Interview Series: CPC Leadership Candidate Michael Chong

On May 27, 2017, the Conservative Party of Canada will be electing a new leader. 

 

This leadership race will ultimately determine who will lead the Conservative Party of Canada (Conservative Party) in the 2019 federal election.

As Canadian Muslims, it is important that we exercise our civic duty to help choose the next leader of the Conservative Party, who could be the next Prime Minister of Canada. 

 

How to vote?

In order to vote for the next leader of the Conservative Party, you must hold active membership to the Conservative Party before March 28, 2017.

Here is a link to register. A nominal membership fee of $15 is required.

 

Interview Series

Over the next few weeks, the Canadian Muslim Vote will be sitting down with a few of the 14 candidates contesting for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

We will be profiling these candidates so that you (our readers) can make an informed voting decision on May 27, 2017.

 

ChongMichael_CPCMichael Chong

Member of Parliament for Wellington—Halton Hills (Ontario)

Political Affiliation: Conservative

Offices and Roles as a Parliamentarian

  • President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada (2006)
  • Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (2006)
  • Minister for Sport (2006)

 

1. Tell us a bit about your background and why you decided to run for the nomination to be the next leader of the conservative party and perhaps one day Prime Minister of Canada?

I’m from Fergus, Ontario which is a small town in South Western Ontario. I am one of four children of immigrant parents. My father is a Chinese immigrant from Hong Kong and my mother is a Dutch immigrant from the Netherlands. I am in this leadership race because I would like to build a much bigger conservative party.  A party that includes all Canadians regardless of race, religion, creed, or where they live. A party that wants to create greater opportunity for everyone and not just a few.

 

2. Why do you feel you’re qualified to lead the conservative party of Canada? Why should I vote for you over the 13 other candidates seeking the nomination?

I’ve got 13 years of experience in the house of commons as an elected member of parliament, I’ve won five elections in a row, I’ve served in opposition, I’ve served in government, I’ve been a cabinet minister, I’ve served as a chair of a parliamentary committee, and I’ve served in majority and minority parliament. So I understand how our political system works, how parliament works, and I think that is that is very important experience to have. I’ve also worked in the private sector for 10 years. I worked on bay street in financial services, and I think that’s important because you understand how a dollar is made and why government should spend tax money wisely.

 

3. In the last federal election, some would argue that conservatives ran on a platform that was somewhat divisive, do you agree with this statement? Do you believe this was the right approach?

I think we made mistakes in the last election. I think proposing the barbaric cultural practices tip line was a mistake. I think that played to fear and soaked division. As I said to my wife at the time, “we already have a tip line, it’s called 911!” and if someone is committing a criminal offence, forcible confinement, kidnapping, physical assault, these are criminal offences which we have laws against. You call “911” and we have police agencies and law enforcement authorities for pursuing those crimes. Anything beyond that is an overly intrusive role of the state and an intrusion in Canadians’ private lives. So that was clearly a mistake.

 

4. In your opinion, why did the conservative party lose the last federal election in 2015?

I don’t think there is anyone reason why the conservative party lost the last election. I think it was a confluence of events. Probably one of the biggest factors was the fact that we were in government for almost 10 years. And after 10 years, it usually very difficult for any party to win re-election.

 

5. Tell us a bit about your policy platform, what are the top three policies you’re campaigning on?

Economic, environment, democratic.

Economic: We are proposing the largest income tax cut of all 14 candidates, an $18 billion income tax cut, representing 1% of GDP which we will introduce in our very first budget in the spring of 2020, a few months after the next federal election (should we get elected). This is critical to kick starting the economy and creating growth in jobs.

The second pillar in our policy is environmental. We will start with the most conservative way to reduce emissions, because it is based on free markets and smaller government, which is to introduce a revenue neutral federal carbon tax that we would introduce in 2021 which would be fully implemented in 2030. This revenue neutral carbon tax would only be applied to the consumer side of the economy thereby exempting trade exposed and export oriented industries like oil and gas. We would use all those revenues to introduce the $18 million income tax.

