Bill M-103 raises many new questions
RE: Rosemary Ganley’s column “New Words for a new, turbulent world,” Feb. 9, 2017
So Rosemary Ganley is delighted to find a new word with which to insult me and my faith: “Christo-fascist.” I could be writing to complain that she has no right to offend me based on my religion. However, I am writing to say how thankful I am to live in a country where Ms. Ganley has the right to free speech. We are all legally allowed to question and debate each other’s world views.
What scares me much more than Ms. Ganley’s verbal attack is the Liberal motion M-103. Among other vague recommendations, this motion asks the government to “quell ... the public climate of hate and fear ... condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination ...” This sounds noble, except for two main problems:
1. Only “Islamophobia” is listed specifically, with no attempt to mention any of the other myriad religious and racial groups in Canada that experience hateful words and actions. (Ms. Ganley’s latest column is a common example.) Why do we need a new law enshrining one religion above all others? We are all legally protected by our rights as Canadian citizens and these existing laws simply need to be enforced with fairness and consistency.
2. M-103 does not define “Islamophobia” or specify what constitutes a hate crime. It is naive to assume that it will always mean the obvious, such as physical attacks and setting fire to mosques. But such actions are already illegal, so to which new crimes does this motion refer? How soon before it includes even the verbal criticism of Islam, which radical Islamists consider a crime? If a columnist makes them feel “hated” based on their religion, will that be a crime? Do you think this couldn’t possibly happen in Canada? The only thing protecting us right now is our long-standing legal right to free speech, which this motion undermines.
While I do wish that Ms. Ganley would express her opinion in a more respectful manner and lay aside the name-calling, I can handle my feelings being hurt because it means that she and I are both free to “observe, judge and act,” as she says she does. No single religious group is legally privileged above all others, or insulated from this democratic debate.
All Canadians should ask our MPs to vote against Motion 103.
Elizabeth Doucette Olympus Ave.