An Analysis of the Heritage Committee’s Report on Motion M-103

Click here to download Russ Cooper's Analysis in PDF format

Executive Summary

Motion M-103 evolved from e-petition 411, a House of Commons petition that basically called for the condemnation of “all forms of Islamophobia”. The initiative was originally seen as well-intentioned and received unanimous approval by the House on 26 October, 2016. M-103 took petition e-411 as a founding document and went on to call for combatting a climate of fear and hate with “a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia”. All very well and fine until the Canadian public began asking the questions; is Canada in the midst of a rising tide of fear and hate, are our governance systems riddled with “systemic racism”, do Canadians have hate in their hearts for alien religions and just what does Islamophobia mean?

Motion M-103 was passed by parliament in March, 2017 and went through a study period of “240 days” before the sponsoring Heritage Committee submitted its Report on 01 February, 2018. By its own account, as portrayed by authoritative data collected and submitted by Statistics Canada, the Report found that there was no rising tide of fear and hate and that “systemic racism” and “religious discrimination” were not as widespread as implied by the Motion. Additionally, and as detailed by the Conservative Party “dissenting report”, the term “Islamophobia” was left undefined and a source of great public consternation. Regardless, the Report went on to deal with these issues as if they posed serious problems.

In choosing to proceed apace without regard for the validity of the assumptions and facts that underpinned Motion M-103, the Committee’s “majority report” went on to make 30 recommendations of questionable usefulness. Regards those that dealt with a climate of fear and hate and “systemic racism”, all related recommendations need to be carefully vetted with a mind to rescinding those that are a misuse of public funds, energy and time. These are recommendations are 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29.

Regards the charge of “religious discrimination”, the evidence presented by witness testimony revealed that there was indeed a bias that was aided by regulation and governmental design. This bias was attributed to a propensity for government policy and agencies to use secular ideologies to push out religious viewpoints from the public square. Recommendations that dealt with religious discrimination and could, therefore, use a review to correct such tendencies are Recommendations 1, 21, 22, 26 and 27.  

In dealing with “Islamophobia”, witness testimony varied as to what the term actually meant with a significant number of witnesses emphatically calling for the term not to be used in any parliamentary context. This latter recommendation resonated with the public at large but the Committee went on to keep the term regardless. Recommendations 22 and 30 in the Report deal with Islamophobia and are still seen as having the potential to negatively impact Canadian free speech rights. The former recommendation needs to be modified to remove its reference to “Islamophobia” while the latter needs to be totally rescinded.

As an adjunct to Motion M-103 and in support of the its main thrusts as noted above, the motion called for the collection of data capable of categorizing hate crimes and identifying victim groups with a mind to discerning related, community needs. Witness testimony was unanimous in supporting such a call but the Report missed some of their most salient suggestions. These included the introduction of safeguards to identify and deal with overly subjective and “hoax” reports, ensuring that related data is tamper-proof and expanding the information collected to include comprehensive offender data. Recommendations that deal with data collection and which, therefore, need to be vetted to ensure these issues are dealt with are 5, 6, 7, 8, 14, 24 and 27.   

By Major (Ret'd) Russ Cooper - March 1, 2018

Introduction

Motion M-103 objectives and their validity

Does the Report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage really answer the mail when it comes to “Taking action against systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia”? A definitive answer to that question awaits an assessment of the validity of the objectives set out in Motion M-103 – an assessment that has yet to occur. After all, if the objectives are found to be based on false assumptions or narratives it is hard to see how their accomplishment would benefit the nation or its citizens. Regards the objectives themselves, the Motion called for the “quelling” of a public climate of fear and hate while pursuing a “whole-of-government” approach to condemn, reduce or even eliminate “systemic racism” and “religious discrimination” - including “Islamophobia”. It also determined that any policy making involved in meeting these objectives was to be based on data that contextualized hate crime reports and aided in the conduct of needs assessment reports for impacted communities. Simply put, the objectives of Motion M-103 were to:

  • actively discourage a climate of fear and hate;

  • involve all government agencies and resources in fighting “systemic racism” and “religious discrimination” including “Islamophobia”; and

  • promote a data collection scheme that identified victim communities and their resulting needs.

