CPC Interview Series: Kellie Leitch

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.

 

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.


kellie leitch photo

Kellie Leitch (Conservative)

Member of Parliament
for Simcoe-Grey (Ontario)

Offices and Roles as a Parliamentarian

  • Minister of Labour (2013-2015)
  • Minister of Status of Women (2013-2015)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour (2011-2013)

 

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 of Canada (CPC), and perhaps one day Prime Minister of Canada?

 

I am a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and former university professor at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto. I have been involved in the conservative movement since 1984/85. I was elected in 2011 and I am running in the leadership race because I believe that we, as Canadians, have a shared value set, one that is shared by Canadians from all walks of life in this country.

 

2.Why do you feel you’re qualified to lead the CPC? Why should one vote for you over the 13 other candidates seeking the nomination?

 

I have a wide range of experience whether it be as a physician, a small business owner – I ran a small moving company to pay for my undergrad and med school. I have experience in government both as a cabinet minister and serving on treasury board. So, I have a wide range of experience in government, in the private sector, and some in public sector activities.

 

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 the Conservative Party put forward a platform of ideas and asked Canadians if they agreed with them or not. Some people agreed with those ideas and others completely disagreed. I don’t think that it was a divisive platform. I think some people may have interpreted it that way and that’s their prerogative. In Canada, we have an open society, people can choose to interpret things in the way that they would like. But for myself, our focus on the economy, making sure Canadians had more money in their pockets, a sound economic record, were all good ideas.

 

4. Explain why you introduced the “Barbaric Cultural Practices Tip Line” around the last federal election in 2015?

 

So, the legislation that was originally put forward at the time and accepted by all parties in the House of Commons was one that talked about early forced marriages for girls. I personally do not believe that a young girl should be forced into a marriage, and that’s what our announcement was about.

 

As I’ve said to several people at the time, I don’t think the communication of it was clear. I think it was very poorly done. But the principle behind that legislation, which as I said, parliamentarians of all backgrounds supported – I think the principle of little girls not being forced into marriage, is a sound one. I think we, as Canadians, embrace that; all of us do.

 

5. What gap in legislation did you want to fill by introducing the “Barbaric Cultural Practices Tip Line”?

 

I became the Minister of the Status of Women in 2013, and one of the things our country was speaking about at the U.N. was eradicating early forced marriages for girls around the world. I thought that we as Canadians should make sure that we are on good moral ground before telling others what to do. So, one day, I asked the Minister of Justice what our legal age of marriage is in Canada. I was shocked by what I heard – the accepted legal age of marriage in Canada was seven (with the exception of Quebec). So, part of the legislation I was involved with was to increase the age of marriage in Canada to 16.

 

In addition, as Minister of the Status of Women, I received a research study that highlighted the issue of early forced marriages in Canada. The report stated that 219 children in Canada had been put in a position where they were married under the age of 16. I thought this was unacceptable and it was something that we had to move forward on.

 

Now, I’m sure that there are parts of the legislation that were decided upon by a Cabinet Committee that I was not a part of that some may have issue with, but as I said, all parliamentarians agreed to support this legislation. I’ve said many times and I’ll continue to say that how we communicated our announcement during the last election was terrible.

 

I think the core intent of the legislation that little girls or boys should not be forced into a marriage was a sound one, but did we communicate it poorly? Absolutely, and I take full responsibility for that.

 

Lastly, I am open to listening to your community’s suggestions as to how we can eradicate this problem. I think we have a responsibility as leaders to move to eradicate these practices from all communities.

 

6. In your opinion, why did the CPC lose the last federal election in 2015?

 

I think that we lost because we didn’t control the ballot question. You know for the Conservative Party consistently through many elections, if the ballot question is on the economy, we do really well. The ballot question was definitely not about the economy in 2015.

 

7. In your view, since the Liberals were elected in 2015, what have they done wrong? What have they done right?

 

I think the most substantive issue for Canadians is around the economy. They put forward a budget showing that there would be a deficit but that it would be over four years of a certain amount. We have now well surpassed that amount. We are now in a position where people are going to feel even more stretched in their pocket books through paying a larger debt due to a higher deficit that will eventually have to be paid. Those are substantive economic challenges that our country is going to have to face. I think that will be very challenging.

