The Iranian Canadian Congress has engaged with all of the NDP Leadership Candidates to determine how they intend to address the needs of the Iranian-Canadian community.
The Iranian Canadian Congress is firmly committed to active engagement with politicians of the major political parties in Canada to better serve the Iranian-Canadian Community.
Thus far, the ICC has had productive meetings discussing and reviewing current policy initiatives concerning the Iranian-Canadian community with Charlie Angus and Guy Caron. Charlie Angus, Niki Ashton, and Jagmeet Singh have each sent the ICC a statement on how they intend to address the needs of the Iranian-Canadian Community. Their statements are outlined below. Guy Caron did not submit a statement to the ICC, but his position on issues regarding the Iranian-Canadian Community and Iran-Canada relations which were discussed during our meeting with him are outlined below.
Charlie Angus recognizes that the Liberal and Conservative status quo on Iran is not helping anybody. As both leader of the NDP and as Prime Minister, Charlie would work to re-establish diplomatic relations and re-open the Iranian embassy on a mutually acceptable basis, and bring in immediate access to consular services in the interim – in the era of Donald Trump’s travel ban; there is no reason Iranian-Canadians should have to subject themselves to degrading and intimidating American border security to receive basic services.
The people of Iran have consistently favoured engagement, and while Iran’s government continues to abide by the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Charlie would work to hold up our end of the bargain by easing sanctions and engaging diplomatically. At the same time, we would remain a strong voice for human rights for peace in the region – while Canada should be a voice for productive engagement, it must also stand for the rights and freedoms of religious and ethnic minorities throughout the Middle East, as well as Iranian-Canadian dual citizens.
Charlie Angus Statement Video on Iranian-Canadian Issues:
Photo of Charlie Angus after a meeting with the ICC:
Canada has over 200,000 Iranian-Canadians living and working here - folks who play active roles in their communities and are active Canadian citizens. Our campaign understands that the absence of a Canadian diplomatic mission in Iran has impact many negatively, and has left many Canadians visiting in Iran vulnerable and without access to consular services in times of need. This is something I will immediately address as leader of Canada's NDP.
The conflict and human rights issues in the Middle East broadly demand a principled approach based on peace and justice. Many, including the Canadian Labour Congress and Amnesty International, have shown their support for the hunger strikers who are opposing inhumane conditions in key Middle Eastern regions. As someone who is completing a PhD in Peace and Conflict studies, it is clear to me that one must speak out in the face of injustice, whether here at home or abroad. Canada must return to its traditional role, supporting a balanced position and a just peace in the Middle East.
Re-engaging in diplomatic relations with Iran is critical to not only working toward a just peace in the Middle East, but also in supporting the well being of Iranian-Canadians and their families in Iran. I believe we need to lead globally, and address nuclear non-proliferation and state stability with diplomacy.
Here in Canada, I am committed to Racial Justice that will address and ameliorate racism and xenophobia by addressing root causes of discrimination and oppression, and by opposing domestic and international policies that seek to further divide us. By re-engaging in diplomatic relations with Iran, Canada can lead in making life better for Iranian-Canadian communities, better protect Canadians visiting Iran, and improve our economic relationships.
Dear Members of the Iranian Canadian Congress, Building peace and promoting human rights must be a top priority for Canada's foreign policy. I believe that these goals are most effectively attained through engagement and diplomacy. That's why I will look for opportunities to change Canada's policy of disengagement with Iran.
I've had the honour of working with many Iranian-Canadians to build a Canada where no one is left behind. Just a few months ago, I attended the Simorgh Gala to celebrate some of the extraordinary contributions that the Iranian-Canadian community is making to improving the lives of all Canadians. I was inspired by the passion and the energy in the room, the young volunteers who made it all possible, and all the dancing and poetry that Iranians love so much. Thank you again for welcoming me so warmly into your community.
