Among the many junkets Canadian MPs accepted last year from foreign governments and various lobbies was one “cultural and economic exchange” to the United Arab Emirates taken by Bloc Quebecois MP Meili Faille. The $6,000 trip was sponsored by the Muslim Association of Canada.
I don’t think MPs should be accepting any of these expenses-paid excursions, from lobby or community groups, or from foreign governments. Those paying for the trips are hoping to buy influence, or at least shift the opinions of those accepting the trips in their favour. Whether those on the receiving end of these junkets can be bought is beside the point. It looks bad.
(For similar reasons, I don’t think journalists should accept junkets either. I haven’t. There have been times when I have questioned this decision, wondering if it would be better to make a moral compromise and travel to places I might not otherwise get to. I’ve ultimately concluded it would not, but admit the temptation is there.)
Back to Maili Faille and the Muslim Association of Canada. The MAC, according to its website, “adopts and strives to implement Islam, as embodied in the Qur’an, and the teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and as understood in its contemporary context by the late Imam, Hassan Albanna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. MAC regards this ideology as the best representation of Islam as delivered by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).”
The Muslim Brotherhood is one of the primary foundation movements of modern political Islamism. Hamas is a spin-off franchise. Although it has become more moderate in recent decades, the Muslim Brotherhood’s ultimate goal is not to promote the practice of Islam within parliamentary democracies, but to create Islamic states. It is a powerful and spreading movement, and I suppose one could make the argument that Canadian MPs should learn more about it. But I’m especially uncomfortable with a group that champions Hassan al-Banna’s illiberal and anti-democratic agenda footing the bill for one of our elected representatives’ flights and hotel rooms.