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431-00190 (Foreign affairs)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

PETITION TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS IN PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED

We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, draw the attention of the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to the following:

Whereas:

  1. Some Somali-Canadians holding positions in Somalia are encouraging and causing violence through incitement, fraud and hostility, that may cause instability, and should be held responsible and prosecuted for their actions or risk losing their Canadian citizenship;
  2. Ministers, Directors Generals, Advisers and higher administration officials in the Somali Federal Government, who are also Canadian citizens, are preaching hostility and trying to destabilize Somaliland by spreading incitement, which may cause bloodshed and uproot persons from their habitat;
  3. Technology, the internet, websites, and social media are some of the strategic factors driving the increasing use of hate, fake news, character assassination and their wide range of purposes, including recruitment, financing, propaganda, training, incitement to commit acts of instability, and such persons should be penalized for the actions and abuse of their privileges;
  4. Enforcing laws and ensuring accountability for acts of incitement to violence that could lead to atrocious crimes are important components of crime prevention. To this end, it is important that we ensure that inciting violence is a punishable offense, and that those responsible are prosecuted. However, we should ensure that any laws criminalizing incitement to violence that could lead to atrocities do not unduly limit the right to freedom of expression and opinion;
  5. International responsibility to counter hate speech with positive messages of inclusivity should encourage the use of positive and alternative speech, as a way to prevent, and respond to incitement to violence that could lead to atrocious crimes. This may include: inter alia, the public rejection of hate speech by political, religious and community leaders, and the provision of objective and accurate information about events as an antidote to rumors;
  6. As problems are more likely to thrive in situations of widespread corruption, fake news and incitement are the root of mass violence, and we should fight international corruption as a measure to curb extremism and enhance trust in peace and norms.

THEREFORE, we request that the House of Commons in Parliament assembled adopt a resolution condemning the encouragement of violence through incitement, hate, foreign payments supporting hate, hostility by militias, that may cause instability in a peaceful and stable Somaliland and the entire region.

Response by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Marco Mendicino

In instances where Somali-Canadians holding official positions in Somalia are encouraging and causing violence through incitement, fraud and hostility, individuals engaging in criminal activity would be subject to the justice system, and Canadian citizenship may be revoked if acquired through fraud or misrepresentation.

The additional items covered in this petition are outside the mandate of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada and as such the department cannot comment on them.

Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne

The promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Canadian foreign policy. Canada sees respect for human rights both online and offline, including the prevention of intimidation, as fundamental to the development of more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous societies around the world. To this end, all of Canada’s missions abroad are charged with advancing inclusive approaches that respect social differences as a key element of fostering and sustaining peace. In bilateral engagements with all countries, Canada raises concerns regarding corrosive hate speech, scapegoating and attempts to inflame social divisions whenever they occur.    

The Government of Canada engages regularly with the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia, of which Somaliland is an important region, on the aforementioned issues and others. Canada also engages with a broad range of actors, including non-governmental organizations, to promote the protection of human rights. In this respect, Canada recognizes the considerable contributions that diaspora members have made in actively rebuilding Somalia, and engaging on a wide range of important issues including human rights.

The government of Canada acknowledges that while online spaces can offer opportunities to empower individuals, advance gender equality, and promote human rights, they have also enabled new emerging threats, such as hateful content and technology facilitated sexual and gender-based violence. Canada believes that an Internet that is open, free and secure is crucial to addressing harmful and hateful content effectively and fairly.  To this end, Canada is a founding member of the Freedom Online Coalition, a partnership of 31 governments, working to advance Internet freedom. Coalition members work closely together and engage with civil society and the private sector to support Internet freedom – free expression, association, assembly, and privacy online – worldwide.

Looking forward, Canada will continue to work with members of the international community to help strengthen the capacity of the Federal Government of Somalia to protect human rights, to ensure stability and security for all Somalis. For example, Canada will continue to use the opportunities presented by multilateral meetings, such as the High-Level Meeting on Somalia, to raise awareness and highlight Canada’s support for cooperation between the Federal Government and the regional governments, and the importance of inclusion and collaboration on issues as important as these. Canada will also continue to support Somalia’s objectives and ensure progress towards peace and security, sustainable development, establishing a federal democracy, addressing humanitarian needs, and providing basic services to its people.

Presented to the House of Commons
John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
May 14, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00190)
Government response tabled
July 20, 2020
Photo - John McKay
Scarborough—Guildwood
Liberal Caucus
Ontario

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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