Muslims in the House: September 25 - 29

Emergency debate on the Rohingya in Myanmar
MP Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan) requested an emergency debate to discuss the ethnic cleansing of Muslim Rohingya in Burma. The request was granted by the Speaker. Many members of Parliament including Andrew Scheer (Regina—Qu'Appelle), Stephanie Kusie (Calgary Midnapore), and Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni) went on to harshly criticize the government’s response to this humanitarian crisis, stating that Canada did not act earlier, and that the Prime Minister did not raise this issue during his speech to the United Nations. They inquired as to Canada’s plan for increasing humanitarian funding, and whether Canada has taken steps to begin the process of accepting Rohingya refugees.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland (University—Rosedale) responded to these critiques by strongly re-affirming that the Rohingya plight is a priority for this government and pointed to the current arms embargo from Canada that Myanmar faces. When asked to point to concrete next steps that the government is planning to take action on this, she went on to state that Canada is “urgently looking at humanitarian assistance and seeking access for our diplomats to the Rakhine State so that we can see first-hand what is happening”, as well as “thinking about ways that we can ramp up pressure on the military leadership of Myanmar”.