 

In terms of what they’ve done right? I can’t say much.

 

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

 

I’ve been talking about Canadian values and how we as Canadians have a shared value set, civic values, which include: hard work, freedom, generosity, tolerance and equality of opportunity.

 

I’ve been talking about immigration policy. I believe that the Senate Standing Committee has put forward a policy of doing face-to-face interviews for each person coming to Canada, I think that we should implement that across the board. This is a policy that we had under Conservative and Liberal governments before 2002 and that has since been changed. I think we should bring this back.

 

I have an economic platform that has a number of components which includes making sure that we pay down our debt, capping government spending to the rate of inflation, removing taxes on taxes, and having public sector wages aligned with salaries and benefits of the private sector. I think we need to make sure that the public and private sectors are more in lock step with each other when it comes to salaries and benefits.

 

9. What do you think of the Trump administration’s current immigration policies, including the travel ban imposed on 6 Muslim majority countries?

 

The U.S. administration has chosen a policy that is suitable for their nation. They had an election last year and they made a choice. What I’m proposing here is fundamentally different. I’m not talking about banning any countries. What I’m talking about is a shared value set. People choose every day to come to this country because of their idea of what Canada is about. I think we should be talking about these values to each person coming to this country because it allows them to integrate.

 

You know, I’m sure many of you at some point in your life filled out a resume and someone invited you for an interview for a job, so that you would have a conversation about the employer’s company or firm and how you can best help that company or firm. This is the same type of process. I think we would help immigrants integrate in Canada and get off the ground running if we actually meet them face-to-face. The policy I’m proposing is a bit of “back to the future”. This is what our country did for decades up until 2002.

 

I am not talking about quotas on immigration, I’m talking about doing the process properly. The Senate Standing Committee has suggested that this be implemented across the board and there is new research that has come out highlighting how immigration officers are being trained to push through immigrants based on little documentation and spending 3-5 minutes with each person. I don’t think that’s how we get a full sense of the people coming to the country and I don’t think that’s how we help someone who is coming to the country. I just think that we should do the process properly. What those numbers end up being, I don’t know.

 

10. Does Canada have an immigration problem? If so, what is it?

 

I don’t think we have an immigration problem, I just think that we can make the process better.

 

The Senate Standing Committee has issued a report on this issue. I think you would all agree that immigration is a serious issue. We see nations around the world address this issue, but addressing it because something has been foisted upon them.

 

I think we as a nation need to have a thoughtful conversation about what we are going to be (i.e. as a nation) in the future. The Immigration and Refugee Act is very clear, it’s about nation building. The economic, social and cultural fabric of what our nation is and what it will be.

 

I think we are the beacon of hope because we have integrated people due to a shared value set. One that people choose every day to be a part of, no matter where they come from around the globe. It’s a civic value set that has made our country an extremely powerful nation. I want that value set to be protected and I think that we should be talking to people about it. Having a thoughtful dialogue about this isn’t something that people should be afraid of, especially in our sesquicentennial year, it is something we should embrace. The people that are here are part of who we will be in the future.

 

I recognize that I get depicted in certain ways, but please don’t believe what you hear. I’d rather have a thoughtful conversation with you. My family chose to come to Canada as did yours because it is a place where if you work hard, your family can get ahead, and you can be generous and give back to your community, but most importantly that you can live in freedom, that we can tolerate differences and resolve those differences by understanding each other. Sometimes we may walk away with a difference of opinion but that tolerance component is uniquely Canadian.

 

My father’s family came to Canada because he decided this was a better place to be, just as I am sure as did yours.

 

 

I’m here today, because I think we should be having this conversation. I recognize that CBC and CTV may portray me in a certain way, and all I can ask of you is to go back and listen to what I have said and really, what I can control is what I say.

 

I feel just as strongly about being against white supremacists the same way as I do about young girls being forced into marriage. I am actually the one candidate that has refused them (i.e. white supremacists) to obtain party membership.  I have publicly said that I don’t condone their behaviour.

 

However, the public opinion polling has been very clear. 74% of Canadians agree that we should be having this conversation. Can I control what every single individual says about what I do? No I cannot. Can I do my best to seek out those people who are extremists and deal with them? Yes, but I won’t tell you that I can guarantee that I will find every single wrong-doer and deal with them.

