Statement by the Leader of the Official Opposition on Eid-al-Fitr

The Leader of the Official Opposition, Tom Mulcair, made the following statement on Eid-al-Fitr and the end of Ramadan:

“On behalf of all New Democrats, I would like to offer my best wishes to all Muslims in Canada celebrating Eid-al-Fitr that marks the end of the month of Ramadan.

Over the last month, Muslims around the world have honoured their faith and showed their generosity during Ramadan – a time of sharing and compassion.

On this occasion of Eid, New Democrats join Muslims in Canada as we renew our shared commitment to social justice, humanitarianism and peace, and celebrate cultural and religious diversity as fundamental Canadian values. 

To everyone observing Eid al-Fitr, we wish you a wonderful celebration. Eid Mubarak.”

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Official Opposition statement on Thérèse Casgrain

NDP Women’s Caucus Chair Mylène Freeman (Argenteuil–Papineau–Mirabel) made the following statement on Thérèse Casgrain:

“New Democrats are deeply disappointed in the Conservative government’s decision to cast aside the legacy of Thérèse Casgrain—a Canadian feminist, social justice activist and groundbreaking female politician.

“The Conservatives have also quietly done away with the Thérèse Casgrain Volunteer Award, which was created in 1982 in her honour. They recently replaced it with a new Prime Minister’s award, without making any formal announcement or informing her family. The image of Casgrain on our fifty dollar bills was also surreptitiously replaced in 2012. 

“Casgrain was an important figure in the fight for equality and for women’s right to vote in Quebec. 

“She was a federal vice president of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation – a party which later amalgamated with the federal New Democratic Party – and would go on to lead the Quebec branch of the party, becoming the first woman to lead a political party in Canada. 

 “She also ran for the New Democratic Party of Quebec in the Outremont-St-Jean riding in the 1962 and 1963 federal elections.

“Thérèse Casgrain was appointed as senator just months before her 75th birthday. 

“She deserves our utmost recognition for her contributions to the progress of women in Quebec and throughout Canada.”

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NDP condemns violence perpetrated by ISIL in Iraq

The NDP is appalled by the violence in Iraq perpetrated by the terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), including mass killings, sexual violence, forced displacement, and the destruction of holy sites.

“The brutality of ISIL is shocking,” said NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Paul Dewar. “These assaults on human rights and freedoms of religion, belief, and association are disturbing and reprehensible.”

ISIL has targeted Iraqi civilians and soldiers for abuses, including mass killings and sexual violence, and has forced thousands of Christians and ethnic minorities to flee their homes in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The group has also destroyed numerous shrines, churches, and other places of worship sacred to the Islamic and Judeo-Christian traditions.

“The ongoing crisis in Iraq seriously jeopardizes regional peace and stability,” added Dewar. “The Government of Canada must work with international partners to support the development of responsible, peaceful, and democratic governance in Iraq, and combat the threat posed by ISIL and other militant groups.”

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Statement by the NDP on the Status of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations

The NDP’s International Trade Critic, Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway), made the following statement on the status of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations:

“The Official Opposition calls on the Conservative Government to come clean about the status of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations in light of reports that Germany may refuse to sign the agreement if it contains controversial provisions on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).

It is obvious that Conservative spin claiming that a deal has been concluded is false. There are clearly major disagreements on substantive issues, and the reports on ISDS confirm it.

There is no reason we can’t expand trade while ensuring governments can legislate and regulate to protect Canadians, especially in areas like health, the environment and social policy.

The German government appears to agree with this position. We call on the Harper government to publicly respond and explain to Canadians their approach.”

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Canada must support UN humanitarian efforts in Gaza

As Canadians continue to be shocked by the mounting casualties and severe humanitarian need in the Gaza Strip, the NDP is calling on the Conservative government to support United Nations humanitarian efforts.

“The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is critical,” NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre) wrote today in a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. “Canada has an opportunity and a responsibility to help.”

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) recently declared an emergency in the Gaza Strip, and is asking the international community to provide urgent support. Over the last six years, the Conservatives have cut Canada’s overall annual contribution to UNRWA from $28 million to zero.

“In light of the current humanitarian crisis, I urge the Government to make an immediate contribution to the UNRWA emergency appeal for the Gaza Strip,” added Dewar in the letter.

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