And the third pillar is democratic reform. We believe strongly that we need to further reform the house of commons, parliament, the senate, and political parties to make them a lot more open and transparent and to take power away from party leaders and the prime minister who have too much of it and restore that power back to the people and grassroots party members.

 

On Palestine/Israel and ISIS:

I believe in the two-state solution, I think that both parties need to come to an agreement on the two-state solution. I don’t believe that unilateral actions on behalf of one party or the other is constructive to that conclusion. So, I don’t support unilateral actions on the part of the Palestinians or Israelis because I don’t think that brings us closer to that solution of two states. So that’s my view on the Israel-Palestine issue. Jordan is an ally of Canada in the middle east, and I think we must continue to work with our allies with Jordan and Israel to ensure stability in the region.

I think we have a role in combatting ISIS, I disagree with the current government’s approach. I don’t think putting ground troops in the middle east is a smart strategy. I think our role should be an air combat not a ground combat role. I think any western country that wants to put ground combat troops in the middle east is making a big mistake. I disagree with the current government’s approach on this.

 

6. With the recent refugee crisis in Europe and subsequent reaction by countries around world, the UK’s Brexit and the Trump administration’s controversial immigration policies, where do you see Canada’s role in this global context which is becoming increasingly framed by fear mongering and alienation?

I think we have to do two things. First, we have to acknowledge the real concerns of millions of people about immigration and the state of the global economy, in other words we cannot dismiss the very real concerns that people have about immigration policy and about the global economy. But I believe there is a constructive way to address those concerns and there is a destructive way to address those concerns. And I believe as political leaders we need to be constructive in coming forth with polices and solutions to those very real concerns. That’s the approach I’ve taken in this leadership race and one that I will continue to take. Dismissing those concerns is not constructive. I think that’s what happened in Brexit and South of the border. People dismissed the concerns of ordinary people and I don’t think that’s the solution. We have to be serious about addressing those concerns but in a constructive way.

 

7. Nationally, hate crimes are on the rise. Statistics Canada released figures in 2016 that showed Islamophobia had doubled in a three year time frame. During that time we saw a mosque firebombed in Peterborough, and in January of this year we saw 6 innocent men murdered in their place of worship. Do you think this is a problem for our country?

Yes I do. That’s why I’m voting for Motion-103. I’m the only leadership candidate who is voting for Motion-103 because I do think we have a problem. I think the fact that 25 people were shot in a mosque, 19 of whom were injured and six of them are dead, is proof that we have a problem with anti-Muslim discrimination and prejudice. I think it’s important for a committee of parliamentarians to study this issue and come forward with a report.

 

8. As Prime Minister, what practical steps would you take to protect other mosques in Canada from experiencing the tragedy we felt in Quebec?

I think we need to take the advice that we get from law enforcement agencies at the federal level and from our security and intelligence gathering agencies to ensure that all the tools and resources are in place to combat these kinds of attacks.

 

9. Given the multicultural fabric that makes up our country, what does diversity mean to you as a Canadian?

Diversity means to me a diversity of races, religions and creeds, a diversity of national origins, but also a diversity of viewpoints, however, I think this is a very important point from where I differ strongly from the current prime minister, I don’t think diversity is everything. We also are all Canadians, and as Canadians we share things in common, a common citizenship, around which is centered a common set of political institutions, a shared history and a common set of values which we have enshrined in our constitution, in our charter of rights and freedoms, and in our laws. So yes, diversity is incredibly important and it’s an inherent aspect of what is means to be Canadian, and we have one of the most diverse societies on the face of the planet that has contributed greatly to the vitality of this country its diversify in race, religion, and creed, and its diverse points of view, but diversity isn’t all we are, we are also Canadians and as such we share together a common set of rights, responsibilities, a shared history, common political institutions and a shared future. And that to me is a very important second part of the equation, in building that common future we build an inclusive identity, an inclusive citizenship, that includes everyone in this country set around those common values and ideals.

 

10. Given the increasing level of engagement within the Canadian-Muslim community, what will you do to appeal to this growing and dynamic demographic group?

