Muslims In the House: June 13-17

Muslims In the House: June 13-17

June 20, 2016  The Canadian- Muslim Vote

 

The House is adjourned for the summer until September 19.

Muslims in the House June 13 – 17

Genocide in the Middle East

Following the release of an independent report by the UN commission that concluded that genocide was committed by ISIL against the Yazidis, on June 16 the Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion stated for the first time that the government believes that genocide against the Yazidis is currently ongoing by ISIL.As a result, MP Pierre Poilievre (Conservative) called on the government to reinstate the air bombing campaign to stop the ongoing genocide. Minister Dion disagreed and responded by stating that the government has tripled efforts for training and are improving their programs for development to rescue the affected populations. The Minister also stated that the Canadian government wants the UN to carry out more investigations to ensure that these crimes are addressed.

Ramadan

On June 14, MP Kamal Khera (Liberal) addressed the house to wish Ramadan Mubarak to Muslims in Brampton West, Canada and around the world and to recognize the Brampton Islamic Centre in Brampton West. This week the leader of the opposition, MP Rona Ambrose (Conservative) held an iftaar at Stornoway (house of the leader of the opposition). Additionally, various Muslim MP’s held an iftaar in Ottawa.

Rohingya Muslim community in Burma

MP Garnett Genuis (Conservative) raised the crisis facing the Rohingya Muslim community in Burma asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs what the government is doing with respect to leadership on human rights in Burma. As the government builds relations with Burma and invests money in its democratic development, MP Genuis called for the government to lead and advocate for the rights of the Rohingya by taking strong public action and public identification of these issues. MP Omar Alghabra (Liberal) responded by saying the government recognizes the mistreatment of minorities in Burma and is committed to the promotion of human rights and that their objective is to make a tangible difference on the ground through investments that will promote an inclusive society. He stated that alongside the creation of the Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion last month, all missions abroad are now mandated to make sure the promotion of human rights is an integral part of the approach to engaging governments abroad.

National Defense – Afghan detainee file

MP Hélène Laverdière (NDP) called on the Prime Minister to undertake to launch an independent public inquiry into the treatment of Afghan detainees following report of new allegations. The Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan stated that they will be looking into these allegations and that there are a number of institutions in the Canadian Armed Forces that are independent and have the ability to look into the allegations.

Syrian Refugees

MP Jenny Kwan (NDP) brought up the issue of applications to privately sponsor at least 100 Syrian refugee families in northern Iraq being held up due to Canada’s lack of capacity to process them. Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship John McCallum responded by saying the government is aware of the situation, that some parts of the world are more difficult to get to, and is working on it.

Recently Active Bills

  • C-23 – Preclearance Act, 2016
  • C-229 – Life Means Life
  • C-6 – Amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another
  • C-14 – Amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying)
  • S-206 – Amend the Criminal Code (protection of children against standard child-rearing violence)
  • S-1001 – Authorize La Capitale Financial Security Insurance Company to apply to be continued as a body corporate under the laws of the Province of Quebec
  • C-2 – Amend the Income Tax
  • C-221 – Safe and Regulated Sports Betting
  • C-22 – Establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and to make consequential amendments to certain Acts
  • S-225 – Amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (substances used in the production of fentanyl)
  • S-217 – Amend the Criminal Code (detention in custody)
  • C-11 – Amend the Copyright Act (access to copyrighted works or other subject-matter for persons with perceptual disabilities)

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Muslims In the House: June 6-10

Muslims In the House: June 6-10

June 13, 2016  The Canadian- Muslim Vote

 

Syrian Refugees

MP Michelle Rempel (Conservative) stated that soon Syrian refugees will see their one year of government-funded support terminate and most of these refugees still don’t have access to training to learn French or English. The Minister of Immigration, John McCallum responded by saying that the government is working hard through settlement agencies to provide funding to support language training for refugees. The Minister of Immigration added that in seven months the government has admitted 46,000 refugees and ninety-nine per cent of all the refugees are now in permanent housing.

