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Canada to sanction 25 Iran officials after Mahsa Amini death – CTV News

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OTTAWA –

Canadian politicians need to think about what would happen if the Iranian regime actually falls, an expert says as Ottawa’s response to protests abroad becomes political fodder at home.

“The time has come for Canadians — and for people of all the world who stand for freedom against tyranny — to rally, to free Iran and to pursue a new, democratic government in that country,” Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said at a massive rally north of Toronto on Saturday.

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Thousands of Iranians took to the streets across Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in mid-September, two days after she was arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab too loosely.

The response from the Liberal government — and the official Opposition — has started to turn into a battleground for the two rival parties.

Thomas Juneau, a University of Ottawa international affairs professor specializing in Iran, said both Liberals and Conservatives want the regime to fall, with the latter saying so more clearly.

Yet he warned that both parties need to have a better sense of which groups to support on the ground. He said the current regime is continually weakening, but doesn’t expect it to imminently collapse.

“There is no organized opposition ready to take over, if or when the Islamic Republic falls,” Juneau said in an interview.

“That’s something that proponents of regime change, even if they make a good point, tend to neglect.”

Liberal MP Ali Ehsassi spoke to the crowd in Richmond Hill, Ont. Organizers said they had invited Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly.

On Sunday, Trudeau tweeted that Parliament Hill would be illuminated overnight in the colours of the Iranian flag in support of the protesters.

On Monday, the Liberals announced sanctions against 25 senior Iranian officials and nine government entities, a week after promising to bar officials from entering Canada and freezing Canadian-held assets.

Ottawa says the sanctions are meant to target those who enforce repressive measures, violate human rights and spread the regime’s propaganda.

Among those to be sanctioned are the morality police force and its chief, as well as Iran’s highest-ranking soldier.

The list includes top two officials of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, major-generals Mohammad Bagheri and Hossein Salami, as well as Esmail Qaani, who is commander of the already sanctioned Quds Force, which operates outside Iran.

Ottawa will also sanction Intelligence and Security Minister Esmail Khatib and the morality police leader Mohammad Rostami Cheshmeh Gachi.

The sanctions will also apply to Mohammad Saleh Hashemi Golpayegani, who is the civil servant overseeing Iran’s Office of Enjoining Right and Forbidding Evil, which sets the morality codes Iranian police enforce.

Among the institutions facing sanctions will be Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, where Iran detains and often tortures political prisoners, and the IRGC cyber branch.

On Parliament Hill, Joly said that even more sanctions are coming “very soon,” adding in French that Ottawa is intentionally listing people in the top ranks.

“For us it’s important that we target particularly those people, because it’s those people who are in charge to make decisions that affect millions of people in Iran and who violate human rights,” she said.

The Conservatives have also urged Ottawa repeatedly to follow through on a motion the House of Commons adopted in 2018 to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is part of the country’s army, as a terror group.

The government has said it would only do so if security agencies endorsed the move.

Juneau and other experts have argued that targeted economic sanctions are more enforceable than designating entire organizations under terrorism laws.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 3, 2022.

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Conservatives are ‘fearmongering’ over assault-style gun ban: public safety minister

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OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino accuses the Conservatives of “whipping up fear” that the Liberal government is outlawing ordinary long guns and hunting rifles.

In an interview, Mendicino says the government only wants to reinforce a regulatory ban on assault-style firearms like the AR-15 by enshrining a definition in legislation, and it is prepared to work with MPs to get it right.

He insists the government has no intention whatsoever of going after everyday long guns and hunting rifles, calling the notion “Conservative fearmongering.”

In May 2020, the Liberal government announced a ban through order-in-council on over 1,500 models and variants of what it considers assault-style firearms, such as the AR-15 and the Ruger Mini-14.

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The Liberals recently proposed including an evergreen definition of a prohibited assault-style firearm in gun-control legislation being studied by a House of Commons committee.

The Conservatives claim the government’s amendment amounts to the most significant hunting rifle ban in the history of Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2022.

 

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Joly seeks reprimand of Russian ambassador as embassy tweets against LGBTQ community

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OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has asked her department to summon Russia’s ambassador over social media postings against LGBTQ people.

In recent days, Russia’s embassy in Ottawa has posted on Twitter and Telegram that the West is imposing on Russia’s family values, and arguing that families can only involve a man, a woman and children.

The embassy has posted images of a crossed-out rainbow flag and Orthodox icons of Adam and Eve.

The tweets came as Russia expanded a ban on exposing children to so-called homosexual propaganda, meaning authorities can now prosecute Russians for doing things they argue might entice adults to be gay or transgender.

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Joly’s office says the posts amount to “hateful propaganda” that must be called out and “an attack on the Canadian values of acceptance and tolerance.”

If Global Affairs Canada follows Joly’s request, it will be the third time the department has summoned ambassador Oleg Stepanov this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2022.

 

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Work hard and never give up, Michelle O’Bonsawin says during Supreme Court welcome

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OTTAWA — The newest member of the Supreme Court of Canada says her journey has not been an easy one, but it has been meaningful and rewarding.

Members of the legal community and Michelle O’Bonsawin’s fellow judges welcomed her to the bench in a ceremony today.

O’Bonsawin, who replaced the retiring Michael Moldaver on Sept. 1, is a bilingual Franco-Ontarian and an Abenaki member of the Odanak First Nation.

O’Bonsawin says she is a big believer that if a person has a goal, works hard and never gives up, they can achieve their dreams.

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She adds that while she has made mistakes and fallen down, those missteps have been her teacher.

Richard Wagner, the chief justice of Canada, praises O’Bonsawin’s generosity and volunteer activities, noting she shares his passion for open courts, access to justice and education.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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