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Results: 1 - 15 of 376
View Wayne Marston Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Speaker, Canada Post's plan to impose community mailboxes in our community of Hamilton, without municipal approval, was so flawed that the city went to court. Many residents there are so upset they are even blocking the installation of these boxes.
Canadians have had enough of not being consulted in cuts to services that impact them. It is no wonder that Canadians are ready for change.
Why is the minister not listening to our communities and telling Canada Post to withdraw its plan and restore home mail delivery?
View Wayne Marston Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Speaker, this is an urgent situation. Mr. Badawi's health is at risk and his punishment is certainly inhumane. Advocating for human rights and democracy is certainly not a crime. Now the Government of Quebec has said that province would welcome Mr. Badawi and is prepared to deliver a certificate of humanitarian selection to Mr. Badawi.
The obvious question: Why is the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration not taking action to reunite Mr. Badawi with his family?
View Wayne Marston Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Speaker, New Democrats share the concerns that my friend has raised about consultation or the lack of it, but what is a little surprising to me is that the people of the north were asking for the Senate committee to go there for consultations, but the Liberals in the Senate did not support it. I am wondering if the member could enlighten us as to why.
View Wayne Marston Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Speaker, as we heard yesterday, another 1,500 jobs were lost, at Bombardier. Unfortunately, that is part of a much larger trend. On the Conservatives' watch, we have seen more than 400,000 good manufacturing jobs lost while they stood by and did nothing to protect Canadian jobs.
Hamilton workers will tell them that they are tired of a Conservative government that ignores their livelihoods. They want to see investments to help our manufacturing sector thrive. They are tired of the Conservative spin in this place. They want to see real action from the current government to protect their jobs.
View Wayne Marston Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Speaker, here is the news: If losing 400,000 jobs is the Conservatives' strategy, it ain't working.
Conservatives' mismanagement has hit southern Ontario particularly hard. Communities have been rocked by manufacturing-job losses. Under the Conservatives, Windsor lost 20,000 jobs; London, 7,000; Brantford, 3,400; Hamilton, 13,000; and Oshawa, 19,000. Those were good jobs that supported families and fuelled local economies.
Why have the Conservatives ignored an entire region so they can put billions in the pockets of their wealthy friends?
View Wayne Marston Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I will try to be brief. I have personally suffered from PTSD for over 40 years. I was a signal maintainer on the railway and I witnessed four accidents in which people driving cars were hit, and they and the car were completely destroyed. For 40 years I have had dreams about this. It was back in a time where this was not a diagnosed illness for anyone.
It is just unacceptable that our young men, who go into war and do horrible things because they have to in war, come home and do not have the support and have to band together because the government has failed them.
I want to thank the member for putting this motion forward to have this discussion, because there is nothing worse than to live with this by oneself.
View Wayne Marston Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Essex for providing some background on the development of the bill.
From 1965 to 1974, I worked on the Canadian National Railway in the signal department. Over that period of time, which is an awful long time ago to today, there has been a change in the maintenance of the track and most of the equipment. I can recall as boy my father was a section man. We could look down a track and see that it was completely level and the spacing between the rails was perfect. It was maintained to a very high degree. Today I do not see that.
In essence, we agree with the bill and the direction it goes in, but one of the things I found surprising, and it was illustrated to us by a couple of people from outside of the rail system, was the fact that tankers carrying chlorine were not part of this as well as some other very dangerous chemicals. I am very curious as to why it is only oil.
View Wayne Marston Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Speaker, in a sense, the bullets that were fired in this place have gone through the heart of our very charter.
The reality of the damage being done here is that this shooter has succeeded. His attack on Parliament was meant to diminish this Parliament, to diminish the value of this Parliament, and by putting this law into place, that is exactly what we are doing.
View Wayne Marston Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Speaker, twice in her remarks the member for Vancouver Quadra used the word “mystified”. I was a child of the sixties. My first vote was in 1968. I did not vote Liberal. I know members are shocked, but I have to say at the time we were inspired by the words that came out of Pierre Trudeau. When the Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into place it was a good thing for Canada and I give recognition to that.
However, what is interesting is we have had four previous prime ministers, three of them Liberal, 100 professors and lawyers say that this is a flawed bill and should be withdrawn. I am very much mystified as to why the Liberals would support something where the history of their own party rails against it.
View Wayne Marston Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments and the assessment she has made on the bill. Previously I spoke in the House after the member for Vancouver Quadra gave her remarks saying that when I was 21 years old and voted in 1968, I stressed I did not vote for Pierre Trudeau, but later when the Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into place, I really respected the effort that was made to bring that to Canada.
