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Minister of Foreign Affairs appearance before the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities (TRAN) on the Government’s Response to PS752 – Briefing material

2021-05-13

Table of contents

Appearance before the Special Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (TRAN) May 13, 2021

Meeting scenario

Committee membership and interests

Committee work

Remarks - The Honourable Marc Garneau Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada - Appearance at the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities - PS752 - May 13, 2021

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before committee today. I am happy to be back, this time as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Introduction

All Canadians remember January 8, 2020.

We remember our feelings of devastation from the tragedy. We remember our grief over the incredible lives lost. And we remember our sense of shock and disbelief when the Prime Minister announced that PS752 had been shot down by Iranian surface-to-air missiles.

The downing of Flight PS752 is a truly Canadian tragedy.

Let me begin by reiterating my deep condolences to the families for their loss. I have had the opportunity to speak with families a number of times over the past year. Each encounter is a painful reminder of their heartbreaking loss. The stories and incredible lives of their loved ones touched so many of us.

They will be remembered.

Initial response – a focus on supporting families and loved ones

From the beginning, our government has been focused on providing families and loved ones with the support that they needed.

Global Affairs’ consular team worked around the clock to deliver exceptional services, and deployed a team to Iran to provide immediate local assistance to families. Officials worked to respect the wishes of the families to repatriate their loved ones, and brought in Farsi speakers to translate documents and answer questions. Counselling services, legal advice and expedited banking support was all arranged for families free of charge. Visas were facilitated to enable relatives to travel to Canada to settle affairs, and to support surviving family members, with all fees waived. RCMP coordinated local police across the country to offer continuing support to all family members. To reduce the immediate financial burden as families dealt with the loss of their loved ones, $25,000 per victim was made available to families for emergency costs, Canada matched private donations to the Canada Strong campaign, and talks were opened with the airlines to ensure prompt compensation as required by law.

Our support to the families continues to this day, with regular communication with families. In December the Prime Minister designated January 8 of each year as the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Air Disasters. We are offering a pathway to permanent residence to family members, establishing scholarships in memory of those lost on PS752, and will establish a physical tribute in remembrance of air disasters.

Initial response – international and investigation

From that very first day the Prime Minister was also absolutely clear. Canadians and the families have questions, and they deserve answers from Iran.

We knew that getting a full accounting of the causes of this tragedy from Iran was going to be a long and difficult process. Only Iran has full access to the evidence, the crash site, witnesses, and those ultimately responsible. Iran’s initial denials of responsibility, and their lack of transparency since, has not inspired confidence.

We demanded of Iran directly, a thorough and transparent investigation into the shoot-down, and continue to voice this demand publicly in the media and in international fora. Canada founded the PS752 International Coordination and Response Group to bring the voices and efforts of all grieving nations together. We have repeatedly raised PS752 at the ICAO Council, the UN General Assembly, the UN Human Rights Council, and at the G7.

Answers from Iran

In March 2020 our government appointed the Honourable Ralph Goodale as the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor on PS752 and in December 2020 he delivered his report. In it, Special Advisor Goodale asked 23 groups of critical questions that we expected Iran to answer. Despite Iran’s final report, released in March 2021, 14 months after the downing, we are still without a complete accounting of the events that led to this disaster.

We knew that we could not trust Iran to produce these answers. This is why we stood up the Canadian Forensic Examination and Assessment Team. We await their final analysis, but we fully expect a transparent account of what Canada knows and an assessment of Iran’s final report, including what questions remain outstanding.

Next Steps

We are now entering into the process of negotiations with Iran to ensure they make full reparations, which includes a transparent accounting of the true causes of this tragedy, as well as compensations. Iran must do so to the satisfaction of Canada and our Coordination Group partners and in accordance with international law.

This will be a long and difficult road. We enter this process with eyes wide open. Our focus will be on getting answers backed with credible evidence from Iran, first and foremost, for the victims and their grieving families. We will also ensure that we receive assurances, in concrete terms, that measures have been put in place to prevent that such a tragedy occurring in the future.

Throughout this process we will continue to keep the world’s attention on this issue. We will raise it at every appropriate multilateral venue. Our resolve will not fade.

And we will never forget. This is our solemn promise to the families of the victims, and indeed all Canadians.

I look forward to your questions.

Biographies – Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities 

Vance Badawey, LPC (Niagara Centre, Ontario), Chair of the Committee

Vance Badawey was first elected as Member of Parliament on October 19, 2015 for the riding of Niagara Centre. Mr. Badawey began his career in public service as a City Councillor for the City of Port Colborne in 1994. He thereafter was elected as Mayor of Port Colborne in 1997. In 2006 he was re-elected to the office of Mayor in Port Colborne and Regional Councillor for the Regional Municipality of Niagara.

As the Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre, MP Badawey has collaborated with several parliamentary caucuses, including the Indigenous, Horseshoe, Rural and Steel caucuses.

Member of the following Committee(s):

TC-related topics raised since the 43rd Canadian general election:

Issues of interest:

Stephanie Kusie, CPC (Calgary Midnapore, Alberta), Conservative critic for Transport

MP Kusie was born and raised in Calgary. She studied at the University of Calgary, where she earned a degree in political science. She later obtained a Master’s in Business Administration from Rutgers University.

Prior to becoming a Member of Parliament, MP Kusie held various foreign policy posts, from 2006 to 2013. She thereafter served as a policy advisor for then-Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for the Americas, Peter Kent, in 2009.

