February 6, 2024
OTTAWA – Two of B’nai Brith’s policy recommendations were embraced by a parliamentary committee responsible for crafting Canada’s foreign-sanctions regime.
The recommendations were part of B’nai Brith’s October, 2023, brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE), which helps to shape Canada’s foreign policy and economic assistance programs.
Among other things, B’nai Brith urged the Government to “rectify the general incoherence” of Canada’s sanctions schemes. We also suggested Ottawa be required to engage with civil-society organizations lobbying for sanctions to be applied to foreign powers committing human-rights abuses.
“Our foreign policy is stronger when the Government works with advocacy networks that understand the issues at hand,” said Toronto lawyer and Matas Law Society member Sarah Teich, part of the team that drafted B’nai Brith’s submissions to the FAAE. “The recommendations B’nai Brith made are particularly important for diaspora communities, especially dissidents seeking sanctuary from oppressive governments.”
B’nai Brith regularly cooperates with other non-governmental organizations advocating for sanctions against authoritarian regimes, including the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea. Our recommendations to FAAE were intended to ensure that non-government stakeholders have a more direct method of contributing to foreign-policy discussions.
“In a democracy such as ours, it is important for the Government to consult civil society groups,” said David Granovsky, B’nai Brith Canada’s Director of Government Relations. “We praise Ali Ehsassi, Chair of the FAAE, and the committee’s members for their reinforcing of the existing pathways for community stakeholders to interact with their representatives in Parliament.”