Well, to make sure that they’re included in our party and to make sure that they’re welcome to be part of our party, and to make sure that their voices are heard in the party. That’s why I’m running in this leadership race, to build a much bigger party that includes Canadians of all races, religions, creeds, and that includes Muslim Canadians. I’ve long believed that people regardless of faith backgrounds, race, and creed, are part of our country and political fabric and that should true of the conservative party.

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Muslims in the House: March 6-10

 

Safe Third Country Agreement and Donald Trump’s New Executive Order Regarding Immigration
After a new immigration order was issued by the Trump administration, MP Anne Minh-Thu Quach (NDP) asked if the Canadian government will suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement, give border services and border communities more resources, and what the government plans to do to manage the ongoing influx of irregular migrants. Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen responded by stating that since the domestic asylum system in the United States is intact, it would be irresponsible to withdraw from the agreement. MP Jenny Kwan (NDP) stated that many refugees no longer feel that the U.S. is a safe country for them because of Trump’s anti-refugee and Islamophobic rhetoric. MP Serge Cormier (Liberal) reiterated that the Safe Third Country Agreement remains an important tool for Canada and the U.S. to work together on handling of refugee claims and that it would be irresponsible to withdraw from the agreement. MP Cormier stated that the government will continue to monitor the situation and will work with the United States as it reviews parts of its resettlement program.

On a separate occasion, MP Thomas Mulcair (NDP) asked the Prime Minister in light of Trump’s latest executive order regarding immigration if he still believes the U.S. remains a safe country for refugees, calling Trump’s policy racist. Prime Minister Trudeau responded by saying that his government is continuing to work with the American administration to ensure that Canadians, goods, and services can move across the border quickly and effectively and to ensure that Canadians can continue to travel freely and openly to the United States.

Statement on Anti-Semitism
MP Michael Levitt (Liberal) made a statement denouncing a number of recent incidents of hate targeting Jewish Canadians, including recent evacuations of Jewish community centres due to bomb threats. MP Levitt also recognized the growing hate targeted at Muslim Canadians. He stated that condemning these actions is not enough, that the legal system must be empowered to act against these incidents.

Support for Syrian refugees
MP Michelle Rempel (Conservative) brought up the issue that while funding will be ending this month to help many Syrian refugees who have landed in Canada so far, fewer than half of them have found jobs. MP Rempel asked whether the government knows how much the provinces will have to pay out in social assistance. Ahmed Hussen Minister of Immigration stated that this year the government is providing $900 million in settlement and resettlement funding to support refugee integration and settlement services. Minister Hussen reiterated the government’s commitment to support refugees. MP Rempel responded by stating that the minister failed to say how many of these refugees have found jobs and that Canada will see an influx of refugees coming in with the government’s decision to lift the Mexican visa requirement. Minister Hussen responded by stating that by lifting the Mexican visa requirement, the Canadian government will strengthen the bilateral relationship with Mexico and will continue to work to make sure the visa lift is a success.

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Muslims in the House: February 13-17

Muslims in the House: February 13-17

Motion No. 103
In a follow-up to the e-petition condemning Islamophobia in all its forms, which passed last fall, MP Iqra Khalid (Liberal) introduced Motion-103 in the House to denounce Islamophobic sentiment in Canada. MP Khalid introduced the motion that would have the government:

(a) Recognize the need to quell the increasing climate of hate and fear;
(b) Condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.

The motion included a call for the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage conduct a study on how the government could develop a national approach to address and eliminate “systematic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia” and to “collect data to contextualize hate crime reports and conduct needs assessments for impacted communities.” Under the motion, the Standing Committee would present its assessments and recommendations to the House.

Conservative Opposition to Motion No. 103
Most Conservatives in the House oppose the use of the term “Islamophobia” in the motion. Their opposition to the term rests on the ambiguity in its definition, which had not been outlined in Motion-103. The Conservatives are requesting mentions of “Islamophobia” in the motion be replaced with “hatred against Muslims,” to avoid any impediments on freedom of speech. The Liberals have rejected the request to remove Islamophobia from the motion, claiming that a problem cannot be addressed “if we fail to call it by its true name.”

