Honourable senators, I am pleased to participate in the debate on Senator Grafstein’s motion to support the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people. First, I wish to begin by commending our honourable colleague for introducing this motion, which I support.
The issue of freedom and human rights in Iran needs to be illuminated and more must be done to support the people of Iran in their assertion for the rights and democratic aspirations. A large part of what makes a democracy so great is freedom of choice. We in Canada and, indeed, the world, are free to choose what religion to follow, for example, and perhaps more importantly, we are free to practice it without the fear of state reprisals. This is not the case in Iran. . .
Honourable senators, it is evident that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran confuses the practice of other religions with politics and for that reason, I suggest an additional recommendation be included in Senator Grafstein’s motion to also cover the issue of religious discrimination. I informed Senator Grafstein that I would be doing this, so I hope it is not a surprise.
Motion in Amendment
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Therefore, honourable senators, I propose that the motion be amended by adding a new recommendation:
(i) Canada condemns the use of discrimination, both religious and ethnic, as a means of suppressing the population of Iran.
I urge honourable senators to support the amended motion.
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