January 31, 2017 10:37 am
Updated: January 31, 2017 1:44 pm

Donald Trump’s travel ban to take centre stage in House of Commons Tuesday

WATCH ABOVE: Canadians protest President Donald Trump's travel ban from seven majority-Muslim countries

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U.S. President Donald Trump’s contentious travel ban is set to hit the floor of the House of Commons Tuesday evening when MPs launch into an emergency debate on the issue.

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“I never imagined in my entire life that I would witness a democratic country, much less our closest ally and neighbour, come forward with a ban that is based on race, religion and your place of birth,” said NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan, who initiated the debate with a request to the House Speaker Sunday.

House Speaker Geoff Regan decided the debate could go forward following a weekend of confusion and protest for many, and cancelled flights and detention on U.S ground for others.

READ MORE: Iranian University of Manitoba student stopped from travelling to present at U.S. conference

Kwan’s intention with tonight’s debate, she said, is to understand exactly how the temporary American ban on people coming from seven Muslim-majority countries will affect Canadians, including those with permanent residency status.

She also wants the House to hear what the Liberal government plans to do about Trump’s ban.

“There is no question that this ban promotes hate and intolerance,” Kwan told reporters Tuesday morning. “Canada must step up to do its part.”

Kwan, who announced her intention to request an emergency debate just hours before the country was rocked by the massacre at a Quebec City mosque, had initially wanted the House to address the issue as its first order of business upon return from the winter break yesterday.

READ MORE: ‘Make no mistake – this was a terrorist attack,’ prime minister tells Muslim Canadians

The Commons closed the doors early Monday, however, so members could mourn and honour the six victims shot to death while praying.

Ahead of tonight’s debate, Kwan laid out some actions she and the NDP want to see the government take:

  • Lift the 1,000-application cap for private sponsorship of Syrian refugees in Canada.
  • Fast track refugee applications approved in the U.S. prior to the start of the ban on Friday, or whose U.S. applications were near completion.
  • Work with international community to address shortfall of refugee resettlement resources.
  • Immediately suspend the “safe third country” agreement between Canada and the U.S., which would open the door for refugees in the States to seek asylum in Canada.

WATCH: NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice says emergency debate is positive to discuss Trump’s travel bans

“As we enter into this debate tonight, we want to make sure we come forward with a plan the government can implement,” Kwan said.

In his most sweeping decision since taking office Jan. 20, Trump on Friday signed an executive order putting an indefinite hold on allowing Syrian refugees into the United States, a four-month hold on accepting refugees from all other countries, and a three-month ban on travel for people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

WATCH: Protest erupt at U.S. airports as Donald Trump’s travel ban takes effect

Late Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office said they’d spoken with members of the Trump administration who told them the ban will not affect anyone holding a Canadian passport, including dual citizens.

Kwan says many questions remain about whether they will be subject to additional screening and delays and whether Canada will take in a greater number of refugees.

READ MORE: Canadians with dual citizenship won’t be affected by Donald Trump travel ban

“An emergency debate would allow parliamentarians to address this unacceptable situation and allow the Government of Canada to hear suggestions from parliamentarians and develop and implement a response strategy,” Kwan said.

Trump, a businessman who successfully tapped into American fears about terror attacks during his campaign, had promised what he called “extreme vetting” of immigrants and refugees from areas the White House said the U.S. Congress deemed to be high risk.

WATCH: White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said that the Trump administration may add more countries to the travel ban

Trump, a businessman who successfully tapped into American fears about terror attacks during his campaign, had promised what he called “extreme vetting” of immigrants and refugees from areas the White House said the U.S. Congress deemed to be high risk.

READ MORE: “I feel sub-human”: The faces of Donald Trump’s travel ban

He told reporters in the White House’s Oval Office on Saturday that his order was “not a Muslim ban” and said the measures were long overdue.

The emergency debate is scheduled to begin Tuesday evening at 7:30.

With files from The Canadian Press and Reuters

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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