MP Kusie was elected in 2017 in the riding of Calgary Midnapore. Since becoming a Member of Parliament, MP Kusie has held multiple critics portfolio, including Shadow Minister for Democratic Institutions, Families Children and Social Development and as Deputy Shadow Minister for Health.

Member of the following Committee(s):

TC-related topics raised during the 42nd Parliament:

TC-related topics raised since the 43rd Canadian general election:

Xavier Barsalou Duval, BQ (Pierre-Boucher – Les Patriotes – Verchères, Québec), Bloc Critic for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Barsalou Duval was first elected on October 19, 2015. He has a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting. Prior to his political career, he taught accounting at the college level and working several years in Cabinet as the accounting auditor. Mr. Barsalou Duval has been highly implicated in his local Bloc Québecois and Parti Québecois riding associations since he was eighteen years old. He thereafter became President of the Forum Jeunesse of the Bloc Québecois, a position he held from 2012 to 2015. In his career, he has also been very active in the Mouvement Montréal français and in the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal.

During the 42nd Parliament, MP Barsalou Duval was the critic for the Economic Development, Government Operations, National Revenue and Public Accounts. In the aftermath of the 43rd Canadian federal election, MP Barsalou Duval was appointed as parliamentary critic for the transport, infrastructure and communities portfolio.

Member of the following Committee(s):

TC-related topics raised during the 42nd Parliament:

TC-related topics raised since the 43rd Canadian general election:

Taylor Bachrach, NDP (Skeena – Bulkley Valley, British Columbia), NDP Critic for Infrastructure and Communities

In 2008, Mr. Bachrach was elected to the Telkwa Town Council. After moving to Smithers in 2011, he was elected mayor and thereafter won re-election twice.

Mr. Bachrach was first elected to the House of Commons in the 43rd Canadian general election.

Outside of his political life, Mr. Bachrach is the owner of Bachrach Communications, a media consultancy firm in Smithers. Since 2018, he has also served as the President of the Go By Bike BC organization, a cycling advocacy group.

Member of the following Committee(s):

TC-related topics raised since the 43rd Canadian general election:

TC-related topics raised during his career:

Fayçal El-Khoury, LPC (Laval – Les Îles, Quebec)

Mr. Fayçal El-Khoury obtained a degree in civil engineering from Concordia University. Thereafter, Mr. El-Khoury established a construction company in Laval.

From 2005 to 2015 Mr. El-Khoury worked as a consultant specializing in business relations with the Middle East.

Faycal El-Khoury is a Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party. He was first elected in the 2015 federal election, with 47.7% of the vote. Mr. El-Khoury holds a diploma in Engineering from the Concordia University.

Member of the following Committee(s):

TC-related topics raised during the 42nd Parliament:

Angelo Iacono, LPC (Alfred – Pellan, Quebec)

Politician, attorney, public servant and humanitarian. Previously candidate in the 2011 general election and firstly elected in

October 19, 2015.

Angelo graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from McGill University, completed his studies in civil law at UQAM and obtained his Juris Doctor from Ottawa University, which led to his certification from the Upper Canada Law Society. In search of new horizons, Angelo obtained a certificate from the European Union & its Institutions at the Law Faculty of Lyon (France).

Member of the following Committee(s):

TC-related topics raised:

Other Issues of Interest:

Helena Jaczek, LPC (Markham – Stouffville, Ontario)

Helena Jaczek studied at the University of Toronto and obtained a medical degree and Masters of Health Science from the institution. Thereafter, she obtained a Masters of Business Administration from York University.

In her professional career, Ms. Jaczek occupied a variety of positions in the healthcare sector, such as general practice at the Women’s College Hospital and as Chief Medical Officer of health in York Region.

In 2007, Ms. Jaczek was elected in Ontario’s provincial legislature, where she would go on to serve in several capacities. These included positions such as Committee membership, as a Parliamentary Assistant to Ministers and, later, as Minister. In 2019, she was elected to the House of Commons as the Member of Parliament for the riding of Markham – Stouffville.

Member of the following Committee(s):

TC-related topics raised since the 43rd Canadian general election:

Michael Kram, CPC (Regina – Wascana, Saskatchewan), Conservative

MP Kram was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan. He attended the University of Regina, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree majoring in Computer Science and a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Economics. He also studied Economics at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Prior to his entry in politics, Mr. Kram worked for 20 years in the information technology sector. Specifically, he worked as a programmer/analyst with Paradigm Consulting, where he worked on projects for private sector entities, provincial governments and for the federal government.

MP Kram was first elected Member of Parliament for the riding of Regina-Wascana during the 43rd Canadian federal election. Prior to his appointment to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, MP Kram served as the Conservative Party’s Deputy Critic for International Trade.

Member of the following Committee(s):

TC-related topics raised during his career:

Soraya Martinez Ferrada, LPC (Hochelaga, Quebec), Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Soraya Martinez Ferrada was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Hochelaga in 2019.

A resident of the east end of Montréal since she came to Canada in 1980, Ms. Martinez Ferrada has deep roots in the community.

For over 20 years, she has gained experience in communications and project development through her involvement in community, cultural, and political action. She created the very first cultural and socio-professional integration program at TOHU, a unique example of sustainable development in Montréal.

