HANSARD: Question on why the Conservatives are silent on the debate of the allegations against India?

House of Commons Hansard #220 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session.
Allegations Against Government of India
Government Orders
September 19th, 2023 / 9:55 p.m.

Jenny Kwan Vancouver East, BC

Madam Chair, the minister is absolutely correct in indicating that multiculturalism and those of us who are immigrants helped build this country. We are equal partners in the sense that we make contributions while we also face challenges. We, of course, are living here on the lands of indigenous peoples, who have allowed us to be here as settlers.

What is troubling me the most in this debate tonight is the fact that the leader of the Conservatives and the Conservative caucus want Canadians to believe that they are friends of the immigrant community, yet they are entirely silent. When the life of a member of our community has been lost, potentially at the hands of a foreign government, how is it that the Conservatives are silent in this debate? We know that foreign interference is a real threat in this country right now. Where are they for the immigrant community, who are Canadians here in Canada and have made Canada their home? When their lives are being threatened by a foreign government, why are the Conservatives not here to speak up and to challenge the Indian government, which may well be involved in the loss of life of a Canadian?

Harjit S. Sajjan Vancouver South, BC

Madam Chair, I think the official opposition's silence speaks loudly right now in comparison to the voice it had when it came to the foreign interference of one particular country. Hardeep Nijjar's family and son would understand the Sikh values of fighting for others' rights very well.

We should not let this incident just be about one country. This is a message to all communities that our country and our government will stand together. It is a message to the Chinese community, Iranian community and many others that are feeling the anxiety of this. At the same time, hopefully, they are listening to the silence of one particular party as well.


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HANSARD: Foreign Interference and Alleged Reputational Harm to Members of Parliament

Outside this chamber, just yesterday, there were individuals shouting, questioning and jeering about who the traitors may be. Members of Parliament had to walk past these individuals on the members' way to the House to do their work. I believe we must find a way to disclose which MPs are knowingly, intentionally, wittingly or semi-wittingly engaging with foreign states or their proxies to undermine Canada's democratic processes and institutions. I believe this can be done in a way that does not compromise national security.

If there are no consequences for MPs who knowingly help foreign governments act against Canadian interests, we will continue to be an easy target. This will further erode the trust and faith Canadians have in our democratic processes. If allowed to continue, it will further impugn the integrity of the House. Revealing any member of Parliament, former or present, who is a willing participant in foreign interference activities would have the effect of deterring this kind of behaviour. Moreover, it would send a clear message to those foreign states that this cannot continue and that they will not be able to continue to use parliamentarians in this way. This will further reassure the public of the integrity of the House.

I strongly believe that the House should refer the matter to the procedure and House affairs committee. A possible way to deal with the issue would be for committee members to undergo the necessary security screening to examine the unredacted report and look into the allegations about parliamentarians who were “‘witting or semi-witting’ participants in the efforts of foreign states to interfere in our politics.” We could allow the named parliamentarians to be informed and to come before the committee as witnesses; we could then explore options on how to disclose the named parliamentarians without compromising national security or police investigations of the matter.

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