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IRWIN COTLER P.C., O.C., M.P. Parliamentary Report Spring 2011

Riding Office 316-4770 Kent Avenue MontrĂŠal, QC H3W 1H2

Ottawa Office 920-151 Sparks Street Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Telephone: 514-283-0171 Fax: 514-283-2407

Telephone: 613-995-0121 Fax: 613-992-6762

Email: Website: Reminder: No postage is required for mail addressed to MPs

Dear Constituents, I am writing on the eve of the budget debate in respect of which I held a Town Hall Meeting in the Riding (p. 3). As I mentioned at the meeting, a budget is not only a financial statement, it is a statement of values—it is not only a balance sheet— but a statement of priorities. The priorities that you shared with me that evening—and I have gone about the Riding for other town halls (p. 4 Town Hall Meeting / p. 5 - Meeting of the Inter-Community Council, etc.) are clear: healthcare, the economy and jobs, early learning and childcare, immigration concerns, gender equality, environment, human rights, foreign policy, integrity in government, crime prevention, etc. The budget is therefore a set of choices. For example, should we be further reducing corporate tax rates for the top 5% of corporations, already the second lowest in the G7, at a time of record budget deficits? Or should we be investing the saved monies — some $6 billion — in the priorities you care about.? Similarly, should we be expending billions of dollars on mega prisons—when the crime rate has been going down in the last decade— or investing it in early learning and childcare, and crime prevention. This parliamentary report also shares with you a number of legislative and policy initiatives that I have undertaken on your behalf; including a set of legislative motions relating to such concerns that you have expressed to me – pensions, health, the economy, etc., a set of statements in and out of the House relating to Black History Month, and policy for Women‘s Rights on the eve of International Women‘s Day, and a concern with the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran. Sincerely, Irwin Cotler


Irwin Cotler, P.C., O.C., M.P. Irwin Cotler, P.C., O.C., M.P.

“An MP who listens—and acts” Town Hall Meeting PRE-BUDGET CONSULTATION On February 10, our MP held a public Town Hall Meeting attended by close to 150 constituents, including leaders of several community groups, to hear from you about your priorities and to consult with you in advance of the March 22 federal budget. We were fortunate to have the Hon. Scott Brison, MP, Liberal Finance Critic, with us to discuss the federal budget not only as a financial statement but as a statement of our values as a country. Among the priorities you identified were healthcare, homecare, the need to tender all public contracts including for our next generation of military jets, investing in our youth, early childhood learning, poverty, social housing, seniors and pensions, and the creation of a Children‘s Commissioner. Prof Cotler has also held meetings with local mayors and councilors in advance of the federal budget.

Irwin Cotler addresses a capacity crowd at his recent February 10th Town Hall.

Mount Royal


“An MP who listens—and acts” Town Hall Meeting SENIOR AND PENSION ISSUES A regular feature of our Member of Parliament‘s work includes meetings with seniors groups in the constituency to listen to their concerns about healthcare, homecare, income security, pensions and the like. As part of Prof. Cotler‘s public Town Hall meetings with constituents, we were fortunate to have one of Parliament‘s leading experts on seniors and pensions issues, the Hon. Judy Sgro, MP, join in the discussion and carry your concerns back to Parliament for action, together with our MP, Irwin Cotler. Our riding is home to one of Canada‘s leading and innovative centres, the Cummings Centre, whose Social Action Committee engages our MP on a widerange of concerns to seniors. Irwin Cotler and the Liberal Party have announced the Liberal Family Care Plan. Canadians want to shoulder the responsibility of caring for their ill parent, grandparent, spouse or young child. Millions of Canadians already do, providing over $9-billion in unpaid work each year. Yet, over 40 percent of family caregivers use personal savings to survive, many miss one or more months of work to provide care, and 65 percent have household incomes under $45,000. Like the loved ones they are caring for, many of these caregivers are in the fight of their lives, and yet the government has shown no leadership to address this pressing priority for Canadian families.

Irwin Cotler addresses his Constituents at a Town Hall meeting on Seniors and Pensions issues


Irwin Cotler, P.C., O.C., M.P.

The Liberal Family Care Plan will introduce: 1. A new six-month Family Care Employment Insurance Benefit similar to the EI parental leave benefit, so that more Canadians can care for gravely ill family members at home without having to quit their jobs; and 2. A new Family Care Tax Benefit, modeled on the Child Tax Benefit, to help low- and middle-income family caregivers who provide essential care to a family member at home.

Meeting of the Inter-Community Council

Irwin Cotler engages local community leaders at a January 27 meeting of his Inter-Community Council

Our Member of Parliament has frequently referred to our constituency as a ―rainbow riding‖ with the four corners of the world represented here. To this end, Irwin Cotler created an InterCommunity Council to meet and advise him as our federal elected representative, on matters of concern within the constituency and among the communities that make up the Mount Royal riding. Please be sure to make your voice heard directly to your MP or through

participating in the Council. Irwin Cotler delivers keynote address at founding of the English Caregiver Coalition of Montreal (ECOMM) Mount Royal


COTLER CONDEMNS SYNAGOGUE VIOLENCE Liberal Human Rights Critic Irwin Cotler, as Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism which concluded its second international conference in Ottawa last November, and as the MP representing the constituency where five Jewish institutions were vandalised, released the following condemnation on January 17: ―The concerted assault on Jewish religious, educational and communal institutions – targeted precisely because they are Jewish – constitutes a clear antiSemitic hate crime.‖ ―On Raoul Wallenberg Day in Canada – a day set aside to reflect and act upon the heroism of Canada‘s first honorary citizen, a man who stood up, confronted and combated the worst of hatred and prevailed – these attacks should act as a call to mobilize against the forces of hatred and anti-Semitism.‖

Irwin Cotler meets with Police Commander Sylvain Bissonnette regarding synagogue vandalism.


House of Commons Debates OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD) February 10, 2011 Hon. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.): ―Mr. Speaker, I rise to commemorate this special and inspiring celebration, Black History Month in Canada, a time when we recall the long march of African Canadians for freedom and human dignity, and the singular contribution and legacy of African Canadians to the building of a plural Canadian identity and a diverse Canadian mosaic. This year‘s Black History Month honours the efforts of people of African descent to abolish slavery, and begin the long march toward equality and liberty. It calls upon us to study and reflect upon the value of their contribution to our nation. In remembering and reaffirming the historic contribution of the African Canadian community, we affirm the building of a plural Canadian culture, one in which, in the words of Martin Luther King, ―people will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.‖


Irwin Cotler, P.C., O.C., M.P.


House of Commons Debates OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD) February 16, 2011 Hon. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.):

―Mr. Speaker, it is a basic principle of Canadian democracy and a foundational principle of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms that citizens have a right to petition government for redress of grievance, that they are allowed to criticize their government without fear of reprisal and that the independence and integrity of the courts warrant respect from us all. Yet, these past few days we have witnessed a minister impugning the decision-making of the federal judiciary, and the member for Oak Ridges— Markham attacking a University of Ottawa law professor, Amir Attaran, for exercising his rights under law, for making representations to the court and for using the democratic process. This conduct of targeting a person who has otherwise critiqued government policy, who exercises his free speech rights and due process rights, can have a chilling effect on free speech, let alone the undue interference in matters before the courts. This is not the way a democracy should work. This is not the way to respect the independence of the judiciary and to respect the integrity of processes before the courts.‖ Mount Royal


THE ECONOMY Municipal Infrastructure Irwin Cotler toured the site of the future C么te Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre with the Mayor and City Councilors. The Centre represents an infrastructure investment by all three levels of government totaling over $17 million. Prof Cotler has held meetings with local mayors and municipal councilors in advance of the federal budget. Irwin Cotler visits the site of the future C么te Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre on February 21.

Local Businesses

Irwin Cotler visits local businesses accompanied by CDEC local economic agency and fellow elected provincial and municipal officials


Irwin Cotler, P.C., O.C., M.P.

THE ECONOMY The concerns of constituents as shared with me and my colleagues are clear: the economy - jobs, pensions, the debt - the state of our healthcare system, caring for our seniors, protecting the environment, providing for youth, and the promotion of equality, human rights, and the rule of law. Regrettably, government mismanagement of the economy has not only raised questions of trust and competence, but undermines the real concerns of Canadians. For example: 

 

$10 billion has been allocated for new mega-prisons — while crime rates are falling — to imprison the Conservatives‘ ―unreported criminals who are committing unreported crimes‖. This money could be used to reduce the deficit and invested in the healthcare system, where the problems are both real and documented. $21 billion in untendered contracts for fighter jets. This money too could go to reducing the deficit and to helping seniors and veterans, and pension reform. $1.3 billion for G8/G20 meetings last year, including the ‗fake lake‘. This money could have gone to environmental protection, and Canada‘s real lakes. $6 billion in misguided corporate tax cuts, which could be postponed during these times of record deficits until a return to balanced budgets and invested in job creation, paring down the debt, and the social justice agenda. $30 million extra to perform the voluntary National Household Survey—money that could go to youth programs. Untold millions wasted in the mismanagement of the stimulus program.

