Jim Metcalfe – Pace Law Firm: Maryam Monsef, the federal Minister of Democratic Institutions, has been “outed” because she was not born in Afghanistan but in Iran:
Canadian immigration lawyers say Democratic Reform Minister Maryam Monsef could suffer consequences if her refugee or citizenship applications included false information.
“It’s extraordinarily serious,” Toronto immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann said. “From a strictly legal point of view – and I’m assuming cabinet ministers want to observe the law – she is a person right now who has citizenship through fraud. It may be intentional or unintentional, but her citizenship in Canada right now is open to attack.”
Peterborough Liberal MP Monsef was previously known as Canada’s first Afghan parliamentarian, having come here from Afghanistan as an 11-year-old refugee in 1996. However, she now says she only recently learned from her mother that she was in fact born in Iran. She reportedly spent time in Iran until the age of nine.
Opposition Conservatives are now making a fuss over Monsef’s birthplace, particularly one prospective leader for the leadership of the Conservative party. There are calls for an investigation, which could result in Monsef’s citizenship coming into question.
Let’s slow down a bit.
Maryam Monsef Controversy
The reported facts are that when Monsef’s mother applied for refugee status in Canada, she indicated that her minor daughter Maryam was born not in Iran but in Afghanistan. It should be noted that her application for refugee status and permanent residence in Canada were all processed in Canada.
Personally, I cannot get excited about a misstatement as to where Monsef was born. She and her family were fleeing persecution in a Taliban-held part of Afghanistan, a place not known for its stellar treatment of girls and women. Even if she was born in Iran, she has always been considered Afghan.
Monsef was a young girl when she came to Canada. She said that her mother never told her that she was born in Afghanistan and not Iran. If your mother told you that you were born in England and not, say, Scotland, would you have any reason to doubt her? Do you think that you should be sent to Scotland at age 30 because of it?
Let Monsef Get Back To Work
I presume that government officials will review her file give her a pass on her mother’s statement. She was considered an Afghan by Iran and she clearly travelled to Canada on an Afghan passport. I imagine her mother is one of many Afghans who fled Afghanistan and found safety in Iran and subsequently moved on to make a refugee application in Canada and elsewhere. In terms of Maryam Monsef’s Canadian story, it really does not make a difference where she was born.
I hope that this story will fade very quickly. There are more important matters to be considered in Canada at the national level and this so-called misrepresentation is a minor blip on the radar screen. Let Maryam Monsef concentrate on the job that Canadians elected her to do.