Members of the House of Commons passed “Islamophobia” Motion M-103 Thursday afternoon by a vote of 201-91, with all but one Liberal present supporting the bill. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who supported the motion, was not in the House yesterday to vote.
Only two Ontario Conservative Members of Parliament (MPs) supported the motion. Red Tory leadership candidate Michael Chong was one of them.
The motion will now go to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage for “study” and assessment by committee members who could then advise that formal Islamophobia legislation be introduced as a means of addressing “hate crimes.” They have eight months to report back to Parliament with their recommendations.
The motion passed despite growing public opposition that was reflected in a poll released Thursday, just as MPs debated the M-102. The Angus Reid Institute found that only 12 percent of Canadians supported the motion.
Of the 1,511 Canadians polled, 31 percent opposed the motion because they said it endangers freedom of speech, another 31 percent said passage of the motion was just a symbolic action without “any real impact” and 26 percent called it a waste of time.
The survey was conducted between March 13 and 17 with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
Opposition to the motion has increased despite attempts by Liberal proponents to characterize critics as xenophobes. Canada’s mainstream media openly endorsed the measure, repeatedly lecturing readers and viewers that M-103 was “non-binding” and “just a motion,” omitting the role of the heritage committee in potentially recommending the motion be transformed into codified law.
Speaking to The Daily Caller, B’nai Brith’s Quebec director Harvey Levine expressed “deep concern” over the motion, saying it should have been either “expanded to include all religious groups” or not introduced at all since “the Charter of Rights already protects religious freedom.”
Levine is currently asking Montreal police to investigate two incidents of Muslim imams in the city calling for the killing of Jews. He says the police have yet to charge anyone and when asked about the status of the investigation keep repeating that it is ongoing. He says Christians and Jews are the overwhelming focus of hate crimes around the world.
The motion was tabled by Ontario Liberal MP Iqra Khalid on Dec. 5, 2016. Khalid, a Muslim originally from Pakistan, said to reporters after the motion had passed, “I’m really happy that the vote today has shown positive support for this motion and I’m really looking forward to the committee taking on this study.”
The Conservative opposition tried to ameliorate the motion’s controversy by removing the word “Islamophobia” because it was undefined in the motion and subject to wide interpretation.
Saskatchewan MP David Anderson led the charge on this counter-proposal suggesting the motion be amended to say that the House members “condemn all forms of systemic racism, religious intolerance and discrimination of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and other religious communities.”
Khalid refused any compromise.
“Really, changing the wording of the motion would have watered it down and I think the committee can really look into this if it is an issue.”
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