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Track Peter

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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is iran.

Conservative MP for Thornhill (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 59% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship October 24th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, many thousands of Yazidis in Iraq, particularly women and girls, are not recognized by the United Nations as refugees. As internally displaced persons, they are stuck in a terrible limbo, enduring discrimination and segregation in Muslim-run UN camps.

German Chancellor Merkel has called for coalition forces to create a safe zone for Yazidis.

What about Canada? When will the Liberals address Canada's genocide convention obligations and actually act?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship October 24th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Immigration tried to excuse the Liberals' refusal to rescue Yazidi refugees in Iraq by saying that his officials could not get to them because of the battle to liberate Mosul. We hope that many Yazidi prisoners will escape as ISIS retreats. There are already thousands of Yazidi women and girls in the relative, if inadequate, safety of western Iraq.

Words are not enough. When will the Liberals fulfill Canada's genocide convention obligations and act?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship October 20th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the allied coalition battle for the liberation of Mosul will, we hope, see the liberation of more Yazidi women and girls who have been enslaved and brutalized by the ISIS death cult, but the villages, towns, and cities that have been freed are largely uninhabitable. Any Yazidis freed will have only inadequate sanctuary in the Kurdish region of Iraq, unrecognized as refugees by the UN.

Why will Canada not fulfill its genocide convention obligations and circumvent unworkable UNHCR protocols?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship October 20th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, during the special immigration committee study of the Yazidi genocide, a Liberal member suggested that, because of the Yazidi refugees' ancient culture, they might not integrate well into Canadian society. That suggestion was properly rejected by genocide survivor, Nadia Murad, and Canadians of Yazidi origin.

There are many Canadians, including descendants of the Holocaust and other genocides, offering private sponsorship of Yazidis, particularly widows and girls. Why is the minister and the Liberal government ignoring them?

Business of Supply October 20th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, to respond to the first part of the question, yes, indeed, we saw Daesh or ISIS sweeping across Iraq and Syria in 2014. But as Daesh attacked and progressed across the region and Iraqi and Syrian forces retreated and abandoned communities, we were unable to have access. It was only in the last year that Yazidis have moved to places where they are accessible for processing by Canadian immigration officials for consideration, if the government would change its focus to accept Yazidi refugees specifically.

Yes, the motion today could make many more requests on the government for action, but I think, first and foremost, if we can convince the government to rethink its basic position of looking away and refusing to recognize specifically our responsibilities under the genocide convention to the victims of the Yazidi genocide, then I think we will have accomplished a good deal.

I know that among the members on the government benches, there are many who agree with us, and were they not whipped, would vote with us to pass this resolution.

Business of Supply October 20th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the opportunity to respond.

What the government needs to do and should do is rethink its general policy of being blind to the religious or ethnic background of refugees generally. More specifically, after recognizing the genocide back in June of this year, it needs to to respond appropriately to the most vulnerable, those most at risk in this continuing genocide, to make exceptions and respond to the United Nations direction under the genocide convention to do more to rescue these people. Rescue comes in many forms.

In response to the Yazidi who have survived the genocide and have literally walked across their country and are now sitting in limbo in northern Iraq, where they are not recognized by the UN as refugees, I think the government should unilaterally rethink its policy. We know it has access. Foreign Affairs has sent a small mission there to investigate the situation in the Kurdish autonomous region. It needs to circumvent the UNHCR restrictions that do not recognize these Yazidi as refugees, and should act to bring at least some of them to Canada for resettlement.

Business of Supply October 20th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I missed the last part of my colleague's question, but I thank her for the question.

What was it that my colleague wanted me to explore and amplify my remarks on?

Business of Supply October 20th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.

I stand in frustrated and impatient support of the motion by the official opposition. I am frustrated because the Liberal government has so deliberately looked the other way in responding to the Yazidi genocide. First, it refused for so long to recognize what was clear to other democracies around the world, that Daesh, so-called ISIS, has committed the crime of genocide and a variety of crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Yazidis.

Then, when the Liberals finally recognized this outrage, they have for four months now refused to act, to consider even the most minimal of Canada's state obligations under the UN genocide convention. Two of these obligations are referenced in the motion before us today: to take immediate action upon all recommendations found in sections 210, 212, and 213 of the UN report, and to provide asylum to Yazidi women and girls.

I am impatient because Liberals, from the immigration minister down, have ignored those recommendations by virtually bragging that Canada does not seek to identify refugees by religious or ethnic groupings, and because Liberals, again from the minister down, have excused their government's inaction by saying they only accept refugees on the basis of recommendation and certification of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. That is why the motion has been brought before the House today. That is why we in the official opposition are calling on the Liberal government to urgently, if belatedly, reassess and refocus Canada's refugee program.

I was asked yesterday, when notice of today's motion was given, exactly how many Yazidis live in Canada. I think the implication of that question is unfortunately clear. My answer is not many, maybe 4,000 or 5,000 naturalized Canadian citizens or permanent residents, perhaps not from the government's point of view a major political consideration. However, in my riding of Thornhill and across the country, survivors and descendants of the Holocaust and other genocides share my anger and frustration with the government's deliberate inaction on this tragedy.

