8 Canadian MPs send letter to PM Hasina on fair election in Bangladesh

A Canadian flag flies in front of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 22 March 2017.
Reuters file photo

Eight members of the House of Commons of Canada sent a letter to prime minister Sheikh Hasina calling for free, fair and peaceful elections in Bangladesh.

Those eight lawmakers from Canada’s lower house are members of the Canada-Bangladesh Parliamentary Friendship Group. They sent the letter to Sheikh Hasina on 8 November.

Canada-Bangladesh Parliamentary Friendship Group chair Brad Redekopp shared the letter on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday.

Their letter said, “As members of the Canada — Bangladesh Parliamentary Friendship Group, we are writing to you regarding the elections expected in your country in January of 2024. We write to express our deep desire to see free, fair, and peaceful elections in Bangladesh.”

Recognising that this election will give millions of Bangladeshis the opportunity to express their choice of political party to govern Bangladesh, the Canadian lawmakers placed a list of expectations to prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

They expect the government of Sheikh Hasina to protect freedom of expression and to respect dissenting opinions; diligent work to ensure voting irregularities such as voter intimidation, vote rigging and ballot box stuffing are not allowed to occur

The lawmakers also expect the government of Sheikh Hasina to do everything it can to prevent violence and ensure the protection of all Bangladeshis, regardless of their political affiliation; and to promote active participation in the election by all eligible Bangladeshi citizens.

The letter stated, “A robust democracy thrives on the participation of diverse political ideologies and the fair representation of citizens’ choices. By allowing all political parties to participate freely and ensuring that the electoral process is conducted without bias, Bangladesh can demonstrate its commitment to democracy and its respect for the will of the people. In doing so, you not only strengthen the democratic fabric of your nation but also set an inspiring example for the world.

“Canada and Bangladesh enjoy a strong bilateral relationship and it is our desire that our exchange of people and goods will grow further in the future. This can only happen with strong democratic governments in both of our countries,” it added.

“In light of the upcoming elections, we urge you to continue developing your democratic tradition by ensuring that the electoral process remains free, fair and peaceful, involving all political parties in a transparent manner,” the letter concluded.