(Ottawa) International Development Minister Harjit Sajan faces criticism from the opposition for failing to make a public statement on human rights during his FIFA World Cup visit to Qatar.
NDP spokeswoman Heather McPherson on foreign affairs said, “If we don’t raise the issue of human rights when we’re in countries where we know human rights abuses happen, we have no moral authority.”
Mr. Sagan attended the World Cup on behalf of the Trudeau government, as Canada’s men’s team competed there for the first time in years. He met US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and local officials.
However, Sajjan’s social media posts do not refer to the host country’s mistreatment of migrant workers – documented – or the emirate’s anti-LGBTQ policies.
These concerns have prompted some broadcasters and players to sport armbands that read “One Love”. Meanwhile, the German team covered their mouths when their official photo was taken.
Sagan’s office responded that he was not available Thursday for comment while he was returning to Canada.
Labor Secretary Seamus O’Regan, who is gay, said he felt divided on the issue.
I’ll be honest, this is very divisive. I support my team, I support my country and (I just want) the best. But I’ll tell you it’s a little tricky.
Seamus O’Regan, Secretary of Labor
Mr. O’Regan added that he could not speak for Mr. Sajan, but noted that the government had expressed concerns about Qatar before the event began.
“We know exactly where we are; we have made our displeasure clear.”
The National Party had called for a diplomatic boycott of the soccer World Cup.
“This government has shown once again that it really does not care about human rights,” the lady added.I McPherson.
On Monday, lawmakers passed a unanimous motion condemning soccer’s world governing body FIFA for threatening sanctions against players who wore “One Love” armbands. The motion argued that “international sports institutions have a moral obligation to support players and fans in furthering the fight for equality and combating homophobia, transphobia and all forms of discrimination in sport.”
The captains of several European teams have canceled plans to wear the “One Love” armband after FIFA warned they would face penalties on the field.
Qatari media also said that some fans wearing rainbow costumes were denied entry to the stadiums.
This month, Amnesty International criticized Canada’s soccer organization for its “deafening silence” on thousands of workers, mostly from South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa, who “were victims of abuse, extremely low wages and other forms of exploitation.”
Soccer Canada issued a statement last month supporting the ongoing reforms, but avoided criticizing the principality.
Amnesty indicated that counterpart federations in Britain, the United States, France and the Netherlands supported calls for the establishment of a compensation fund for migrant workers who were subjected to abuse during Qatar’s preparations for the World Cup.
The Conservative Party has not commented directly on Mr Sagan’s actions. Instead, MP Michael Chung said his party would prefer countries with a better reputation to host the World Cup, citing Ukraine’s bid to host the 2030 tournament with Spain and Portugal.
“The Conservatives condemn in the strongest terms all human rights abuses around the world and stand ready to work with our democratic allies to uphold human rights,” Chung wrote in a statement.
The Bloc of Quebec has also called for a diplomatic boycott and denounced Mr. Sajjan’s presence in Qatar. “Canada has no excuse for turning a blind eye to human rights abuses,” Representative Martin Champux wrote on Twitter Monday.
During the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, liberals urged the Harper government to raise the issue of human rights in China.
“Food trailblazer. Passionate troublemaker. Coffee fanatic. General analyst. Certified creator. Lifelong music expert. Alcohol specialist.”