In response, MP David Anderson (Conservative) introduced an opposing motion that “racism, religious intolerance, and discrimination against all of Canada’s largest religious groups: Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, and Hinuds.” The Conservatives argue that their motion is more inclusive as it names the major religious groups in Canada, and focuses on “the safety of the faithful” rather than on the faith itself.

The NDP have signaled that they would support both the Liberals’ motion and Conservatives’ motion, and encouraged the government to go beyond introducing a motion, suggesting that “motions are symbolic in nature” and do not “impose any legal obligation on the part of the government” to formally address the growing concerns of religious discrimination in Canada.

The Liberals’ have rejected the Conservatives’ motion, calling it a “watered-down version” of Motion-103.

President Donald Trump’s Immigration Ban
On two occasions, MP Jenny Kwan (NDP) stood in the House and asked the Prime Minister to denounce Donald Trump’s immigration ban. The first instance occurred following the Prime Minister’s meeting with the U.S. President at the White House. MP Kwan believes that Canada “has a proud history of standing up to the U.S on issues of principle”, and that it is the Prime Minister’s duty to criticize policies that “are having a direct impact on Canadians.”

The second instance occurred during the debate on the Liberals’ Motion-103. MP Kwan singled out Donald Trump in discussion of the motions as “one of the biggest promoters of Islamophobia right now.” She called on the Prime Minister to denounce Trump’s “racist immigration policies.”

Denunciation of Quebec Attack
A handful of MPs in the House made member statements this week to publicly denounce the attack on the Muslim community in Quebec City.

MP Darshan Singh Kang (Liberal) rose in solidarity with Canadian Muslims mourning the Quebec City attack. He spoke against hateful rhetoric targeting innocent Canadians, and encouraged Canadians to “visit a mosque, church, a temple, a synagogue, or another other place of worship [to] learn more about our fellow Canadians”.

MP Matt Jeneroux (Conservative) stood in the House “to recognize the impact the Muslim community plays in our region of the country.” He denounced he attack in Quebec City and voiced his support for the “Muslim community in Edmonton, and across the world.”

MP Omar Alghabra (Liberal) recognized a Muslim Canadian, Mohamed Fakih, who provided assistance to the family of the victims in Quebec City, and acknowledged Mr. Fakih’s numerous generous contributions and support for initiatives in Canada.

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The Canadian-Muslim Vote is hiring!

we are hiring graphic

The Canadian-Muslim Vote is seeking a Communications and Project Coordinator (CPCO). You’ll work as part of our nonprofit team, servicing multiple grassroots projects based in the GTA, with reach across Canada. The CPCO is responsible for organizing, controlling and driving forward project activities, under the direction of the Board of Directors.

 

Typical duties would include but are not limited to the following:

  • Facilitate the determination of project requirements and scope and document the same
  • Prepare project organization and communication materials
  • Organize and chair status meetings, including distribution of agendas and minutes to all project team members
  • Track the progress, budget and quality of work being completed
  • Use project scheduling and control tools to monitor projects’ plans, work hours, budgets and expenditures and prepare regular reports
  • Effectively and accurately communicate relevant project information to all stakeholders
  • Ensure stakeholders needs are met in a timely and cost effective manner
  • Maintain project schedules and RAID logs
  • Track & manage scope, timeline and budget changes
  • Communicate ideas for improving organization processes with a positive and constructive attitude
  • Keep all stakeholders informed of project status and issues that may impact projects
  • Regular follow up and driving project activities forward with operating board members and peer coordinators
  • Networking, communication and warm&cold calling in support of TCMV outreach activities
  • Key projects and activities for 2017 will include:
    • Communications and Marketing Coordination
    • Mosque Ambassador Recruiting and Canadian Flag Raising Initiative
    • Education Program Coordination, Survey Program Coordination

 

Qualifications:

  • 3‐5 years of experience supporting Communications and/or Project Managers in the delivery of projects
  • Proficient in G Suite, MS Project and the MS Office Suite of products
  • Nationbuilder and/or Trello experience an asset
  • Effective communication skills including verbal, written and presentation skills
  • Energetic, creative thinker with the capacity to see the larger picture and detailed steps needed to achieve it
  • Highly organized with excellent writing, copywriting, editing and communications skills
  • Proven ability to work effectively both independently and in a team-based environment
  • Demonstrated willingness to be flexible and adaptable to changing priorities as an enthusiastic self-starter
  • Strong multi‐tasking and organizational skills
  • Bilingualism (French) preferred but not mandatory