Ms. Martinez Ferrada was involved in municipal politics for more than 10 years. In 2005, she was elected as a city councillor for Saint-Michel and was appointed to the Executive Committee as the Associate Advisor for Culture. From 2015 to 2018, she served as Chief of Staff and senior advisor to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Member of the following Committee(s):

Churence Rogers, LPC (Bonavista – Burin – Trinity, Newfoundland and Labrador)

Mr. Rogers is the Liberal Member of Parliament for the riding of Bonavista – Burin – Trinity. He was first elected in a by-election that was held on December 11, 2017. Mr. Rogers was elected with 69.2% of the vote.

Before entering federal politics, Mr. Churence Rogers served as the Mayor of Centreville-Wareham-Trinity and as president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Municipalities.

Member of the following Committee(s):

TC-related topics raised during the 42nd Parliament:

Doug Shipley, CPC (Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, Ontario), Conservative

As a long-time Barrie resident, Mr. Shipley was elected to Barrie city council for Ward 3 in 2010. He has since won re-election with overwhelming majorities in both 2014 and 2018 municipal elections.

While serving as a city councilor Mr. Shipley was a contributing member on many municipal committees including Chair of Finance and Corporate Services Committee, Chair of Infrastructure, Investment and Development Services Committee, Vice Chair Barrie Police Services Board and Barrie and Area Physician Recruitment Task Force.

MP Shipley has been selected to serve on the Standing Committee for Public Safety and National Security until August 2020. He has also been selected to serve as Conservative Deputy Shadow Critic for Infrastructure and Communities in September 2020.

Member of the following Committee(s):

Gerald Soroka, CPC (Yellowhead, Alberta), Conservative

MP Soroka, a proud resident of Yellowhead riding comes from a long line of farmers and has farmed for the majority of his life.

Prior to his entry in politics, Mr.Soroka has always had a strong interest in serving his community and working to solve problems that face his fellow residents. To this end, he took on posts as Vice- President and President of West Central Forage as well as Vice-President of the Alberta Forage Council.

Looking to solve problems at a larger scale, Gerald went on to serve as a Division one Councillor and Mayor of Yellowhead County before making the jump to federal politics. During his time as Mayor, he was also elected as Vice President of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (Now RMA) from 2008 to 2010.

On December 20, 2019, MP Soroka was named as the Deputy Shadow Minister of Natural Resources (Forestry and Mining) and appointed to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food committee from February 2020 to August 2020.

Member of the following Committee(s):

TC-related topics raised during his career:

Analysis of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 in Parliament, 2019 – Present

Parliamentary Landscape:

The downing of flight PS752 and the Government of Canada response has received significant attention from parliamentarians from all parties during both sessions of the 43rd Parliament.

Parliamentarians from all parties have generally been aligned on this issue; given the enormity of the tragedy and the significant loss of Canadian lives, there has been widespread support from parliamentarians in holding Iran accountable for the tragedy. Additionally, there has been general consensus from parliamentarians from all parties urging the government to seek full transparency, accountability, compensation and justice for the families of the victims. Cross-party support has remained consistent.

Several actions of recognition have been undertaken in the House of Commons. The House observed a moment of silence in memory of the flight PS752 victims on January 27, 2020, and the leaders of the five recognized parties delivered statements on the tragedy. The former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francois-Philippe Champagne introduced a unanimous consent motion, which was adopted on the same day. It stated Canada will, “continue to support the families of the victims, hold Iran accountable for its actions and work with the international community to that end.” On June 17, 2020, while serving as Transport Minister, you introduced a second unanimous consent motion, which was subsequently adopted. It called for several actions including: “standing in solidarity with the families of the victims in the pursuit of transparency, accountability and justice; supporting the launch of the Safer Skies initiative; and implementing the appropriate means of honouring and commemorating the precious lives lost.”

Positions of Parties

During the 43rd Parliament, the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) have positioned themselves as the party who would strongly defend democracy, rule of law, justice, and human rights, while taking a tough stance against countries like Iran and China. CPC MPs have called for Iran to allow an independent investigation to take place. On January 29, 2020, MP Kerry Diotte stated, “Iranian authorities must be transparent and fully co-operate with independent agencies investigating this horrific event. Families also deserve that the remains of their loved ones are allowed to be repatriated to Canada as soon as possible.” On January 7, 2021, the one-year anniversary of the plane crash, Conservative Foreign Affairs Critic MP Michael Chong called on the government to impose Magnitsky sanctions on those responsible in the Iranian regime if they failed to cooperate with the investigation being undertaken by independent agencies, adding, “there must be justice for the victims and their families.” The current study undertaken by the Standing Committee on Transport was initiated by MP Stephanie Kusie. When moving the motion she stated, “Given the activity that took place last week, with the Iranian government issuing...their civil aviation authority blaming human error, and the dismissal of this information by both the transport minister and the foreign affairs minister, I certainly think we owe it to the victims' families, as well as to our beliefs here in Canada of justice, human rights, the rule of law, democracy...to undertake this study.”

The Bloc Quebecois (BQ), New Democratic Party (NDP), and Green Party have been less vocal than the CPC, but have shown support for initiatives which would support the families of the victims. In a statement made in the House of Commons following the plane crash, BQ Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet committed to supporting the efforts of the Minister of Foreign Affairs in seeking justice for the victims and their families. On January 7, 2021, the one-year anniversary of the tragedy, the NDP issued a statement calling for an impartial process to seek answers for the families of the victims, adding that Iran must accept an impartial process and allow a proper investigation to take place. On January 27, 2020, then-Green Party leader Elizabeth May called on Parliament to focus on justice for the affected families, to stand in solidarity and to extend every support possible.

Potential lines of questioning:

1. Relations with Iran:

It is expected that both the CPC and NDP will question Canada’s relationship with Iran in the context of the study at the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (TRAN). If this occurs, CPC are expected to argue the downing of PS752 is reason to keep relations between Canada and Iran severed, while the NDP may argue the investigation into the PS752 tragedy would be better accomplished if bilateral relations are established between Canada and Iran.

Canada’s relations with Iran have been a point of interest for Conservative parliamentarians over the last several years. During the 2019 election, the CPC consistently opposed relations with Iran. Additionally, then CPC leader, Andrew Scheer, committed to designating the IRGC a terrorist organization if elected. In 2018, the CPC introduced a motion condemning Iran and urging the government to continue keeping diplomatic relations severed. The CPC opposed the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) and criticized the government for adhering to the agreement and lifting Canada’s sanctions on Iran after the JCPOA was signed. Most recently, CPC MP Garnett Genuis raised concerns regarding Iran’s election to the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women, and CPC MP Peter Kent noted that, “the Liberals once again have failed Canadians, failing to fully ban Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.” Additionally, concerns about clandestine foreign influence operations on behalf of Iran have been raised at the Standing Committee on Public Safety (SECU).

In direct opposition to the CPC, the NDP has consistently supported the re-establishment of relations with Iran. The NDP supported the Iran Nuclear Deal and were the only party to vote against the CPC motion calling on the government to abandon bilateral relations with Iran. Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the NDP, supported the re-opening of the Iranian embassy in Ottawa and Canadian embassy in Tehran. Generally, the NDP believes that Canadian interests are best served by a foreign policy based on human rights, multilateralism, and the forwarding of peace and security. Additionally, the NDP believes the first step in improving relations between Canada and Iran is the resumption of diplomatic relations so dialogue and engagement between the two countries can take place, and so Canadian and Iranian citizens can receive consular support from their respective governments.

2. Ensuring Iran’s compliance with an investigation:

All parties are concerned about Iran’s compliance with a non-biased investigation into the PS752 tragedy. It is expected committee members will ask you how the Government will ensure a thorough and transparent investigation takes place.

3. Speed of the investigation/working with international partners:

During the 43rd Parliament, opposition parties have consistently argued that the Government of Canada has not taken strong enough actions condemning human rights abuses nor has the government taken a hard line with Iran.

In general, opposition parties have noted that actions taken have not been in step with those taken by international partners. There have also been questions raise about whether Canada is engaging enough with international partners. It is possible that opposition parliamentarians will question whether the government has utilized all possible avenues to ensure the investigation into the PS752 tragedy is completed in a timely manner.

Question Period monitoring

SubjectDate of QuestionQuestionerQuestioner:Political PartyQuestionResponderResponseRelated CountryParliament
Iran, Ukraine International flight 752, Sanctions2020-11-02MP - Chong, Michael (Wellington—Halton Hills)Conservative Party of CanadaMadam Speaker, it has been nearly 10 months since Ukraine International flight 752 was shot down. The victims' loved ones want justice for the 85 Canadian citizens and residents who perished.

When will the government listen to these families and impose sanctions on those responsible? When will it follow the democratic will of this House and impose sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran?

MP - Blair, Bill (Scarborough Southwest)Madam Speaker, I want to acknowledge to the member opposite and to the House that we are very concerned with the activities of various hostile state actors as it pertains to their activities around human rights and their impact on Canadians. We are vigorously reviewing, constantly, the criminal legislation that allows for the listing of certain organizations.

With respect to the particular regime he refers to, we have in fact listed a number of its proxies as terrorist organizations. We will continue to act in the best interests of the safety of Canadians.

Canada;#32;#Iran (Islamic Republic of);#80;#Ukraine;#18143rd Parliament, 2nd Session
Iran, Sanctions, Ukraine International flight 752 2020-10-30MP - Chong, Michael (Wellington—Halton Hills)Conservative Party of CanadaMadam Speaker, not only has the government failed to impose sanctions in regard to the downing of the Ukrainian airliner that killed so many Canadians, but the families are now being revictimized. People like Hamed Esmaeilion of Richmond Hill are being threatened, bullied and harassed by the Iranian regime right here in Canada.

When will the government take seriously the threat of foreign influence operations run here in this country by Iran, by China and by Russia? When will it get serious and use the full power of the Government of Canada to shut these operations down?

MP - Blair, Bill (Scarborough Southwest)Madam Speaker, I agree completely that any activity directed toward the families of the victims of that terrible tragedy of the downing of that airliner is outrageous and unacceptable.

I want to assure the member opposite that the national security establishment and our law enforcement agencies are vigorously engaged on that issue. We will do what is necessary to protect those individuals, and we share in the member's denunciation of that activity on Canadian soil.

Canada;#32;#Iran (Islamic Republic of);#80;#Ukraine;#18143rd Parliament, 2nd Session
Iran, Fligt 752, Magnitsky Sanctions2020-10-07MP - Chong, Michael (Wellington—Halton Hills)Conservative Party of CanadaMr. Speaker, on Monday, loved ones and friends of the victims of flight 752 gathered here in Ottawa and elsewhere in the country. It has been nine months since the incident. The victims' loved ones are still calling for justice for the 55 Canadians and 30 permanent residents who lost their lives.

Will the government listen to the families and impose Magnitsky sanctions on those responsible?

MP - Trudeau, Justin (Papineau)Mr. Speaker, I had the sad duty of sitting down with these families who lost loved ones in this tragedy.

As I said, we will always be there to support them while they await justice for their beloved family members, but also while they await compensation. Iran must take immediate measures to ensure a full and transparent investigation. The families must be compensated.

Iran shared the flight recorder report, but it only contained information that we already knew. We need answers and we will continue to work on getting those answers.

Canada;#32;#Iran (Islamic Republic of);#80;#Ukraine;#18143rd Parliament, 2nd Session
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 7522020-02-18MP - Genuis, Garnett (Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan)Conservative Party of CanadaMr. Speaker, Canadians were horrified to see the Prime Minister grinning, hugging and bowing during his interaction with the Iranian foreign minister, providing the regime a major propaganda victory and revictimizing families whose loved ones it killed.

Could the Prime Minister update the House as to whether this servile display led to any concrete progress on compensation for flight 752 victims' families or on a proper independent investigation?

MP - Oliphant, Robert (Don Valley West)Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was very clear and very firm with the Iranian foreign minister. He made a promise to families in Canada that we will do everything we can to make sure that they get full disclosure, accountability, transparency and justice.

Equally, in Munich the Minister of Foreign Affairs and our allies sent a strong message that Iran—Mr. Speaker, our Prime Minister has taken every opportunity and was extremely clear and always firm with Iranian officials, the Iranian prime minister and the foreign minister. He made a promise to families in Canada that we will do everything in our power to make sure they get closure, accountability, transparency and justice.

Iran (Islamic Republic of);#8043rd Parliament, 1st Session
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 7522020-02-18MP - Bezan, James (Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman)Conservative Party of CanadaMr. Speaker, when former prime minister Stephen Harper met with Vladimir Putin, he said, “get out of Ukraine.” Now that is real leadership. The Iranian community and the families of the victims of flight 752 deserve that kind of leadership. Instead they had the insulting spectacle of the Prime Minister glad-handing, back-slapping and of course bowing to the Iranian foreign minister and chief propagandist.

Will the Prime Minister apologize to the families and the Iranian community for this blatant disrespect? Will he say sorry for once again embarrassing Canada on the world stage?

MP - Oliphant, Robert (Don Valley West)Mr. Speaker, now more than ever as families grieve, as families try to make sense of this situation, it is important for us to be united in the House and in Canada and for Canadians to stand in the wake of this terrible tragedy.

I would ask my colleagues on all sides of the House to avoid trying to score political points on this very important and deeply personal issue to many Canadians. We have brought together Canadians and international partners to hold Iran to account. We will do that and we expect members to help us with it.

Iran (Islamic Republic of);#8043rd Parliament, 1st Session
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 7522020-02-04MP - Genuis, Garnett (Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan)Conservative Party of CanadaMr. Speaker, a year and a half ago, my motion calling for the immediate listing of the IRGC as a terrorist entity passed the House of Commons with Liberal support. The minister voted to act and then failed to act.

Last month, the IRGC shot down a civilian airliner with two separate missiles, killing many Canadians. Canadians want an explanation from the government.

Why did the government choose not to list the IRGC?

MP - Blair, Bill (Scarborough Southwest)Mr. Speaker, we remain unwavering in our commitment to keep Canadians safe. We continue to work with like-minded countries to ensure that Iran is held to account for its support for terrorism. We have imposed sanctions on Iran and the IRGC, as well as on senior members of its leadership.

Canada has already taken a number of significant actions against the IRGC, including listing the Quds Force as a terrorist entity. Last year, we added three additional Iran-backed groups to the Criminal Code as terrorist entities.

The listing of entities is an ongoing process. Government officials continue to assess all groups and monitor new developments.

Iran (Islamic Republic of);#8043rd Parliament, 1st Session
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 7522020-02-04MP - Genuis, Garnett (Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan)Conservative Party of CanadaMr. Speaker, it is just not true for the minister to say that the government has taken action against the IRGC. The Quds Force was listed by the previous Conservative government and that minister, along with the others, stood in their places and voted to “immediately” list the IRGC. They cast that vote over a year and a half ago.

Canadians want answers. It is a very simple question. Many Canadians were killed on this flight, and the government had chosen not to list the IRGC. People deserve to know. Why did the minister choose not to list the IRGC as a terrorist entity after voting a year and a half ago to immediately do precisely that?

MP - Blair, Bill (Scarborough Southwest)Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned earlier, the listing of entities is an ongoing process. We rely on government officials to continue to assess all groups and to monitor new developments—

Mr. Speaker, as I have already indicated, the Quds Force has already been listed by Canada as a terrorist entity. Last year, we took the additional step of adding three additional Iran-backed groups that were proxies for terrorist activities, and listing them under the Criminal Code.

We continue to engage in that process and to monitor developments as they become apparent.

Iran (Islamic Republic of);#8043rd Parliament, 1st Session
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 7522020-01-31MP - Louis, Tim (Kitchener—Conestoga)Liberal Party of CanadaMadam Speaker, on January 8, Canada was deeply shocked and saddened to learn that 57 Canadians and 29 permanent residents were among the 176 victims of the downed Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752. Following this tragic event, Canada sprang into action to support the families of the victims, and we work with our partners around the world to ensure a thorough investigation.

Can the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness update the House on the funding-matching program to support these families who have experienced such great loss?

MP - Blair, Bill (Scarborough Southwest)Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for this important question and the opportunity to inform Canadians of this important initiative.

