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Mendicino to testify at Senate after Houses passes Afghanistan aid bill

OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino is set to testify this evening on a bill meant to unblock Canadian aid in Afghanistan, just hours after it passed the House.

Bill C-41 would amend terrorism laws to allow Canadian aid organizations to work in Afghanistan.

Terrorism laws currently bar Canadian aid workers from paying taxes for any labour or goods in Afghanistan, as doing so could lead to prosecution for supporting the governing Taliban, which has been designated a terrorist group.

The bill would allow development workers, such as those building schools, to apply for exemptions to do their work, and would enact a blanket exemption for humanitarian workers providing life-saving aid.

The NDP withheld support for the bill, arguing that it’s unprecedented and unacceptable to require aid groups to seek government permission to do their work abroad.

Mendicino will appear at the Senate human-rights committee this evening as the Red Chamber considers the bill, which the Liberals are hoping to pass before the parliamentary summer break.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2023.

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press

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