MP Jenny Kwan (NDP) said certain Syrian refugees in Saskatoon are receiving their monthly assistance payments nearly three weeks late. MP Arif Virani (Liberal) responded that he will endeavour to work with MP Jenny Kwan going forward to find out about average wait times to deliver income supports to refugees.

National Defense – Iraq, ISIL

The Leader of the Opposition, MP Rona Ambrose stated the Prime Minister naively pulled our fighter jets out of the fight against ISIS and cut billions of dollars from national defense spending. The Prime Minister responded that the Conservatives were unable to deliver the kinds of planes and equipment that the Canadian Forces needed, and now the Liberals have to make a decision.

Sale of Arms to Saudi Arabia

MP Hélène Laverdière (NDP) said that the Prime Minister told Canadians that the Saudi Arabia arms deal was a done deal that happened under the previous government. Nonetheless, we learned in April 2016 that the Minister of Foreign Affairs in fact signed the export permits for the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. MP Hélène Laverdière added that the government did an assessment for the arms deal but it was a weak assessment that did not consider the  human rights abuses perpetrated by Saudi Arabia. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pam Goldsmith-Jones, responded by stating that the deal was done by the previous government. The current government is honouring this deal because it takes its duty to protect 3,000 jobs in Canada seriously, and a cancellation of the deal would result in financial penalties for Canadian taxpayers. Do we agree with Saudi Arabia’s human rights record? Not in the least, she stated.

Recently Active Bills

  • C-14 – Amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying)
  • S-225 – Amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (substances used in the production of fentanyl)
  • C-210 – Amend the National Anthem Act (gender)
  • S-1001 – Authorize La Capitale Financial Security Insurance Company to apply to be continued as a body corporate under the laws of the Province of Quebec
  • C-15 – Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1.
  • C-18 – Amend the Rouge National Urban Park Act, the Parks Canada Agency Act and the Canada National Parks
  • C-226 – Impaired Driving
  • C-233 – National Strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias
  • C-17 – Amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and to make a consequential amendment to another
  • C-11 – Amend the Copyright Act (access to copyrighted works or other subject-matter for persons with perceptual disabilities)
  • S-224 – Canada Prompt Payment

 

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Muslims In the House: May 30-June 3

Muslims In the House: May 30-June 3

June 7, 2016  The Canadian-Muslim Vote

 

National Defense – Iraq, ISIL

The Leader of the opposition, MP Rona Ambrose stated that Canadian special forces recently came under fire in a battle near Mosul in Iraq. She asked how the Prime Minister can claim that Canada’s role in the campaign against ISIL is just a training mission when our troops are under fire. Prime Minister Trudeau reiterated that Canada has an important role to play as part of the coalition against ISIL by providing training on the ground and, advising and assisting local troops. Prime Minister Trudeau added that this is not a combat mission but, of course, Canadian troops will always be allowed to defend themselves while they support local troops taking the fight to ISIL.

Bill C-51

The Leader of the NDP, MP Tom Mulcair asked why the Prime Minister has done nothing to get rid of Bill C-51. The Prime Minister stated that his government has engaged in significant consultations with stakeholders, and also made commitments to bring an oversight committee of parliamentarians in which all parties will be able to participate to ensure that the law and the Charter are being respected.

Democratic Reform

Following weeks of debate, the Minister of Democratic Reform, Maryam Monsef, announced that the government has agreed to support an NDP proposal that gives no one party a majority of seats on the committee that will study electoral reform. The committee will have proportional representation according to the popular vote in last year’s federal election.

Sale of Arms to Saudi Arabia

MP Monique Pauzé (Bloc Quebecois) stated that the UN just added Saudi Arabia to the blacklist of states that violate children’s rights during conflict. MP Monique Pauzé asked when will the Minister stop the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pam Goldsmith-Jones, responded that Canadian LAVs have been sold to Saudi Arabia for over 20 years, and all checks to date indicate that they have not been used inappropriately. The Minister of Foreign Affairs retains the power to revoke at any time the export permit, should the assessment change.