 

11. 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?

 

With respect to the international context, I agree we have a responsibility on a couple of fronts, one is that we being a beacon of hope around the world need to be that place that continues to be generous, accepting refugees and individuals that are experiencing the most substantive of persecution. That maybe Sikhs from Afghanistan, Coptic Christians from Egypt, and individuals in your own homelands that are experiencing atrocities that we don’t appreciate here. We need to continue to be the place where they know they can seek refuge. We have a responsibility to export those values, and you know one of the best examples of that is our Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan. Not only were they there for reasons of creating democracy, they were also there to build schools for girls, to create an opportunity for younger people to have a better life. I think the picture of Canadian Armed Forces building schools and making sure that kids can go to school is what we’re all about.

 

With respect to our tolerance, we do live in a free open society and part of that tolerance is that you may disagree with my immigration policy but as I said before, we in this country often agree to disagree and walk away peacefully.

 

My opinion may be different than yours, and my opinion is obviously different than those in the media, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a right to my opinion and I shouldn’t be devoiced, especially when I don’t think I’m inciting violence with any of it. Part of what this country is about is that people should be free to speak about what they care about. I think we’ve gotten to the point where some organizations get quite defensive. But I’m hopeful that we get back to a place where there is a little less political correctness where people feel like they can voice their opinions openly without being bullied, because that isn’t healthy or tolerant.

 

12. 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 six innocent men murdered in their place of worship in Quebec. Do you think this Islamophobia is a problem for our country? Why did you vote against Motion-103?

 

I think there are several groups in country that feel persecuted, whether it be individuals who are black, gay, Muslim or Jewish. On M-103, I believe that every religion in this country should be treated equally. I don’t think there is any place for the State in houses of worship and houses of worship in the State. For me this has been a freedom of speech issue and I think that we should be treating every religion the same. We have hate speech laws, we have laws that govern across this country equally, and that is why I voted against it. It’s now going to Committee and we will see what the result of the Committee is.

 

13. More specifically, do you think there is a problem with Islamophobia?

 

Well, we didn’t define the term in our motion. I think there are crimes perpetuated against different groups in this country. But do I think that M-103 was a motion that had to be passed? No, I don’t.

 

I don’t think any Canadian should experience a hate crime, we should all be treated equally.

 

14. 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 all houses of worship whether it be a mosque, synagogue, temple or church, I think people who visit these places of worship should feel safe to worship. We have laws in place to make sure that these places of public of worship should not experience any hate crimes or the tragedy that took place in Quebec. It’s completely unacceptable.

 

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

 

It means that people from all walks of life, all corners of the world can come here and have the same shared value set.

 

16. Could you explain your policy about screening immigrants for Canadian values?

 

I have talked about how we have a shared value set: hard work, generosity, equal opportunity, freedom, and tolerance. I think each visitor and immigrant to Canada should have an interview with a trained immigration officer and in addition to educating themselves on our constitution and the immigration guide with which these values are aligned, they accept them.

 

17. Do you fear that your values test could restrict Canada’s ability to attract skilled labour, talent and capital to our country?

 

Not at all.

 

18. Why should a Canadian Muslim vote for you?

 

Because I know that your family has made a choice to come to this country just as mine did because of what you thought Canada was about. That you believe just as deeply as I do, that this nation is a nation where if you show up and work hard you can get ahead and take care of your family and others, that you wanted to come here and live in freedom, knowing that we all practice a Canadian way of where men and women are equal, that you can practice whichever religion you want or none, that you can marry who you wish or no one, that you can practice your cultural identity as you wish. But in Canada, violence and misogyny are not acceptable. There is a Canadian way, and I believe that your families made the same choice as mine did to come to Canada because that’s what it was all about. That means a shared Canadian identity that I believe we can all share, one that our current Prime Minister doesn’t believe exists. This country is strong because of that value set. This country is the beacon of hope for the world because of that value set. And it’s one that we should be very proud of, it’s one we should protect, and it’s one that we should be exporting.

 

19. On a lighter note, tell us what you like to do to relax when you are not campaigning?

 

Running, I used to ski but blew my ACL so I don’t do that anymore, and I cycle. What I primarily do now, is that I spend quite a bit of time with my father and following my campaign I will be taking him to Peru – it’s something we established when I graduated, he picks where to go and I pay!

