Iranian Canadian Congress' board of directors has sent an open letter to Mr. Pierre Poilievre, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada regarding the presence of Stephen Harper at MEK Convention in Paris.
A copy of this letter was sent to all leaders of political parties in Ottawa including Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.
The full text of the letter and the response from the Leader of the Official Opposition is here:
Subject: Concerns Regarding Stephen Harper's Presence at MEK Convention in Paris (sent on 11th of July 2023)
To: The Honorable Pierre Poilievre, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada
Dear Mr. Poilievre,
We, the board of directors of the Iranian Canadian Congress, wish to raise our concerns and seek clarification regarding the presence and speeches of several members of the Conservative Caucus, including former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, at a convention organized by the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) in Paris.
The Iranian Canadian community, along with concerned members, finds it troubling that Conservative Caucus members are associated with the MEK. It is worth noting that the MEK was listed as a terrorist organization in Canada until 2012. The group has a notorious reputation among Iranians due to its involvement in terrorism, violent acts during and after the Iran-Iraq war, and the targeting of innocent Iranian civilians.
The presence of multiple Conservative party members at MEK events raises questions about the party's stance on this matter. Their participation could be interpreted as an endorsement of an organization with a highly controversial history, which has caused immense suffering for countless Iranians. The community deserves to know whether the attendance of present and former Conservative Caucus members at the MEK meetings represents an official party position.
Moreover, it is crucial to demonstrate a commitment to accountability and respect for our citizens. Just like other communities in Canada, the Iranian Canadian community seeks reassurance that any association of the party with organizations or individuals aligns with the values of peace and democracy.
Therefore, we kindly request that the Conservative Party of Canada clarify its stance regarding the MEK and explain the reasons behind their participation in these controversial political conventions.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to receiving your response.
Iranian Canadian Congress
The response from The Hon. Pierre Poilievre, P.C., M.P. Leader of the Official Opposition: (Received on 15th of August 2023)
Thank you for your correspondence on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Iranian Canadian Congress.
Canada’s Conservatives support the Iranian-Canadian community, we have advocated for a free and democratic Iran, and consistently condemned the Iranian regime’s human rights violations.
We believe that the future of Iran should be decided democratically by the people of Iran.
Conservatives have long been allies of Canada’s Iranian community. We have politically sponsored over a dozen Iranians unjustly detained by the Iranian government following the Mahsa Amini protests, and we have stood in solidarity with the Iranian people as they bravely fight for freedom, echoing the rallying cry of “women, life, freedom” and demanding that the regime respect basic human rights.
Following the shooting down of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752, it was Canada’s Conservatives who demanded the Liberals seek compensation for the families from Iran as quickly as possible. We demanded that Magnitsky sanctions be placed on Iranian leaders and members of the IRGC who committed gross human rights violations.
Iranians who choose to make a new home in Canada must be offered safety, security, and the prosperity that has been offered to so many immigrants who took the step of immigrating to Canada over the last 156 years.
To make this a reality, Conservatives have been consistently asking the Liberal Government to label the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist entity, preventing them from freely operating or raising funds on Canadian soil. After years of inaction by the current government, Conservative MP Garnett Genuis put forward Bill C-350 on June 21, 2023, which would designate the IRGC a terrorist entity, giving the government the authority to deal with members in Canada, all while protecting innocent Iranian-Canadians who were conscripted and compelled into the organization.
Conservatives have also been advocating for improvements to our immigration system. We’ve made public statements and worked with individual families to speed up the processing of spousal sponsorships at the Ankara visa processing centre. We have also committed to ending the immigration backlog and extreme processing delays that have impacted Iranian families seeking to come to Canada.
Iranians who come here do so because Canada is the greatest place to live in the world. This Liberal government owes it to them to ensure that they find safety and opportunity in our country. Canada’s Conservatives will do everything we can to ensure Iranian-Canadians are protected and are given every opportunity to succeed.
Once again, thank you for sharing your concerns.
The Hon. Pierre Poilievre, P.C., M.P.
Leader of the Official Opposition