Sshh. Don’t men­tion Is­lam­o­pho­bia

THE SPEC­TA­TOR’S VIEW

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION - Howard El­liott

Did you know that the Trudeau gov­ern­ment is con­sid­er­ing ac­tion that would limit free speech, give spe­cial sta­tus to one re­li­gion above oth­ers and open the door to Sharia law in Canada?

Don’t feel badly if you missed this. It’s not true. It’s fake news. That’s the toxic spin some Con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship can­di­dates, com­men­ta­tors and pun­dits are put­ting on the mo­tion de­bated in Par­lia­ment last night. Mo­tion M-103, be­ing put for­ward by Mis­sis­sauga MP Iqra Khalid, calls on the gov­ern­ment to “rec­og­nize the need to quell the in­creas­ing pub­lic cli­mate of hate and fear.”

To lis­ten to the dog whis­tle crit­ics, you would think the gov­ern­ment is vot­ing on a law. It is not. A mo­tion is not a bill. A bill has to go through sev­eral stages in­clud­ing Se­nate ap­proval be­fore it be­comes law. A mo­tion is de­bated and voted upon by Par­lia­ment. It gives par­lia­men­tar­i­ans a chance to ex­press an opin­ion on a sub­ject. It is not bind­ing. It does not be­come law. Once it has been de­bated and voted upon, a mo­tion re­ceives no fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion from the House.

An­other thing the crit­ics claim is that the mo­tion is un­fair be­cause it men­tions Is­lam­o­pho­bia but not other re­li­gions. Not quite. It asks the gov­ern­ment to “con­demn Is­lam­o­pho­bia and all forms of sys­temic racism and re­li­gious dis­crim­i­na­tion.” And this wouldn’t be the first time Par­lia­ment has agreed to con­demn ha­tred against a spe­cific re­li­gion or eth­nic group. It did so con­cern­ing Egyp­tian Cop­tic Chris­tians, Jews and Yazidis. Why is there such a con­ser­va­tive out­cry be­cause Is­lam­o­pho­bia is men­tioned?

Do the crit­ics re­ally be­lieve it is wrong to sin­gle out big­otry against Is­lam only weeks af­ter the mass shoot­ing at a Que­bec City mosque? Have other re­li­gions re­cently suf­fered through the mur­der of six and wound­ing of 19?

You would ex­pect Con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship can­di­date Kel­lie Leitch to blow her dog whis­tle loud and long on this sub­ject. Now, Maxime Bernier has joined her and oth­ers. Act­ing leader Rona Am­brose has crit­i­cized the mo­tion, which she says the gov­ern­ment is bring­ing for­ward to sow dis­sen­sion in Con­ser­va­tive ranks. We’ve had a mass shoot­ing tar­get­ing a spe­cific re­li­gious group, and all Am­brose is wor­ried about is her party look­ing bad?

Not all Con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship can­di­dates are rolling in the mud on this. Michael Chong is a no­table and re­fresh­ing ex­cep­tion. Let’s give him the last word:

“In light of the mass shoot­ing at the Que­bec Is­lamic Cul­tural Cen­tre in Que­bec City last month, where six Mus­lims were killed and 19 in­jured while they prayed in their mosque, it is ap­pro­pri­ate and im­por­tant that Cana­dian par­lia­men­tar­i­ans study the is­sue of an­tiMus­lim and anti-Is­lamic prej­u­dice and dis­crim­i­na­tion.” Amen, Mr. Chong.

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