 

M-103 assumptions, “garbage in – garbage out”?

In framing the objectives of the Motion no concrete evidence supporting the need for their advancement, other than the House of Commons Petition e-411 and the “issues raised by it”, were offered. For its part, the petition makes several assertions that are, in the very least, more arguable than factual. These include the claims that:

  • a “notable rise of anti-Muslim sentiment in Canada” is undeserved and fanned by the pretext that an “infinitesimally small” number of extremists misrepresent terrorist acts as Islamic; and

  • these extremists, who say their actions are informed by Islam, actually have nothing to do with the religion, do not represent the religion and need to be condemned - as does unmerited Islamophobia.

 

These assertions have been analysed in depth in a line-by-line fashion *1. This analysis found good reason to believe that Canadians, rather than being manipulated by those who would use Islamophobia as a pretext to attack the religion and its adherents, have good reason to fear Islamic ideology and doctrines. These doctrines, after all, have a demonstrated capacity to motivate followers to enjoin Jihad or Holy War. Seen in this light, the term “Islamophobia”, used in both the petition and the Motion as an undefined entity, is ill-suited to describe just how Canadians find themselves relating to Islam and its manifestation in the form of Sharia Law. Most certainly, their fear of related traditions and practices cannot be seen as “phobic” or irrational in nature. Unfortunately, this insight was missed by the Members of Parliament who unanimously passed petition e-411 on 26 October, 2016. It may have been that these Members moved in such a knee-jerk fashion to pander to a voting bloc or perhaps to avoid falling into a political trap designed to show them up as less than virtuous, caring Canadians. Fact remains, however, that they sanctioned an initiative that went on to inform Motion M-103 with a questionable set of assumptions and underpinnings. In doing so, they opened the door for the implementation of the old adage, “garbage in – garbage out”.

Discussion of M-103 Objectives

M-103 Objective - actively discourage a climate of fear and hate

      

Given the unsupported nature of its underlying logic and assumptions, one has to ask if M-103’s objective of countering “a climate of fear and hate” is truly required. The statistics referenced by the report certainly didn’t support such a notion. They note that, in a country of some 36 million souls, 1.9 million crimes were reported in 2015 with 1300 assessed as hate crimes. All told, this would indicate that hate crimes represent approximately one tenth of one percent of all crimes committed in the country. Hardly ominous and hardly worthy of considering the engagement of all government agencies and departments to combat a “rising tide” of fear and hate. This divergence between the imagined and the real is reinforced by the “dissenting report” offered up by the Conservative members of the Committee. They noted that the incidence of hate crimes, over the period 2009 to 2016 and given a population rise of some three million persons over the period, actually decreased “nearly 13% on a per capita basis” *2.   

Of particular note, and great concern in the presentation of hate crime data in the Report, is the disingenuous use of the “law of small numbers” to sell the public on the urgent need for action. This insidious logic error capitalizes on the tendency for small increases or decreases to drive large percentage shifts given a small sample size. It is through such slight-of-hand, statistical techniques that we see the trumpeting of a 61% increase of hate crime incidents against Muslims in a two-year period. This may have been the case but it needs to be noted that the raw numbers involved were 99, in 2014, and 159, in 2015. These extremely small numbers, given a Muslim population in excess of one million in Canada, are negligible and the 61% increase they produce is neither alarming nor unstable. This assessment was supported by expert testimony that was mentioned neither in the Report nor any of its dissenting counterparts. It was provided by Rebecca Kong, Chief, Policing Services Program, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada. She stated that the number of hate crimes was so small that they were incapable of supporting the petition e-411 assertion that there was a "notable rise of anti-Muslim sentiment in Canada” *3. Indeed, the “climate of hate and fear” railed against in Motion M-103 is exaggerated if not misleading.  

