Canada’s public safety minister cranked up the rhetoric in question period Tuesday, accusing the opposition of supporting “terrorist organizations.”
New Democrat MP Peter Julian brought up a “shocking” new report from Voices-Voix, a non-partisan coalition of more than 200 organizations, that condemned “abuses of parliamentary rules” and “intimidation of public servants.”
“Dissenting and diverse voices within the public sector are being silenced,” reads a section of the 66-page report.
“Parliamentary processes are being misused and abused,” it continued, “Parliamentarians and civil servants are being vilified or fired for publicly disagreeing with government policy.”
The report authors cite examples of dozens of charities they say have been defunded after the government deemed them “too political” for its tastes.
Among the signatories include human rights lawyers, a law professor, the former head of Oxfam Canada, Greenpeace Canada, and Amnesty International Canada.
On the heels of the report, Julian pressed the government to explain what happened to its promises of “openness and accountability.”
Steven Blaney responded by attacking Voices-Voix’s credibility and, by extension, opposition parties, too.
“Why are the NDP and Liberals siding with terrorist organizations and organizations that are supporting them?” asked Blaney.
The Lévis-Bellechasse MP made reference to the Canadian arm of International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN) — a group the government said transferred approximately $14.6 million in resources to organizations connected to Hamas between 2005 and 2009.
“We will stand up for democracy and for the right of Canadians; we will stand up for them and protect Canadians,” he said.
The federal government labelled IRFAN-Canada a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code last year.
At the time, Blaney said the classification sends a “strong message that Canada will not tolerate terrorist activities including the financing of terrorist groups.” Voices-Voix warned the move risks “stigmatizing organizations attempting to do humanitarian work in Gaza and the West Bank.”
IRFAN-Canada’s appeal to the loss of its charitable status remains on hold after it was stripped in 2011.
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