Op-ed

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Will Canada give Iran a free pass?

by Candice Malcolm

Toronto Sun
May 11, 2016

Canadians can be forgiven for missing Iran Accountability Week on Parliament Hill last week.

Between the tragic fires in northern Alberta, Justin Trudeau’s celebrity meet-and-greets with Prince Harry and Alex Trebek, and startling ethical revelations about Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government in Ontario, Iran Accountability Week was easy to miss.

Conservative foreign affairs critic Tony Clement and Conservative Senator Linda Frum hosted the program in hopes of bringing greater awareness to the problematic elements of re-engaging with Iran.

They aimed to shine a light onto the nefarious activities carried out by the Iranian regime.

Greater attention should be given to the world’s biggest state sponsor of global terrorism.

Financing is the lifeblood of any terrorist organization, and Iran is notorious for enabling jihadists and aiding their capacity to carry out murderous attacks.

In 2012, the Harper government designated the Islamic Republic of Iran as a state-sponsor of terror and expelled Iranian diplomats from Ottawa — regime members suspected of spying in North America.

The feds named Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, known as the Qods Force, as being instrumental in creating, training and arming terrorist organizations including the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, among others.

The Harper government listed the Qods Force as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code and adopted the Justice for the Victims of Terrorism Act — allowing families and victims of terrorism to take legal action against perpetrators of terrorism, including Iran.

This gave families a legal avenue to seek damages against the Iranian government, and dozens of cases were brought to the Ontario Superior Court.

An Ontario judge ordered the seizure of $7 million in Iranian assets located in Canadian bank accounts and properties, allowing victims to seek financial compensation for their losses.

Harper was unequivocal in his criticism of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

His foreign affairs minister at the time, John Baird, did not mince words when he said, “Canada views the government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today.”

At a time when both the U.S. and United Nations were cosying up to Iran in pursuit of a nuclear agreement, the Harper regime called out Iran’s bad behaviour.

Canada refused to look the other way on Iran’s illegal nuclear program, its egregious human rights record, its blatant racism and anti-Semitism and its bankrolling of global jihad.

But that was then and this is now.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is taking a different approach.

Trudeau’s global affair’s minister, Stephane Dion, implied Harper was wrong to stand up to Iran’s terrorism and announced Canada will soon re-open diplomatic ties with Iran.

As a part of this re-engagement, Canada may have to withdraw its designation of Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The Canadian Coalition Against Terror, a non-partisan organization that helps the victims of terrorism, has created a petition urging the Trudeau government to maintain the designation for Iran.

This is why Iran Accountability Week was important.

Islamist terrorism remains the greatest threat to peace and stability around the world, and Iran is the biggest financier of global terrorism.

Over the next few months, we will learn whether the Trudeau government listens to the Canadian Coalition Against Terror or to the Ayatollahs in Iran.

Will Canada stand up to Islamist terrorism, or will we cower in the face of it?

Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

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