Islamophobia – M-103

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Recent MY Canada National Updates on This Motion:

Mar. 20th, 2017 – Time-Sensitive: “Islamophobia” Motion 103 Debate Tomorrow // Your MP Will Vote Soon

Feb. 9th, 2017 – Motion On Islamophobia Set For Vote Next Week

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Overview: 

Liberal MP Iqra Khalid tabled Private Member’s Motion M-103 in December 2016. The motion was titled “Systemic Racism and Religious Discrimination”, however it did not refer to discrimination towards all religions; only towards Islam. It called on the Heritage Committee to study how to eliminate “Islamophobia” and some feared it could result in recommended laws to achieve this goal. The motion passed in the House of Commons on March 23rd with a vote of 201 yays and 91 nays. (Click here to see how your MP voted on M-103).

M-103 is problematic in a number of ways. All Canadians are already protected from discrimination, persecution, hate speech and assault under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canadian Law; However, the motion seeks additional study on the protection of Muslims and therefore favours one religion above all others. Canadians from across the nation worry about this motion infringing upon freedom of speech, that it could prepare the way for the criminalization of “Islamophobia” and challenge rational criticism of an entire religion. Some even fear the committee’s laws could become “dragnet laws” as a way to criminalize anyone who dares speak out against even the more radical teachings of Islam. Thus, M-103 could threaten freedom of speech in Canada.

The Liberal Party fully supported this motion throughout and pointed fingers at the Conservative Party for opposing the motion. Some news outlets went as far as the use the word “racist” when referring to opposing MPs. However, comments throughout social media from Canadians of all political and cultural backgrounds have spoken out against this motion. It is not only Conservatives who seem concerned about the motion’s potential infringement on free speech. (Click here to read an Angus Reid report showing results of a survey of Canadians on M-103).

Members of Parliament need to be encouraged to strike a balance between showing compassion and a commitment to protect a community in a time of crisis (in this case a Muslim community) while still protecting freedom of speech for all Canadians and treating all faith expressions equally under the law. 

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First Hour of Debate and Amended Proposal

M-103 saw its first hour of debate on the evening of Wednesday, February 15th where it became evident that the majority of Liberal MPs and NDP MPs were in support of the motion and the majority of Conservative MPs were in opposition. MP Khalid rose in the House to share some of the deplorable messages of hatred she has received as a result of her motion on Islamophobia. MP David Anderson put forth a proposed amendment to the motion which removed the focus on Islamophobia from M-103 and urged for the study to focus instead on the elimination of all religious discrimination, including that against Jewish, Sikh, and Christian as well as Muslim Canadians. The Conservative Party called for one of their limited days of emergency debate for February 16th in which most members rose to support MP Anderson’s proposal to the motion. 

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Related Articles:

Sept. 27th, 2017 – National Post – Hearing into Liberals’ anti-Islamophobia motion showcases confusion, fears of free speech loss

Sept. 20th, 2017 – SUN News – M-103 talk turns to prosecution, censorship

April 16th, 2017 – CIJ News – Muslim panel leads fight against Motion 103

March 23rd, 2017 – National Post – Find out how your MP voted in the House of Commons on M-103, the anti-Islamophobia motion

March 13th, 2017 – The Sun – Nobody likes M-103, new data reveals

February 21st, 2017 – CBC – Liberals defeat Conservative counter-proposal to Islamophobia motion

February 16th, 2017 – CTV News – Liberal MP Iqra Khalid reads threats she’s received over Motion 103

February 7th, 2017 – National Post – Barbara Kay: How long until my honest criticism of Islamism constitutes a speech crime in Canada?

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