At this juncture, when we have four former prime ministers saying no to the bill, when we have 100 law professors and lawyers from across the country saying that this bill is a shambles and should not be proceeded with at all, the warnings of court challenges and a number of things, would the member agree with me that this perhaps has gone much further than even the Conservative members understand in the damage it could potentially do to Canadians?
View Wayne Marston Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Chair, at the subcommittee on international human rights of the foreign affairs committee, I am the vice-chair.
One of the things that I would note is that in this House we often see disagreement, but on the issue of international human rights there is a certain place that we get to where we work by consensus.
One of the things that has happened over the last three to four years is our annual review of the situation of human rights in Iran. With the negotiations that just went on with the parties in regard to the nuclear program in Iran, there are now fears being expressed that the distraction caused by those negotiations has opened the door for international neglect of the protection of human rights in Iran.
I presume the motion that the member talked about at the United Nations will be continued, but will there ever be targeted sanctions against the individuals who perpetrated these crimes?
View Wayne Marston Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Chair, I am pleased to rise today to speak to the human rights situation in Iran. It is extremely important that all members of the House send a very clear message that in Canada we support the aspirations of the Iranian people when they seek freedom, peace, and democracy. Parliament spoke strongly at the time of the election when people were being murdered in the streets of Iran and Tehran.
On this side of the House—and I would presume members of the government and other parties would agree with this—we think that Canada, in the view of New Democrats, has a very significant role to play, as we have continuously done, to point out those times when Iran has said yes to acceptance of the periodic review by the United Nations but never implemented any of the changes that were requested. The previous speaker talked about the annual execution rate in Iran and it being around 750. It is still a country that executes juveniles. I am not sure of the number, but I think it was 18 last year. Juveniles are executed. How can a regime do that?
I was involved for 28 years in the Canadian labour movement, so I am kind of sensitive to the next quote that I am going to read. It comes from an Amnesty International update on Iran. A gentleman by the name of Mansour Osanloo is an activist with the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, which is probably a very interesting title over there. An amalgamated transit union is what it would be here. He stated:
The labor movement has a deep impact on the struggle for human rights and democracy in Iran, and as the labor movement grows, it benefits the struggle for democracy and freedom. This is based on the fact that the labor movement involves the largest and most important segment of the masses into this struggle. The movement of workers as the builders of society, will inevitably push that society towards democracy. Labor movements which occur in the most widespread form will force the government and society to respond and take action. The involvement of the working class appearance in the social and political realm has been shown to increase the level of democracy in every society. It is clear that the labor movement can promote the distribution equality of within a...society.
That, of course, is a very aspirational statement. We are blessed in Canada. I felt blessed in 1996 when I led the largest civil demonstration in the history of our country, in the Hamilton's Days of Action, when 105,000 people protested, without one injury or arrest. That says a lot for the democracy of this country. They were protesting the Conservative government of Mike Harris, by the way, but were still treated with the dignity and respect that the people so yearn for in Iran.
I will read another quote from the same report. It stated:
It was said that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman. Today, it can be said that the Islamic republic is neither Islamic nor a republic. The Iran of today has become the Islamic republic of gangster capitalism, where an unholy alliance of the clerical establishment and the Revolutionary Guard Corps rule through economic patronage for the inner circle, together with torture at home and terrorism abroad.
This gentleman, Payam Akhavan, is a professor of international law at McGill University. He has spoken at the subcommittee on international human rights several times. He helps us with the update that we do to keep ourselves current on what is happening in Iran.
Along with the professor was Shirin Ebadi, a lawyer from Iran who for years spoke out publicly and risked her life. She received the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts. Today, she has to live outside of Iran for her own safety. These two witnesses were before our committee about two to three years ago and both made the same comment, which I think is worthy of our consideration. It was that the remedy for Iran has to come from within Iran, that we cannot remedy its problems from outside.
Going back to the aspirational quote from that labour leader, in that country, that kind of statement can put one in jail and cause one to be tortured. Evin Prison is notorious for the political activists kept behind its walls and the torture and treatment that happens to them.
In Iran, women face persistent, systemic discrimination in terms of family law. The following is a statement from Amnesty International.
New legislation being considered by Iran’s parliament is intended to roll back many of the gains women have made in the past decades and consign them to being barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.
And on top of that, if they dare to protest about the inequities they suffer, they are sentenced to long prison terms, to be served in prisons where unsanitary conditions and medical neglect can quickly undermine their health.
