Amir Khadir

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Amir Khadir
Amir Khadir 2012-08-09 C.jpg
MNA for Mercier
Incumbent
Assumed office
2008
Preceded by Daniel Turp
Personal details
Born (1961-06-12) 12 June 1961 (age 53)
Tehran, Iran
Political party Québec Solidaire
Spouse(s) Nima Machouf
Residence Montreal
Alma mater Université de Montréal, McGill University, Université Laval
Profession microbiologist

Amir Khadir (Persian: امیر خدیر‎; born June 12, 1961) is a Canadian politician in the National Assembly of Quebec (MNA), Canada for the electoral district of Mercier, and the first male spokesperson for Québec Solidaire, a sovereigntist and left-wing political party which was created by the merger of the Union des Forces Progressistes and Option Citoyenne, a feminist political movement, in February 2006.

On December 8, 2008, Khadir became the first, and at that time, only elected representative for Québec Solidaire in the general election in Quebec. In 2012, Françoise David was elected in Gouin, making her the second elected representative for Québec Solidaire.

In November 2012, Khadir stepped down as co-spokesperson, to allow the party to choose a new co-spokesperson from outside of the legislature, in keeping with party statutes.[1] "It's the logical next step. First, for a party that considers itself feminist, it would be fairly contradictory to finally have a female deputy of Françoise's quality in the National Assembly and not have her be the spokesperson," Khadir said.

Biography[edit]

He was born in Tehran, Iran in 1961 and emigrated to Canada at the age of ten.[2] He was involved in many humanitarian organizations such as Médecins du Monde.

He studied physics at the Université de Montréal and McGill University, and medicine at Université Laval.

A medical specialist in infectious microbiology, he practices at the Centre hospitalier Pierre-Le-Gardeur in Lachenaie. Khadir is a member of the Coalition des Médecins pour la Justice Sociale (Coalition of Doctors for Social Justice), which opposes the privatization of the Quebec health system. He has led missions to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Palestinian territories for Médecins du Monde and until 2004 presided over the administrative council of SUCO (Solidarité-Union-Coopération).

Khadir is married to Nima Machouf. They have three children, named Daria, Yalda and Leyli.[2] During the 2012 Quebec student protests, Yalda, along with several other demonstrators, was arrested for blocking the Champlain Bridge on March 12 and again on May 15 for blocking the Jacques Cartier Bridge.[3]

Activism[edit]

Khadir worked with the Yes side in the 1980 sovereignty referendum.[4]

Khadir was a member of the Rassemblement pour une alternative politique (RAP) from its inception in 1997 and took part in the founding of the Union des Forces Progressistes in June 2002 and at one point was the spokesperson for the party.

In the fall of 2005, Khadir signed the Manifesto for a Québec based on solidarity.[5]

In August 2010, Khadir was a signatory of an open letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy urging that France pay almost $23-billion in slavery reparations to help Haiti rebuild following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[6]

Boycott of Le Marcheur[edit]

In December 2010, Khadir participated in protests organized by the Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU) that were held outside of the Boutique Le Marcheur, a shoe store in Montreal, because the store sells shoes made in Israel. The protesters stated that they would continue to demonstrate outside the store until it stops selling shoes made in Israel. The store's owners, Yves Archambault and Ginette Auger, dismissed the protest, stating that “No one – no one is going to dictate to me what to sell.”[7] Archambault sharply criticized Khadir, stating that he found it "horrible” that his MNA representative was verbally inciting customers not to enter his store. Archambault responded that Israeli products constitute only 2% of his store's goods, but announced that he would not give in to the protesters' demands.[8][9]

On February 9, 2011, a motion was brought forward in the Quebec National Assembly to condemn the boycott of Le Marcheur. Khadir was the sole MNA to vote against it and prevent its being debated (unanimity is required for such a motion to go to debate). Several members of the National Assembly’s other three parties: François Bonnardel of the Action Démocratique du Québec, Parti Québécois MNA Martin Lemay and Liberal party member Lawrence Bergman subsequently visited the store to show their support and demonstrate their opposition to the boycott.[10]

Khadir later defended his support for boycotts of Israeli products but insisted there had been a "terrible misunderstanding" between himself and Archambault. Khadir denied that he asked people not to enter the store but stated that he only informed customers about the boycott.[9] Khadir subsequently claimed that he misunderstood the nature of the protest, despite the clear message on the pamphlet he held while taking part (the pamphlet said “Boycott Le Marcheur” and vowed to continue the campaign until the store stopped selling Israeli products). Khadir also stated that he now regrets taking part and that he wants people to boycott the products, not the merchant. In an email release, Khadir stated that “I would have hoped the owner would be sensitive to the ethical issues of business and would join the boycott, but that is not the case, which is his right.”[11]

Former federal cabinet minister David Kilgour rejected the PAJU boycott as illogical and said, "someone indicated earlier that what is really going on here is ‘anti-Semitism’ pure and simple”[12]

Provincial politics[edit]

Along with fellow QS spokesperson Françoise David, Khadir is currently one of the two most prominent members of Québec solidaire, a left-wing party whose province-wide support was 6.03 percent in the 2012 Quebec election.

