Muslims in the House: September 19-23

Canada's arms exports program
MP Hélène Laverdière (NDP) said that a number of reports have revealed massive problems with Canada's arms exports program. We know that Canadian weapons exported to Saudi Arabia have been used in Yemen. Recent reports have suggested that Canadian weapons have been sold to countries like Libya and Sudan, despite Canadian sanctions. MP Laverdière added that the Liberal government has thus far rejected a proposal to create a parliamentary committee to study arms exports. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pam Goldsmith-Jones, responded by saying that the Liberal government will provide more rigour and transparency with respect to export controls, and that the government is currently consulting with NGOs and industry to bring legislation forward.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship 
MP Michelle Rempel (Conservative) stated that refugees are being forced to use food banks because the Prime Minister does not have a plan to support the refugees he brought here. MP Rempel asked the house how many refugees will require social assistance payments by the end of this year, and what the cost will be to Canadian taxpayers and to the refugees themselves. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Arif Virani, responded that there have been issues with refugees using food banks and that the government is working hard to resolve these issues. MP Virani added that our government has been commended by the UN for our refugee resettlement efforts. Now, 13 other countries want to learn from Canada's experience.

Iran and Professor Hoodfar
MP Peter Kent (Conservative) noted that the Liberals' initiative to normalize relations with Iran has reached the ministerial level. The minister tweeted that at his first meeting with Iran's foreign minister at the UN, there was not a word about Canada's concern over the illegal detention, isolation, and abuse of Canadian Professor Hoodfar in Tehran. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pam Goldsmith-Jones, responded that Canada's severing of ties with Iran during the previous administration had no positive consequences for anyone—not Canadians, not Iranians, and not our allies. The first meeting between the foreign ministers touched on pressing regional issues and consular cases. Diplomatic solutions for humanitarian and security challenges depend on maintaining open conversation with Iran.

Troops to Sub-Saharan Africa  
The Leader of the Opposition, MP Rona Ambrose said that the Liberals decided to send Canadian troops on a mission to Sub-Saharan Africa, but we still cannot get any straight answers on how this mission serves our national interest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that Canada engages constructively on the world stage because we can create peace and security that will have a positive impact in Canada and around the world.

Nuclear Disarmament 
MP Tom Mulcair (NDP) asked the House why last month in Geneva the Liberal government voted against nuclear disarmament. The Minister of Defence, Harjit Sajjan responded that the most effective way to reach a nuclear-free world is by using a pragmatic step-by-step approach that works alongside Canada’s G7 allies for the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.