Of course, I should recognize here the magnificent work done by the Jewish community of Winnipeg with Operation Ezra, which aims to sponsor privately, rescue, and resettle Yazidi refugees in Canada. Many of my constituents in Thornhill are standing by, again willing to sponsor, but the government is not stepping up and enabling those sponsorships.

Canadians have been pretty much left in the dark since the genocide was recognized by the government, despite, as I mentioned, a wide range of obligations that should have triggered Canada as a signatory to the UN genocide convention. While the government currently defers to the UNHCR to identify refugees for resettlement and literally boasts that Canada does not track refugees by religion or ethnicity, we believe the recognition of the genocide and associated atrocities that have been and continue to be committed should have immediately prompted a change in the selection process and should still, prioritizing the acceptance of Yazidis, particularly women, widows, and girls, as well as other persecuted minorities. In short, Conservatives believe that Canada should, when it comes to the Yazidis, deliberately circumvent the UNHCR process for all of the reasons offered here today.

The independent international commission recommended that all parties fighting against Daesh strongly consider rescue plans for thousands of Yazidis still captive in areas held by Daesh. We know that Canada is not in a position to consider such action. More importantly, we must hope that the allied coalition's Operation Inherent Resolve, now focused on liberating Mosul, will result in the effective rescue of many Yazidi prisoners. However, a rescue dimension could and should also apply to the many thousands of individually internally displaced Yazidi people, so-called IDPs, who are in the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq.

We know that more than 500,000 Iraqi Yazidis were driven from Sinjar and other communities, many finding sanctuary of a sort in Iraq's Kurdish autonomous region. However, these internally displaced persons, or IDPs, are not recognized or certified by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as refugees.

We heard powerful first-hand testimony from a strong, articulate, young survivor of the genocide and brutalization, Nadia Murad, at a special sitting of the House Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in July, that these displaced Yazidis, along with other persecuted minorities in Iraq, are caught in a terrible limbo. They often face discrimination, less deadly than from Daesh, but discrimination nonetheless, when they register at UN camps, where they are segregated from the others for their own protection.

Outside the camps, the Kurdish sub-sovereign government tries to provide humanitarian food and health services, but there is precious little funding for these IDPs from the Government of Iraq, which should be doing much more. The situation is somewhat better, but only somewhat better, for thousands of Yazidis who have made their way to relative safety in Turkey. However, we were saddened and again frustrated to learn that, while the UN High Commissioner for Refugees tells us that it has submitted Yazidi women from Iraq for resettlement from Turkey, it is for Canada to say if the government is considering taking Iraqi Yazidis from Turkey as part of our refugee program. Unfortunately, the Liberal government has not stepped up.

We can be encouraged by the significant and continuing battlefield successes of the allied coalition against the dark, murderous forces of Daesh, but the liberation of cities and towns previously home to millions of Iraqi civilians of many regions, religions, and ethnicities is coming at a terrible cost. These cities are in different states of destruction and rubble, without basic services, and littered with many tonnes of unexploded explosives and booby traps. It has been estimated that it will take billions of dollars to make these cities safe, and many billions of dollars more and years to rebuild.

We know that however generously welcoming Canada and other developed countries might be during this massive refugee crisis, most of the millions of displaced survivors of the wars in Syria and Iraq, and the genocide, can only hope that one day they will be able to return to try to rebuild their homes, communities, and their lives. That is at best a faint hope for the Muslim victims of these wars, but hope is much fainter for the persecuted minorities who survive the conflict, particularly the victims of the Daesh genocide, the Yazidis.

We have suggested to the government several steps that Canada could take to help this tragedy. We suggested a removal of the cap on private sponsorships of Iraqi nationals. Our previous Conservative government did not have a cap on Iraqi or Syrian sponsorship. The Liberals have still not explained why they have chosen to impose a cap. We also urge the Liberal government to reframe Canada's refugee policy to address the specific Yazidi tragedy, to prioritize the most vulnerable, and to actively seek to identify and process survivors of the genocide.

A year ago, the Prime Minister told us that bringing 25,000 refugees to Canada was only a matter of political will. We on this side of the House hope that, despite the delay, the denial, and the inaction to date, the government will finally be moved to the same demonstration of political will and act to provide asylum and proper resettlement, specifically for Yazidi women, widows, and children.

Human Rights October 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is unacceptable behaviour by a fellow NATO ally.

At the same time, Canadians of Turkish origin are reporting unacceptable diplomatic behaviour by officials and agents of the Turkish government in Canada.

In Canadian mosques and commercial establishments, we are told adherents of the Gülen philosophical movement are being characterized as enemies of Turkey, and members of the broader community in Canada intimidated into avoiding, isolating, and informing on Gülenists.

Is the minister aware of such unacceptable diplomatic behaviour, and what is he doing about it?

Human Rights October 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations Human Rights Council has been an embarrassment to democratic members of the world body for years.

Again this year, a number of notorious human rights abusers, seeking membership, are asking for Canada's secret vote. It is clear the Liberals are working to curry favour for eventual Security Council votes

Is it not time for the foreign affairs minister to stand and to declare publicly how Canada will vote on Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and Cuba?