Mr. Speaker, as much as it was unexpected this morning to be dealing with this rather than the Order Paper items and the work of the government, I think it is a very important debate. I would like to see us have a take-note debate in an evening when we could talk a lot more about the issues that we are all talking about.
I believe all of us stand against this terrible regime, and stand with the Iranian community who are fighting for their freedom, especially the protesting women and students in Iran. The Government of Canada has designated the Iranian regime as a regime that has engaged in terrorism, as well as systemic and gross human rights violations. We hear about it every day on the news, the number of people who are murdered senselessly for nothing more than wanting to stand up for their freedom and the freedom of the Iranian people.
As a result, senior officials, including those from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its top leaders, are now inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. There is an important distinction here, from the blanket covering of everyone. The government is targeting all senior officials with decision-making power, not innocent Iranians, as one of my colleagues was referring to earlier today, many of whom are actually the victims of this horrific regime.
It is an important and effective measure. We do not want former Iranian IRGC and military leaders to be able to claim asylum in our country. The designation the government has put on the Islamic Republic of Iran as a regime means that all senior officials in the country are inadmissible. This includes heads of state, military leaders, intelligence officials, senior public servants, diplomats and members of the judiciary.
To further strengthen our ability to hold Iran accountable, last May the government tabled Bill S-8 in the Senate to make changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. This legislation addresses an important gap in our framework to hold foreign governments accountable, whether we are talking about Iran or interference from China or Russia. I believe there are many countries that are looking to find ways to intimidate Canadians and Canadian parliamentarians, and to interfere in a variety of ways, which is why we are having many discussions here in the Government of Canada.
The amendments placed expand the scope for inadmissibility to Canada based on sanctions imposed on a country, entity or person. Right now, individuals, organizations, state entities and businesses named or listed in Canada's economic sanctions are not automatically inadmissible to Canada. Bill S-8 is going to fix that and tighten up the loophole that is there. It means that corrupt officials may still be eligible for a travel visa, even if they are sanctioned under the current laws.
Bill S-8 would fix this legislative oversight and empower Canadian officials to refuse visas to any Iranian regime leader, as well as any other individuals and groups sanctioned in the future. Again, this is another step forward to try to put down the kind of conditions that we want to see against Iran, and to try to help bring down the regime, ultimately, which I believe should be everybody's goal.
Bill S-8 was reported to the House in October of last year, but it is not yet before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. I do hope, especially given today's debate, that Bill S-8 gets there sooner rather than later, so that we could strengthen all the tools we have to try to help defeat the mullahs who are currently causing such terror throughout Iran and elsewhere. We know that the Iranian mullahs are helping to provide drones to Russia to continue to help with the destruction in Ukraine. They continue to murder their own people in a very clear way.
I want to share with the House that last year I had an opportunity, together with several of my colleagues from other parties, to attend a meeting with representatives of the NCRI to talk about democracy and their quest for freedom for the Iranian people.
For over 40 years, the NCRI has been standing and protesting against this brutal regime. Their dream, and the dream of most Iranians, is to have a free and democratic secular Iran. That is what people want. That is what NCRI wants. That is what the United States wants. Two weeks ago, I believe, Congress passed the motion for House Resolution 100, which was endorsed by hundreds of congressmen and senators, supporting the 10-point plan put forward by NCRI. Again, the goal is to have a free and democratic Iran. That is what we all want to see, and an end to the brutality.
We are so fortunate to live in this wonderful country of ours and to have the freedom to come and go as we please, to say the things that need to be said, to have our freedom of speech and freedom of dress, all those things we take for granted. That is what the Iranian people are fighting for now. I think it is critically important that we, together, as parliamentarians of all stripes, continue to be their voice to continue to keep that pressure on Iran so that, ultimately, there will be many parties to choose from, whether it is NCRI or others that get together. It will be up to the Iranian people, who do not want to have a dictatorship and who want the freedom that we have. I hear that so many times: The Iranian people want what we have, that freedom of choice and the freedom to vote for whomever they want.
Currently, I am working on a letter to send out to parliamentarians to try to keep up the pressure, as many Canadians are protesting at rallies every weekend. I think it is important, if there is going to be a collapse of this regime, for all of us to do whatever we can, so I have been putting together a communication. I will summarize a bit of it, because it will go to all 338 members. It is calling for support for the Iranian people in their quest for a secular and democratic republic. It talks about the past six months and the terrible things that have happened. It acknowledges that we stand in solidarity with the people of Iran in their desire for a secular and democratic republic in which no individual, regardless of religious beliefs or birthright, has any privileges over others. Through their slogans, which we have heard many nights on the nightly news, the Iranian people have made it clear that they reject all forms of dictatorship, be it in the form of the deposed shah or the current theocratic regime, and reject any association with any of the others.
The goal here, I think for all of us, is to see a free and democratic Iran. We are looking today, in this discussion, for other ways to strengthen sanctions. Putting the IRGC on the terrorist list, yes, I support that. I am known to support that it should be listed as a terrorist organization, but I think we need to do more than that. We need to have more voices out there supporting and fighting for a free and democratic Iran. That has to be the goal, and whatever all of us can do as parliamentarians to advance that, whether it is in our own communications to each other or out to the community, I think is very important.
I am thankful for the opportunity to participate in this important debate today, and I am happy to take some questions.