Majid Jowhari is a Liberal politician who represents the riding of Richmond Hill, Ontario, in the House of Commons of Canada. He was elected in the 2015 federal election and is the first federal nominee and candidate of Iranian heritage.
During the election campaign of 2019, four Liberal candidates sent out an email questioning Jowhari: Reza Moridi, former Liberal MPP, Richmond Hill and former Ontario Minister of Research, Innovation and Science; Bryon Wilfert, former Liberal Richmond Hill MP; Sarkis Assadourian, former Liberal MP, Brampton Centre; and Richard Rupp, former president of Richmond Hill Federal Liberal Association.
“While we remain committed to the Liberal Party of Canada and liberal values, coming to this decision was not an easy one. However based on a review of the Liberal candidate’s record and of various media reports regarding some of his activities over the past four years, we came to the regrettable conclusion that we simply could not vote for him.”
In 2017 Iranian-Canadians were expressing shock and concern over reports that Jowhari was lobbying for friendlier relations with the Iranian regime.
Keep in mind Prime Minister Trudeau had campaigned on the issue of re-opening the embassy. Some Canadian sanctions against Iran had already been lifted, as of February 2016. Canada had also downgraded its warning against all travel to Iran.
Iranian expatriates don’t seem to agree with Jowhari or Trudeau. They are worried that a terrorist organization is being welcomed into Canada and may even be infiltrating the country with “spies” with support from this local politician.
Back in 2012, Iranian diplomat Hamid Mohammadi had said there were many Iranian-Canadians “working in influential government positions” and called on others to “occupy high-level and key positions.”
Jowhari sponsored a petition organized by the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) to push for re-opening the Iranian embassy and re-establish relations. He had meetings with Iranian parliamentarians to discuss setting up a parliamentary friendship group between the two countries, as well as re-opening Tehran’s shuttered embassy in Ottawa. The Iranian delegation included people with strong links to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC), the enforcers of the ayatollahs’ regime.
With the removal of Gen. Qassem Solomeini all of us have become far more aware of the threat of the IRCG to the world.
Richmond Hill resident Hamid Gharajeh shared his concerns:
“We escaped the atrocities and now we see all those elements following us here. He is opening the door to elements who can come here and spy on our people. It is a matter of life and death for their families in Iran and they don’t know what to do because they can’t speak out.”
“The fear is real. The threat is real,” said Richmond Hill resident Faramarz Shiravand. “The regime doesn’t joke around.”
In a letter sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, several Richmond Hill residents said they did not want to be represented by someone who is “working in the interest of a foreign country.”
“Majid Jowhari should be replaced by someone who puts Canada’s interest first … and he should keep distance from those engaged in crimes against humanity.”
That was 2017.
On Dec. 30, 2018 as the protests in Iran were building, Jowhari put out two tweets containing Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s official statement supporting the right of Iranians to protest
Jowhari added his own thoughts.
“As our government is closely monitoring the ongoing protests in Iran; it is my sincere hope that the brave nation of #Iran have the opportunity to air their legitimate financial, social and political concerns with the support of their elected government, in a secure environment and without the fear of persecution.”
The suggestion that the government in Iran is elected disturbed the Iranian community. The suggestion that Iranians were allowed to protest “with the support of the government” rang false because one of the most popular chants, as heard in videos of the protests emerging from Iranian cities, has been “marg bar diktator” or “death to the dictator.”
Sima Tajdini, a former board member of the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC), pointed out that Jowhari has never attended the yearly memorial for the victims of the 1988 Khavaran massacre. One would have expected his appearance considering it is held in Richmond Hill, where Jowhari is an MP.
Why did Prime Minister Trudeau welcome him back to run again in 2019? Did the Liberals investigate the concerns shared by Iranian Canadians?
One can only hope, as there have been no statements from our Prime Minister.
The Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”