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M-103 Debate

A controversial motion which, if passed, will have the House of Commons Heritage Committee study the issue of religious discrimination – specifically including the term “Islamophobia” – had its first hour of debate in the House of Commons last week. There has been increasing opposition to the motion, largely because of fears that it will restrict criticism of a specific religion, and because the term “Islamophobia” remains undefined. The Conservative caucus drafted a motion of their own, which was similar but contained some important distinctions.

Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MP Scott Reid said the Conservative motion specifically condemns “racism, religious intolerance, and discrimination against all of Canada’s largest religious groups: Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, and Hindus, while Motion No. 103 mentions only Islam by name.”

Reid said the distinction is important, because by specifying Islam by name, Motion 103 “implies that what Canada needs is state protection for faiths rather than for the safety of the faithful.” However, he said, “it is the faithful who must be protected rather than the faiths they profess, since eternal truth is under the protection of an almighty and all-loving protector far more powerful than the Government of Canada.”

The issue will come back for a vote in April.

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