Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Bringing Justice to Iran

Mr. Speaker, because of repeated statements by Iranian officials, including the president of Iran, for the annihilation of Israel and for Israel to be wiped off the map, a foreign affairs subcommittee passed a motion for the government to ask the United Nations, under its charter, to stop this incitement to commit genocide and to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court.

Of all the members on the subcommittee, only the two Conservative members voted against it, no one else. Why?"

Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, CPC): MacKay.P@parl.gc.ca

"Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the member for Mount Royal for bringing this motion forward.

All members of this House agree with the substance, and the sentiment is shared. President Ahmadinejad’s comments with respect to Israel are hateful. Canada does not accept such hatred, such intolerance and anti-Semitism of any kind. This motion calls for a referral to the courts, which would give President Ahmadinejad a platform to proclaim his noxious views on Israel and the Holocaust.

It is highly unlikely that this motion would pass. With respect to that, Canada will continue to have its voice heard loud and clear in the international community on the promotion of hatred as we have seen coming out of Iran."

[Later]

Hon. Ken Dryden (York Centre, Lib.):

"Mr. Speaker, we waited several days for an answer from the foreign affairs minister. A few days ago we got one and it was totally unacceptable.

He said that his government would not bring a foreign affairs subcommittee motion on Iran to the courts because it would give Iran’s president a platform to proclaim his noxious views. Why then do we have courts at all?

If somebody says something repugnant, do we just let him go? Do we not bring him to his proper justice? The more repugnant is the more we do not do anything; that makes no sense. We deserve a far better answer from the foreign minister."

Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, CPC): MacKay.P@parl.gc.ca

"Mr. Speaker, that question by the member opposite is very reminiscent of his admonition of his leader during leadership debates. They did deserve better.

With respect to this committee report, clearly the sentiments expressed by the member opposite are shared on this side of the House. We completely condemn the comments of President Ahmadinejad. These are distasteful, disgusting comments that incite hatred.

This government has done something about that. We have raised this issue at the United Nations. We are prepared to work with members opposite if they will stop with their petty political nitpicking."

Hon. Ken Dryden (York Centre, Lib.):

"Mr. Speaker, once again the minister is hiding behind a political rant. That was no answer.

Following his logic, does this mean that we would not bring the great villains of the past to court because of what they might say about the Jews, the Tutsis or the ethnic minorities in Cambodia or Bosnia?

We do not hide ignorance, we confront it. We get it to expose itself in front of the world, embarrass it and show it for what it is.

Will the minister and his government support that motion?"

Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, CPC):

"Mr. Speaker, what political posturing, what bombastic baloney from the member opposite.

This is the government that stood up for Israel during a time of need. This is the government that has repeatedly and consistently stood strong for human rights around the world.

We will take no lessons from the members opposite, from that past government that shrank in the face of adversity when the human rights of Canadians abroad were at risk."