The roundtable was set up in 2005 to act as a sounding board for cabinet ministers and other high-ranking federal executives on how security matters and government policies affect different ethnic communities. Over the years, it has covered topics such as countering violent extremism, migration and cyber-security.
“I get the sense that they would want us to resign because we were appointed by the previous government and, you know, this government’s policies and outlines on certain issues is very different from the previous government,” said Hassan.
“I feel I can do more. I can share my ideas, but I have not been given the opportunity to do so,” she said.
Myrna Lashley, a psychologist, was appointed to the roundtable in 2005 and has been the group’s chairperson since 2007. But after receiving the letter in March, Lashley suspects her involvement has come to an end.
“Effectively when you get that letter, you have been told ‘thank you,'” Lashley said.
In the past, Lashley says the group met with and advised ministers of public safety and justice as well as senior executives from the RCMP, CSIS and Canada Border Services Agency on all sorts of issues that could or would affect an array of cultural groups.
“We could give them an idea of how different communities might react to something so that they could formulate it in a way that would be acceptable to all Canadians,” said Lashley.
Lashley points to the creation of the special advocate program, which provided independent, top-secret, security-cleared lawyers to represent people subject to a security certificate or immigration proceedings.
“We were the ones that said ‘let’s try a special advocate,’ that came from us,” Lashley said.?
The Department of Public Safety refused CBC’s request for an interview. But in an email, a spokesperson said, “While the government is currently reviewing the membership of the table, it looks forward to resuming CCRS meetings in the near future.”