As Canadian Parliamentarians began to study “Islamophobia” on Monday, the Trudeau government was attempting to rebrand a polarizing motion as fighting “all forms of religious discrimination.”
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Heritage will be studying a motion passed in March of this year that condemns “Islamophobia” and calls the committee to develop a government-wide push against it. While the Trudeau government has decided to diffuse the motion by saying it combats racial and religious discrimination in general, the opposition Conservatives have drastically softened their criticism of the controversial potential legislation.
The sponsor of Motion M-103, Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) Iqra Khalid, took the witness stand on Monday afternoon. Khalid, who first introduced her motion in December 2016, did not even bother to define “Islamophobia” in the text. Khalid has steadfastly refused The Daily Caller’s request for an interview to discuss the issue.
Speaking to the committee, Khalid tried to suggest her motion was really about “a unified approach to systemic racism and religious discrimination” and that she wanted to examine “all forms of it.” However, she has not changed the wording of her potential legislation and it still emphasizes the need to combat “Islamophobia.”
Ontario Conservative MP Scott Reid questioned Khalid. He did not raise the issue that most media critics of the motion have cited — that it will could endanger free speech in Canada due to the ambiguity of the term “Islamophobia.” Instead, he urged Khalid to consider all religious discrimination in her motion and to specifically “single out senselss acts of violence” as the worst form of religious prejudice.
The committee room was jammed full of staffers and the media benches were full — the issue remains highly provocative to most Canadians.
A poll released just after the motion was passed in March revealed scant public support for the concept. 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.
Speaking to The Daily Caller, the Quebec director of the anti-Semitism watchdog B’nai Brith expressed “deep concern” over the motion when it was passed. Harvey Levine said 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.”
While she was running for the leadership of the Conservative Party, Ontario MP Kellie Leitch blasted the motion, telling The Daily Caller it was “more politics from the Liberals and more political correctness.”