Canadians across Canada continue to mourn the victims tragically killed in the plane crash in Iran. The Canada Strong campaign has crowdsourced more than half a million dollars to support the families. Our government will match donations to this fund up to one and a half million dollars. The funds will be used to support the families of the victims as they navigate through the long-term impacts of these tragic losses.

Canada Strong and other fundraising efforts show how Canadians come together in solidarity to help their neighbours in times of need. I would encourage all Canadians to consider offering their support.

Iran (Islamic Republic of);#8043rd Parliament, 1st Session
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 7522020-01-27MP - Scheer, Andrew (Regina—Qu'Appelle)Conservative Party of CanadaMr. Speaker, on January 8, 57 Canadians lost their lives when Ukrainian Airlines flight 752 was shot down by Iranian missiles. I want to thank the Prime Minister for keeping me and the official opposition and all Canadians informed throughout the process, but there are still, of course, many unanswered questions.

Could the Prime Minister update the House as to whether there has been progress made on returning Canadian remains home and what steps are being considered to bring the perpetrators of this attack to justice?
MP - Trudeau, Justin (Papineau) Mr. Speaker, the downing of flight PS752 was truly a national tragedy, and I thank the member opposite and indeed all members in the House for supporting their communities as we all grieve through a very difficult time.

We are committed to supporting the families and loved ones, with our priorities continuing to be transparency, accountability and justice. I told President Rouhani directly that Canadians expect and demand full co-operation from Iranian authorities. That means respecting the wishes of the families in regard to burial. I can confirm that the families that have wanted burial in Canada are receiving it so far, and we continue to expect full transparency and a full investigation from Iran.
Iran (Islamic Republic of);#8043rd Parliament, 1st Session

Issues notes

Appointment of an independent legal team

Background

[REDACTED]

Canada-Iran relations

Supplementary messages

Background

Canadian Position: Iran is a destabilizing regional power. Its wide-ranging network of non-state proxies and partners, weapons proliferation, growing missile capability, hostile policies towards our partners, nuclear program and human rights practices together pose major challenges to Canada and its partners.

Canada has always had a difficult relationship with the post-Shah Iran, which have been notably strained since 2012 when Canada designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act (JVTA). The JVTA allows victims of terrorism to sue Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism and for the seizure of Iranian assets, and closed the Canadian embassy in Tehran, and expelled Iranian diplomats from Ottawa.

Canada maintains a Controlled Engagement Policy (CEP) with Iran, limiting our engagement with Iran to discussions related to consular issues, human rights in Iran; Iran’s role in the region; and Iran's nuclear programme and its non-proliferation obligations. Given our longstanding issues with the regime, Canada had maintained the CEP during a time of reciprocal diplomatic representation as well. Currently, the main issues of contention with Iran are its nuclear program, human rights record, support for extremism and militias in the region, and general animosity towards our key partners, as well difficult consular cases.

Canada’s sanctions regime

Supplementary messages

Supporting facts and figures

Background

Canada has three separate pieces of legislation authorizing the imposition of sanctions:

SEMA and the JVCFOA contain specific legal thresholds that must be met using credible, open-source information from multiple sources to make a recommendation to the Governor-in-Council (GiC) to create regulations and impose sanctions. [REDACTED] Imposing sanctions requires policy cover and follows the complete GiC regulatory process.

ATIP protected background

Commemoration

Supplementary messages

Background

[REDACTED]

An independent third party has been engaged to undertake consultations with the families of PS752 and ET302 on a memorial scholarship programme.

Transport Canada received $5.6M as part of the government’s latest budget to support consultations with the families on commemoration, which could include scholarships.

Consular response to PS752

Supplementary messages

Background

On January 8, 2020, Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran’s main airport, killing all 176 people on board. A total of 138 passengers were en route to Canada, including 55 Canadians and 30 Permanent Residents.

Forensic team report

Supplementary messages

Background

The goal of the Report is to put into the public domain unclassified information on the events that led to the downing of PS752 of which Canada has assessed. It will also put on the public record the outstanding questions that Iran must answer.

ICAO - Iran permanent representative (responsive only)

Background

An audio tape attributed to Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, was leaked in early May and was picked up in some Persian language media (Iran International). In the recording, Minister Zarif can be heard saying that the former Head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force, General Qassem Soleimani, used Iran Air to smuggle weapons into Syria to help the Assad regime. The Head of Iran Air at the time, Farhad Parvaresh, is now Iran’s Permanent Representative to ICAO.

Pursuant to the Headquarters Agreement Between the Government of Canada and the International Civil Aviation Organization, Canada must provide access (diplomatic visas, etc.) and privileges and immunities to ICAO officials and member state delegates. It is important that Canada meet its legal obligations as the host state of a UN specialized agency.

[REDACTED]

International Coordination and Response Group

Supplementary messages

Background

Canada launched the International Coordination and Response Group (CG) immediately following the downing of PS752. The Group met for the first time in person on January 16, 2020, at Canada House in London, eight days after the downing. Since the onset of the global pandemic, all meetings of the CG at the ministerial and officials’ level have taken place virtually.

The CG created several sub-committees, including the Legal Sub-Committee that has been working closely on preparations for upcoming negotiations on the common legal basis and negotiating position for the CG.

The CG signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation on July 2, 2020. The MOU indicated that Ukraine would act as the Spokesperson and Canada as the Secretariat of the CG. All members of the CG will play an active role in the negotiations.

On July 30, 2020, the CG met with Iran for a first round of discussions, focused primarily on modalities. This meeting took place in Kyiv, with Ukraine and Iran’s delegations present in the room and other members of the CG participating via video conference.