He ran for a seat in the National Assembly of Quebec in the Montreal-based district of Mercier against Daniel Turp of the Parti Québécois in the 2003, 2007 and 2008 elections.

On his first attempt, he finished third with 18% of the vote under the Union des forces progressistes party line. During Khadir's second bid, the first as part of the newly formed Québec Solidaire, he placed second, with 29% of the vote.

In 2008, Khadir won the seat and became the first Québec Solidaire candidate elected. He garnered 39% of the vote.[13] During that campaign, Khadir received the endorsement of Robert Perreault, a former PQ cabinet member who represented the district from 1994 to 2000.[14]

A poll conducted for the newspapers Le Devoir and The Montreal Gazette in early December 2010, established that Khadir was the most popular politician in Québec, with an approval rating of 45%.[15]

Opposition to Khomeini[edit]

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service investigated Khadir and his family because of their support for the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI), an organization that opposed the government of Ayatollah Khomeini and which faced fierce repression by the Iranian government. Khadir declared in an interview that he was very involved in the movement saying "I was the main facilitator of the opponents of the mullahs regime" but that in the mid-1980s he took his distance from this organization because he disagreed with their "autocratic turn" and their support for violence against the Iranian regime.[16] The United States in 1997, The Council of the European Union in 2002, Canada in 2005, Iraq, and Iran have designated the PMOI a terrorist organization.[17][18] On January 26, 2009, the Council of the European Union removed the PMOI from the EU terror list. The group said it was the outcome of a “seven-year-long legal and political battle”.[19][20][21][22]

Opposition to 2011 Royal tour[edit]

In a 2011 interview, Khadir expressed his opposition towards the use of tax dollars for an upcoming royal tour through Montreal and Quebec City by the newlywed Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, referring to them as "parasites".[23]

Criticism of the United States[edit]

Khadir has also expressed criticism of the Bush administration's policies, throwing his shoes at a picture of the president outside the U.S. Consulate at a protest in Montreal in December 2008. The event was supposed to symbolically replicate Muntadhar al-Zaidi's shoe throwing attempt at the President in Iraq. He and other protesters then headed to the Canadian Forces recruitment centre on Sainte Catherine Street and threw shoes at a photograph of American president George W. Bush.[24] Khadir was accused of betraying the "dignity and responsibilities of a[n] MNA," though Khadir himself says his constituents expected nothing less.[25]

Electoral record[edit]

Quebec general election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Québec solidaire Amir Khadir 13,228 46.19 -0.75
Liberal Richard Sagala 6,593 23.02 +9.52
Parti Québécois Sylvie Legault 5,872 20.5 -3.05
Coalition Avenir Québec Alain Clavet 2,400 8.38 -2.63
Option nationale Martin Servant 228 0.8 -1.58
Bloc Pot Hate's Deslandes 189 0.66
Independent Roger Hughes 129 0.45
Total valid votes 28,639 98.75
Total rejected ballots 362 1.25
Turnout 29,001 72.41 -3.86
Electors on the lists 40,052
Quebec general election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Québec solidaire Amir Khadir 14,164 46.73 +8.84
Parti Québécois Jean Poirier 7,137 23.55 -10.87
Liberal Anne Pâquet 4,091 13.50 -7.84
Coalition Avenir Québec Julie Boncompain 3,336 11.01 +8.52*
Green David Kovaks 859 2.83 -0.77
Option nationale Nicolas Payne 722 2.38
Total valid votes 30,309 99.18
Total rejected ballots 252 0.82
Turnout 30,561 76.27 +20.25
Electors on the lists 40,069

* Result compared to Action démocratique

Quebec general election, 2008: Mercier
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Québec solidaire Amir Khadir 8,597 37.89 +8.51
Parti Québécois Daniel Turp 7,787 34.32 +0.97
Liberal Catherine Émond 4,842 21.34 +1.52
Green Olivier Adam 818 3.60 -4.88
Action démocratique Élisa Fortin-Toutant 565 2.49 -5.93
Parti indépendantiste Jean-Marc Labrèche 83 0.37
Total valid votes 22,692 99.02
Total rejected ballots 224 0.98
Turnout 22,916 56.02
Electors on the lists 40,907
Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.
Quebec general election, 2007: Mercier
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Parti Québécois Daniel Turp 9,426 33.35 -11.91
Québec solidaire Amir Khadir 8,303 29.38 +11.46
Liberal Nathalie Rochefort 5,601 19.82 -8.74
Green Sylvain Valiquette 2,398 8.48
Action démocratique Gabriel Tupula Yamba 2,381 8.42 +2.12
Bloc Pot Nicky Tanguay 156 0.55 -1.42
Total valid votes 28,265 99.17
Total rejected ballots 237 0.83
Turnout 28,502 69.32
Electors on the lists 41,115
Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.
Quebec general election, 2003: Mercier
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Parti Québécois Daniel Turp 13,334 45.26 +16.64
Liberal Nathalie Rochefort 8,414 28.56 -6.10
UFP Amir Khadir 5,278 17.92 -
Action démocratique Vivian Goulder 1,855 6.30 +0.03
Bloc Pot Lyne Rivard 579 1.97 -3.21
Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.

