Honourable senators, it had been my hope that, before the end of this Parliament, I might have been able to move a motion that was currently sitting on the Order Paper proposed as an act of solidarity with the people of Iran who deserve to be free in thought, in religious conviction, in movement and free from compulsory hijab. Alas, as the clock ticks down on last days of the Forty-second Parliament, it pains me to acknowledge that my motion will not be moved by this chamber before we rise for the next election.
The motion’s intent was to call on the Canadian government to act, to sanction the IRGC in its entirety and to apply Magnitsky Act sanctions on Iranian regime entities and individuals involved in human rights abuses against their own people. The motion also denounced the Iranian regime’s perpetual calls for another Jewish genocide.
As a strong ally of Israel, it is vital that Canada speak out on Israel’s behalf. We must unequivocally condemn President Rouhani and the thugs who control the IRGC for providing Hamas and Hezbollah with their tools of death and destruction.
However, the Iranian regime’s murderous intentions are not limited to Israel and the West. The regime saves its harshest cruelties for its own people. Since President Rouhani’s re‑election in May 2017, the regime has accelerated its executions and persecution of lawyers, online activists and the brave women of the White Wednesday movement. Just this week, one of Iran’s leading human rights lawyers, Amir Salar Davoudi was sentenced to 30 years in jail and 111 lashes for setting up a social media account to highlight human rights abuses in Iran. In his defence, a group of exiled Iranian lawyers signed an open letter in which they said:
He has been convicted merely for defending victims of the judiciary and security agents, political prisoners and the oppressed, as well as audaciously criticizing the corrupt, cruel and inefficient political and judicial system in Iran.
Honourable senators, as Canadian senators, we have an obligation to show moral leadership, the fight for justice and equality in Iran and the belief that the Jewish people have the right to live securely in their own homeland are not partisan issues. They are issues that I know unite us all, and they are the values I will always consider it a sacred duty to defend.