M-103 objective - involve all government agencies and resources in fighting “systemic racism” and “religious discrimination” including “Islamophobia”

General

This multi-faceted objective assumes that racism is embedded within the nation’s laws and system of governance. It also assumes that the citizenry has hate in its collective heart for the religion of the “other” and this is especially the case with the religion of Islam. Indeed, the situation is so bad that all government agencies need to be brought to bear to affect a solution. It would appear that Canada, and its citizens, do not constitute a safe harbour for immigrants, refugees and foreign workers/ students from all races and points of origin. This is a very great surprise for Canadians as is the prospect that their own leaders and political representatives would acquiesce to such charges without question or comment. Are these sweeping and hurtful assumptions substantiated? If they are, we had better move quickly to engage the proposed “whole of government approach”. If not, we had better find out how these assumptions came to be proposed and accepted so docilely. After all, it is important to ensure that such drivel never passes unquestioned in the future.

Systemic racism

The Report made much of the fact that certain witnesses saw racism as an attribute that was built into the Canadian system of social well-being and justice. These witnesses were broadly representative of the social welfare and indigenous communities and justified their assertions with statistics that showed “racialized” communities being more susceptible to poverty, unemployment and/ or incarceration. As with the claims of runaway “fear and hate” across the nation, the majority report was quick to latch onto “systemic racism” as a root cause worthy of justifying the standing up of national organizational, educational and wealth re-distribution programs and policies (recommendations 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29). These recommendations will need to be vetted for validity and rescinded as required if the charges of fear, hate and “systemic racism” are found to be false.

The justification for such a shallow, incurious acceptance of “systemic racism” as a first and only cause can be seen in the NDP’s minority report when it stated that “the committee’s responsibilities as dictated by M-103 was to study the issue and to make recommendations”. In other words, the mere passing of M-103 by majority vote sealed the fact that all related assumptions and assertions needed to be accepted as fact. This would have been news to MP Iqra Khalid, the author of Motion M-103, who testified before the Committee that “It is really up to the committee to decide which way to go.” *4 One could be forgiven for asking “what if ‘systemic racism’ was found not to be a root cause”? Is the government obligated to follow through on findings and recommendations that are baseless and misinformed?

Clues to the fact that “systemic racism” might not be causal of poverty and incarceration in “racialized communities” came with the testimony of Avvy Yao-Yao Go, Clinic Director, Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic *5. This witness cited the wage gap between women of race and "non-racialized" men as evidence of systemic racism. She re-iterated this viewpoint during questioning when she interestingly stated that race explained discrepancies in wages and poverty – “except for the Filipino and Japanese communities”. This raises a major point that was completely missed by all members of the Committee. How is it that the Filipino and Japanese communities are immune from the effects of a systemically racist Canada that completely overwhelms other “racialized communities”? It seems we will never know as M-103 deliberations failed to home-in on testimony that broke from the “systemic racism” narrative and other diktats found within the e-petition or Motion M-103. Hopefully the Parliament of Canada will not be obliged to follow through on findings and recommendations from a Committee that failed to chase down such glaring discrepancies.

Religious discrimination

As with the undisputed charges of “rising tide of fear and hate” and “systemic racism”, the accusation of Canadians holding “religious discrimination” deeply within their hearts was left unchallenged. The one event that was trotted out and argued ad infinitum by personalities as mighty as the Prime Minister of Canada *6 that religious discrimination was endemic in Canada was the Quebec City mosque attack. This attack was deemed to be a “terrorist attack against Muslims”. In the Report it was described as an “instance…of religious discrimination” that was committed by a “white-nationalist gunman” (NDP minority report). Fact is though, charges of hate or terror have yet to be laid in the case and the motivations of the alleged killer remain a mystery some 13 month after the fact. Indeed, a recent published account of the circumstances surrounding this particular attack reveal that the mosque in question was the subject of multiple, discordant events both before and after killings. In the months before the attack these included the placement of a pig’s head on the entryway to the mosque in question and the distribution of anti-Muslim Brotherhood pamphlets throughout the mosque’s neighbourhood. Additionally and in the months following the attack, the car of the mosque’s president was burned. In short, it seems the mosque may have been the target of a violent campaign based on its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood organization *7 - an Islamist organization that aims to institute Sharia Law on a worldwide basis. How is it that such facts can fail to be part of the debate on whether or not Canadians are religious bigots? How is it that an unsubstantiated charge of widespread religious discrimination can be accepted by the nation’s political elites? Given the testimony of Michel Juneau Katsuya *8 these are not insignificant questions. He used the mosque attack as his sole substantiating factor in calling for the clamping down on free speech rights of “alt-right”, “trash” radio stations. Should we not have our facts straight before considering such draconian measures?

Aside from the Quebec City mosque attack, witness testimony to the Committee regarding “religious discrimination” in Canada was a mixed bag. There were those that agreed with the premise but few used specific examples in justifying their beliefs. Representative of these testimonies was that given by Ayesha S. Chaudhry, Associate Professor and Chair holder of Canada Research Chair in Religion, Law and Social Justice *9. She simply declared herself a victim of religious discrimination as a child and went further to identify the Quebec City mosque attack as evidence of the scourge of “white supremacism and radicalization in Canada”. The problem, according to her, was not Islamic extremism but white supremacy.

Oddly enough, however, there were exceptions to this rule of non-specificity which included individual Muslims who spoke on behalf of themselves and Christian organizations. In the former case, Dr. Sherif Emil, pediatric surgeon at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, was clear with Committee members about his experience as a visible minority Canadian. He stated emphatically that “if systemic racism and religious discrimination existed, I probably wouldn't be a pediatric surgeon today” *10. He believed that discrimination and racism exist in Canada but he didn’t think it was systemic in nature.

In the latter case Laurence Worthen, Executive Director, Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada, differed from the good doctor by saying that Canadians were being discriminated against by both regulation and governmental design *11. He cited an incredible scenario that featured a group that bore a protected Charter characteristic that had been discriminated against by both. This group was made up of those doctors who, by virtue of their religious beliefs, were being coerced into abetting medically assisted dying policies against their will and conscience.

The spectre of anti-Christian religious discrimination on a “systemic” basis by government design was also detailed by Robert Kuhn, President, Trinity Western University *12. He testified that his university was subjected to discrimination and exclusion by virtue of the Christian values that reside at its core. He went on to discuss examples of such religious discrimination including the decision of multiple law societies to restrict its graduates from serving within their jurisdictions. This, in direct opposition to Supreme Court decisions (2001) that demand that no religious viewpoint be the source of restricting an individual's ability to participate fully in society. The reason for such discrimination was characterized by Bruce Clemenger, President, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. He testified that religious thoughts and ideas are being pushed out of the public square by a mounting secularism *13. This is a worrisome trend as secularism’s hold on the policy-making functions of government has the potential to discriminate against religious points of view. Indeed, office holders can be seen as contributing to "systemic racism" when they express secular preferences over religious belief systems *14. It would appear then that hard evidence presented to the Committee did point to systemic religious discrimination in Canada. It was surprising to note, however, that clear and reasoned arguments placed the blame for such discrimination on the secularization of public policy processes, not on the Canadian heart or Islamophobia. With this in mind, the portions of recommendations 1, 21, 22, 26 and 27 that deal with religious discrimination should be reviewed with a mind to curtailing a secular trend that is crowding out religious discourse at the national level.

Islamophobia

The most contentious aspect of Motion M-103 was the “Islamophobia” factor and it was barely breached by the Committee’s majority report. This was mitigated somewhat by a Conservative minority report that spent some time on the definition of the term and the confusion surrounding it. In all cases, however, there seemed to be a deliberate attempt to discount Islamophobia as a concept that favoured one religion over all others even as it opened the door to restrict speech critical of the ideas, doctrines and politics resident within the religion of Islam itself. This approach is not true to the testimony provided to the Committee and speaks to a tendency to cherry-pick witness submissions to support a pre-determined outcome that conforms with a narrative that sees an equivalency between “Islamophobia” and “anti-Muslim bigotry”.

One of the most powerful presentations in this regard was provided by author and journalist Tarek Fatah. He asserted that “the wool is being pulled over the eyes" *15 of the Committee and the Canadian government in general. He was emphatic in stating that the acceptance of Islamophobia as a form of religious discrimination was akin to denying Canadian Muslims the right to defend themselves from the religious bigots he called “the mullahs” – the same folks that Muslim Canadians are trying to escape from. He went on to state that hundreds of Canadian mosques are under the influence of extremist, Muslim Brotherhood *16 operatives and that Islamophobia, as currently understood in Canadian parlance, is not what the Committee thinks it is.

