Outreach to Canadian Parliamentarians
– Actions –
August/September 2021

The September 20, 2021, Canadian Federal election gives us a chance to let politicians know that Hassan’s case is important to us. We have launched a Campaign of Outreach to Canadian Parliamentarians during this election period.

Here is a list of actions you can take.

Suggested Questions to Ask Parliamentarians and Candidates

  1. Hassan Diab, an innocent Canadian, is under threat of a second extradition to France for political reasons. Would you work to make sure that the Canadian Government will publicly state that this will not happen?
  2. What is your understanding of the threat that Hassan Diab currently faces, and what action should the Canadian Government take?
  3. Hassan Diab, an innocent Canadian, is under threat of a second extradition to France for political reasons. How would you protect him against this possibility, and make sure a second extradition does not happen?
  4. Hassan Diab was ordered to stand trial in France despite finding no evidence against him. Amnesty International has called on the Canadian Government to “do everything in its power to have these charges dropped so Hassan and his family can move forward.” How would you propose ending the 14-year ordeal of Hassan Diab?

Interacting with Election Canvassers at the Door

Think of the arrival of door-to-door canvassers as an opportunity to put Hassan’s case on any candidate’s radar.

  • When canvassers come to your door, please take a moment to bring up Hassan’s case.
  • If the candidate is not with the canvassers, ask if s/he is available. (Often, the candidate is somewhere on your block, waiting to speak to people who have questions.)
  • If you get to speak with the candidate, find out what they know about Hassan’s case and ask how they would support this innocent Canadian if they are elected.
  • If the candidate is not available, ask the canvasser to let the candidate know that you are interested in hearing their position on Hassan Diab’s case.
  • Always remain polite.

Personal Meetings with Parliamentarians and Candidates

How to arrange a (virtual or in-person) meeting:

If you are successful in getting a meeting:

  • Remember that it is ‘your’ meeting and that the MP or candidate has agreed to listen to you;
  • Parliamentarians are genuinely busy (especially during an election) and will appreciate it if you keep things concise and to the point.
  • Assume that the meeting will last about 20 minutes.
  • Introduce yourself briefly as a constituent and a supporter of Hassan.
  • A good opening is to ask whether they are familiar with Hassan’s case.
  • The central issues to cover are:
    • Hassan’s wrongful extradition from Canada in 2014
    • Over three years in a French prison (without any formal charge or trial)
    • The decision by French investigating judges to release Hassan in January 2018 because they found no evidence to warrant a trial
    • Determination, nonetheless, of French prosecutors to have a trial, probability that this will happen and that a second extradition will be requested
  • Go as quickly as possible to your requests:
    • That Canada intervene in any way possible to bring an end to Hassan’s wrongful prosecution, and
    • That Canada make it clear that a second extradition request will not be granted.
    • If you see some indication of support, ask the MP to bring your requests to their party leadership and ask for a public statement of support.
  • Don’t be put off by the argument that this is a strictly legal issue and that the French system must run its course. Politics has been a factor in Hassan’s case from the beginning. Islamophobia and powerful lobby groups are key factors in the scapegoating of Hassan.
  • Irrespective of the tone or outcome of the meeting, express your thanks and promise to send the Informational Kit and any other helpful information.
  • Please let us know the outcome (even a negative one) by emailing us at diabsupport@gmail.com.

If you are not successful in getting a meeting:

  • Make a phone call or e-mail for the candidate with a straightforward message, asking that they
    1. Commit to help ending Hassan’s persecution, and
    2. Ensure that Hassan will never face a second extradition.

Attending All-Candidates Meetings

All-candidates meetings are a great place to keep Hassan’s case in front of your Riding candidates.

  • Your local community association or newspaper will probably have a list of all-candidates meetings, or you can call a candidate’s office and ask.
  • Most of the meetings are likely to be virtual.
    • You will want to check out their rules for submitting questions.
    • Probably, you will be asked to submit questions in advance or use the Q&A feature on Zoom to submit your questions.
    • Direct questioning will likely be only available to a selected panel.
    • The best strategy, in most cases, is to keep your question short and simple.
    • Also, please encourage others to submit questions about Hassan’s case at the same meeting. Topics with more questions are more likely to be selected.
  • At in-person all-candidates meetings, attendees are usually asked to write their questions on cards handed out at the door. Questions selected are put to the candidates, as is the case with the virtual meetings.
  • It is possible, though less likely, that you will go into a room with microphones in the aisles where you line up to ask your question. If this happens, try to sit near a microphone and be prepared to ask a short question about Hassan’s case.

Using Social Media to Connect with Candidates

If you are a Twitter user, here are some simple ways to keep Hassan’s case prominent.

  • Check out what has already been tweeted. Search for @JusticeForHDiab and #HassanDiab (although this will give you a mix of tweets about our Hassan and the acting Prime Minister of Lebanon. Easy to tell apart.)
  • When you find tweets you like, you can retweet them (particularly good if you add your own comment) or write your own tweet using similar ideas.
  • If you want your tweet to reach a particular politician, use the “@” designation inside the tweet, such as @JustinTrudeau. Search for the name you want in Twitter and you will get that person’s handle.
  • Add hashtags “#” to your tweet to signal that your tweet is about the election. For example: #ItsOurVote, #CdnPoli, and #Elxn44

MPs and candidates make considerable use of social media. In addition to Twitter, it is worth posting to Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. where you can post messages similar to what you find on Twitter. Please use any of these opportunities to raise Hassan’s case and ask specific questions.

Thank you for your continued support!

For more information:

Roger Clark (erogclark@gmail.com)
Hassan Diab Support Committee