 

About The Canadian-Muslim Vote (TCMV):

TCMV is a non-profit, grassroots, non-partisan organization that encourages civic engagement within the Canadian Muslim community. TCMV’s successful campaign helped dramatically increased voter turnout among Canadian Muslims during the 2015 Federal Election. The organization continues to inspire, motivate, and educate Canadian Muslims on the importance of civic engagement as the only way to participate in our democracy.

How to apply:
Interested candidates can apply by sending a cover letter and resume to opportunities@canadianmuslimvote.ca with the subject line “Communications and Project Coordinator – [FULL NAME]”.


TCMV is committed to access and equity and is an equal opportunity employer.

For more information: www.canadianmuslimvote.ca

 

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Muslims in the House – Feb 6-10

 

U.S. Travel Ban
MP Michelle Rempel (Conservative) raised the issue of NEXUS memberships having been revoked from Canadian permanent residents with citizenship in the seven countries affected by the U.S. travel ban. Minister Ralph Goodale responded by saying that all Canadian citizens with a valid Canadian passport should be treated at the border in the same way as before the executive order, and that since NEXUS is a discretionary program, countries have a right to withdraw the privilege. He stated that there are about 1.5 million people with NEXUS privileges, and about 200 have been affected by the U.S. revocation. Of those 200, none of them are Canadian citizens. The Minister stated that the government is working with American counterparts to make sure that all Canadians are treated fairly.

MP Matthew Dubé (NDP) raised the issue of a Muslim Canadian family that was denied entry into the United States, stating that the family members were questioned about their religious beliefs and that this was a direct consequence of President Donald Trump’s policy. He asked if the government will join the NDP in vigorously denouncing this shameful treatment of Canadian citizens. The Minister of Immigration, Ahmed Hussen, responded by stating that the government is clear on continuing the progressive tradition of Canada being an open and compassionate society, and that the Canadian government has been assured by the White House that Canadian citizens and holders of permanent resident cards continue to have access to the United States. He stated that the government will assist anyone with difficulties.

Safe Third Country Agreement
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair raised the issue of 22 refugees who crossed the border over the weekend from the United States seeking safety in Canada. He asked why the Prime Minister is defending the Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S. when it is causing further harm to refugees. The Prime Minister responded by saying that the situation is concerning and that the government needs to make sure that they are protecting the integrity of the Canadian border, the strength of Canada’s immigration and refugee system, and demonstrating that the government is there for the security of communities and individuals. The Prime Minister stated that Canada will always be welcoming to vulnerable people and that they are working with the American administration on how to improve the way things work between the two countries. Separately, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May also raised the issue, asking for an immediate suspension of the Safe Third Country Agreement. The Prime Minister stated that the government continues to do everything they can to welcome people to Canada.

Shootings in Quebec City  
Rhéal Fortin (Bloc) raised the issue of a Washington Post article that stated “And now, [Canadians] have good reason to observe that the province [of Quebec] seems to produce an awful lot of lunatics prone to public massacres”. MP Fortin and MP Luc Thériault (Bloc) asked the Prime Minister to condemn these comments. Minister of Canadian Heritage, Mélanie Joly, denounced the comments made in the article, stating that Quebeckers, like all Canadians, are open and welcoming.

MP Frank Baylis (Liberal) asked what the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the government are doing to help Canadian Muslims and members of other minority groups protect themselves in the wake of the tragic shootings at the Centre islamique culturel de Québec. The Minister stated that they are extending the deadline for the Security Infrastructure Program, which helps communities protect themselves against hate-motivated crimes. He reiterated the need to continue working together to foster respect, solidarity, cohesion, and inclusion.

MP Peter Julian (NDP) made a statement about speaking up against and denouncing hatred, noting that Islamophobia, among other forms of hatred, are being seen across Canada and the U.S. MP Julian stated that the murders at a Quebec City mosque showed where hatred can lead and that we need to talk about it.

