After the killing of a young woman because Iran’s “morality police” objected to her headscarf being worn, the Canadian government is falling Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) to bar entry to thousands of members of the Iranian regime for their “involvement in terrorism and systemic and gross human rights abuses.”
“Canada stands with the brave women, students and people of Iran who are peacefully protesting the tragic killing of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Iranian regime’s so-called ‘morality police,'” the federal government said in an Oct. 7 statement.
The government said: “The Iranian regime’s brutal repression of these protests – killing, beating and arresting protesters – once again demonstrates its blatant disregard for human rights and human life. We listen to those who demand better and join our voices.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Parliament Hill on October 7 that Canada would take “significant further action against the Iranian regime.”
“First, we will seek listing of the Iranian regime, including the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), under the most powerful provision of the IRPA,” he said. “This is a measure that has only been used in the most dire of circumstances against regimes that commit war crimes or genocide, such as in Bosnia and Rwanda. This will ineligible the top 50 percent of IRGC leadership — the 10,000+ officers and senior members most responsible for this heinous behavior by the state — to Canada and deny them access to Canadian territory and opportunities,” the prime minister said . “Naming a regime is a permanent decision. That means, for example, more than 10,000 members of the IRGC leadership will be permanently expelled from Canada.”
The Prime Minister added: “We intend to extend the targeted sanctions under the Law on Special Economic Measures to hold accountable those individuals most responsible for Iran’s outrageous behavior. This tool was not available to previous governments because we only expanded Canada’s sanctions regime to include human rights in 2017.”
“Third, we are expanding Canada’s capacity to combat money laundering and illicit financial activities and counter foreign interference to protect Iranian Canadians and other communities in Canada,” the prime minister said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland called the Iranian regime a “state sponsor of terrorism”.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland
“It’s oppressive, theocratic and misogynistic,” she told reporters. “The IRGC leadership are terrorists. The IRGC is a terrorist organization.”
“Today, by incorporating the IRGC into IRPA, and indeed by incorporating the broader leadership of the Iranian regime, we formally recognize that fact and are acting accordingly,” Freeland said. “More than 10,000 senior members of this terrorist organization will be banned from ever entering Canada. Anyone on this list will be sanctioned and banned from doing business or hiding their wealth here. We will step up our crackdown on Iranian money laundering in Canada. We will not tolerate any financial transactions with Iran related to the IRGC and its proxies.”
Freeland added, “We’re going to use those Magnitsky actalong with all the other tools in our toolbox to hold IRGC members accountable for their gross violations of human and women’s rights in Iran.”
When asked why Canada is not allowing Iran under the regulations of the criminal code – as advocated by the official opposition Conservatives – Trudeau did not rule out such a move.
“We’ve looked very, very carefully at all potential tools and aren’t taking any more tools off the table,” he said. “But the reality is to use these terms, which have only been used in cases like Bosnia and Rwanda, to name the Iranian regime among those [IRPA] Provisions specifically targeting terrorism, war crimes, gross and fundamental human rights abuses and genocide, this is the strongest measure we have to crack down on states and state entities,” he replied. “The Canadian criminal code is not the best tool for prosecuting states or government entities, but we will continue to explore any tools we can use to do so, but what we are announcing today goes well beyond what people have been asking for.”
When asked why the US listed Iran as a terrorist organization but not Canada, Trudeau replied: “The US has a very different regime than the regime that we’ve been talking about here in Canada, and we’ve spent a long time with that to take a close look at what it is the best tool we have to hold the Iranian regime to account.”
“Holding states accountable, holding state entities like state militaries accountable, is different than simply listing a terrorist organization,” Trudeau added. “And that is why we have made the choice and are continuing to … use measures that have not been used since the Bosnian war crimes or since the Rwandan genocide to ensure that there is no doubt that the Iranian regime will receive the strongest pushback we can get from Canada.”
Trudeau said the government is expanding Canada’s ability to fight money laundering and illicit financial activities and to address foreign interference to protect Iranian Canadians and other communities in Canada.
To that end, he announced that $76 million has been allocated to strengthen the government’s capacity to implement and enforce sanctions. “This will ensure we can act faster to freeze and confiscate the assets of sanctioned individuals, building on new authorities that we only introduced in the last budget,” he said. “It will also support the establishment of a new sanctions office in Global Affairs Canada and new capacity at the RCMP. In addition, we are improving our Ministerial Policy on Financial Transactions Related to the Republic of Iran. We will restrict financial transactions with Iran related to the IRGC and proxies supporting them.”
As summarized in a press release, the government said it intends to:
- list the Iranian regime, including more than 10,000 IRGC officers and senior members, as inadmissible to Canada.
- “Significantly expand sanctions against those responsible for the Iranian regime’s egregious human rights abuses by building on our existing sanctions,” including those announced last week, “to implement the world’s most robust and comprehensive package of sanctions against the IRGC.” “
- Adopting “a new bespoke regulation to ensure that no sanctioned person associated with the IRGC can enter Canada pending passage of Bill S-8”.
- Invest $76 million to strengthen Canada’s sanctions enforcement capacity and ensure the government can act more quickly to freeze and confiscate the assets of sanctioned individuals, including through a dedicated office at Global Affairs Canada and additional support of the RCMP in investigating and identifying assets and gathering evidence.
Bill S-8, a government bill, is awaiting a second reading in the House of Commons following passage of the bill in the Senate last June. According to its legislative summary, Bill S-8 would amend IRPA to: “reorder existing sanction-related inadmissibility provisions to establish a clear sanction-based inadmissibility ground; broaden the scope of sanctions-based inadmissibility to include sanctions not only against a country but also against an entity or person; Extension of the area of inadmissibility subject to sanctions to include all orders and orders pursuant to Section 22 (4) of the Law on Special Economic Measures“; and amending the IRPA regulations to “provide, inter alia, that the Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, in lieu of the Immigration Department, shall have the power to issue an inadmissibility deportation order on the basis of sanctions under new Paragraph 351(1) (a)” of IRPA.
The Liberal government said Canada will also be “pursuing all the tools at our disposal,” including the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law), which allows restrictive financial and property measures for foreign nationals responsible for gross human rights abuses.
The government stressed that Canada continues to work with other countries “to ensure the Iranian regime is held accountable for its heinous conduct, including the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, which killed 138 people en route to Canada including 55 Canadians and 30 permanent residents.”
The government said the new measures build on some of the world’s strongest against the Iranian regime, including designating the state of Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism and imposing sanctions last week on senior Iranian officials and prominent organizations who do so directly taking repressive measures, violating human rights and spreading the Iranian regime’s propaganda.
“We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to enforce the world’s toughest sanctions against the Iranian regime,” the German government promised.
If you have information, story ideas or news tips the lawyer newspaper, please contact Cristin Schmitz at [email protected] or call 613-820-2794.