Earlier, in the federal election of 2000, Khadir ran as a Bloc Québécois candidate in the riding of Outremont. He received 28% of the vote and finished second against Liberal incumbent Martin Cauchon.


Canadian federal election, 2000: Outremont
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal Martin Cauchon 18,796 47.68 -2.47 $52,920
Bloc Québécois Amir Khadir 11,151 28.29 -0.10 $50,207
Progressive Conservative Robert Archambault 3,190 8.09 -4.12 $3,360
New Democratic Peter Graefe 2,199 5.58 -0.86 $590
Green Jan Schotte 1,478 3.75 $260
Alliance Josée Duchesneau 1,283 3.25 $1,425
Marijuana Huguette Plourde 1,013 2.57 none listed
Marxist–Leninist Louise Charron 194 0.49 -0.36 $10
Communist Pierre Smith 118 0.30 $187
Total 39,422 100.00

References[edit]

  1. ^ Simard, Mathieu (2012-11-04). "Khadir steps down as Québec solidaire co-leader". The Canadian Press. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  2. ^ a b Radio-Canada. Les partis et les chefs : Québec solidaire, Élections Québec 2007.
  3. ^ "Jacques Cartier Bridge briefly blocked". CTV Montreal. 2012-05-15. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Quebec remembers 1st referendum – Montreal – CBC News. Cbc.ca (2010-05-20). Retrieved on 2012-06-24.
  5. ^ Pour un Québec solidaire : La gauche réplique au manifeste Pour un Québec lucide, LCN (2005-11-01).
  6. ^ O’Neil, Peter (2010-08-16). France urged to repay $23-billion in compensation to Haiti. Postmedia News.
  7. ^ Arnold, Janice (2010-12-23). Anti-Israel boycott lets needy get shoes. Canadian Jewish News.
  8. ^ Turbide, Mathieu (2010-12-18). Khadir ne regrette pas son appel au boycott. Journal de Montréal.
  9. ^ a b Boycottage d'une boutique : Amir Khadir se défend, Agence QMI (2010-12-17).
  10. ^ Kay, Barbara (2011-03-04). Quebec strikes a blow against anti-Israel heels. National Post.
  11. ^ Hamilton, Graeme (2011-03-03). Montreal shop owners won’t give in to anti-Israel protest. National Post.
  12. ^ Sévigny, P.A. “This is anti-Semitism!”— David Kilgour. The Suburban News. Thesuburbannews.ca. Retrieved on 2012-06-24.
  13. ^ "Un premier député élu". elections.radio-canada.ca. 
  14. ^ Lessard, Denis (2008-12-03). L'ex-ministre Robert Perreault appuie Amir Khadir. La Presse. Cyberpresse.ca. Retrieved on 2012-06-24.
  15. ^ Ravensbergen, Jan (2010-12-13). "Quebec Solidaire MNA is most popular: poll", Montreal Gazette.
  16. ^ De Pierrebourg, Fabrice (February 12, 2008). "Le SCRS a perdu son temps". Le Journal de Montréal. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 
  17. ^ "Council Common Position 2005/847/Cfsp" (PDF). Official Journal of the European Union. L 314: 44. 2005. 
  18. ^ "Chapter 6 – Terrorist Organizations". US Department of State. 2007. Archived from the original on 11 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-15. 
  19. ^ Search – Global Edition – The New York Times. International Herald Tribune (2009-03-29). Retrieved on 2012-06-24.
  20. ^ Runner, Philippa (2012-05-16). / Foreign Affairs / EU ministers drop Iran group from terror list. Euobserver.com. Retrieved on 2012-06-24.
  21. ^ EU removes PMOI from terrorist list. UPI.com (2009-01-26). Retrieved on 2012-06-24.
  22. ^ John, Mark (2009-01-26). EU takes Iran opposition group off terror list. Reuters
  23. ^ «Tout ça pour ces parasites-là!» | Actualité | Le Journal de Québec. Lejournaldequebec.canoe.ca. Retrieved on 2012-06-24.
  24. ^ Murphy, Jessica; Tamsyn Burgmann (2008-12-20). "Protesters hurl shoes in solidarity with jailed Iraqi journalist". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  25. ^ Amir Khadir – Topics. Macleans.ca (2009-02-25). Retrieved on 2012-06-24.

External links[edit]