Two years ago, Mr. Trudeau made a commitment to reopen the Iranian embassy in Canada. Sadly, that promise has been one of the many progressive initiatives that the Liberals have abandoned. I've heard from numerous Iranian-Canadians who are deeply disappointed in Mr. Trudeau's broken promises.
In the meantime, I've been encouraged by the Iranian people's participation in the recent presidential elections. Despite all the limits imposed on Iranians' democratic rights, masses of reform-minded Iranians have taken the opportunity to reject extremist candidates and elect a more moderate president in two elections in a row. As a result of Mr. Rouhani's election, our allies were able to negotiate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to resolve global concerns about Iran's nuclear program. This was a victory for diplomacy and showed the benefits of engagement. It also led to lifting sanctions that were inflicting hardship on the civilian population in Iran. Canada must also re-engage with Iran and alleviate sanctions that harm ordinary Iranians and limit Canada's ability to pursue opportunities for progress.
Finally, I have been deeply disturbed by the growing discrimination that Canadians of Iranian origin face, as a result of President Donald Trump's travel ban. President Trump's travel ban is a racist policy that should be unequivocally condemned by Canada. I'm ashamed that our government has not been outspoken in defending Canadian values in the face of the Trump administration.
The travel ban also highlights the need for re-opening the Iranian embassy in Canada. Currently, Iranian-Canadians must travel to Washington to receive any consular service they require from Iran. With an embassy in Canada, Iranian-Canadians would not need to expose themselves to potential mistreatment at US border crossings.
Furthermore, without a Canadian embassy in Iran, Canadian citizens visiting Iran have virtually no consular support from our government. As numerous cases have indicated, the lack of a Canadian embassy has significantly curtailed Canada's ability to stand up for our citizens' rights while they are visiting Iran.
Now, we cannot make progress on these policies without taking action. I need you to join the NDP and support my leadership. Together we can work towards a Canadian foreign policy that prioritizes diplomatic engagement with Iran to build peace and promote human rights.
With love and courage,
Candidate, Leader of Canada’s NDP
(On the embassy): "I need to know more about this issue... [but] I am fully in favour of reopening at least consular services... I am not opposed to it [opening the embassy], but I want to know more about the repercussions and consequences"
(On engaging Iranian-Canadians and new Canadians with the NDP) "The NDP is 10, 15 years behind in terms of their outreach to the various parts of our communities [in Canada]... such as Iranian-Canadians. We are not doing a good job at this... I will do the outreach needed to catch up on the outreach we did not do during the last parliament."
(On holding the Trudeau government accountable on the promise to reengage with Iran) "I do intend to ensure that the Liberals will be... held to account on... the issue"
(On relisting) "The problem that I have with the list itself is the lack of consistency, that other countries that should be on the list are not on the list... such as Saudi Arabia, and if there is no consistency, I have problems with the way things are done because it is politicized"
(On foreign credential recognition) "There are promises that are made at the federal level [to immigrants] that are not respected....I believe that the federal government has to work with the provincial governments to eliminate those barriers in a way that would allow those Iranian-Canadians and those from other communities to practice their trade."
Photo of Guy Caron after a meeting with the ICC:
Canada’s political system rests on a multi-party arrangement and it is imperative that the concerns of Iranian Canadians are heard and represented all across the Canadian political landscape. We therefore ask that interested community members consider becoming members of the New Democratic Party and vote in the upcoming leadership election. By becoming members during this important time, Iranian-Canadians can help shape the direction of the party, and by extension the whole of federal politics, for years to come.
We are working to build an organized group of NDP members from the Iranian Canadian community. Please follow the two steps below to register for NDP membership before August 17, 2017 and make sure you provide us your contact information.
How to Join NDP Membership:
Step 2: Fill out this simple form from the ICC to provide us with your contact information. This way we will be able to contact you with updates about the NDP leadership race, especially updates related to the Iranian Canadian community. Click here to fill out ICC's subscription form.