There were two social media posts made in the aftermath of Canada’s M-103 anti-Islamophobia vote that perfectly illustrate where the issue is headed. And make no mistake the issue is indeed headed somewhere. It’s certainly not over now that the vote has happened, which saw it pass 201-91 Thursday evening. If anything, the conversation is only ramping up. This is because Liberal MP Iqra Khalid’s motion calls for a committee study to be completed within 240 days and report back to the House of Commons with recommendations on how to tackle racism, discrimination and the ill-defined phenomenon of Islamophobia. So where do we go from here? A Twitter post from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland offers a hint: “Glad that Parliament has taken a firm stance against Islamophobia by passing Motion 103. Canada has no tolerance for hate.” Looks pretty straightforward at first glance. But hang on a second. Isn’t this about tackling all forms of racism and discrimination? After all, that’s largely been the Liberal talking point used to shoot down worries that Islamophobia is given greater weight than any other concern.
Yet here’s Freeland implying the opposite. Now if you’ve been following since day one, you already know this based on the fact that Khalid acknowledges the partial inspiration for her motion was online petition e-411, which is exclusively about Islam. But it’s instructive to see this hat tip come from a senior cabinet minister, the one responsible for building relationships with world leaders — including those of Muslim-majority countries — no less. It’s almost like the Liberals are saying one thing to one group of people and something else to another. I believe that in parts of the Islamic world, this duplicity is referred to as taqiyya. Freeland received a lot of criticism for that post. Like this one: “We won’t tolerate favouritism of one religion. We live in a secular democracy not an Islamic theocracy. Respect freedoms of speech!” It’s a special one not because of what it says — there are many just like it — but who said it. It’s from a British Columbia university student named Ali who describes himself as “a social democrat, activist, feminist, environmentalist & a globalist.”
The Liberals thought they’d play a little game with M-103 to divide people along demographic lines. They’ve failed horribly. A Forum Research poll revealed only 14% of Canadians support the motion in its current wording. A subsequent one found only 29% would vote in support of the motion if they were MPs. Canadians haven’t been divided by this. They’ve been united ... in their opposition to it. And now they’re watching and waiting to see what happens next.
This article was originally published on the Toronto Sun website on March 24, 2017, and can be viewed on their website by clicking here.