Heritage Committee - June 20 Meeting
Since our last "Heritage Committee" report the Committee has met on 13, 15 and 20 June, 2017. The first two occasions were not relevant to the M-103 process as they were "in camera" (out of public view) sessions that dealt with "Canadian women and girls in sport". The meeting on 20 June was also held "in camera" but did deal with M-103 housekeeping issues that are of great interest to those concerned over the potential impact of M-103 on Canadian free speech rights.
A cursory set of minutes for the 20 June meeting is available here:
It is critical to note from these capsulized minutes that the Liberal Party will be allowed to call 36 witnesses, the Conservative Party 24 and the NDP 12. Obviously, the pro-M-103 contingent, comprised by Liberal and NDP witnesses, will far outweigh any countervailing opinions that can be offered up by the Conservative Party. Indeed, given the sheer weight of the evidence that will be tabled by M-103 proponents it is safe to say that anti-Islamophobia measures are on track to be implemented on a Canadian society and public that have been designated as "systemically" racist and full of "religious" bigots respectively. To add credence to this inevitability is the fact that Hedy Fry, Chairperson of the Heritage Committee, is on record as declaring "there is no guarantee that radical voices won't speak at M-103 hearings". One might think that the fix is in and that follow-on legislation aimed at protecting Islam from criticism is well in hand - except for one fact, written submissions will be entertained.
If you are interested in making such a "written submission" you may consider doing so as detailed in the guidelines noted here:
Perhaps you are concerned that:
hate speech laws in other Western jurisdictions have failed miserably and are very likely to be counterproductive here in Canada;
the folks who helped Iqra Khalid devise the M-103 initiative are the same who are allegedly in support of bringing sharia law and, by extension, its' onerous speech codes to Canada;
the term "Islamophobia" has not been defined and could open the way for Islamic doctrines and ideologies to be shielded from criticism;
the evidence of hate crimes against Muslims is being overstated and pales in comparison with other groups; or
that the legislation that M-103 promotes will punish everyday citizens who speak out against Islamic terrorism rather than those who spew hatred against individuals belonging to identifiable groups.
Regardless, if you feel your right to free speech is threatened by measures that are likely to be proposed by M-103 deliberations now is the time to engage. You can do so by written submission to the Heritage Committee and now is the time to get cracking - it should be with the Committee before they return for deliberations on 18 September, 2017.
Thanks for your consideration in this.
Major (Ret’d) Russ Cooper