Office of Religious Freedom

MP Garnett Genuis (Conservative) asked why the government did not renew the mandate for the Office of Religious Freedom, which expired in March 2016, and is replacing the office of religious freedom with a new mandate under the Office of Human Rights, Freedoms, and Inclusion. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pam Goldsmith-Jones, responded that the mandate for the Office of Human Rights, Freedoms, and Inclusion will be to expand on the work undertaken by the former Office of Religious Freedom by bringing these efforts together in an approach that includes all human rights.

Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (‘BDS’) Movement

MP David Sweet (Conservative) asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stephane Dion, why, following the passing of the motion in the house condemning the BDS movement, the Minister stated the motion was divisive. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pam Goldsmith-Jones, responded that without reservation, the Government of Canada opposes the BDS movement.

Recently Active Bills

  • C-6 – Amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another
  • C-210 – Amend the National Anthem Act (gender)
  • C-224 – Good Samaritan Drug Overdose
  • C-14 – Amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying)
  • C-15 – Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1.
  • C-240 – Amend the Income Tax Act (tax credit — first aid)
  • C-7 – Amend the Public Service Labour Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board Act and other Acts and to provide for certain other measures
  • S-204 – Amend the Financial Administration Act (borrowing of money)
  • C-10 – Amend the Air Canada Public Participation Act and to provide for certain other measures
  • S-203 – Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins
  • S-221 – Constitution Act, 2016 (Property qualifications of Senators)
  • S-222 – Linguistic Plurality

 

 

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Muslims in the House: May 16-20

Muslims In the House: May 16-20

May 30, 2016  The Canadian- Muslim Vote

 

Parliament was on recess for the week of May 21 – May 29

Komagata Maru

On May 23, 1914, a ship sailed to Burrard Inlet in Vancouver. On board were 376 passengers of Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu origin. The passengers onboard, like other immigrants to Canada, came seeking better lives for their families, new opportunities, and a chance to contribute to Canadian society. When they arrived in Canada, the ship was denied docking and after a two-month stalemate, the ship was forced to sail back to India. On May 18th, 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau offered an apology on behalf of the Government of Canada for its role in the Komagata Maru incident.

Syrian Refugees

MP Bob Saroya (Conservative) stated that the Liberals have failed to support Syrian refugees once they arrive in Canada and that many Syrian Refugees are using food banks. MP Bob Saroya asked how the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum, could have been so arrogant as to suggest it is a Syrian cultural value to depend on food banks. The Minister responded that his comments on the issue were insensitive and noted that his actions thus far demonstrate to Canadians quite the opposite, that he has been unequivocally welcoming to all Syrian refugees.

Democratic Reform

The Leader of the Opposition, MP Rona Ambrose, asked the Prime Minister if he intends to change the rules of democracy without giving Canadians a voice to express their concerns. MP Rona Ambrose suggested that the only way this process will be transparent and open is with a referendum. Prime Minister Trudeau responded by stating that his government is committed to consulting broadly with Canadians and will pay particular attention to minority groups to weigh-in on how to improve the electoral system. The Minister of Democratic Reform, Maryam Monsef noted that the government has selected a committee to study a wide range of electoral reform options, including proportional representation and alternative voting, which would include online and/or mandatory voting.

Iran

MP Majid Jowhari made a statement to the house stating that a regime (i.e. the Iranian Regime) does not define its people and that Canada is better off when engaging with Iran and the rest of the world. MP Jowhari demanded that the House heed to the calls of countless Iranian Canadians advocating for reestablishing diplomatic and commercial relationships with Iran.

Bill C-6 – Act to amend the Citizenship Act

A vote was held in the house for Bill C-6 sponsored by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, John McCallum. Bill C-6 seeks to repeal some if not all of the changes that were implemented by Bill C-24 (introduced by the Conservative party). The Bill is now in its third reading.

