Yesterday in Parliament – December 7 & 10, 2018
House of Commons
December 7, 2018
It has been reported that one of the IRGC commanders had been ordering hit squads to kill politicians in Iraq that the Iranian regime disapproved of. At the same time, they are holding a Canadian permanent resident in a notorious prison, despite the regime’s own acknowledgement that there is no evidence.
Why have the Liberals not listed the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist entity?
Madam Speaker, we will always defend human rights and hold Iran to account for its actions.
In any of the discussions we have with the Government of Iran, we are ensuring that we maintain the focus on human rights and making sure that those citizens who are unjustly detained are returned.
Our government is committed to holding Iran to account for its violations of human and democratic rights.
Statements by Members
December 10, 2018
Mr. Speaker, as we near the end of Hanukkah, I would like to reflect on Guelph’s response to the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where, on Saturday, October 27 of this year, 11 people lost their lives.
When Guelph’s Jewish congregation gathered on the Saturday following, the door to the Beth Isaiah synagogue was filled with messages of support and condolence from other faith communities, businesses, organizations and people in Guelph. These are examples of the posts on the sticky notes that covered the door: “Keep faith with love”; “We are stronger together than divided”; “We stand with you”; “Grateful to be your neighbour”.
Canada is a place of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, where many different religions and faiths are freely practised, and this makes our country stronger. We have to continually fight against the darkness. We have to continually fight against anti-Semitism and discrimination in all its forms.
Chag Sameach to all my Jewish friends, and peace and prosperity for all Canadians in the year ahead.
December 7, 2018
Hon. Marc Gold: Honourable senators, today is the fifth day of Chanukah in the year 5779 of the Jewish calendar. During the eight days of Chanukah, Jews light candles, spin dreidels, exchange presents and eat far too much fried food. Why, you might ask? Let me tell you.
In the year 168, BCE, the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes sent his soldiers to Jerusalem. They desecrated the temple, the holiest place for Jews at the time. Antiochus abolished Judaism and installed altars and idols in the temple for the worship of the Greek gods. Jews were given two options, conversion or death. In response, Judah Maccabee led an army of Jews which defeated the Syrians in two major battles and recaptured the temple.
But the victory of the Maccabees followed as much from a civil conflict within the Jewish community as it did between Jews and Syrians. The empire of Alexander the Great had spread from India to Gaul, and had inspired loyalty amongst many Jews who were attracted to Greek culture, philosophy and science. Indeed, several Hellenized Jews became high priests of the Temple, and conspired with Antiochus to turn Jerusalem into a bastion of Greek culture.
I mention this because, like many of the holidays in Jewish tradition, the story of Chanukah has something to teach us about the human condition and about the challenges of living in this modern world.
Chanukah is a story of a battle over identity, between the pull of universalism, represented by Greek culture, and those of particularism, represented by Jewish nationalism. The story anticipates the conflicts that we experience today, the challenges faced by liberal democracy under siege, in the face of ethnic nationalism and populism, and the dilemmas that we all confront as we struggle to maintain our particular identities in the face of the homogenizing forces of globalization.
The story also teaches about the fragility of certain solutions to these conflicts and dilemmas and the need for compromise. The Maccabees won a decisive military victory and regained control of the temple. Very soon thereafter, they had to make a deal with the Syrians, whereby a moderate Hellenist was accepted as a high priest in return for the lifting of the siege of the temple. Chanukah reminds us that we cannot avoid accommodating our particular identities, whether religious, ethnic, or national, with those of the societies of which we are a part.
As we light candles, spin dreidels, exchange chocolate coins we call Chanukah gelt, and eat lots of donuts – you gotta love this holiday. Let us not forget the deeper lessons that Chanukah can teach us about the challenges that we all face in our world today.
Let me end on a lighter note, because lessons aside, this is, after all, a holiday. And to quote Adam Sandler’s well-known line, it’s:
. . . so much funukah to celebrate Chanukah. . .
So, have a taste of the Chanukah gelt that you will find in the library, and, as my grandmother would say, you should enjoy.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
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