Hon. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to present three separate petitions today.
The first is a petition on behalf of Canadians who are calling on the Government of Canada and members of Parliament to take note of the human rights violations perpetrated in Venezuela by the government of President Nicolás Maduro, including the criminalization of dissent, the shuttering of independent media and the imprisonment of opposition leaders.
The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to further study the human rights situation in Venezuela, including a mission to conduct first-hand evaluations of the situation there.
This is a particularly timely petition as opposition leader Leopoldo López and former San Cristobal mayor Daniel Ceballos have embarked upon a hunger strike to protest their imprisonment and that of other opponents of the regime.
Mr. Speaker, the second petition is on behalf of Canadians who wish the government to apologize to Dr. David Shugar for the human and civil rights violations he suffered, including serious damage to his reputation and loss of employment as a result of false accusations that he was a Communist spy in 1946.
The petitioners call on the government to submit a letter of apology to Dr. Shugar who, as a result of these civil rights abuses, and despite being exonerated of all the accusations against him, was summarily dismissed from his position with the federal Department of National Health and Welfare, unable to secure employment and forced to emigrate to Poland where he resides today. He is close to 100 years of age.