Around 500 people participated on Saturday, March 4, 2017 in a demonstration held by the Organizing Committee Against Islamophobia (OCAI) at Nathan Philips Square in Toronto. The protest was introduced by the organizers as a counter demonstration to a rally at the same time and place that was organized by The Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens (CCCC) against the M-103 (anti-Islamophobia motion) and in support of freedom of speech.
The first speaker at OCAI‘s protest accused Justin Trudeau Liberal government among other things of espousing white supremacist policy, committing ongoing “genocide” against the Indigenous people, arming the Islamic regime of Saudi Arabia that bombed Yemeni children and exploiting refugees and immigrants. She called the federal government to repeal the Barbaric Cultural Practices Act that criminalizes forced marriage and tackles ‘honour killings’.
The following is transcription of her speech:
Before we begin with our program we want to do a land recognition. This event, us here in Toronto, we’re, this will take place on the sacred territorial land of the Anishnawbe nation and the Haudenosaunee confederacy and also the Huron Wendat Petun First Nations, the Seneca and the Mississauga of Credit River.
We must recognize that as we gather here today to do anti racist work, colonial violence is ongoing and we are on stolen land (crowd: shame).
So like I’ve said we’ve an amazing line-up. We’ve got some great speakers, performers and volunteers gathered to send one clear message. I need you folks to repeat after me, ok? No Islamophobia! No white supremacy! No fascism!…
On behalf of the Organizing Committee Against Islamophobia I welcome you Assalam Alaikum [Arabic for peace be upon you].
Today it is a peaceful inter-sectional anti-oppressive action to re-frame this conversation from one of
hate to one of solidarity. Solidarity in trying times. A tax on Muslims has tripled in recent years.
Shame (crowd: shame). And to be honest, it feels like they have quadrupled in recent days.
But let me ask you: Why is there a group of white supremacists at Old City Hall with Canadian flags? Because Canada’s state policies are white supremacist (crowd: shame).
Canada was founded on the genocide of the indigenous, a genocide that continues today.
Canada was built on the exploitation of migrant workers and exploitation that continues today (crowd: shame).
Canada was meant to be the white man country.
A country where you can criminalize your neighbours for barbaric cultural practices (crowd: shame).
A country where black folks are murdered by the Police and trans women of colour are left to die (crowd: shame).
A country where refugees and immigrants can be detained indefinitely without trial (crowd: shame).
A country where oil is more important than water (crowd: shame).
Canada is the second largest arms dealer to Saudi Arabia funding the bombs that are dropped over the malnourished children of Yemen (crowd: shame).
Canada is one of the one of the only states that voted ‘no’ to Palestinian statehood (crowd: shame).
Canada is home to the mining companies that are devastating Latin America (crowd: shame).
Canada was never great.
So today we stand here in the cold with our children, with our families and friends and we wonder: How do this happen?
Well, we did this and we cannot stay silent any longer. We must take a stand. We must condemn racist and fascist like the CCCC, Never Again Canada and Marie Le Pen.
We must repeal the Barbaric Cultural Practices Act and stop Kellie Leitch’s racist agenda. We must
fight Trump’s Muslim ban…
We must condemn Canadian policies of aggression, war and regime change.
There is no more room for Islamophobia, white supremacy or fascism.
Toronto, it’s time to unite and fight! Unite and fight! Unite and fight! Unite and fight! Unite and fight! Unite and fight! Unite and fight! Unite and fight! Unite and fight!
The demonstration was supported by Communist Party of Canada, Revolutionary Communist Party, PAJU- Palestinian & Jewish Unity, Independent Jewish Voices Canada – Toronto, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network – Canada, Actions4Palestine, CFS Ontario // FCÉÉ Ontario, Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians, Common Frontiers, Christian Peacemaker Teams – Ontario, CUPE 3903, Educators for Peace and Justice, Fight for $15 & Fairness, Frente Para La Defensa Hugo Chávez, Hugo Chavez Peoples’ Defense Front, LAEN Latin American Education Network, Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network (LACSN), MISN: Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, McMaster Womanists, OCAP Toronto,Pegida Watch Canada, Salaam Canada, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights – McMaster, Stop the JNF Campaign – Canada, SURJ Toronto, Toronto Against Fascism, The Anglican church of St. John’s West Toronto, Toronto Anarchist Reading Group, Toronto Socialist Alternative, Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance – Ontario, UNITE HERE Local 75, Westdale Social Action Committee, Women in Solidarity With Palestine, Women’s Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu [Toronto], Young Communist League – Hamilton, Young Communist League – Toronto and York University Graduate Students’ Association (YUGSA). For more information click HERE.
Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act
The Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act (click HERE) amends the Civil Marriage Act to provide for the requirement of a minimum age of 16 years for marriage and bans any support of a forced early marriage.
Part 1 amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to specify that a permanent resident or foreign national is inadmissible on grounds of practising polygamy in Canada.
Part 2 amends the Civil Marriage Act to provide for the legal requirements for a free and enlightened consent to marriage and for any previous marriage to be dissolved or declared null before a new marriage is contracted. Those requirements are currently provided for in the Federal Law—Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1 only in respect of Quebec and under the common law in the other provinces. It also amends the Civil Marriage Act to provide for the requirement of a minimum age of 16 years for marriage. This requirement is currently provided for in the Federal Law—Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1 only in respect of Quebec.
Part 3 amends the Criminal Code to
(a) clarify that it is an offence for an officiant to knowingly solemnize a marriage in contravention of federal law;
(b) provide that it is an offence to celebrate, aid or participate in a marriage rite or ceremony knowing that one of the persons being married is doing so against their will or is under the age of 16 years;
(c) provide that it is an offence to remove a child from Canada with the intention that an act be committed outside Canada that, if it were committed in Canada, would constitute the offence of celebrating, aiding or participating in a marriage rite or ceremony knowing that the child is doing so against their will or is under the age of 16 years;
(d) provide that a judge may order a person to enter into a recognizance with conditions to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for the purpose of preventing the person from committing an offence relating to the marriage of a person against their will or the marriage of a person under the age of 16 years or relating to the removal of a child from Canada with the intention of committing an act that, if it were committed in Canada, would be such an offence; and
(e) provide that the defence of provocation is restricted to circumstances in which the victim engaged in conduct that would constitute an indictable offence under the Criminal Code that is punishable by five years or more in prison.
Finally, the enactment also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.