International Court of Justice

Supplementary messages

Supporting facts and figures

Background

Iran’s final safety report

Supplementary messages

Background

Iran released its final safety investigation report into the downing of PS752 on March 17, 2021, 434 days after the downing of PS752. It places blame for the downing squarely on human error committed by the operator of the surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, including a misalignment of the SAM unit. It does not address any systemic issues with respect to the management of Iranian airspace, nor with the air defence systems that may have led to the downing. It does not address the failure to notify airlines of the heightened risk of flying that day, and specifically excludes any investigation of the Iranian military as outside of the scope of an Annex 13 investigation.

On March 19, Canada delivered a statement at ICAO to express our deep concerns about the lack of convincing information and evidence included in Iran’s safety report into the downing of PS752. Many Council members subsequently intervened to support Canada’s statement.

IRGC - Listing as a terrorist entity

Supplementary messages

[REDACTED]

Launch of Canadian criminal investigation

Background

The RCMP’s role in the PS752 tragedy has principally been to assist Ukraine’s criminal investigation. To that end, the RCMP had deployed several officers to Ukraine, however, they were recalled to Canada due to COVID-19. Specifically, the RCMP has been conducting investigation interviews with the families of victims and collection of evidence. A dedicated RCMP investigation team has been established to further this statement and evidence collection, which are currently ongoing.

Pursuant to the Ministerial Direction and the Avoiding Complicity in Mistreatment by Foreign Entities Act, the RCMP is required to undertake a risk assessment process prior to international sharing of information. This ensures that no individuals are put at risk of mistreatment, harm or torture by such sharing. This is an important step, critical to ensuring the safety of all PS752 families in Canada and abroad.

In addition to supporting Ukraine’s investigation, the RCMP is investigating the complaints of harassment, intimidation and foreign interference by Iran. The RCMP also continues to work with municipal police partners in those jurisdictions where the RCMP is not the local police service.

Multilateral engagement

Supplementary messages

Background

Recent Canadian interventions at ICAO: On March 1, 2021, Minister Alghabra delivered remarks to the ICAO Council to present progress under Canada’s Safer Skies Initiative. After Iran published its accident investigation final report, Permanent Representative Claude Hurley made another statement at the ICAO Council on March 19, expressing Canada’s deep concern with the lack of convincing information and evidence presented and failure to answer critical questions.

UNGA resolution: Through difficult negotiations, Canada succeeded in having the following language included on the Fall 2020 UNGA resolution on the situation of human rights in Iran:

(A/Res/75/191) OP17. Encourages the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to cooperate with all relevant authorities on investigations into allegations of harassment and intimidation of some families of the victims of the downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight 752.

Safer Skies Initiative: Led by Transport Canada, Canada is working with ICAO, other international organizations, and experts from the civil aviation industry around the world to enhance safety and security for commercial airlines travelling in high-risk areas in order to prevent future tragedies. In July of 2020, the Safer Skies Consultative Committee was established, bringing together global aviation experts to help inform, advise, advocate for, and assist the development of international initiatives for aviation safety in or near conflict zones. From December 8 to 9, 2020, Canada hosted the inaugural Safer Skies Forum, a global event dedicated to mitigating the risks posed to civil aviation operations in conflict zones. It brought together more than 400 participants from 82 countries and 31 industry stakeholders.

Pathway to justice and accountability

Supplementary messages

Supporting facts and figures

Background

Support for PS752 families

Supplementary messages

Background

The Government has been in regular contact with the victims` families, executives of the Association of the Families of PS752 Victims, friends appointed to oversee estates, legal representatives, government consultants and academic institutions.

Global Affairs Canada maintains contact with the families via weekly emails, a monthly ministerial newsletter, and regular technical briefings. GAC also moderates calls between them and other government departments and ministers.

The families have also spoken with yourself, Ministers Champagne and Alghabra, Special Advisor Goodale and Canada’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mr. Rae. The Family Association has also met with other ministers. Families have also received technical briefings with officials from multiple departments, including Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Transport Canada, the Transportation Safety Board, RCMP and the Forensic Assessment and Examination Team.

Annex

Timeline of Canada’s response to the downing of flight PS752

2020

January 8 – Immediate Response from the Government of Canada
Prime Minister of Canada
Global Affairs Canada
Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB)
Privy Council Office (PCO)
January 9 – RCMP started coordinating next of kin notifications with local Police of Jurisdiction
January 10 – Formation of the International Coordination and Response Group (CG)
January 11 – Standing Rapid Deployment Team Deployed in Turkey, then Tehran
January 13 – TSB Confirms its Role as an Expert in Air Safety Investigation
January 14 – TSB Deployed to Iran
January 15 – Press conference by Minister Garneau and Parliamentary Secretary Alghabra to provide update on crash and announce initial government supports (mental health, expedited visas and fee waiver).
January 16
January 17
Justice Canada and Pro Bono Ontario
Immediate Financial Assistance to Families of Victims ($25,000)

Other measures to assist the families financially included:

Crisis and Counselling Support Line from Health Canada
January 18 – Improved Communication with Families
January 20 – Evening of Emotional Support organized by York Victims’ Services supported by RCMP FP Outreach
January 22 – Canada Strong Campaign
January 23 – TSB Concludes Site Visit in Iran and Meetings in Ukraine
January 29
January 31 – Ministers Garneau and Champagne meet with President of the ICAO
February 10 – 2nd CG Legal Sub-Committee
February 14 – Safer Skies Initiative
February 15 – Second Ministerial Meeting of the CG
February 25 – 3rd Teleconference of the Legal Sub-Committee
February 26 – Launch of GAC PS752 Task Force (TF)
February 28 – First Interdepartmental Call of GAC PS752 TF
March 4 – CG Virtual Ministerial Meeting
March 11 – Canada’s Response at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
March 11
March 13 – RCMP deployment to Ukraine was suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak
March 18 – 4th Teleconference of the Legal Sub-Committee
March 30 – Minister Champagne Calls Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba
March 31 – The Prime Minister announces Special Advisor for Canada’s ongoing response to the Ukraine International Airlines tragedy
April 1 – All payments under the Flight 752 Financial Assistance program have been made
April 2 – Special Advisor Goodale call with Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada
April 9 – CG Officials Call
April 10 – Ministerial Briefing with SA Goodale
April 14 – Follow-up Call between Minister Champagne and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba
April 14-15 – SA Goodale Calls with Families
April 15 – CG Virtual Ministerial Call
April 16 – 100 days since the tragedy
April 21 – Meeting of CG Transportation Safety Experts
May 5 – 5th Teleconference of the Legal Sub-Committee
May 11 – Second Interdepartmental Call of GAC PS752 TF
May 18 – Minister Champagne call with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba
May 25 – SA Goodale call with the Dutch on MH17
May 26 and 28 – Webinars organized by GAC Legal Affairs for CG officials
June 1 – CG Officials Call
June 2 – 6th Teleconference of the Legal Sub-Committee
June 10 – Statement by Minister of Transport Garneau during the ICAO Council
June 11 – Call between GAC Deputy Minister Morgan and Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister
June 16 - 7th Teleconference of the Legal Sub-Committee
June 17 – Minister of Transport’s motion in the House of Commons on PS752
June 22 – Call between Minister Champagne and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif
June 22-29 – Minister Champagne holds four video calls with the families
June 26 – Development on the Flight Recorders
June 30 – Interdepartmental Meeting on Commemoration of the Victims of Flight PS752
June 30 – 8th CG Legal Sub-Committee
July 2 – CG Ministerial Virtual Meeting
July 16
July 20
July 23
July 28 – 11th CG Legal Sub-Committee
July 30 – First Meeting of the CG and Iran on PS752 Negotiations on Reparations

Canada, Ukraine, Sweden and U.K. negotiators met with the delegation from Iran to discuss modalities on negotiations for reparations owed by Iran to the victims of Flight PS752 and the affected States.

August 4 – GAC Assistant Deputy Minister for Arctic, Europe, Middle East and Maghreb Call with Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Yenin
August 6 – Legal Briefing for Families
August 7 – Special Advisor Goodale Meeting with Family Association
August 11 – Special Advisor Goodale Discussion with Deputy Minister of Transport of Canada
August 12 – 12th CG Legal Sub-Committee
August 17 – Special Advisor Goodale Discussion with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada
August 23 – Interim Flight Recorder Readout Report
August 24 – Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Ukrainian Independence Day
September 9 – Meeting between the Prime Minister and SA Goodale
September 16 – Meeting between Canada’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva and the Special Rapporteur (SR) on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions
September 17 – 13th Teleconference of the Legal Sub-Committee
October 2 – Minister Champagne begins sending a monthly newsletter to families
October 2 – Minister Champagne announces the creation of the Forensic Examination and Assessment Team
October 5 – Family Association Rally in Ottawa and across the world
October 22 - 14th Meeting of the CG Legal Sub-Committee
October 26 – CG Officials Call
October 27 –CG Ministerial Virtual Meeting
November 6 – Minister Garneau addresses ICAO Council
December 3 – 15th Meeting of the CG Legal Sub-Committee
December 8-9 – Inaugural Safer Skies Forum
December 14 – Release of report by Special Advisor Ralph Goodale
December 15 – Call between Minister Champagne and families
December 16—Adoption of the Annual Human Rights Resolution on Iran

2021

January 7 – Virtual Commemorative Event
January 8 – One Year Anniversary of the downing
January 13 – Technical Briefing on Legal Issues for Families
February 4 - 16th Meeting of the CG Legal Sub-Committee
February 11 – CG Officials Call
February 16 - Minister Garneau call with Ukrainian Minister Kuleba
February 25 – Minister Garneau call with families
February 26 – Meeting between Minister Garneau and US Secretary of State Blinken
March 1 – Minister Alghabra addresses ICAO Council
March 4 – Minister Alghabra meeting with families
March 9 – Canada, Sweden, Ukraine, and U.K. deliver statement at Human Rights Council in Geneva
March 22 – Minister Alghabra call with Special Rapporteur Callamard
March 24 - 16th Meeting of the CG Legal Sub-Committee
March 26 – Minister Alghabra call with members of the Association of Families of Victims of Flight PS752
March 30 – Minister Garneau meeting with families
March 31 – CG Officials Call
April 21 – Minister Garneau call with Minister Atmar of Afghanistan
April 22 – Minister Garneau call with Minister Kuleba of Ukraine
April 22 – Minister Garneau call with Minister Linde of Sweden
April 26 – Minister Garneau call with Minister Cleverly of the U.K.
April 26 – Prime Minister Trudeau meeting with members of the Association of Families of Victims of Flight PS752
May 5 – PS752 included in communiqué of the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting
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