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View Rick Norlock Profile
Well, I'd be lost in space.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Jack Harris): We wouldn't want to see you lost in space.
Mr. Rick Norlock: Through you, Mr. Chair, to our witnesses, I was listening to the discussion on nuclear disarmament concerning Iran, and you failed to mention the elephant in the room with regard to nuclear capability or incapability...the building nuclear capability; you and I may disagree on the extent of that, but I think it is the building; they almost admit it is. I guess the elephant in the room is Israel. There is a nation that is beginning to build a nuclear capacity and a nation that has a nuclear capacity, and of course Israel has her friends and her not so friends. That's what I think worries many of us.
Some of us—I'm just talking individually here—would be prepared to sit back and let the international community, through the UN...which is very painstaking, because of all the push-pull. Some of us would be prepared to sit back and wait to see if in actual fact Iran is just looking for power by the atom. But here it says that it wants to wipe another country off the face of the earth; that country has a nuclear capability. What do you do about that in the context of nuclear disarmament in the Middle East?
Majed El Shafie
View Majed El Shafie Profile
Majed El Shafie
2011-11-22 13:11
I want to warn all of you that some of the pictures are very graphic, so if you don't have the heart for it don't look at them.
After this attack, over 27 Christians were killed in these peaceful demonstrations. Over 300 were injured. Some of the injured couldn't go to another hospital because the hospitals in the area rejected them, except one hospital, the Coptic hospital. This is the truth and the reality. The police attacked the Coptic hospital after that and arrested some of the injured out of that hospital. This is only one of the major attacks.
To mark the 40-day anniversary of the Maspero massacre, the Christians again went on a peaceful demonstration. They were attacked again in Shoubra and in Cairo. That was to mark the 40-day anniversary of the Maspero attack.
On October 16, 2011, after the Maspero attack, a 17-year-old student by the name of Ayman Nabil Labib was wearing a cross. His teacher requested that he remove the cross. When he refused to remove the cross, the teacher and the students attacked him. They beat him to death. That happened as well after the Maspero attack on October 16.
Some of these incidents you will find in our Egyptian report that will be given to you, and I'm sure it's being translated right now into French as well.
When we speak about Iraq and the situation in Iraq, two months ago I visited Iraq. I visited Baghdad. I was accompanied by one MP, Mr. John Weston, of Vancouver. I was accompanied as well, as part of my delegation, by Senator Don Meredith, and I was accompanied by Mr. Robiah Elias from the Iraqi community, and Martin Himel, from the Canadian media.
Two months ago I visited the Iraqi capital and I had a meeting with the high officials in Iraq, such as the Deputy Prime Minister, the Vice-President of Iraq, the President of the Iraqi Parliament, the Iraqi Minister of Human Rights. I will say that if there is a minister of human rights in any country, that means they have no human rights at all, and they are using the minister more or less to cover up the situation there. As well, we met with the environment minister of Iraq.
When we speak about the minority in Iraq, let's start with the Christians. More than half of the Christian Iraqi community were forced to leave their country or were killed. Here we are facing the beginning of a genocide. This is not simply regular ethnic cleansing; this is the beginning of a genocide in Iraq.
We visited one of the churches, Our Lady of Salvation. As an example, last October five terrorists entered Our Lady of Salvation Church. They attacked the church and killed over 54 Christian worshippers, including the priest.
Mr. Chair, I have here with me some of the bullets that were taken from the church and from the victims. Some of them still have the blood of the innocents on them.
Ladies and gentlemen, for four hours the terrorists were killing the Christians without any interference from the Iraqi police--for four complete hours. After that, when the Iraqi police entered the church, they did not aid the people or help the people. They immediately started to collect the money and the gold from the victims, instead of helping them. This happened in Iraq last October.
It is not only the Christians in Iraq who are facing persecution, it is also the Sabians and the Mandaeans. More than 90% of the Sabians and the Mandaeans were killed in Iraq. The population of the Sabians and the Mandaeans in Iraq was about 50,000 to 60,000 in the year 2003. In the year 2010, the population was between 3,500 and 7,000.
As well, besides this, you find the Yazidi, and they are facing persecution in Iraq. Of course, in the Baha'i community in Iraq and in Egypt there are a total of 2,000 people in each country. Their dilemma is that they are facing persecution. They cannot have any identification cards, so they are not recognized by their governments in Egypt or Iraq. That means they cannot get married. They cannot divorce. They cannot bury their dead. They cannot buy properties. And that's what we are facing
The solution.... We can read the report that was prepared by One Free World International. And once again, we have two reports, one about Egypt and one about Iraq, both of them in the English language. They were sent to the clerk. I think that some of it is still in translation. If any of you want these copies in English, I already have them. I assume that they are being translated into French as of now.
There are many solutions to this dilemma that we're facing, such as confronting this government in the international fora, such as supporting the refugees and opening Canadian doors for immigration to welcome these refugees in the camps, such as encouraging on the ground of Iraq and Egypt the programs that are protecting women's rights and the minority rights. But the recommendation I want to focus on the most right now is tying our aid and our international trade to the improvement of human rights in these countries. I'm not saying cut it. I'm saying tie the aid and the international trade to the improvement of human rights in these countries. What I mean by that is if a country has disrespected the minority or women's rights, we can use the aid and the international trade to increase it or decrease it. It depends on how they are respecting these rights.
For example, there is over $2 billion of international trade between Canada and Iraq--over $2 billion. Between the years 2003 and 2010 the Canadian government has given $300 million in aid to Iraq. I have no record of where they spent the $300 million. I tried to go on the Department of Foreign Affairs website. I tried to go everywhere. I don't know where the $300 million was spent in Iraq.
Even in Egypt, the aid to Egypt is around $18 million and there is over $900 million in international trade between Canada and Egypt. I have no record as well of where the $18 million went.
Lawrence Cannon used to be our foreign affairs minister. He went to Egypt and spoke about Canada wanting to give $11 million in the next five years to encourage the revolution in Egypt. With all due respect, I don't know how he can encourage a government that is killing the innocent.
In the year 2009 this was the first time that the Egyptian government attacked the Christians straight on, head on. Usually they will use extremist groups. They will use extremist groups and they will hide behind it. But for the first time, actually, the Egyptian army attacked the Christian community head on just because they went on a peaceful demonstration.
We have to connect our aid and our international trade today to the improvement of human rights in these countries. Once we do this there will be improvement, because these governments want the money. I don't believe in giving any government a blank cheque. With all due respect, this is the Canadian people's money. This is not the Canadian government's money; this is the Canadian people's money. I don't think we should give them any of this aid, any of this international trade, until we see an improvement in human rights, and it should be connected with this.
In closing, I thank you for the opportunity. I will take your questions and answers.
Mr. Chair, if you can give me the closing two minutes, I would appreciate that. Thank you.
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