Here is a Nowruz message from the ICC President Bijan Ahmadi:
Together let’s make 1397 a great year for our community.
On behalf of the Iranian Canadian Congress I would like to wish you a happy Nowruz. May 1397 bring happiness and prosperity to you, your family and loved ones.
During the past year with your help and support we have come a long way in strengthening the voice of our community in Canada. Nowruz is a good opportunity to reflect on our achievements together and plan for the year ahead.
More than ever before our community is organized and meaningfully engaged in Canada’s social and political life. Through our work in raising awareness about important public policy issues, we have enabled thousands of Iranian-Canadians to take action and connect with their elected representatives about causes that are important to our community.
We have ensured that the federal government remains committed to diplomacy with Iran and gained bipartisan support for engagement. While facing strong opposition from pro-sanction and pro-isolation lobbies, we have ensured that the Government of Prime Minister Trudeau remains committed to reengagement and diplomacy with Iran. We have also been able to gain the support of the New Democratic Party of Canada and its leadership for renewal of relations with Iran and the reopening of the embassies.
We have successfully prevented imposition of sanctions that negatively impact Iranian-Canadians. With your support we have been able to so far block and delay the vote on Bill S219 (Non-Nuclear Sanctions Against Iran Act). We believe that these sanctions only hurt ordinary Iranian-Canadians and block the path of diplomacy between Canada and Iran.
We have done extensive work related to policies that impact Iranian newcomers. During the past year we have also focused on two important issues that impact Iranian newcomers. We have done extensive research about the foreign trained professionals accreditation process and we are in midst of sharing our list of recommendations with major political parties in Ontario. We will ask them to present their plan before the upcoming provincial elections for addressing problems our foreign trained professionals encounter in their credential evaluation process. We are also raising awareness about unreasonable extended wait times Iranian students are facing in their immigration process to ensure they are treated fairly and that they can stay in Canada and contribute to this great country.
Working in collaboration with other Canadian organizations to advocate for our common interests. During this past year the ICC for the first time joined forces with other Canadian organizations in raising awareness about important issues that would impact our community as well. We led an initiative in preparing and publishing a joint statement with 9 other civil society and pro peace organizations asking PM Trudeau to commit to the nuclear deal with Iran. We joined the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in raising our objection to some of the provisions of Bill C51 and finally we joined tens of organizations that stood against some of the provisions of the Preclearance Act that in our opinion would negatively affect our community.
For the first time in the Parliament of Canada we talked about discrimination that our community members face in Canada and we proposed solutions to overcome these problems. While our multicultural Canada is much better in comparison to most other countries, we need to acknowledge that discrimination still exists in Canada. As part of the study initiated in the House of Commons on anti-discrimination motion M103, representatives of the ICC presented in front of the House of Commons Committee on Canadian Heritage and provided a list of recommendations on how Canadian policy makers may combat discrimination against minority communities.
We have a challenging year ahead. The voices of hate, division and war seem to be louder than ever before. We need to organize and make sure that our voice is heard by policy makers in Canada. More than ever before it is necessary for our community to advocate for peace, dialogue, inclusion, and tolerance. The ICC is the only organization that work to safeguard the interests of Iranian-Canadians in Canadian social and political life. Join us as a member to be one of the shareholders of the organization. As a member you will have voting rights and through your vote in the Annual General Meetings you will set the priorities and the policy agenda of the organization.
Iranian Canadian Congress
Note: the next Annual General Meeting is scheduled for April 29, 2018. Click here to review the notice of AGM.