This testimony was reinforced by author and unaffiliated witness Yasmine Mohammed. She felt that Motion M-103 was set to do the exact opposite of what was intended. She believed the motion will feed, rather than quell, the fire as the term Islamophobia is about protecting the religion of Islam rather than those who practise it *17. She also believed that Canadians are right to fear the ideology that comes with Islam as it is an ideology that terrorizes and kills every day. As for her bona fides in such matters, she offered that she had been married off to a member of al Qaeda, had his baby and became familiar with the operations of the Islamists, in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the jihadis, in the form of al Qaeda and ISIS, through personal experience. There was no doubt in her mind that the term Islamophobia is meant to quash the natural and healthy desire of Canadians to understand what is going on in the world around them. M-103 was a good intention rife with terrible, unintended consequences. She explained that we needed to be careful and that "we cannot be so open minded that we let our brains fall out” *18.

The belief that the use of the term Islamophobia was intended to shield the religion of Islam from critical comment in the public square, in line with Sharia speech codes, was widely held by other Muslim witnesses to the Committee. These included:

  • Karim Achab, Professor of linguistics, University of Ottawa, as an individual, believed that the term Islamophobia was completely inappropriate for use in a parliamentary setting where laws are reviewed, amended and manufactured *19.  He made his point most effectively by noting that those who even now believed the term was inappropriate are routinely labelled as being racist, white supremacists or simply conservatives hiding under the skirt of free speech;   

  • Farzana Hassan, Author and Columnist, who stated that the term Islamophobia was part and parcel of a Muslim narrative controlled by fundamentalist voices seeking special accommodation for the religion of Islam and "political Islam" *20; and

  • Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, stated that Concentrating on "Islamophobia" was a move in the wrong direction and will result in more, not less, divisiveness. He expressed the opinion that the best way to defeat radical Islamism is to defeat the ideology that thrives within Islamic regimes. He stated that in these regimes and like-minded organizations Islamophobia is used as a weapon to restrict free speech. He went on to state that the founding premises of M-103, as established in petition E-411, actually smack of the language and logic posited by the Islamic theocracies that are currently creating so much havoc in the world *21. Along these same lines, he suggested the government needs to stop taking the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Muslim Brotherhood groups as allies and begin communicating with, and empowering, reform groups that seek to break Islam from the “fossilized grasp” of jihadism and Salafism.

 

In dealing with the term Islamophobia Jay Cameron, Barrister and Solicitor for Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, noted that the term was far removed from expressing the anti-Muslim bigotry that M-103 proponents would have us believe. He went on to ask if it was irrational for Canadians to fear immigration from territories that are known to be rife with violence and political instability. He wondered aloud where to draw the line between irrational and rational fear of Islam and asked the Committee directly if it was Islamophobic to condemn the practice of Female Genital Mutilation. Additionally, he challenged an underlying premise of Motion M-103 by stating that the use of the term "quell" in the motion should never have gotten past the House. It is the “language of riots”, not expression, and the government can't compel people to love or hate - they can only uphold their constitutional freedoms *22. Mr. Cameron put the coercive nature of M-103 in stark contrast to the Charter of rights and freedoms. On one hand you have protections afforded special groups from the expression of unwanted thoughts and emotions while, on the other, you have guarantees of fair treatment for all individuals. It was clear from his presentation that the Motion does not pass Charter muster and that those Report recommendations that call for actions against, or special days for, Islamophobia need to be rescinded (Recommendations 22 and 30).

   

M-103 objective - promote a data collection scheme that identifies victim communities and their resulting needs

The Heritage Committee report on Motion M-103 made much of the need to collect data capable of categorizing hate crimes and identifying victim groups with a mind to discerning related, community needs. In doing so, it noted testimony from multiple witnesses who called for much greater, unencumbered and unvetted access to such data collection processes. Representative of these calls was the testimony of Soudeh Ghasemi, Vice-President of the Iranian Canadian Congress, who, as stated in the Report, suggested that “a racism and discrimination hotline be set up to allow victims of discrimination access to counsel and allow government to collect information on these incidents”. These calls, in turn, were used to justify Recommendation 24 of the Report which determined the need for the Government of Canada to “create a standardized hotline to allow for the reporting of hate crimes and/or discrimination for the collection of data that goes beyond instances reported to the police”. It needs to be noted that this extremely open-ended approach to data collection has been tried in other jurisdictions with counter-productive results. Police reported hate crimes, for example, can be seen as objective in nature as they are based on criminal code definitions and substantiated by investigation. Self reported hate crimes, however, are much more susceptible to the victim’s subjective assessment of whether a crime has been committed. In addition to this and as observed in the British context, the whole issue of false and misleading reporting of “Islamophobic” events can easily become an organized endeavor resulting in the propagation of a large number of hoax claims *23.