Recently Active Bills

  • C-14Amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying)
  • C-2Amend the Income Tax
  • S-219Non-Nuclear Sanctions Against Iran
  • S-1001Authorize La Capitale Financial Security Insurance Company to apply to be continued as a body corporate under the laws of the Province of Quebec
  • C-229Life Means Life
  • S-217Amend the Criminal Code (detention in custody)
  • C-11Amend the Copyright Act (access to copyrighted works or other subject-matter for persons with perceptual disabilities)
  • C-243National Maternity Assistance Program Strategy
  • C-16Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code
  • C-10Amend the Air Canada Public Participation Act and to provide for certain other measures
  • C-6Amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another
  • S-212Aboriginal Languages of Canada

 

 

 

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Muslims in the House: May 2-6

Census

The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains stated that his first official action was to reinstate the mandatory long-form census. Minister Bains noted that census letters and packages are being sent to all Canadians from coast to coast. Canadians will have access to high-quality data that truly reflects the needs of our communities and businesses.

Iran

On May 4, 2015, Rona Ambrose (Official Leader of the Opposition, Conservative) asked why the Liberal party is warming up to relations with a country like Iran. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded that it is important that Canada re-engage, alongside its allies, with Iran. While Canada recognizes Iran’s history of human rights violations, the P5+1 deal showed significant progress in removing Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Prime Minister Trudeau went on further to add that it is by engaging constructively with Iran that Iran and its people can do better in the world.

On May 3, 2015, MP Tony Clement (Conservative) stated that the Conservatives will host Iran Accountability Week on the Hill. MP Tony Clement added that the Iranian regime has been correctly listed by Canada as a state sponsor of terrorism, and asked if the Liberals would commit to keeping Iran designated as a state sponsor of terror. Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephane Dion responded by stating that the Liberals have no current plans to remove Iran from the list of state supporters of terrorism under the State Immunity Act. The inclusion or exclusion in the future will be based on the actions of the Iranian government. Clement noted that Minister Dion told the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development that Canada was taking the necessary steps to engage with Iran and to eventually open an embassy in Tehran. MP Tony Clement asked Minister Dion if he would engage with Iranian Canadians before making a final decision on this matter. Minister Dion stated that it was a mistake for Canada to sever ties with Iran, and that the human rights situation in Iran is no better for it. Minister Dion added that Canada is not in a position to help its allies or to help Canadian interests in Iran because of the previous government’s withdrawal policy.

Bill C-14 – Act to amend the Criminal Code

A vote was held on May 4th, 2016 to push Bill C-14 (Doctor assisted dying) for a second reading and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on Bill C-14. The Supreme Court of Canada granted an extension until June 6 for Parliament to enact legislation. The objective of this legislation is to ensure that there is a balance between personal autonomy and providing protection to the vulnerable. Bill C-14 makes Canada the ninth jurisdiction in the world to legalize medical assistance in dying, not including Quebec.

Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom

On May 2, 2016, Parliament Hill hosted scholars, faith leaders, diplomats, and members of the public for the fifth annual Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom. This year the forum was titled, “Religious Freedom or Secularism? A World Safe for Diversity: Living with our Deepest Differences”. The forum sought to answer whether an increasingly secular world can, or will, continue to support the notion that all people should be free to decide what they believe, able to practice their belief daily, and be able to change their belief if they choose.

 

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Muslims in the House: April 18-29

Bill C-6 – Act to amend the Citizenship Act

The Executive Director for the Canadian Council of Refugees addressed the house by presenting the organization’s concerns with respect to Bill C-6. As a reminder, Bill C-6 (sponsored by John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship), seeks to (i) remove the grounds for the revocation of Canadian Citizenship as it relates to national security; (ii) remove the requirement that an applicant intend to reside in Canada if granted citizenship; (iii) reduce the number of days during which a person must be physically present in Canada before applying for citizenship; and (iv) limit the requirement of demonstrating knowledge of Canada and one of its languages to applicants between the ages of 18-54. Notably, Bill C-6 seeks to repeal some if not all of the changes that were implemented by Bill C-24 (introduced by the Conservative party). The Canadian Council of Refugees recommended that the youth under 18 who have no parent or guardian be allowed to apply for citizenship and that long wait times be prevented by requiring the government to process applications within a reasonable time frame.

