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Inquiry: State of Political Prisoners in Tibet

Honourable senators, the People’s Republic of China’s abuse of human rights towards the people of Tibet has continued unabated for far too long. Even within the context of China’s authoritarian regime, Tibet has suffered among the worst. Since the conquest of the region by Mao in 1950, innocent Tibetans have faced imprisonment for crimes they did not commit, are prohibited from practising their religion and are unable to express their freedom of speech. Sophie Richardson, the China director of…
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Statement: The Late Murray Bernard Koffler, O.C., O.Ont.

Honourable senators, it is with a heavy heart that I rise today to pay tribute to the life of Murray Koffler, one of Toronto’s best-known entrepreneurs and philanthropists, who died on November 5, 2017, at the age of 93. Murray was the child of Leon and Ernestina Koffler, Jewish immigrants from Romania who began a small drugstore chain known as Koffler’s Drugs in the early 20th century. Following the untimely death of his father, Leon, Murray, at the age of 17, was tasked with operating the fa…
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Bill S-219: An Act to deter Iran-sponsored Terrorism, Incitement to Hatred, and Human Rights Violations - Third Reading

Honourable Senators, I rise at Third Reading of Bill S-219: An Act to deter Iran-sponsored terrorism, incitement to hatred, and human rights violations. I commend Senator Tkachuk for sponsoring this important piece of legislation and for his tireless dedication to this issue. Bill S-219 is grounded in a moral and ethical purpose: and that is to monitor one of the most malign nations in the world and to calibrate our nation’s sanctions accordingly. Bill S-219 requires the Government of Canada t…
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Bill C-36: An An Act to Amend the Statistics Act - Second Reading

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak as the official opposition critic of Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Statistics Act. This legislation will make a number of changes to the way that statistics are gathered in Canada. First, it would entrench into law that the Chief Statistician is responsible for the methods, procedures and operations of statistics-gathering programs. In the event that the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development requested a statistical program to be do…
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Speech: 29th Anniversary of the 1988 Iranian Massacre

The following remarks were delivered at an event in Richmond Hill, Ontario to commemorate the 1988 Iranian Massacre Good Afternoon, It is my honour to be with you here today to stand in solidarity with you, and with Iranian political prisoners and prisoners of conscience as we recognize and remember the 29th anniversary of the 1988 mass murder of Iranian political prisoners. Friends, today’s important commemoration not only brings meaning to the lives of the innocent victims lost in the polit…
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Bill C-16: Canadian Human Rights Act - Third Reading

Honourable senators, I rise to speak at third reading of Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code by adding the words "gender identity" and "gender expression" as prohibited grounds of discrimination. Colleagues, as I said in an earlier speech in support of Senator Plett's amendment to Bill C-16, I support this legislation and its virtuous intent to provide protections to transgender persons. However, I note, once again, for the record, that there are no e…
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Statement: Controlling Foreign Influence in Canadian Elections Report

Honourable senators, I will rise briefly to thank the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs for the report that has just been tabled entitled Controlling Foreign Influence in Canadian Elections. I want to commend the chair of the committee, Senator Runciman, and the deputy chair, Senator Baker, and all committee members for taking the initiative to bring attention to this important and troubling issue. As we learned during committee hearings and against all logic and contrary to…
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Bill C-305: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (mischief) - Second Reading

Honourable senators, I rise to speak as critic to Bill C-305, An Act to amend the Criminal Code as it pertains to mischief against places of religion. Bill C-305 extends the definition of mischief relating to religious property to include property that is used for educational, cultural or residence for seniors by an identifiable group. This means that perpetrators of mischief against a religious centre or educational institution would face the same 10-year maximum penalty as they would if it wa…
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Bill C-16: Canadian Human Rights Act - Senator Plett Amendment

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Senator Plett's amendment to Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code by adding the words "gender identity" and "gender expression" as prohibited grounds of discrimination. Regardless of whether one supports or opposes this legislation, I know that there is a unanimous view in this chamber that hostility and discrimination against transgendered persons is completely unacceptable and must not be tolerated in a ju…
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Bill S-239: The Eliminating Foreign Funding in Elections Act - Second Reading

Honourable senators, it is a fundamental tenet of Canadian democracy that Canada's electoral process belongs to the Canadian people and only to the Canadian people. Nothing is more central to preserving the integrity and legitimacy of Canadian elections than ensuring that no outside influence is involved — especially when not disclosed. A nation that permits foreign meddling in its politics cannot claim to be truly sovereign. Clandestine foreign meddling is the most dangerous of all, because it…
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