Tories unrepentant for ‘McCarthyesque’ attacks on security bill critics

March 13, 2015

Conservative MPs ignored opposition demands Friday to apologize to some of Canada’s leading environmentalists, civil liberty advocates and Muslims for remarks that appeared to insinuate critics were national security threats because they spoke out against the government’s security legislation…

The harsh remarks led the head of a group representing some of Canada’s Muslims to accuse veteran Conservative MP Diane Ablonczy of engaging in “McCarthyesque” tactics, a reference to U.S. Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s practice in the 1950s of tarring political opponents with unfair and unfounded accusations of communist links.

On Friday, NDP MP Megan Leslie rose in the House and called on Ablonczy – without success – to apologize for her “disgraceful behaviour.”

. . .

Later Thursday, Albonczy turned to witness Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), and asked him to explain “continuing allegations” about his group and the “operating relationship between a Hamas front group and your organization.”

“I think it is fair to give you an opportunity to address these troubling allegations,” she said. “Because in order to work together, there needs to be a satisfaction that, you know, this can’t be a half-hearted battle against terrorism and where do you stand in light of these allegations?”

The council already is proceeding with a defamation lawsuit against Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his former spokesman, Jason MacDonald. It claims MacDonald made false statements that the council has ties to Hamas.

Gardee fired back at Ablonczy: “The NCCM has condemned violent terrorism and extremism in all forms regardless of the purpose, for whatever reason. The premise of your question is false and entirely based on innuendo and misinformation. These are precisely the types of slanderous statements that have resulted in litigation that is currently ongoing. The NCCM is confident that the courts will provide the necessary clarity on these points to ensure that they are never repeated again.

“McCarthyesque-type questions protected by parliamentary privilege are unbecoming of this committee.”