Bill C-14 – Act to amend the Criminal Code

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould introduced Bill C-14, which would make amendments to the criminal code to permit medical assisted dying across Canada. The Bill seeks to (i) permit physicians and nurses to provide medical assisted dying so that patients suffering from an intolerable serious medical condition can have a peaceful death; and (ii) research other situations in which a request for medical assisted dying might be made. To ensure public safety, the Bill will limit eligibility to adults over 18 years of age who are capable of making decisions with respect to their own health. The Bill would require that a person be competent at the time medical assisted dying is provided, and requests must be fully informed and free of coercion. The Bill would also require that the person have a grievous irremediable medical condition.

Genocide in the Middle East

Conservatives in the House questioned the Liberal party as to why the US and UK governments have recognized the acts of ISIS as genocide, while Canada has not done so as of yet. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stephane Dion, responded that while the actions of ISIS have the hallmarks of genocide, official recognition is done by a credible judicial process, following an international investigation which will likely be done by the United Nations (UN) Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide. Canada will work alongside the UN and other allies to support the investigation.

Attacks in Lahore

MP Salma Zahid (Scarborough Centre) made a statement to the House condemning the acts of terrorism in Lahore, Pakistan. MP Zahid noted that “No religion teaches hate and violence. Terrorists are criminals and nothing more”.

 

 

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Muslims In the House: March 21-24

Federal Budget 2016

Last week, the 2016 budget was tabled in the House by Minister of Finance Bill Morneau, declaring 2016’s budget would “restore hope for the middle class and revitalize the economy”. Please click here for The Canadian-Muslim Vote’s  summary of the budget.

Office of Religious Freedom in Flux

A majority of last week’s debate focused on the motion tabled by the Conservatives to renew the current mandate of the Office of Religious Freedom. The government staunchly opposed the renewal of the Office based on the principle that all human rights are interdependent. The NDP also echoed the government’s opposition to the Conservative motion, highlighting a study which showed that Christian minorities garnered twice as much attention from the office as compared to Muslim and Jewish minorities, calling into question the focus of the work of the Office.

The government made it very clear last week that freedom of religion and belief should be situated within the larger framework of human rights and that the Office as it is currently set up “should be broadened and not only focus on protecting minority rights based on religion but also on ensuring the development of human rights and pluralism”, as stated by Liberal MP Brenda Shanahan.

Immigration Processing Times

NDP MP Jenny Kwan inquired into the long wait times to process family reunification applications, specifically the parent-grandparent sponsorship. Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration addressed the terms of the processing times abroad, noting that “they are in the area of approximately four years, and inland, they are in the area of approximately two years”.

However, MP Kwan noted that instead of taking 5 years, the application for parent-grandparent sponsorship is actually closer to taking 10 years to being processed under the current system. Parliamentary Secretary Virani acknowledged the strain that application processing times take on families and noted that the government is trying to reduce the waiting times through numerous measures. Parliamentary Secretary Virani further noted that the government is increasing the amount of family class applicants per year from 5,000 to 10,000, and also that a pilot project providing work permits for applicants in the spousal category is being renewed.

Genocide in the Middle East

Conservatives in the House last week claimed the Liberal government had reversed Canada’s position recognizing the genocide of minority ethnic groups in the Middle East such as the Assyrian Yazidis. Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephane Dion argued that Canada recognizes five genocides in the history of the world and in order to recognize a sixth one it will be done properly with the view of the international organizations, noting that this process is the view of the United States, the EU and the United Nations. Furthermore, the Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that there is no evidence that the preceding government has actually passed an act acknowledging the plight of minority ethnic groups in the Middle East as a genocide.

 

 

 

 

 

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2016 Federal Budget: What you need to know

Highlights from the 2016 Federal Budget:

On March 22, 2016, Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled the current government’s first Federal Budget. The Budget outlines planned government spending, expected government revenue, and forecast economic conditions for the upcoming year. The budget is the financial plan on delivering the commitments made by the current government during the election campaign, Speech from the Throne and mandate letters to the Ministers.  The priorities of the Budget have been laid out into five key themes:

  1. Strengthening the Middle Class: Investing in the middle class, skills training and infrastructure.
  2. An Innovative and Clean Economy: Smart, targeted investments in science, research, innovation and the environment.
  3. An Inclusive and Fair Canada: A better more inclusive Canada where all Canadians have a chance to succeed.
  4. Canada and the World: International Leadership in support of peace, security and economic growth.
  5. Open and Transparent Government.
fed budget photo
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled the federal budget earlier this week.

