(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)
By: Candice Malcolm
Federal Minister Maryam Monsef is back in the news this week, over the same scandal that dogged her in 2016. According to news reports, Monsef still hasn’t resolved the issues with her citizenship and has yet to receive a new, updated passport.
Last fall, Monsef revealed that she was born in Iran and not Afghanistan as she had once claimed. We also learned that Monsef spent most of her childhood in the city of Mashad, Iran — not war-torn Afghanistan.
Monsef admitted in an interview that her family was “technically safe” in Iran, calling into question whether she was a bona fide refugee, as per international definitions and Canadian immigration law.
And, perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the story, we learned that Monsef travelled to Iran and Afghanistan after obtaining Canadian citizenship. Most refugees don’t travel back to the country they fled, and most Canadians are practically banned from entering Iran — one of the world’s most authoritarian and reclusive countries.
While parts of Monsef’s story didn’t add up, there was a curious lack of skepticism on behalf of journalists in Canada. This was particularly peculiar given that Monsef’s personal story and identity as an Afghan refugee had been the focus of significant media attention during her ascent in federal politics.
But, as it turned out, some of her story was untrue.
At the time of these revelations, few journalists asked tough questions to Monsef and the Trudeau government – questions that Monsef’s office failed to adequately answer.
During my own investigation, I heard from hundreds of Canadians who were suspicious of Monsef’s story. Some were unconvinced by the minister’s version of events, others were troubled by her ties to Iran. Mostly, Canadians I heard from were upset by the obvious holes in our refugee screening process and the appearance of a double standard.
The Trudeau government was regularly revoking citizenship from individuals who had become citizens through fraudulent means – including individuals who came to Canada as children but whose parents had made false claims on their immigration forms. Trudeau defended this practice, noting that those who become citizens under false pretences have their citizenship revoked, “even years later.”
While many Canadians were skeptical of the facts Monsef was providing, many journalists started playing defence for the Liberal government. They pretty much demanded that Canadians accept Monsef’s version of the facts — no matter what.
The Monsef ordeal exposed the mainstream media’s extreme bias towards the Liberal government. It also revealed a prevalent attitude among Canada’s media and cultural elite: when it comes to refugees — or, that is, anyone who identifies as a refugee — facts and details simply don’t matter.
Monsef’s office eventually began answering questions, and the Trudeau government quietly changed Canada’s rules when it comes to citizenship revocation — making it all but impossible.
Some questions, however, remain unanswered. And now, new questions have surfaced over the Trudeau government’s delay in resolving this problem and issuing Monsef an accurate new passport.
Has Monsef left Canada since this controversy came to light? If so, did she use her...(READ MORE)