The moment core disgust for Stephen Harper simmered to a dull roar, the Barbaric Cultural Practices Hotline ambushed one of my last nerves.
On November 5, 2014 Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced the tabling of legislation aimed at strengthening Canadian law to ” prevent barbaric cultural practices from happening on Canadian soil.”
The Act would amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the Civil Marriage Act and the Criminal Code. It would provide more protection and support for vulnerable immigrants—primarily women and girls—including:
- Creating a new inadmissibility under IRPA that would render permanent residents and temporary residents inadmissible if they practise polygamy in Canada;
- Strengthening Canadian marriage laws by amending the Civil Marriage Act to codify the existing legal requirements, at the national level, for “free and enlightened consent” and establishing a new national minimum age for marriage of 16;
- Helping to protect potential victims of early or forced marriages by creating a new specific court-ordered peace bond to be used where there are grounds to fear that a person would commit a forced or early marriage offence, including the mandatory surrendering of a passport to prevent a child from being taken out of the country to facilitate a forced marriage;
- Criminalizing certain conduct related to early and forced marriage ceremonies in the Criminal Code, including the act of removing a child from Canada for the purpose of such marriage;
- Limiting the defence of provocation so that it would not apply in so-called “honour” killings and many spousal homicides; and
- Including consequential amendments to the Prisons and Reformatories Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act to include the aforementioned peace bond.
These changes build upon existing federal initiatives that are providing vital support, protection and services for newcomers to Canada, specifically women and girls.
Fast forward 11 months to Harper’s election strategy. It seems “old stock Canadians” (term used by Harper when asked about his plan to reduce health benefits for immigrants) overwhelmingly support the Conservative ban on niqab at citizenship ceremonies. Be that fact or fiction, a perfect storm of anti-Islamic sentiment was brewing. On October 2, 2015, Harper seized Islamophobia by the horns – an RCMP tip line to report “Barbaric Cultural Practices Against Women and Girls” was official.From the official Conservative website –
- We will establish a new targeted program to prevent child and forced marriage in the world’s conflict zones, particularly among refugee girls who have been displaced by war and who are at risk of forced marriage. The program will cost $12 million over 4 years and the first year of funding will be targeted at preventing child and forced marriage among girls impacted by the conflict in Iraq and Syria.
- An RCMP tip line will be established that citizens and victims can call with information about incidents of barbaric cultural practices in Canada or to notify authorities that a child or woman is at risk of being victimized.
- RCMP integrated units will also be created in Canada’s major cities – including Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver – to enforce the changes made to Canadian laws under the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act and to support victims. This is addition to a new $8 million commitment to establish integrated RCMP anti-human trafficking teams in those same cities.
- We will invest $20 million to renew the Human Trafficking Action Plan for an additional 5 years.
“The Conservative Government has been an international leader in bringing attention to the issues of child and forced marriage, and in combating barbaric cultural practices that violate the rights, health and security of girls and women.
Every year, 15 million girls are forced into marriage worldwide. Complications from childbirth are the leading cause of death among these child brides. Physical abuse, sexual slavery, and so-called ‘honour’ killings are also carried out daily against girls and women around the world. A brutal practice carried out in some African and Middle Eastern countries is female genital mutilation, which has impacted more than 125 million girls and women alive today.
In the last year, the atrocities committed by ISIS against girls and women have also horrified the world. Girls who fall into the hands of ISIS are regularly raped and sold into sexual slavery. Media have recounted the harrowing stories of girls who have escaped from ISIS having been ‘sold’ in slave markets.”
The above website pushed my crock of shit meter into vomit inducing overdrive. Harper doesn’t loose a wink of sleep over the rights of women and children. Propaganda of fear seals votes, “barbaric culture” is another name for Islam. Remember Jamila Bibi Mr. Harper? The 63 year old Saskatoon woman you deported to Pakistan last year? You rejected her refugee claim, ignored her lawyer and thumbed your nose at an investigation by the UN Committee Against Torture. Bibi had ties to the community and followed the rules – you arrested and deported her five days later to face trumped up adultery charges. Her story linked below –
Where is Harper’s concern for aboriginal women, or women and children of the Bountiful polygamist colony in British Columbia? Exactly what does Immigration Minister Chris Alexander mean by “we need to stand up for our values”? Conservatives don’t value marginalized women in Canada, they don’t value the plight of desperate women and children in Syrian families risking lives to escape tyranny in the Middle East.
The only thing Harper values is steely cold manipulative fear. Securing another term by any means necessary is not a Canadian value. Snap out of it Canada! We aren’t afraid of police officers in turbans, why the niqab? Don’t let Stephen Harper decimate true Canadian values. Remember Canada before Harper, have faith in a nation liberated from Stephen Harper’s racism and fear.