The summary below highlights key investments and commitments made by the Federal government over the next year.

Personal Tax

  1. A tax reduction for the middle class: A reduction in the federal tax rate for incomes between $45,283 and $90,563 to 20.5% from 22%
  1. A tax increase for the Wealthy: An increase in the tax rate for those earning incomes over $200,000 to 33% from 29%
  1. A change in TFSA contributions: The contribution limit for Tax-Free Savings Accounts will be reduced to $5,500 per year starting in 2016 (from $10,000 for 2015)

The federal budget introduced the following additional changes:

  1. Income splitting for families is gone: The rule for income splitting allowed wealthy couples with children under the age of 18 to transfer up to $50,000 from a higher earning spouse to a spouse in the same household earning less. This would allow the higher earning spouse to get a tax credit of up to $2,000. The budget will eliminate this sort of income splitting. Pension income splitting will not be affected.
  1. Children fitness and arts tax credits are gone: These credits are worth between $75-$100 (based on eligible expenses of $500 to $1,000). The budget proposes to reduce these by half in 2016 and to eliminate both credits by 2017.
  1. Child Benefit is restructured: The budget introduced the Canada Child Benefit which will replace the Canada Child Tax Benefit and Universal Child Care Benefit starting in July 2016. The program will pay (at a maximum): $6,400 for each child under 6, $5,400 for each child between 6-17. However, these amounts decrease gradually if your income is more than $30,000 and families earning more than $150,000 will actually receive less in this program. The new benefit helps low-to-middle income class families the most and is tax-free.
  1. EI benefits have changed: The waiting period to receive EI benefits will be reduced from two weeks to one week and the benefit period will be extended by an additional five weeks (notably, this is for parts of the country hit hard by the economic downturn i.e. Alberta)
  1. Increased income support to seniors: Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement benefit by up to $947 annually for single seniors and reduce the eligibility of Old Age Security back to 65.
  1. Canada Student Grants: These grants are currently available to low-to-middle income families. The budget proposes to increase the grants for low income families from $2,000 to $3,000 and from $800 to $1,200 for middle income families.
  1. Student Debt: The budget proposes that loan repayments under the Canada Student Loans Program Repayment Assistance Plan will only have to be repaid when students are making above $25,000/year. Students will also now be required to contribute a flat amount each year towards the cost of their education rather than having their student loan applications be based on assets and income.

Small Business

Although it was highly speculated that changes would be made to tax rates for small businesses, this was unchanged. Where is the money going to be spent?