In short, the government‘s mismanagement of the economy - while accumulating the greatest deficit spending in Canadian history - is prejudicing the future of Canadians. Mount Royal



House of Commons Debates OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD) February 16, 2011 Hon. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.):

[Excerpts Take-Note Debate—Human Rights Situation in Iran] ―Madam Chair, Ahmadinejad's Iran, and I use that term to distinguish it from the Iranian people who are themselves the targets of massive domestic repression, has emerged as a clear and present danger to international peace and security, to regional and Middle East stability and increasingly and alarmingly to its own people. Simply put, we are witnessing in Ahmadinejad's Iran the toxic convergence of four distinct yet interrelated threats: the nuclear threat; the genocidal incitement threat; the threat of state-sponsored terrorism; and the systematic and widespread violations of the rights of the Irwin Cotler, Human Rights Critic, delivers keynote Iranian people. address to 250 constituents on the human rights situation in Iran at a local screening of the

Let there be no documentary film “Iranium”. mistake about it. Iran is in standing violation of international legal prohibitions against the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons. Iran has already committed the crime of incitement to genocide, prohibited under the genocide convention. Iran is a leading state sponsor of international terrorism. Iran is engaged in this massive suppression of the rights of its own people, which is taking place as we meet. […] In the matter of the state-sponsorship of international terrorism, Iran


Irwin Cotler, P.C., O.C., M.P.

appointed as its minister of defence, during President Obama's year of engagement with Iran, in a mocking defiance of President Obama, Ahmad Vahidi, a former head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Vahidi is the object of an Interpol arrest warrant for his role in the planning and perpetration of the greatest terrorist atrocity in Argentina since the end of the Second World War, the bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Centre in Argentina. While the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has emerged as the epicentre of the four-fold Iranian threat, both repressing its own citizens at home, while exporting its terrorism abroad. In the matter of human rights violations, which will now be the focus of the balance of my remarks, while the eyes of the world are understandably turned toward what is happening in Egypt and North Africa and while we identify with the democratization and the cry for freedom in Egypt and in North Africa, Iranian assaults on human rights and state-sanctioned Iranian executions have escalated dramatically. In 2011 alone, Iran has executed at least 120 people, a rate of about 1 person every 8 hours, an unprecedented execution binge even by wanton Iranian standards, and which tragically has gone largely unnoticed and which has served as the warrant for this take note debate this evening. Simply put, Iran is engaged in a wholesale assault on the rights of its own people, including a state-orchestrated wave of arrests, detentions, beatings, torture, kidnappings, disappearances and executions. [‌] This orchestrated criminal campaign has included a widespread systematic assault on women's rights, the oppression of religious and ethnic minorities, targeting especially the Baha'i, the largest and most oppressed religious minority in Iran, and ethnic Kurds, the imprisonment and murder of political dissidents and the criminalization of freedom of speech, assembly and association, including assaults on students and professors, activists and trade unions. In particular, Iran has imprisoned more journalists than any other country in the world. It leads the world in per capita executions, including the execution of children. It has imprisoned and even murdered the lawyers who seek to represent these victims of human rights violations, the whole constituting crimes against humanity under international law.‖ Mount Royal


AGENDA FOR WOMEN’S EQUALITY On the 100th anniversary of International Women‘s Day (March 8, 2011), Liberal MP Irwin Cotler set forth an agenda for gender equality both domestically and internationally. 1. Restore the early learning and childcare agreements that would both make childcare affordable and enhance women‘s participation in the workforce; 2. Secure women‘s right to pay equity by ensuring equal pay for work of equal value; 3. Enhance equal voice by increasing the number of women represented in parliament, appointed to public office, and serving on the boards of corporations; 4. Call upon the government to implement the unanimous resolution of the House of Commons to establish a national prevention strategy to combat violence against women, while addressing, in particular, the endemic violence against aboriginal women and girls; 5. Restore the Court Challenges Program so as to help secure equal access to Charter rights in general and equality rights in particular; 6. Mainstreaming of gender analysis in decision-making, particularly in the budgetary process; 7. Combat gender inequality in general, and the incidence of poverty in particular, by addressing the intersectional dimension of disadvantaged women – the unique circumstances and systemic inequality of ethno-cultural, racialized, immigrant, and disabled women; 8. Establish a comprehensive and coordinated affordable and adequate housing strategy for the four million Canadians, a disproportionate number of whom are single older women, single mothers, aboriginal women, and immigrant women; 9.

Combat international violence against women, including, in particular the trafficking of women and girls – the new global slave trade – the fastest growing criminal industry in the world – and the growing crisis of violence against women in armed conflict;

10. Enhance the government‘s maternal health initiative in developing countries so as to support access to family planning and reproductive health services.


Irwin Cotler, P.C., O.C., M.P.

