Liberal MP Iqra Khalid addresses critics of anti-Islamophobia motion

I don’t remember these kinds of objections with respect to the earlier motion on Islamophobia or Antisemitism:

The Liberal MP whose private member’s motion condemning Islamophobia has divided the House of Commons used her final submission on Tuesday to address what she called “outrageous” arguments being made about her proposal.

During the final debate in the Commons, Liberal MP Iqra Khalid said her motion, M-103, does not give one religion or community special privileges, or restrict free speech.

“This motion is not legally binding. In fact, M-103 serves as a catalyst for Canadians to speak out against discrimination and be heard where they may not have been heard before,” she said.

“Some other outrageous claims were made about M-103 and to that in simple and clear words, M-103 is not an attempt to create sharia law. I vow to be the first person to oppose any motion or law that negatively impacts our multicultural, secular society. I assure you, M-103 does not.”

Most Conservatives appear set to vote against Ms. Khalid’s motion, with only one leadership candidate, Michael Chong, saying he’ll support it. The NDP will also support it, but MP Jenny Kwan criticized both the Liberals and Tories for “politicking” on the issue.

Ms. Khalid’s motion calls on the government to “condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination,” to study the issue at the heritage committee, collect hate-crime data and report back to the House of Commons within eight months with recommendations.

The motion will be voted upon on Thursday. With the Liberal government’s support, it is expected to pass.

Ms. Khalid’s motion was originally supposed to be debated on April 5, but she traded her slot with another Liberal MP to move it up in the calendar. The second hour of debate fell on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Conservative MP David Sweet said Tuesday that M-103 could have been made better by including all faith communities rather than singling out one group, and it could have clarified the definition of Islamophobia and affirmed the right to freedom of speech.

“Instead of pursuing these changes, in an effort to have a meaningful, inclusive and non-partisan study on the matters of racism and religious discrimination, a debate that should unify us, the Liberals have decided there are more political points to win by ramming this motion through regardless of legitimate concerns I’ve articulated,” he told the Commons.

Last fall, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair’s motion condemning “all forms of Islamophobia” passed unanimously in the House, although it wasn’t a recorded vote and it’s unclear how many MPs were in the chamber.

“I can’t believe that people are still trying to find reasons to vote against motion M-103, which is simply an expression of what Parliament already said in the fall,” Mr. Mulcair said Tuesday.

Source: Liberal MP Iqra Khalid addresses critics of anti-Islamophobia motion – The Globe and Mail

David Akin covers the protests:

More than two dozen police officers had to separate duelling mobs on Parliament Hill Tuesday afternoon after the two groups spent their lunch hour hurling loud and often profane epithets at each other in support of or in opposition to an anti-Islamophobia motion debated in the House of Commons Tuesday evening.

A handful of men in each group nearly came to blows but for the clutch of RCMP officers standing between them.

One group of about 35 people perched itself on the steps in front of Parliament’s Centre Block to protest Motion 103 or M-103, introduced in the House of Commons by Iqra Khalid, a Pakistan-born Liberal MP from Mississauga, Ont.

A handful of the anti-M-103 protestors were wearing “Soldiers of Odin Canada” sweatshirts.

Soldiers of Odin, on its Facebook page, says it is a non-profit dedicated to defending the charter of rights and freedoms but its critics allege it is an anti-immigrant, anti-refugee group.

The counter-protest mob of about 25 called out the Soldiers of Odin protestors as “Nazis” and “fascists” and chanted “Soldiers of Odin, go back to Sweden.”

In response, the counter-protest group was called “Communists” and “anti-Canadian” by the group  protesting M-103.

The demonstration dissipated peacefully with the assistance of the police and, hours later, MPs debated M-103. It will be put to a vote on Thursday afternoon. Given that the Liberal majority in the House of Commons supports M-103, it is certain to pass.

Source: Ahead of M-103 debate, duelling mobs clash on Parliament Hill over Islamophobia

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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