Yesterday in Parliament – May 8, 2019
House of Commons
Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Leader of the Conservative Party announced that he would move the Canadian embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem if he became Prime Minister. Not only would this policy be irresponsible, but it would also violate international law and United Nations Security Council resolutions. Most especially, it would make no sense for anyone who wants peace in the region. The Conservatives seem to have a simple plan to copy Donald Trump’s foreign policy, which is particularly troubling for stability in the Middle East.
Will the Liberals commit to condemning this plan, knowing that East Jerusalem is internationally recognized as occupied Palestinian territory?
Mr. Speaker, Canada is a steadfast friend of Israel and a friend to the Palestinian people. Canada’s long-standing position is that the status of Jerusalem can be resolved only as part of a general settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute.
That has been a long-standing policy of consecutive governments, and we remain strongly committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel, which we celebrate today on its day of independence.
Iran Accountability Week
Hon. Linda Frum: Honourable senators, I rise to acknowledge Iran Accountability Week on Parliament Hill. Each year we, as Canadian parliamentarians, take this opportunity to shine a light on the relentless domestic oppression of human rights and freedoms in Iran.
During Iran Accountability Week we condemn the widespread practice of judicial murder and the unlawful incarceration of political prisoners. We express our horror at the use of physical and psychological torture against religious, sexual and ethnic minorities in Iran. We decry Iran’s role in the state sponsorship of terror and its aggression towards Israel via Iranian proxies Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad as well as by the IRGC itself.
Since my arrival in this chamber in 2009, I have used Iran Accountability Week to advocate on behalf of Saeed Malekpour, a Canadian resident incarcerated in Evin Prison on trumped up charges. For 10 years, Saeed has been unlawfully detained, tortured and retained as a hostage, all as his personal health has deteriorated gravely. For 10 years, Saeed has been close to my heart and my thoughts, and it saddens me greatly that 10 years have passed without justice for Saeed or the other innocent victims incarcerated in Evin Prison.
Today, for Iran Accountability Week, I want to focus on an area of hope. That manifestation of hope comes from the growing movement of courageous female dissenters who are engaged in a battle of civil disobedience against gender apartheid in Iran by rebelling against the mandatory dress code for women, the enforced hijab. By taking to the streets, unveiling their hair, capturing it on camera and posting the images on social media, these ordinary women have shown themselves to be the most valiant human rights revolutionists of our time. Indeed, some of the most prominent leaders of this movement will be with us in Ottawa tomorrow to attend a seminar sponsored by Irwin Cotler, at the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights and the Nobel Women’s Initiative. They include the remarkable Masi Alinejad, Maryam Shafipour and Shaparak Sha-jari-zadeh.
Nasrin Sotoudeh, the noble and selfless Iranian lawyer who has defended many of the women imprisoned by authorities for defying mandatory hijab, is now a victim of the regime herself. She is currently incarcerated in Evin Prison and has been sentenced to 148 lashes. On behalf of all in the Senate of Canada, I call on the Iranian authorities to immediately release this champion of human rights and human equality, Nasrin Sotoudeh.
Meanwhile, on the streets of Iran, the rebellion continues and will not stop until dignity, justice and freedom are restored to the Iranian people. As ever, I stand with them.
Orders of the Day
Accessible Canada Bill
Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada, was sent to Third Reading, after the committee report was adopted. For the full transcript of the debate please click here.
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