OP-EDs


Canada lets down its citizens

By Amy Awad LL.B., LL.M. Huffington Post Canada | June 26, 2014 There's something about a Canadian passport that offers its owner a degree of confidence. After all, in the hierarchy of citizenships, Canada ranks near the top. A Canadian passport can get you into 170 countries without a visa. But it can't get you out of jail; even if it's clear that you've been wrongfully accused. Along with the widely-publicized sentencing of a Canadian journalist in Egypt, several other Canadians are currently being held abroad under dubious circumstances and critics say the ...

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Bill C-24 would undermine rights to citizenship

By: Abbas Kassam |  Toronto Star, June 16, 2014 As Canadian citizens, we have a right to justice, equality and fairness under the law. No one is above the law, including those elected to formulate it. Bill C-24, ironically named the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, changes these basic assumptions in important ways, most critically by removing decision-making powers from independent courts and replacing it with the entirely subjective discretion of the immigration minister. Under current immigration laws, naturalized Canadians can lose their ...

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Anti-Muslim diatribe promotes false suspicion

By Ihsaan Gardee Winnipeg Free Press | May 16, 2014 In "Terrorists in our midst" (May 12, 2014), Danny Eisen and Tom Quiggin apparently sought to educate the public about the threat of terrorism. Instead, they presented a conspiracy-laden diatribe that, in a sweeping stroke, smeared our long-standing Canadian organization as "terrorists" and despicably suggested we intend to destroy Canada from within. By painting a far-fetched plot of sedition, the writers deliberately avoided the truth and mimicked the documented anti-Muslim cottage industry south ...

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Don’t Separate ‘Honour Crimes’ From Other Violence Against Women

By Amy Awad, Huffington Post Canada | April 10, 2014 Most would agree that with a women murdered every six days in Canada, we need to address gendered violence in all its forms. This cannot be done, tempting and reassuring as it might be, by simplistically attributing the problem to one religious group to the exclusion of others. In the Clarion Project's latest documentary titled Honour Diaries, now making its way around North America, the producers seem bent on doing just that. The documentary claims to expose the paralyzing political correctness that prevents us from ...

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People immigrate. Religions don’t.

By Amy Awad, National Post 27/02/2014 The Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI), a national public policy think tank, claims its mission is to make “poor quality public policy unacceptable.” Their first debate of 2014 is tonight. Unlike recreational debating societies, MLI is supposed to be providing real policy alternatives. But the resolution being debated tonight is informed by fear: “Muslim immigration is no threat to Canada or the West.” Can you imagine if the word “Muslim” were replaced by any other religious or ethno-cultural group — say “Jewi...

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Why we are suing the Prime Minister’s Office

By Ihsaan Gardee Toronto Star | February 3, 2015 One would think it unfathomable in Canada that the heart of our democratic government – the Prime Minister’s Office – would use the bullying tactics of undemocratic regimes to silence dissenters, but it has. Our organization, a mainstream Canadian NGO has worked tirelessly to protect civil liberties for over a decade, was recently smeared by the PMO as being affiliated with a banned terrorist group. Why? Because we dared to exercise our right to criticize Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to ...

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Quebec’s values charter would institutionalize prejudice

BY SHIRIN EDARECHI, MONTREAL GAZETTE September 23, 2013 State neutrality is a classic concept embraced by secular and liberal states to address religious and cultural differences. The Parti Québécois government in Quebec isn’t unique in claiming to strive for neutrality, but it is doing so with a twist that adds a certain political charge to the debate. In its promotion of the idea of a neutral Quebec, the proposed Charter of Quebec Values is being portrayed as a knight in shining armour, saving and protecting Quebec’s values and heritage under threat by the ...

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Some hate appears to be acceptable

Ottawa makes no move to block Islamophobe speakers.  By: Ihsaan Gardee | Toronto Star, September 16, 2013 Good Jews lie to advance Judaism. It’s the law. Devout Jews should be prohibited from military service. Would Patton have recruited Nazis into his army? Jewish loyalty supersedes nationalism, and it is impossible to tell where any given Jew’s loyalties actually lie. These statements, read on their own, could easily be mistaken as having come from that oft-recycled anti-Semitic hoax, the Protocols of the Elders of ...

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The ‘other’ has no place in PQ’s charter of values

Only ‘pure laine’ Quebecers would seem to have a stake in Pauline Marois’ province.  By: Amira Elghawaby | Toronto Star, September 3, 2013 It wasn’t too long ago in Quebec’s storied history that a miffed separatist leader blamed “money and the ethnic vote” for stealing the dream of a separate nation-state. It seems that those “ethnics” haven’t stopped the sabotage and that the time has come to put them in their place. At least that’s the narrative Quebec Premier Pauline Marois is not-so-subtly portraying with her ...

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Standing up for religious freedom abroad but not at home

Ottawa's policy on prison chaplains discriminates against non-Christians. By: Amira Elghawaby | Toronto Star, March 31, 2013 When it comes to promoting religious freedom, the government could do with a little more fairness right here at home. Less than a month after the Conservative government officially established the Office for Religious Freedom, a multi-faith flock of Canadians is taking the government to court for violating the very freedoms the government pledges the new office will promote abroad. In a united front that ...

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