 

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TCMV is hiring an Outreach Associate!

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Click here to download a PDF of this page.

 

The Canadian-Muslim Vote (TCMV) is seeking a Summer Outreach Associate.  You’ll work as part of our non-profit team, coordinating national outreach efforts primarily as they relate to our Canada 150 Flag Campaign. In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, the TCMV Canada 150 Flag Campaign aims to place 150 Canadian flags in front of mosques, community centres, and third spaces where Muslims gather.

 

What you’ll be typically be doing:

  • Contact organizations across Canada to promote the Canada 150 Flag campaign
  • Research and determine suitable vendors for flag installations in major Canadian cities
  • Coordinate flag installations with vendors and partner organizations
  • Solicit sponsors for upcoming flag installations
  • Maintain records of partners and potential “Ambassadors” contacted, and their level of commitment/participation in the Canada 150 Flag Initiative
  • Maintain a progress report of outreach activities to be presented to TCMV Board
  • Other related duties, as assigned

 

What we’re looking for:

  • Post-secondary student (with preference for students in Communications and Political Science)
  • Knowledge of the Richmond Hill / Vaughan, Ontario area and ability to travel to these localities, as required
  • Effective communication skills including verbal, written and presentation 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
  • Proficient in MS Project and the MS Office Suite of products
  • Trello experience an asset
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment with ever changing timelines
  • Ability to organize and prioritize administrative workload to ensure deadlines are met
  • Working knowledge of the Canadian political process
  • Ability to see the vision and translate into action; inspire others to join in creating a highly participative movement that motivates Canadian Muslims to vote

 

What you need to know:

  • This is a full-time, summer position
  • The successful candidate will receive a salary of $13/hour
  • Must be legally eligible to work in Canada at the location(s) specified above and, where applicable, must have a valid work permit or study permit that allows the candidate to fulfill the requirements of the role

 

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

About us – 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 increase 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. For more information:  canadianmuslimvote.ca

 

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

 

The Canadian-Muslim Vote receives support from the Canadian government through the Canada Summer Jobs program.

 

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TCMV is hiring two Communications Associates!

we are hiring graphic

 

Click here to download a PDF of this page. 

The Canadian-Muslim Vote (TCMV) is seeking two Summer Communications Associates.  You’ll work as part of our non-profit team, developing and managing our electronics community strategy and assisting with communications activities for TCMV’s annual Eid Dinner.

 

What you’ll be typically be doing:

  • Develops and manage TCMV’s electronic communications strategy including website, email marketing, social media, etc. with a focus on communicating knowledge, engaging TCMV’s constituency and reinforcing brand identity
  • Enhance TCMV’s social media outreach through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.
  • Assist in communications activities for TCMV’s annual Eid Dinner, celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday
  • Other related duties, as assigned

 

 

What we’re looking for:

  • Post-secondary student (with preference for students in Communications and Political Science)
  • Knowledge of the Richmond Hill / Vaughan, Ontario area and ability to travel to these localities, as required
  • Experience in website design and working knowledge of the NationBuilder platform
  • Social Media prowess and experience posting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
  • Knowledge of how a new non-profit organization operates
  • Experience in graphic design
  • Effective verbal and written communication 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
  • Proficient in MS Project and the MS Office Suite of products
  • Trello experience an asset
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment with ever changing timelines
  • Ability to multi-task, organize and prioritize administrative workload to ensure deadlines are met
  • Working knowledge of the Canadian political process
  • Ability to see the vision and translate into action; inspire others to join in creating a highly participative movement that motivates Canadian Muslims to vote

 

 

What you need to know:

  • This is a full-time, summer position
  • The successful candidate will receive a salary of $13/hour
  • Must be legally eligible to work in Canada at the location(s) specified above and, where applicable, must have a valid work permit or study permit that allows the candidate to fulfill the requirements of the role

 

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

About us – 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 increase 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. For more information:  canadianmuslimvote.ca

 

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

 

The Canadian-Muslim Vote receives support from the Canadian government through the Canada Summer Jobs program.

grant-acknowlegmentHSP

 

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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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