Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler invited the media to his riding office on Feb. 10 to outline what he called the most ambitious agenda he’s had since coming to Parliament.
“Rather than go out quietly, the next 20 months promises to be
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a very compelling time in Parliament,” said the veteran politician to local journalists.
Cotler, known for human rights advocacy, is hoping that all parties in Parliament can work together on a common cause to achieve some of his objectives.
He continues the fight against the Syrian regime’s actions, as well as against human rights abuses in Russia.
He was recently part of the largest-ever inter-parliamentary delegation that travelled to Poland for the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
In a “Never Again” Manifesto, Cotler urges Canadians to not tolerate indifference
and inaction, to speak up against state-sanctioned incitement to hate and genocide, and to combat the culture of impunity. “Canadian parliamentarians can have a very distinguishable role in all this,” he said.
The Liberal MP will be presenting private member’s bills and hopes that the Conservative government will adopt legislation favouring human rights.
He will introduce anti-hate legislation as a private member’s bill to ensure constitutional compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “Regrettably we have seen too many pieces of legislation that have not been properly vetted, that are being challenged in the courts at undue cost to taxpayer and undue burden on the legislature and the courts, without any public benefits,” he said.
He will reintroduce the Iran Accountability Act as a private member’s bill. “That legislation will deal with the four-fold Iranian threat: nuclear, incitement to hate, terrorism and human rights violations,” he said. He promises to expose and unmask massive human rights violations, which have intensified under the new administration of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.
He will also be presenting a private member’s bill regarding cruelty to animals. “There are still some important provisions about cruelty to animals that need to be safeguarded in law,” he said.
The bill includes provisions to expand the offenses for fighting or baiting of animals to include those who train animals or receive money for any part of the process, including the transportation of animals to a fight.
It will add a provision for failing to provide adequate care for an animal and allow for expanded restitution orders for offences involving animals as an additional sanctioning measure.
Cotler was also invited as keynote speaker at a summit conference on human rights and democracy in Geneva to talk about contemporary political prisoners. He will be working with parliamentarians from all Canadian parties to represent 18 major political prisoners.
He is also concerned about the government’s budget. “My main concern is the manner in which the budget hurts the vulnerable in society,” he said.