Asia-Pacific Canada Democratic People's Republic of Korea Diplomatic Relations Republic of Korea Security, Trade and the Economy Yun Sik (James) Hwang

The Asian Web: A New Perspective with Ali Ehsassi, Member of Parliament

Ali Ehsassi was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Willowdale in the 2015 federal election. Ali is a lawyer by trade, having focused extensively on international trade law in both the public and private sectors. He is currently a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Standing Joint Committee on the Scrutiny of Regulations, as well Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, Co-Chair of the Toronto Liberal Caucus and Co-Chair of the Canada-Korea Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group.

He is a graduate of the University of Toronto (B.A.), attended the London School of Economics (M.SC.) and received degrees from Osgoode Hall Law School (LL.B) and Georgetown University in Washington, DC (LL.M).




Interview Questions:

Question 1: Mr. Ehsassi, your career as a Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party, representing the riding of Willowdale in the House of Commons, began in 2015, and you are currently active on numerous political committees, including the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the Joint Standing Committee on the Scrutiny of Regulations, and the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, to name only a few. Could you describe your work on committees such as these, and outline some of the important political and social issues that you have confronted over the years as a MP? – 0:50


Question 2: As Co-Chair of the Canada-Korea Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, how would you characterize the current state of Canada-Republic of Korea (or South Korea) relations? What are some similarities we share and differences we embrace as two democratic nations? – 5:11


Question 3: Your riding, Willowdale, has a large Korean community. As Canada and South Korea enjoy close and friendly bilateral relations, do you feel that Canadians possess an adequate understanding of the uniqueness of Korean culture and regional dynamics? Or do we still have much to learn? – 7:18


Question 4: Many international communities and peoples alike, including Canadians, are concerned over the development of North Korea’s nuclear programme. How do politicians, such as yourself, perceive these developments? How should Canada respond to this destabilization of regional security and trade? – 9:05


Question 5: What is our government’s position on North Korea, and how does the Liberal Party plan to approach security threats on the Korean peninsula? – 10:12


Question 6: Regarding your work on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, could you share with us your thoughts on how the Canadian government should confront international human rights abuses, and what ordinary Canadians can do to get involved? – 11:13


Question 7: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for example, has reinforced Canada’s solid reputation for immigrant and refugee acceptance, and has solidified human rights while reflecting Canadian values on the international stage. As Canadians, what are some of the ways we can help to contribute to the success of that mission? – 13:30


Question 8: Are there any further remarks you would like to mention? – 15:38

Special thanks to Meghan Krizus, Constituency Assistant, for her effort in making this interview possible.


Photos: MP Ali Ehsassi, courtesy of Office of Ali Ehsassi, MP – Willowdale.

Disclaimer: Any views or opinions expressed in articles are solely those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent the views of the NATO Association of Canada.

Yun Sik (James) Hwang
Yun Sik (James) Hwang is a Research Analyst (formally the Program Editor of Security, Trade and the Economy) and a contemporary Korean Affairs Specialist at the NATO Association of Canada. After his M.A. career (2016) from the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto, he was invited as a speaker and presenter in multiple conferences, events, and symposiums to examine the controversial political and social developments of South Korean nationalism and its entanglements with North Korea that have been intensified as political and social conflicts between the political left and right in the Republic of Korea. With a specific focus on the contemporary Korean Peninsula and the recent intensification of North Korean nuclear threat, his work seeks to address the political, social, and international challenges in the Asia-Pacific region under various competing perspectives. He can be reached at: