It was my intent this week to cover the topic of employer provided health benefits potentially being taxed by the Liberal Government. This is by far the largest single issue that I have heard from constituents since the beginning of this Parliament; however that is not surprising given recent media reports that the Conference Board of Canada estimated a family earning $45,000 annually could end up paying an extra $1,167 a year in Federal taxes. This study was based on a family from Ontario, however it is understandable why many Canadians are deeply concerned about the potential for such a substantial federally imposed taxation increase. This is a subject I will cover in greater detail in a future report.
The subject that needs to be addressed this week is the senseless and brutal violence that took the lives of six Canadians at a Quebec City mosque. The intent of my report is more than to simply condemn this brutal and unacceptable violence that has no place in Canadian society. I would also like to pass on some troubling observations. If you followed the reporting of this incident closely you will know that many credible news organizations reported unverified information that included details such as multiple suspects and in some cases names were even published– all prior to official information being released by the police. The trouble I have with this is that when a name is publicized by media that suggests it could be a more common name from a Muslim populated country there is immediate speculation that the event in question may be some form of Jihadi inspired terrorism.
Had this tragedy been committed by a recently arrived refugee indeed very serious concerns would be raised about the integrity of our refugee vetting process and inevitably would also raises suspicions and weaken public trust at the thought other potential terrorists may have also slipped into Canada through the cracks. This can compromise, undermine and overlook that refugees come to Canada to escape these very things and is counterproductive to building the strong and diversified Canada that we all collectively celebrate on July 1st of every year.
We now know, thanks to verified information from the police, that the only suspect involved in this disturbing indecent is a University student born and raised in Quebec. While I will credit news organizations like CBC for quickly correcting the record, I would also like to point out considering our societal sensitivity to these tragedies it is critically important that we not rush to get out details that may be misleading or worse as we saw were completely incorrect. In other words it`s important to take the time to wait for official police information and refrain from reporting unverified information that can lead to dangerous speculation.
I would also like to take a moment to extend sincere condolences to the family and friends who have lost loved ones in this senseless tragedy. I know in all parts of Canada, there is collective grieving with many vigils to show unity against this brutal act of disturbing violence, terrorism and hate related crime. Our diversity in Canada is part of what makes us stronger as a nation. May we always live in a country where we stand united to defend those values. I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.