This has been demonstrated in the United Kingdom’s “Tell Mama” program which was founded on the premise of fighting “a rising tide of “Islamophobia” by collecting data on related events and happenings” *24. This data was found by the British government to be unreliable and thereby necessitated the removal of government funding for related operations *25. It is important to note that like-minded reporting and data collection organizations have stood up in both the United States *26 and Canada *27. These efforts are organized or supported by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) respectively. It is also important to note that these two organizations have been shown to be linked in the past *28 and that CAIR has been identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism funding case of 2009. Obviously given these realities and observations, any data collection process developed for the purposes of characterizing a Canadian discrimination problem needs to be carefully controlled and vetted to make sure the data going into it is valid, accurate and tamper-proof. It needs to be noted that, at this point in time, the Report calls for none of these safeguards thereby calling data-related Recommendations 5, 6, 7, 8, 14, 24 and 27 into question. These recommendations will need to be vetted to ensure these safeguards are realized.

In addition to assuring data integrity, it needs to be noted that the Report spent very little time denoting just what type of data needs to be collected. Outside of Recommendation 7, which calls for “working with Statistics Canada to enable access to increased information on hate crime offenders and their motivations”, one is left with the impression that data collection is a victim-centric exercise. This being the case, it is difficult to see how a holistic picture of the racism/ discrimination problem in Canada can be realized. Although Recommendation 7 calls for offender information Yvan Clermont, Director, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada, stated that there was a gap in official statistics when it came to offenders and what their motivations were *29. True, data was collected as to whether offenders were male or female and how old they might be but other characteristics, such as religion and immigration status, was not available. For example, he noted that the offenders accused of committing hate crimes on a religious basis were over-represented by youths. The vast majority of these individuals were male but little beyond this was known. It goes without saying that the government will need to direct Statistics Canada to expand the offender data base to help better discern hate crime motivations. Accordingly, Recommendation 7 will need to be expanded to assure the collection of meaningful offender data.

The criticality of such a capacity was pointed out by Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer, National Office, B'nai Brith Canada. He noted that the perpetrators of such crimes against Jews, the most targeted community in Canada when it comes to hate crimes, have changed from the far right in the 80's and 90's to Muslims in recent times. Most alarmingly, he noted that Islamic doctrine is sometimes cited as justifying these acts *30. This is of concern not just to leaders in the Jewish community but to those in the Muslim community as well. Given these emerging trends, there is a concern that M-103 paints Muslims as victims only without taking into consideration the source of such crimes.

Concluding Material

 

Conclusion

By virtue of on-the-record witness testimony, the Heritage Committee did not find Canada to be grappling with a “rising tide” of fear and hate. Most certainly, there is no need to initiate National Action Plans or a “whole-of-government” approach to combat it. The charge that Canada harbours “systemic racism” is an insulting overreach based on the shallow, one-dimensional assertion that poverty and unemployment in “racialized” communities (except for the Filipino and Japanese) explains it. This false narrative ignores the wide variety of socio-cultural factors at play and needs to be debated, rather than acquiesced to, by the Canadian public and its leaders.

On the charge of “religious discrimination”, the data reveals that the nation’s Jewish population is the most affected community. Regardless, the numbers of hate incidents against any community are exceedingly small and manageable given current legislation and programs. Evidence did, however, indicate a “systemic” bias against the Christian community by virtue of secularized regulation and government design.

The term “Islamophobia” is ill-defined and ill-suited to be used in any parliamentary context. Its inclusion in same runs the risk of confusing efforts to manage hate crimes even as it curtails the ability of Canadians to express themselves freely.

