Minister Blaney denies knowing about Muslim lawyer's Liberal support

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney says he was unaware of Hamilton lawyer Hussein Hamdani's political support of the Liberals when the decision was made to suspend him from a cross-cultural security roundtable.

Minister Blaney denies knowing of Hamdani's Liberal support

8 years ago
Duration 2:21
Minister Blaney denies knowing of Hamdani's Liberal support, when asked why the Hamilton lawyer was abruptly dismissed from a cross-cultural roundtable.

Minister Steven Blaney denies that politics played into the suspension of a Hamilton lawyer from a federal security roundtable.

When asked about the suspension at an unrelated announcement Tuesday, Blaney, the Conservative Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, said he was unaware Hussein Hamdani was supporting the federal Liberals and that the reasons for his suspension from the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on National Security are currently being reviewed.

"To tell you frankly, I was unaware of his political activity," Blaney said.

RAW: Hussein Hamdani statement on allegations

8 years ago
Duration 6:12
Hamilton lawyer Hussein Hamdani says he "categorically denies" all of the allegations of radicalization made against him.
Hamdani was suspended from the roundtable two weeks ago, after a report was aired by the French TVA network about politically charged statements it alleges Hamdani made as a university student, and allegations about radical organizations that it says Hamdani had associations with.

Hamdani is a well-known Hamilton lawyer whose work was recently praised by Blaney himself at an anti-terror summit in Washington, D.C., for his grassroots approach to combating radicalism.

Hamdani has categorically denied all of the allegations raised in the report.

He has told CBC News that he believes the firing was politically motivated because of his support of Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, as well as his opposition to the Conservative government's controversial anti-terror legislation, Bill C-51.

Blaney added Tuesday that "there were allegations that we felt that were serious," and that there is an "ongoing" review of the allegations against Hamdani. 

Hamdani told CBC Hamilton Wednesday he still has not been contacted by the government about the suspension.

"I have not been formally or officially informed by Public Safety that I have been suspended, despite the fact that I sent an email one week ago to the Secretariat of the CCRS asking to let me know in writing that I have been suspended," he wrote in an email.

Hamdani told CBC Hamilton previously: "I've been vetted and I've received various levels of security clearance over the years. So to have this come out now, to me, it clearly has political motivations that are attributed to it."

 All members of the roundtable are vetted by CSIS and the RCMP, he said.

"Perhaps they're not pleased that I'm very critical of Bill C-51," Hamdani said. "Perhaps the government is displeased that I have been supporting Justin Trudeau and the Liberals."