Committee to Review Racism and Religious Discrimination
No reasonable person in Canada supports discriminatory acts, racism or violence against others because of their faith, whether toward Muslim, Jew, Sikh, Christian or other. Such acts are repulsive and completely unacceptable in a civilized society. This is reflected in the Criminal Code which makes provision to prohibit such acts.
What then is the purpose of Motion M-103 in the federal Parliament introduced by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, Mississauga-Erin Mills?
The motion, introduced in December 2016 and passed on March 23, 2017, requires the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to produce findings and recommendations to condemn Islamophobia and all systemic racism and religious discrimination. The motion also asks the Committee to make recommendations on how to collect data on hate crimes against religious communities and to conduct needs assessments for these communities.
The Motion uses the vague undefined term Islamophobia to address concerns about discrimination against Canada’s Muslin Community, but it does not specifically mention any other religion even though the Jewish faith is the recipient of the majority of Canada’s hate crimes. That is, it is anti-Semitic not anti-Islamic hate crimes that dominate in Canada.
The Conservatives raised the concern that only one religion, Islam, was singled out by name in Motion M-103, and tabled an amendment to Motion M-103 to define the problematic term Islamophobia, and to include in the Motion a specific mention of other religions such as Christian, Jewish, Sikh etc.
This Conservative amendment was voted down by the majority Liberal MPs. This may be due to the fact that the Liberals want to ensure the continued support of Muslims. According to a poll conducted by Environics in late 2015 and early 2016, 79 per cent of Canadian adult Muslims voted in the last election, and 65 per cent of those said they voted for the federal Liberals.
The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage is currently meeting to make recommendations according to Motion M-103.
This Motion raises concerns that it may lead to curtailment of our Charter right to free speech, such as honest criticism of religious faiths, as well as lead to the enactment of restrictive laws that are contrary to the accepted values and practices of Canadians.
Please contact the individual members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage listed below to express your concerns about recommendations by the Committee that restrict free speech and enshrine unacceptable practices in our legal system.
CALL TO ACTION
PLEASE CONTACT THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
Hon. Hedy Fry email@example.com;
Peter Van Loan firstname.lastname@example.org;
Pierre Nantel Pierre.Nantel@parl.gc.ca;
Pierre Breton Pierre.Breton@parl.gc.ca;
Sean Casey Sean.Casey@parl.gc.ca;
Julie Dabrusin Julie.Dabrusin@parl.gc.ca;
Anju Dhillon Anju.Dhillon@parl.gc.ca;
Julie Dzerowicz Julie.Dzerowicz@parl.gc.ca;
Robert Kitchen Robert.Kitchen@parl.gc.ca;
Stéphane Lauzon Stephane.Lauzon@parl.gc.ca;
Marin Shields Martin.Shields@parl.gc.ca;
Dan Vandal Dan.Vandal@parl.gc.ca;
Arif Virani Arif.Virani@parl.gc.ca;
Or by mail to: The Clerk Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage Sixth Floor, 131 Queen Street House of Commons Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Please ask the Clerk to distribute your letter to the individual members of the Committee.