Laith Marouf as soon as barred from re-entering Canada, interviewed by CSIS February 13, 2023
Laith Marouf, an anti-racism marketing consultant on the centre of a scandal over a sequence of tweets about “Jewish White Supremacists,” was barred from re-entering Canada from Syria in 2009 and interviewed by a Canadian intelligence official on the embassy in Damascus.
The FBI additionally questioned the American grandmother of Mr. Marouf’s associate, Gretchen King, about his utility to stay in Canada as a everlasting resident, Mr. Marouf instructed The Globe and Mail.
“I used to be delayed for six weeks, after which referred to as in to the Canadian embassy in Damascus. Once I arrived, I came upon I used to be alone within the constructing with a CSIS agent,” he stated. “The three-hour interview included gems like ‘what do you assume is the answer to the Indigenous drawback?’ and ‘do you assume Indigenous folks have the suitable to hold arms?’ ”
On Monday, the Commons Heritage committee will resume its inquiry into federal funding of the Group Media Advocacy Centre and Mr. Marouf, who’s a marketing consultant with CMAC. MPs plan to ask what checks have been made between authorities businesses and departments to vet Mr. Marouf.
Melissa Lantsman, deputy chief of the Conservative Social gathering who sits on the committee, stated the revelation raises “severe questions” not nearly Ottawa’s vetting course of for teams receiving public cash however about “how many individuals within the authorities of Canada knew about this particular person and for a way lengthy.”
CMAC is a non-profit that was awarded a $133,000 anti-racism contract final yr by the Division of Canadian Heritage.
After Mr. Marouf’s tweets emerged final summer time deriding “Jewish White Supremacists,” francophones, and Black and Indigenous public figures, Variety and Inclusion Minister Ahmed Hussen cancelled the contract and instructed CMAC to return the funding.
Mr. Hussen pledged to enhance the division’s vetting course of to ensure it doesn’t fund teams espousing hatred.
Mr. Marouf, who had lived in Canada since he was a teen, stated he was delayed from returning to Montreal though he had a piece allow and short-term residency. He had gone to go to members of the family in Jordan and Syria within the fall of 2009.
Mr. Marouf launched a authorized problem in Federal Courtroom to the choice to not enable him to return, which was dropped after he was permitted to re-enter Canada by the start of February, 2010.
He alleged that former Alberta premier Jason Kenney, who was federal citizenship and immigration minister on the time, had personally intervened to delay him from re-entering the nation and gaining everlasting residency.
Mr. Marouf alleged that this was as a result of he grew to become “the media face” of a tour by firebrand British MP George Galloway, who was beforehand denied entry to Canada when Mr. Kenney was minister. A Federal Courtroom decide discovered that the Conservative authorities had acted politically to suppress the British politician’s views.
Mr. Kenney adamantly denied Mr. Marouf’s claims as “absurd” and stated he had no information of him. He stated he had requested Damascus to enhance vetting of individuals making an attempt to enter Canada, fearing that some have been utilizing Syria as a route into Canada, together with from Iran.
He stated if the immigration authorities see “sure flags on a file or have safety issues” they may go to CSIS or associate businesses overseas however “none of that enterprise goes to the minister of immigration.”
“It’s ridiculous the notion that the minister of immigration can name over to CSIS and inform them to interview any individual. It simply doesn’t work like that. It’s absurd,” Mr. Kenney stated in an interview. “I can say categorically that I used to be not concerned on this particular person’s utility.”
The Globe has seen e-mails that Mr. Marouf despatched from Syria to Canadians asking for assist whereas he was stranded in Syria.
Mr. Marouf, who denies that he’s antisemitic, was dwelling in Canada on a Non permanent Resident Allow, which might be issued by an immigration officer to individuals who don’t meet the necessities for coming into the nation.
Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland stated a TRP may very well be “pulled at any time and for any causes. It’s a extremely discretionary merchandise.”
Mr. Marouf, who was granted a Canadian passport in 2020, stated: “A TRP is quite common“ and issued to spouses of Canadian residents whereas their everlasting residency is processed.
“What was uncommon was the very fact I used to be ordered to obtain a counterfoil in my passport whereas I used to be exterior the nation, after which they have been refusing to problem it for six weeks,” he stated. ” I and my attorneys have been by no means given any explanations; and the counterfoil was issued with out clarification, simply as I used to be barred with out clarification”
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada stated it doesn’t touch upon particular circumstances. It stated an individual could also be refused entry to Canada on safety grounds, for human-rights violations, criminality, monetary causes, misrepresentation and having an inadmissible member of the family.
The Heritage Division, CSIS and the FBI declined to remark.
Shimon Koffler Fogel, President and CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, stated there have been “systematic failures which resulted in CMAC – and, via them, Laith Marouf – accessing authorities funding.”
“Somebody like this could not fall via the bureaucratic cracks,” he stated.