Witness testimony was unanimous in supporting the improvement of hate crime data collection and processing methodologies. The Report, however, missed many related witness recommendations including the introduction of safeguards to identify and deal with overly subjective and “hoax” reports, ensuring that related data is tamper-proof and expanding the information collected to include comprehensive offender data.

Recommendations

Review Recommendations 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17,18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29 with a mind to rescinding those that are not required in an environment that is not characterized by a “rising tide” of hate and fear and “systemic racism”.

Review Recommendations 1, 21, 22, 26, and 27 with a mind to rescinding those that cannot be modified to mitigate the effect of the secularization of regulations and government design.

Review Recommendations 5, 6, 7, 8, 14, 24 and 27 that deal with data collection with a mind to identify and deal with overly subjective and “hoax” reports, ensuring that related data is tamper-proof and expanding the information collected to include comprehensive offender data.

  

Review Recommendations 22 and 30 as “Islamophobia” is a concept counterproductive to social cohesion and fundamental Charter rights. The former recommendation needs to be modified to remove its reference to “Islamophobia” while the latter needs to be totally rescinded.

Major (Ret’d) Russ Cooper

Founding Member and Co-Chair, Canadian Citizens for Charter Rights and Freedoms (C3RF)

 

About the author

 

Major (Ret’d) Russ Cooper is retired from both the Royal Canadian Air Force and Air Canada. In his military career, he was a decorated CF18 combat pilot and served in several staff positions as a Director of major capital acquisition projects and the overall coordinator of the Air Force Capital Equipment Program. In the civilian aviation sector, he complemented service as an international airliner pilot with national responsibilities in the field of post 9/11 civil aviation security. He is published internationally in this latter area. He now operates his own firm dedicated to the flight test and clearance of avionics equipment sets. He has recently developed an abiding interest in the preservation of fundamental Canadian Charter rights. This latter pursuit has been prompted by his sense that these rights, hard-won by the sacrifice of countless Canadians past, are under attack and on the verge of being lost.

Footnotes

  1. Cooper, Russ, Analyzing Petition “e”-411 (Islam) – “A Letter to All Canadian Members of Parliament”, 31 Dec, 2016, available on the world wide web at www.stambler.net/C3RF/Analyzing-Petition-e-411-(Islam)-A-Letter-to-All-Canadian-Members-of-Parliament.pdf

  2. Fry, Hedy, “Taking Action Against Systemic Racism and religious discrimination Including Islamophobia”, Report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, 01 Feb, 2018, available on the world wide web at www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/CHPC/report-10

  3. Cooper, Russ, “Report on Heritage Committee M-103 witness testimony – Rebecca Kong”, C3RF Heritage Committee article, available on the world wide web at www.canadiancitizens.org/heritage-meeting-november-8

  4. Gyapong, Deborah, “Heritage Committee Hears Testimony on Islamophobia”, Prairie Messenger, 27 Sep, 2018 available on the world wide web at www.prairiemessenger.ca/17_09_27/cnews_17_09_27_2.html

  5. Cooper, Russ, “Report on Heritage Committee M-103 witness testimony - Avvy Yao-Yao Go”, C3RF Heritage Committee article, available on the world wide web at www.canadiancitizens.org/heritage-committee-september-25

  6. Reuters staff, “Canadian PM says mosque shooting a 'terrorist attack on Muslims'”, 29 Jan, 2017, available on the world wide web at www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-mosque-shooting/canadian-pm-says-mosque-shooting-a-terrorist-attack-on-muslims-idUSKBN15E04S

  7. Quiggin, Tom, “Submission: the Danger of Political Islam to Canada – with a warning to America”, Canadian Centre for the Study of Extremism, 2017

  8. Cooper, Russ, “Report on Heritage Committee M-103 witness testimony - Michel Juneau Katsuya”, C3RF Heritage Committee article, available on the world wide web at https://www.canadiancitizens.org/heritage-committee-september-20

  9. Cooper, Russ, “Report on Heritage Committee M-103 witness testimony - Ayesha S. Chaudhry”, C3RF Heritage Committee article, available on the world wide web at www.canadiancitizens.org/heritage-committee-september-25

  10. Cooper, Russ, “Report on Heritage Committee M-103 witness testimony – Dr. Sherif Emil”, C3RF Heritage Committee article, available on the world wide web at www.canadiancitizens.org/heritage-committee-october-16