  1. Tax breaks: All the tax changes outlined above reduce the government’s revenues and/or add to the government’s expenses and therefore, to the deficit.
  1. Infrastructure: In order to stimulate the economy and create new jobs, the government will spend approximately $11.9 billion over the next five years. This will be split as follows:
  • $3.4 billion over three years to upgrade and improve public transit systems across Canada
  • $5.0 billion over five years for investments in water, wastewater and green infrastructure projects across Canada. This includes investments to reduce greenhouse gases, assist communities in adapting to impacts of climate change and support clean technologies.
  • $3.4 billion over five years for social infrastructure, including affordable housing, early learning and child care, cultural and recreational infrastructure, and community health care facilities on reserve. The investments in affordable housing include:
    • $200 million over two years in affordable housing for seniors.
    • $208 million over five years to construct new and affordable rental units.
    • $118 million over two years to prevent and reduce homelessness.
  1. Youth Employment Strategy: $330 million will be invested to help young people gain the skills, abilities and work experience they need to find a good job in the labour market.
  1. Clean technology, mining, agriculture: $1 billion over four years, starting in 2017–18, to support clean technology, including in the forestry, fisheries, mining, energy and agriculture sectors.
  1. Indigenous people: $8.4 billion over five years to improve the socio-economic state of Indigenous people. This historic commitment includes:
  • $2.6 billion over five years into primary and secondary education on reserve.
  • $15 million over two years in job skills and training for First Nations.
  • $40 million over two years toward the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Children
  1. Health care system: $39 million over three years in various initiatives to expand access to nutritious food in the North and improving vaccine uptake and coverage. Funding will also go towards negotiating a new health accord with Provinces and Territories to enhance the affordability of prescription drugs and improve home care and mental health services.
  1. Public Safety: As part of the Government’s commitment to public safety and countering radicalization to violence, $35 million over five years will be invested to establish an Office of Community Outreach and Counter–Radicalization Coordinator. The mandate of the office will be to lead Canada’s response to radicalization to violence and support community outreach and research. 
  1. Canada’s Immigration System: The immigration levels to Canada will be increased by 7 per cent which means that 300,000 new Canadians will be welcomed to the country in 2016. Priority will be placed on family reunification and resettling refugees from war stricken countries.
  • $25 million will be invested to increase processing times for family sponsorship applications.
  • In addition to the previous commitment of $678 million over five years to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees, an additional $245 million over five years will be invested to resettle 10,000 more Syrian refugees.
  1. International Assistance:
  • $2.65 billion by 2020 to address climate change in developing countries
  • $1.6 billion+ over three years, starting in 2016/2017, towards security, stabilization, humanitarian and development assistance for Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon
  • $678 million over six years, starting in 2015/2016, to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis and aid in the resettlement of 25,000 Syrian refugees
  • $30 million for the Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program-Sahel Envelope

Want to learn more? Click here to check out the full budget documents.

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Muslims In the House: March 7-11, 2016

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March 7-11, 2016

 

“A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian”

Debate in the House picked up mid last week with the Minister of Immigration John McCallum’s introduction of Bill C-6. This is an act to amend Bill C-24, Strengthening the Canadian Citizenship Act, a Conservative bill passed by the previous government which among other things, allowed the previous Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to revoke an individual’s citizenship if that person was convicted of a terrorist crime as well as other crimes. Minister McCallum asserted quite strongly in the House that all Canadians are equal and there cannot be two classes of Canadians, which is why the Liberal government found this law unacceptable and is amending it through Bill C-6.

 

B’nai Brith Accusations against Muslim Community Member

Conservative MP Peter Kent brought forth recent accusations by B’nai Brith against Mohammed Khalifeh, editor-in-chief of an Ontario based newspaper, Al Forqan. The Canadian Jewish human rights organization accuses the newspaper and editor-in-chief of “directly contributing to the radicalization of Canadian youth by glamorizing murderous attacks on civilians in Israel as a sacred religions duty”.

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale did not directly address MP Peter Kent’s comment and assured the House that as indicated in the Liberal election platform, the government is working with provinces, communities and organizations across the country to develop a new system of community outreach and effective counter-radicalization initiatives.

 

Plight of Yazidi Girls

In light of international women’s day, the plight of the Yazidi girls in Iraq was recognized in the House last week by Conservative members of the opposition including the Leader of Opposition, Rona Ambrose who questioned the Prime Minister’s commitment in placing Yazidi girls in joint sponsorship programs.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assured the House that the Liberal Party committed to bringing 25,000 refugees from Syria and that the government is open to different suggestions and ways to continue to demonstrate that Canada is a place that will accept people.

In the continuing pressure of the opposition to address the Yazidi girls plight, Arif Virani responded that when the government does bring Syrian refugees, they do it in a manner that is “ethnically and religiously blind” which stands in stark contrast to the policies of the previous government.

 

Office of Religious Freedoms: Obsolete or Necessary?

The government’s commitment to religious freedom was called into question this past week with Conservative MP Garnett Genius inquring as to whether the mandate of the Office of Religous Freedoms will be renewed. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foriegn Affairs (Consular Affairs) Omar Alghabra assured the House that the government is currently examining options on how to build and strengthen the work undertaken by the Office of Religions Freedom.

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