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Muslims In the House: January 30 – February 3

Shooting in Quebec City

The House of Commons observed a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the attack at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec. All parties in the House of Commons expressed their condemnation of the shooting and offered their condolences to the families of the victims, as well as the Muslim community in Quebec. Statements condemning the attack were read by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Opposition MP Rona Ambrose, NDP Leader MP Thomas Mulcair, Bloc Quebecois Leader MP Rhéal Fortin, and the Green Party Leader MP Elizabeth May.

 

U.S. Travel Ban

NDP Leader MP Thomas Mulcair stated to the House that the American president has implemented a ban on all individuals from several Muslim countries without justifications. MP Thomas Mulcair asked the Prime Minister if he agrees that this targeting of people based on their religion or place of birth is an affront to our shared values as Canadians.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded by stating that he will continue defend the Canadian values of openness and diversity that we cherish so much.

MP Thomas Mulcair also asked the Prime Minister what he intends to do to provide ongoing assistance to the thousands of refugees who are now banned from the United States. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded by stating that he has asked the Minister of Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship (MP Ahmed Hussen) to consider the different ways we can help these refugees.

Separately, The Minister of Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship, MP Ahmed Hussen, told the House that the government has received assurance from the United States that Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents with valid permanent resident cards will not be denied entry into the United States as a result of this executive order.

 

Democratic Reform   

NDP Leader MP Thomas Mulcair stated to the House that the Prime Minister has abandoned his commitment for democratic reform and in doing so, betrayed all Canadians.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded by restating that while he has long preferred a preferential ballot, the members opposite wanted proportional representation, and the official opposition wanted a referendum. There was no consensus. Hence, the Prime Minister stated that there is no clear path forward and therefore, Canada’s voting system will be left unchanged. MP Thomas Mulcair responded by stating to the House that the Liberal party promised something in order to get elected and to appear progressive, but then, once elected, shamelessly broke its promise to all Canadians.

 

Yazidi Refugees  

Leader of the Opposition MP Rona Ambrose (Conservative), stated that last year the House unanimously voted to recognize that violence perpetrated by ISIS against the Yazidi people constitutes genocide, and committed to providing asylum to Yazidi women and girls within 120 days. MP Rona Ambrose asked the Prime Minister how many Yazidi women and children have made it safely to Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau answered by saying that the new Minister of Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship (MP Ahmed Hussen) is working hard on this file and anticipates meeting the February deadline for this mandate.

 

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Muslims in the House: December 14-16

Syria
Liberal MP Ramez Ayoub for Thérèse-De Blainville informed the House that Canada led a resolution at the United Nations to demand an immediate cessation of hostilities in Syria. The resolution passed with the support of 122 countries. The MP then urged all members of the House to join the government in encouraging all parties involved to stop blocking humanitarian assistance in Syria so that hundreds of thousands of people experiencing the war in Aleppo receive emergency aid.

The Aga Khan’s birthday
Garnett Genuis, Conservative MP for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan made a statement in the House marking the 80th birthday of His Highness the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of 15 million Ismaili Muslims. The MP stated that the Aga Khan has always emphasized pluralism, tolerance, and the importance of humanitarian work.  Furthermore, the Aga Khan has a strong connection to Canada, having been named an honourary Canadian citizen.

Bill C-306 – The Crimean Tatar Deportation (“Sürgünlik”) Memorial Day Act
The House resumed consideration of Bill C-306, an Act to establish a Crimean Tatar Deportation (“Sürgünlik”) Memorial Day and to recognize the mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944 as an act of genocide.  However, this motion was defeated and will not be moving forward.

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Muslims in the House: December 5-9

E-Petition 411 and Motion 103 Condemning Islamophobia 
An e-petition condemning all forms of Islamophobia was presented in the House of Commons by Liberal MP Frank Baylis (Pierrefonds-Dollard). The petition, which previously passed with unanimous support in the House of Commons, received more support (69,742 signatures) than any e-petition in Canadian history. MP Baylis emphasized that the House of Commons has an “enduring commitment to the Canadian ideals of religious freedom” and continues to support diversity of Canadian society.

