Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and his Liberal government have just committed a major political blunder which in the long term will hurt Trudeau and his Liberal party in their re-election efforts.
Trudeau and his Liberals have started a process of developing, issuing and then passing a law which will give preferential treatment to Islam and all followers and adherents of Islam in Canada over all other Canadian religious groups, including Canadian Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs, just to name a few of the major religious faiths practiced in Canada.
Motion M103 was introduced by a Liberal MP backbencher, Iqra Khalid, a Muslim Canadian. This motion has been taken up and defended by the Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly. It is clear Trudeau, the PMO office and the full Liberal Cabinet are strongly behind this very controversial legislative initiative.
The motion calls for the government to (1) recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear and (2) condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.
This motion further requests the Heritage committee to study the issue and “develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia,” and then report its findings to Parliament.
Since the Liberals are in the majority and they control the Heritage committee, there is no question that this motion will come back in short order as a bill specifically condemning Islamophobia in the broadest terms with the potential of criminalizing any legitimate criticism of Islamic practices, no matter how offensive and incompatible these practices are with Canadian values and Canadian practices.
To suggest that this motion is just benign and harmless, as the mainstream Globe and Mail has suggested- is just plain deceptive and disingenuous.
This is a dangerous piece of proposed legislation. In my opinion, a law that specifically condemns Islamophobia violates the spirit and substance of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms which are embedded in our Canadian constitution.
Under Fundamental Freedoms, section 2 of the above Charter states:
Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
The intent and substance of this section is that every Canadian citizen has the freedom to practice his/her religion and that all Canadians are treated equally and that all religions are treated equally. No specific preference or protection is given to any religion in this Charter. There are also strong federal laws against religious discrimination, hate and bigotry.
This proposed legislation is offensive because it gives special status and additional protection to Islam and Muslims and not the other 35 million Canadians who are Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and all other religious faiths. In effect, it is treating these 35 million Canadian citizens who do not observe Islam as second class citizens.
Traditionally and historically Canadians as a whole are strongly opposed to conferring special status on any group in society. Recall Canadians overwhelmingly killed the Meech Lake Accord and the Charlottetown Conference, which both tried and failed to treat Quebec as a distinct society.
I suspect millions of Canadians of the Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh faiths will take offence to their own religion being treated in such a shabby fashion and will hold the Liberals to account.
Secondly, as has been argued by two liberal and moderate Muslims, columnists Tarek Fatah and Farzana Hassan this proposed legislation is a huge step backward for modern and moderate Muslims in Canada and undermines Canadians’ right of freedom of speech, specifically to rationally criticize Islamic practices and if necessary Islamic leaders.
Tarek Fatah, quoting popular TV personality Asif Javaid wrote: (referring to this motion) it “echoes the agenda of Islamists and Islamic extremists in North America who are shamelessly taking advantage of the Quebec City tragedy to advance the international Muslim Brotherhood agenda to silence any critique of Islamism.”
I strongly believe that Trudeau and his smug and arrogant Liberals are also shamelessly taking advantage of the Quebec City tragedy to promote their pro Islamic agenda at the expense of the freedoms and rights of over 35 million Canadians.
I predict this will not end well for Trudeau and his Liberals.
Mitch Wolfe is the author of “Trump: How He Captured The Trump White House”, published before the election.