Where is Fayçal El-Khoury Heading?

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Talal Taha, Montreal

In the last couple of decades, the Muslim/Arab community contributed to Canadian political life by running for political positions, voting, joining different political parties and actively participating in municipal, provincial or federal electoral mechanisms…

Their active participation brought more Lebanese, Arab or Muslim Canadians candidates in and secured them positions in municipalities, provincial legislatures, Parliament and Cabinet – a result of the great efforts that our activists made in decades to encourage our community to get involved in all levels of political life – the only way to claim our full rights. After all, our social conscience necessitates that we fulfil all responsibilities, including participation in the political process…

In the past decade, many of our community members hungered after political positions, following a common Eastern understanding; being an MP ‘is merely about’ gaining high rank and attention. But that differs from the West’s view of an MP: a public servant with legislative authorities, and the same applies to ministers and other office holders!

Among those is Mr Fayçal El-Khoury, who’s been the federal MP for the Laval—Les Îles constituency since 2015, and who came to power after Lebanese, Arab and Muslim community members of various backgrounds had made huge efforts to grant him confidence in hopes of getting him to represent their concerns, problems, dreams and aspirations for their children’s future in this country!

We’re not going to talk about the ‘achievements’ that El-Khoury has made as an MP; we’ll simply focus on two main issues, which we believe he knows very well. The first issue is our community’s main concern and is about integration and identity, which necessitate certain rights and duties, but which create concerns for us and our following generations. The second issue is about our motherlands’ national causes, chiefly the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people’s and diaspora’s rights!

Examining MP Fayçal El-Khoury’s course of action, we notice he instinctively holds Zionist viewpoints when it comes to the Palestinian cause. This is blatantly exemplified by the congratulations El-Khoury addressed to the Israeli entity on the so-called ‘Independence Day’, just days after the Nakba Day that Palestinians marked to remind the world that the Zionist entity is an illegal abuser, slaughterer and systemic expulsionist!

When journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was martyred, Mr El-Khoury remained silent, and so he did on May 15th, when Palestinians were marking the Nakba Day. But he didn’t forget to publish congratulatory Facebook posts to address other communities on their holidays!

As MP El-Khoury treats our community this way, there’s a lot to say, but we’ll briefly mention some notes re what his conduct tells about him, what it exposes to our community and what it means to the party that has delegated him to represent our community:

  • Now that he’s gained the rank of an MP, well, he can turn a blind eye to his electors and their causes and concerns about matters in Canada and their original homelands…

  • He can also believe and picture that fawning on Zionists will keep him the rank he has in the party, the House of Commons and even elsewhere…

  • He can create distance between him and his community members, Palestine and martyr Shireen… Well, that’s his choice!

  • All the choices aforementioned are solely his and by no means do they represent out community…

  • As regards our community, they must be first thanked for taking the time to vote and caring about electing community candidates; they have done so in hopes of getting good representation and enough interest in their causes to get that discussed in provincial legislatures or in Parliament!

  • Our community, however, are asked to consider matters thoughtfully and examine carefully any candidates that would eventually represent the community in different political ranks. Our community need to make sure those candidates are credible and immune to lures or pressures that make them betray the community’s will (as in the case of the Palestinian cause)!

  • Therefore, our community need to distinguish between capable, forthright and trustworthy candidates and pretenders that crave ranks, influence and even money!

  • To make such candidates available, our community need to join political parties and take action to influence the parties’ decision-making policies…

  • Our community might be asked to create their own political-action platforms by organising matters and conducting research and studies. Then political actions would be turned into science and administration rather than being dependent on individual initiatives and abhorrent, destructive desires, just like some of our community representatives’ nowadays!

  • The Liberal Party, to which MP El-Khoury belongs, claims that El-Khoury indeed represents us within the party and in Parliament. We conversely say that he doesn’t represent us, or at least that he doesn’t represent our community’s great majority!

  • And so we ask all parties, especially the Liberals, to consult with our community institutions and prominent figures and activists, whenever it’s about selecting candidates that would represent our community in different ranks…

  • That might require continuous communication with political parties and a real understanding in order to resolve many controversies. Joint work can be done to maintain the necessary ruling system and people’s choices!

Again, we confirm that we believe that any parliamentarian in Canada – just like Canadians believe – represents people, fulfils a legislative role and sincerely and resolutely communicates people’s concerns to provincial parliaments or the House of Commons!

The concerns we used to have at homeland – paving village roads, getting our children to join gendarmerie/military forces, providing social-security funds for hospitalised patients, as well as providing our neighbourhoods with water and electricity – are no longer our concerns! After all, provincial governments, municipalities, ministries and public-service facilities in Canada provide all that.   

Our causes are much more important than that; we’re especially concerned with fighting issues like Islamophobia, the unjust treatment that some of our community members are receiving at airports, the double-standard policies by which Canada’s treating our homelands, the depravedness of some Zionist lobbies and their pressures (including financial pressure), in addition to the submissiveness that some Canadian official bodies are showing when dealing with some of our community institutions or activists (as labelling them terrorists or anti-Semites once it’s about criticising Israel or advocating  for the Palestinian cause)!

MP Fayçal El-Khoury, you’ve put salt on the wound. And no matter what excuses you make to avoid blame, what we’re asking for isn’t about trivial issues as paving roads, as we’ve said, but it’s about denouncing martyring Shireen Abu Akleh in a post on the same platform that you used to congratulate Zionists on a deluding occasion…   

We need someone who represents us, not pretends he/she does!