This is the fate of Bahareh Hedayat, an activist with The Campaign for Equality, a grassroots initiative, and a member of the Central Committee of the Office for the Consolidation of Unity, a national student body which has been active in calling for political reform and opposing human rights violations in recent years. She is currently serving a ten-year prison sentence in Evin Prison.
Evin Prison, as members here will know, is one of the worst prisons on the face of the earth.
She was charged with a number offences, and they sound beyond belief. One of her offences was “interviews with a foreign media”—imagine, it was just an interview—“insulting the leader”, “insulting the president,” and “disrupting public order through participating in illegal gatherings”. We have to pause when we live in a country like Canada.
I just spoke a moment ago about the fact that we had a massive demonstration here, and there were no objections, but in Iran, for that she wound up with a 10-year sentence in Evin Prison.
She has already served half of her sentence and she should therefore be eligible for parole under Iranian law, but concerned human rights activists need to urge the Iranian government to release her now so that she can receive medical attention for her health, which she is not receiving in Evin Prison.
The Amnesty report goes on to talk about the treatment of minorities. The previous speaker spoke about the Baha'i and how they are denied religious freedom. They are the largest non-Muslim religious minority the government consistently discriminates against. At least 136 Baha'i have been held in Iranian prisons as of May 2014. State authorities have desecrated Baha'i cemeteries, including one in Shiraz, where the authorities began excavating in April.
Security and intelligent forces have also continued to target Christian converts from Islam. Persian-speaking Protestants, evangelical congregations, and members of home church movements are all persecuted by this government. Many face charges, such as acting against national security and propaganda against the state.
Imagine that following a religious practice is somehow propaganda, and even worse, propaganda against the state. However, it is not just Christians and Baha'i. Sunni Muslims, which are 10% of the population in Iran, are not allowed to build their own mosques, simply because they have a different view than the Shia view of Islam.
As we review from time to time the status and the situation in Iran, sadly, at this juncture, we have to say that things have not gotten better. Iran had a new leader, and there was great hope that there would be change. That has been a false front. Again, I think the patronage and the corruption is offending any chance of heading to a real democracy in Iran.
View Wayne Marston Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Chair, specific to Camp Ashraf, the people who were detained there were reviewed by the United Nations and were granted numbers, which should have opened the door for them to leave Iraq. They were transferred from a fairly secure compound that had existed for probably 30 years to a place called Camp Liberty, which is fundamentally, from how it is described, just a trailer park, which means that someone from the outside could shoot them. People could shoot through the walls of these small structures, so there is a lack of protection.
There is a controversy, because some of the people who left Iran were MEK, and as a result of being a designated terrorist group, it impeded these people. However, a majority of them were born in this camp. Their placement has been delayed. We are not sure why except that there seems to be a growing influence of the Iranian government on the Iraqi government, which is very serious.
View Wayne Marston Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Chair, the harsh reality is that when the Americans withdrew from Iran, they abandoned these people. There is no other way of putting it. They turned the responsibility for their protection over to the Iraqis. As I said to the previous questioner, it appears that the influence of the Iranian government in this particular situation has put their safety very much in question.
As to why they are not being moved to other countries, I personally believe that it has to do with the MEK designation. There is controversy. There are moves in the United States to lift the designation as a terrorist group from the MEK. Until that happens, there are questions about who funds the MEK today and how much influence it has on parliamentarians.
I myself was invited to go to a conference in Paris, France, and the organization offered to pay my way. I said no because of the fact that we do not need to be influenced by any organization, and when it comes to that, we have to say no.
In the background someplace there are very powerful people who seem to be impeding this.
View Wayne Marston Profile
NDP (ON)
Mr. Chair, I began my remarks by talking about how we worked on consensus within the subcommittee. The reason is that it is necessary, in this instance, for unanimity in this place in dealing with the situation in Iran.
I am very troubled by the negotiations of the P5+1, whose negotiations are ongoing, led by President Obama, the initiative to try to stop nuclear development. There are a lot of questions about it. It is not stopping development. This will just delay it. That is one serious problem that has distracted the international community from human rights. That requires us, the EU, the U.S., and other places to continually raise them.
Over the years, we have found that in instances when an MP writes a letter to the Iranian government about a particular prisoner, it can make that prisoner's life better, with that single intervention. Imagine if the international community came together to do such things to keep that pressure on. I still think there should be targeted sanctions for the people who have committed these crimes. We know who is in that guard. We know who the people are who have been doing this to their own people. Irrespective of the nation-to-nation sanctions, they should be targeted.
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