada’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia
This week, there was a much-spirited discussion in the House regarding Canada’s relations with Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Jamal Khashoggi case. MP Hélène Laverdière (Laurier—Sainte-Marie) raised the issue of the disappearance of the journalist at the Saudi consulate in Turkey, stating that “every new detail in the Khashoggi case is worse than the last”. She critiqued Canada’s continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which she called a “rogue nation” and “one of the world’s worst human rights offenders”, citing the Saudi government’s “treatment of women, dissidents and religious minorities” as well as “war crimes in Yemen”. She critiqued the Canadian government’s inaction on this issue while citing the example of Germany having suspended arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded by saying that Canada is highly concerned by reports of Saudi involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and is “working closely with allies, in particular, the G7, on this issue”, and called “for an in-depth investigation”.
Later in the week, MPs Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay), Gabriel Ste-Marie (Joliette) and Guy Caron (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques)also called on the government to cancel the arms deal to Saudi Arabia. Pam Goldsmith-Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Consular Affairs) responded by stating that Canada has led its G7 allies in putting out a statement condemning the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and that the Prime Minister “convened an incident response group to address this serious situation.” She further stated that Canada is “committed to a stronger and more rigorous arms export system” and that is why the government is “actively reviewing” export permits for Saudi Arabia. She said that Canada will not hesitate to freeze export permits if necessary. Marc Garneau (Minister of Transport) echoed this sentiment and stated that Canada expects its arms exports to be “used in a way that fully respects human rights”, and that is why the government is reviewing Saudi Arabia’s export permits. He said that Canada has frozen exports before, and will do so again if convinced that these arms will be used in violation of human rights.
MP Cheryl Hardcastle (Windsor—Tecumseh) raised the issue of Hassan Diab’s release from a French prison. A French court that was supposed to rule on a decision to allow him to return to Canada has pushed that decision to next year. She called on the government to call a public inquiry into “our deeply flawed extradition regime”. Arif Virani (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada) responded by stating that the government acknowledges the interest in this matter and the circumstances that led to Dr. Diab’s extradition and for that reason, “the Minister of Justice has asked for an external third-party review of this matter so a thorough review, examining the circumstances of that extradition to France, can take place.” He specified that the independent external review is being led by Murray Segal.