Muslims in the House: September 26-30

Private member’s bill to repeal Bill C-51
MP Randall Garrison (NDP) introduced a private member’s bill that would repeal all aspects of Bill C-51. He said the bill would do away with the broad definition of national security contained in Bill C-51 and with the excessive powers it gives to CSIS.

Bill C-22: An Act to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians
House resumed consideration of this motion. MP Lloyd Longfield (Liberal) said that he held a round table in Guelph with the Muslim Society, the Islamic Society, the Sikh community and other civic groups to discuss issues related to national security. MP Sheila Malcolmson (NDP) spoke to say the NDPs support the direction of the bill and MP James Bezan (Conservative) spoke to say the Conservative Party will oppose the bill as it stands. Major points of the debate included the chair being selected by the Prime Minister rather than elected by the committee and transparency of the committee processes. MP Salma Zahid (Liberal) spoke in support of the bill and referenced herself as a Canadian Muslim and as being a member of a community that has often felt unfairly targeted by security agencies and stigmatized as part of these security debates. MP Arif Virani (Liberal) also spoke in support of the bill and referenced himself as a Muslim member of the Liberal caucus. He spoke of the government commencing a nationwide consultation on the national security framework and the government engaging communities through their efforts to counter Islamophobia. He referenced $35 million over five years to create an office of community outreach and counter-radicalization, efforts to welcome victims of Daesh and efforts to improve rights of those who have found themselves on no-fly lists by creating a passenger protect inquiries office and implementing a Canada-U.S. redress working group.

Creation of a Standing Committee on Arms Exports Review
House resumed consideration of this motion. MP Brian Masse (NDP) stated that Canada is increasing arms sales in the Middle East despite the current unrest in the region, and called on Parliament to address the problem. MP Garnett Genuis (Conservative) said this is an issue that can and should be studied by the foreign affairs committee and that the Conservative Party does not support a separate standing committee. MP David Graham (Liberal) responded by stating that the Canadian government will accede to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, which aims to stop unregulated arms transfers and to create common international standards for the export of weapons. He stated necessary changes to legislation and regulation will be made to implement all of the treaty's obligations in 2017. He also stated that annual reports on exports of military goods and technology will now be tabled on a fixed date and Canadians can expect those reports no later than May 31 each year.