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Why I am voting "No" on M-103
Private member's motion M-103 is benignly entitled "Systemic Racism and Religious Discrimination" but a reading of the actual text reveals that the Motion is not benign, nor does it represent an honest attempt to address the real and serious problems its title implies.
By singling out "Islamophobia" for special treatment in her Motion, Liberal MP Iqra Khalid (Mississauga-Erin Mills) seems to be suggesting that Muslim Canadians are being subjected to a unique form of discrimination. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Jews continue to be the target of choice for religious haters in Canada. The number of anti-Semitic incidents reported year on year in this country - including acts of vandalism and violence - continues to outstrip similar acts against members of other faith groups. That includes Muslims, even though the Jewish community is a fraction of the size of Canada's Muslim community.
As for so-called "systemic" racism, if anything, Muslim Canadians are the beneficiaries of extraordinary acts of accommodation, far beyond anything other faith groups in Canada enjoy. Name one faith group other than Muslim that public schools in Canada accommodate by allowing boys and girls to be segregated, by excusing children from classes to participate in prayer services, or by imposing religious dietary rules?
Indeed, the group most likely to suffer systemic discrimination in Canada these days is Christians. Christians are regularly barred from publicly celebrating their faith for fear that doing so might be interpreted by other faith groups as an act of discrimination against them.
Are there incidents of discrimination against Muslim Canadians? Yes, but they are isolated and quite properly condemned when they occur. Suggesting that anti-Muslim bigotry is rampant and systemic is both wrong and insulting to fair-minded Canadians.
Since becoming a Member of Parliament in 2004, I have actively promoted religious freedom both here and abroad. I have worked closely with a number of persecuted communities including Ahmadiyans, Baha'i and, of course, Christians, who are now the most persecuted religious group in the world.
Any study of faith-based intolerance in Canada that fails to take note explicitly of anti-Semitism or anti-Christian bigotry can only be described as a farce. Worse, adopting Iqra Khalid's Motion as presented will only serve to strengthen extremist elements within the Muslim community itself that seek to preserve and promote their own form of hate and intolerance.
That is why I will vote, "No," on Iqra Khalid's private member's motion, M-103, as presented, and why I call on all Members of Parliament, irrespective of party, to join me in opposing this motion.
If you agree that a serious plan to combat religious discrimination in Canada should include ALL faith groups, including Christians and Jews, I need your help. Please make a tax-deductible contribution to my campaign, and vote for me in the upcoming Conservative Party leadership election. Your support will help me continue to fight for sensible government policy and legislation and for a Conservative Party that stands for genuine conservative principles. And although the deadline has now passed to join the party to vote in this election, you can still join to take part in policy development, nominations, and other important initiatives in the future.