COTLER TABLES 7 PARLIAMENTARY MOTIONS ON YOUR PRIORITIES: HEALTH, PENSIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS, FOREIGN POLICY PRIVATE MEMBERS' NOTICES OF MOTIONS M-626—Afghanistan — December 15, 2010 — Mr. Cotler (Mount Royal) — That, in the opinion of the House, the Canadian government should make it a priority in relation to its mandate and mission in Afghanistan to give priority to the protection and promotion of human rights in Afghanistan, with particular reference to: (a) protection against child abuse, including neglect, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and forced labour; (b) protection against sexual abuse and violence against women, including spousal abuse, rape and marriages of underage girls; (c) protection against the enslavement and sexual abuse of boys in the practice known as "bacha bazi"; and (d) protection against the persecution of religious minorities and of religious converts. M-627—2010 Nobel Peace Prize— December 15, 2010 — Mr. Cotler (Mount Royal) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) congratulate Liu Xiaobo, recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China"; (b) pay tribute to Liu Xiaobo's promotion of democratic reform and human rights in China, and the courage with which he has borne repeated imprisonment by Chinese officials for exercising rights guaranteed under the Chinese Constitution; (c) state that in honouring Liu Xiaobo, it also honours all those who have promoted democratic reform in China, including those who participated in the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstration for democratic reform; (d) call on Chinese officials to release Liu Xiaobo from prison and to release from detention and house arrest his wife, Liu Xia, his supporters and all signers of Charter 08; and (e) call on Chinese officials to cease censoring media and Internet reporting of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo and to cease their campaign of defamation against Liu Xiaobo. M-628—National Alzheimer Office — December 15, 2010 — Mr. Cotler (Mount Royal) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should establish a National Alzheimer Office within the Public Health Agency of Canada to address the rising tide of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, in conjunction with provincial and territorial departments and agencies. M-629—Social Safety Net— December 15, 2010 — Mr. Cotler (Mount Royal) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should ensure that Canada's social safety net, particularly the Canada Pension Plan, Quebec Pension Plan, and Canada Health Act, are affirmed as a compelling and competitive advantage not offered in other jurisdictions around the world. Mount Royal


M-630— Supplemental Canada Pension Plan — December 15, 2010 — Mr. Cotler (Mount Royal) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should implement a Supplemental Canada Pension Plan and revise the existing Canada Pension Plan so as to remove any systemic inequities. M-631—Retirement Income Security — December 15, 2010 — Mr. Cotler (Mount Royal) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) identify retirement income security, coverage and adequacy as a priority policy area deserving of urgent national attention; and (b) announce concrete measures aimed at addressing the long-term sustainability, coverage and adequacy of Canada's pension and retirement systems. M-632—Bankruptcy Act— December 15, 2010 — Mr. Cotler (Mount Royal) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should enact legislation to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act so as to provide a measure of financial security and stability for Canadians collecting long-term disability benefits from a company that becomes insolvent. QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER Q-845—Canada-Iran Trade— December 15, 2010 — Mr. Cotler (Mount Royal) — With regard to Canada-Iran trade relations: (a) how many trade commissioners does Canada have in Iran and what is the nature of their work; (b) what is the nature and extent of Canada-Iran trade, in what areas does such trade exist, and is any trade carried out with Iran in the energy, technology, banking, insurance, and/or transportation sector; (c) is there any Export Development Corporation support for any Canadian companies operating in Iran and, if so, what is the nature of that support; (d) what bilateral agreements exist between Canada and Iran and do these bilateral agreements comport with the United Nations and Canadian sanctions; (e) do the SEMA regulations enacted by Canada in July 2010 apply to the Canadian subsidiaries of foreign corporations doing business with Iran and, if not, will the government amend the SEMA regulations to ensure that it is applicable to these subsidiaries; and (f) has the government enacted any forms of sanctions respecting the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or any of its agents?


Irwin Cotler, P.C., O.C., M.P.


Irwin Cotler addresses local students and youth at an inaugural Social Action dinner held at McGill University.

Personal messages of congratulations for birthdays and anniversaries as listed below:

Birthdays 65th and each 5th year thereafter - from the Prime Minister 90th and each 5th year thereafter - from the Governor General 100th and each year thereafter - from Her Majesty The Queen (copy of birth certificate must be submitted)

Wedding Anniversaries 25th and each 5th year thereafter - message from the Prime Minister 50th and each 5th year thereafter - the Governor General 60th and each year thereafter - from Her Majesty The Queen (copy of marriage certificate must be submitted) For more information, contact our Constituency office. Mount Royal


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Irwin Cotler

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Hon. Irwin Cotler, M.P. House of Commons Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Irwin Cotler, P.C., O.C., M.P.


Parliamentary Report - Spring 2011  

Irwin Cotler, Member of Parliament for Mount Royal Parliamentary Report Spring 2011

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