Liberal MP Iqra Khalid (Mississauga-Erin Hills) stood in the House of Commons, as a Muslim woman, in support of the e-petition. Moreover, MP Khalid put forward Motion-103, which calls “on our government to condemn Islamophobia” and continue to “work towards eliminating all forms of systematic racism and religious discrimination.”

A Call to Change Canada’s Policy towards Myanmar
Conservative MP Garrett Genius (Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan) condemned the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. He acknowledged and denounced the Mynamarese government’s continuous efforts to kill and displace thousands of Rohingya people. He urged the government to reconsider its policy towards Myanmar, suggesting the government react to the “troubling and worsening situation” facing Muslims in Myanmar.

Bill-304 – The Crimean Tatar Deportation Memorial Day Act
Members of the House debated Bill 304, which would designate May 18th as a day to recognize the plight of thousands of Crimean Tatars under the Soviet regime. The bill would have the Canadian government recognize the mass deportation of nearly 200,000 Crimean Tatars in 1944 as an act of genocide. The Crimean Tatars are an ethnic Muslim group persecuted under the Soviet regime. The bill was introduced by Conservative MP Kerry Diotte (Edmonton-Griesbach), and is supported by the Conservative Party.  The Conservatives believe that this Memorial Day is an important “part of the international effort to counter Russian propaganda, which seeks [to] wipe out every trace of Crimean Tatars” from its history.

NDP MP Linda Duncan (Edmonton-Strathcona) spoke in support of the bill going to committee, although she had concerns about the name of the bill and parts of the preamble. The Liberals support the “intent of the bill to create a memorial day” to recognize the suffering of the Crimean Tatars. However, the Liberals “do not support this legislation” in recognizing the mass deportation of Crimean Tatars as an act of genocide.

A motion to pass the bill to a second reading was successful.

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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.

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Muslims In the House: October 31- November 4

 

The Canadian Muslim Vote Is Recognized!

Liberal MP Shaun Chen made a statement in the House recognizing the efforts of the Canadian Muslim Vote, from increasing voter turn out during the last federal election to our goal of raising Canadian flags at 150 mosques across Canada in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday. MP Chen acknowledged the importance of mosques not only within Muslim communities, but within the greater Canadian community as “an integral part of the multicultural fabric of our society.”.

Bill C-306 – The Crimean Tartar Deportation (“Sürgünlik”) Memorial Day Act

This is a private member’s bill introduced by Conservative MP Kerry Diotte which would enact May 18 as a memorial day in recognition of the 1994 genocide perpetrated by the USSR, in which millions of Tartars were deported from Crimea.

The Crimean Tartars are ethnic groups that are predominantly Muslim. Upon the liberation of the Crimean state in 1944 by the Soviet Union, the government ordered that all Tartars be removed from the region and moved to labour camps in Uzbekistan. The Bill, in addition to designating a memorial day, would have Canada recognize the Soviet governments actions against the Tartars as genocide.

Continuing to Stand with Aleppo

The Liberal MP Michael Levitt, stood to remind that “the residents of Aleppo, including 100,000 children, are struggling for their lives amid unimaginable horror.” This came on the heels of an emergency meeting at the Subcommittee on Human Rights, where the “White Helmets” reported that children are being attacked indiscriminately by attacks from the Assad regime and extremist groups.

The MP urged for an inquiry into the violations of international law by the parties involved in the crisis in Syria.

Iran

Conservative MP Tom Kmiec stated to the House that last week the foreign affairs minister and two of his Liberal colleagues held a private round table on appeasing Iran. The meeting was unfairly balanced toward supporters of Iran. Missing were critics of Iran’s human rights abuses, such as Iran’s religious minorities: Baha’is, Baluch, and Iranian Kurds. MP Tom Kmiec asked the foreign affairs minister why the government was engaging in such a biased manner?  The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Omar Alghabra, responded by saying that the government is open to discussion with individuals with a range of views and beliefs and has in fact met members of the Baha’i community.

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