  11. Cooper, Russ, “Report on Heritage Committee M-103 witness testimony – Laurence Worthen”, C3RF Heritage Committee article, available on the world wide web at www.canadiancitizens.org/heritage-committee-october-16

  12. Cooper, Russ, “Report on Heritage Committee M-103 witness testimony – Robert Kuhn”, C3RF Heritage Committee article, available on the world wide web at www.canadiancitizens.org/heritage-committee-october-30

  13. Cooper, Russ, “Report on Heritage Committee M-103 witness testimony – Bruce Clemenger”, C3RF Heritage Committee article, available on the world wide web at www.canadiancitizens.org/heritage-committee-november-6

  14. Ibid

  15. Cooper, Russ, “Report on Heritage Committee M-103 witness testimony – Tarek Fatah”, C3RF Heritage Committee article, available on the world wide web at www.canadiancitizens.org/heritage-committee-september-20

  16. Ibid

  17. Cooper, Russ, “Report on Heritage Committee M-103 witness testimony – Yasmine Mohammed”, C3RF Heritage Committee article , available on the world wide web at www.canadiancitizens.org/heritage-meeting-november-8

  18. Ibid

  19. Cooper, Russ, “Report on Heritage Committee M-103 witness testimony – Karim Achab”, C3RF Heritage Committee article, available on the world wide web at www.canadiancitizens.org/heritage-meeting-november-8

  20. Cooper, Russ, “Report on Heritage Committee M-103 witness testimony – Farzana Hassan”, C3RF Heritage Committee article, available on the world wide web at www.canadiancitizens.org/heritage-committee-october-16

  21. Cooper, Russ, “Report on Heritage Committee M-103 witness testimony – Dr. Zuhdi Jasser”, C3RF Heritage Committee article, available on the world wide web at www.canadiancitizens.org/heritage-committee-october-30

  22. Cooper, Russ, “Report on Heritage Committee M-103 witness testimony – Jay Cameron”, C3RF Heritage Committee article, available on the world wide web at www.canadiancitizens.org/heritage-committee-september-27

  23. Cooper, Russ, “Briefing Note for the Committee on Canadian Heritage Witness Testimony on Motion M-103 by Major (Ret’d) Russ Cooper”, 25 Aug, 2017, pp8, available on the world wide web at www.stambler.net/C3RF/Russ-Cooper-Briefing-Note-for-the-Canadian-Heritage-Committee-on-Motion-M-103-26-Aug-2017.pdf

  24. Ibid

  25. Gilligan, Andrew, “Muslim hate monitor to lose backing”, The Telegraph article, 09 Jun, 2013, available o0n the world wide web at www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/andrew-gilligan/10108098/Muslim-hate-monitor-to-lose-backing.html

  26. “CAIR Launches New Civil Rights App Allowing Reporting of Bias Incidents”, CAIR.Com, 23 Jun, 2017, available on the world wide web at www.cair.com/press-center/press-releases/14428-cair-launches-new-civil-rights-app-allowing-reporting-ofbias-incidents.html

  27. D’Amours, Jillian, “Islamophobia hotline to help victims of anti-Muslim hate crimes in Canada”, Middle-East Rye article, 10 Mar, 2016, available on the world wide web at www.middleeasteye.net/news/islamophobia-hotline-help-victims-anti-muslim-hate-crimes-canada-574385457

  28. “The Islamist background of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, missing from a recent La Presse article”, Point de Bascule article, 26 Sep, 2016, available on the world wide web at pointdebasculecanada.ca/islamist-background-national-council-canadian-muslims-missing-recent-la-presse-article/

  29. Cooper, Russ, “Report on Heritage Committee M-103 witness testimony – Yvan Clermont”, C3RF Heritage Committee article, available on the world wide web at www.canadiancitizens.org/heritage-meeting-november-8

  30. Cooper, Russ, “Report on Heritage Committee M-103 witness testimony – Michael Mostyn”, C3RF Heritage Committee article, available on the world wide web at www.canadiancitizens.org/heritage-committee-october-18

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© 2019 by Canadian Citizens For Charter Rights And Freedoms, a Mozuud Freedom Foundation project.

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