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House of Commons unanimously passes motion to strip Aung San Suu Kyi’s honourary citizenship

Thursday - 27/09/2018 17:29
Thursday’s Bloc motion reasserted that position, and then stated: “...that the House revokes the honorary Canadian citizenship granted to Aung San Suu Kyi in 2007.”
Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi addresses participants during the opening session of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN, in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Sept. 12, 2018.  BULLIT MARQUEZ/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi addresses participants during the opening session of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN, in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Sept. 12, 2018. BULLIT MARQUEZ/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The House of Commons unanimously approved a motion to strip Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary Canadian citizenship.

The support from all parties in the House of Commons came one day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested the question was one for Parliament to resolve.

Bloc Québécois MP Gabriel Ste-Marie introduced the motion Thursday afternoon following Question Period and it received unanimous consent, meaning no standing vote was required.

Earlier this week while attending the United Nations in New York, Mr. Trudeau opened the door to a “conversation” about whether Ms. Suu Kyi’s citizenship should be revoked in light of the humanitarian crisis that has caused 725,000 Rohingya to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh over the past year.

The Canadian government has faced growing pressure to revoke Ms. Suu Kyi’s honorary status over her failure to protect the Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority in Myanmar. Last week, the House of Commons passed a motion declaring the Rohingya crisis a genocide.

Thursday’s Bloc motion reasserted that position, and then stated: “...that the House revokes the honorary Canadian citizenship granted to Aung San Suu Kyi in 2007.”

Liberal MP Andrew Leslie, the parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, said the motion was the result of private discussions among the parties and was “fully expected” by the government benches.

“This is new ground,” Mr. Leslie told reporters. "Keeping in mind that this is the will of Parliament – now the machinery of government will actually chew over the details of what specifically is required to implement [the motion].”

A UN fact-finding mission recently faulted Ms. Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, for failing to use her position, or her “moral authority,” to stem the Myanmar military’s violence against the Rohingya. The report also called on the international community to investigate and prosecute Myanmar’s top military officials for “genocidal intent.” Ms. Suu Kyi does not have any control over the military under the country’s constitution.

There is no precedent for revoking an honorary Canadian citizenship. In 2007, the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion, tabled by then-prime minister Stephen Harper, to grant Ms. Suu Kyi honorary citizenship.

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