Liberals vote down Conservative anti-racism motion – The Globe and Mail

The federal Liberals have defeated a Conservative anti-racism motion so they can pass their own version, which condemns Islamophobia.

Conservative MP David Andersons motion to condemn all forms of systemic racism, religious intolerance, and discrimination failed in a vote of 165-126 in the House of Commons, after Liberal MPs, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, voted against it.

The Tories introduced their own anti-racism motion in response to Liberal MP Iqra Khalids M-103, which calls on the government to condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination and to study the issue at the heritage committee and make recommendations. For procedural reasons, the Liberal motion will not be voted on until April.

Heritage Minister Mlanie Joly said Tuesday that hate crimes against Muslims have more than doubled since 2012 and reiterated the governments support for Ms. Khalids motion.

The term Islamophobia is extremely important as it is discrimination against the Muslim community, Ms. Joly told reporters after the vote.

The Conservatives have expressed concerns that Islamophobia is not defined in Ms. Khalids motion and said it could stifle freedom of speech, including criticisms of Islam. They also say its more inclusive to treat all religions equally, despite the fact that the House of Commons already unanimously condemned all forms of Islamophobia in an NDP motion last fall, although it wasnt a recorded vote.

Mr. Andersons motion, which mirrors in large part that of the Liberals, condemns all forms of systemic racism, religious intolerance, and discrimination of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, and other religious communities, but does not specifically mention Islamophobia.

It also states that Canadian society is not immune to the climate of hate and fear exemplified by the recent and senseless violent acts at a Quebec City mosque, referring to last months deadly attack on a Quebec City mosque that left six men dead.

Liberal MP Frank Baylis, who introduced an e-petition last year on which Ms. Khalids motion is based, said if the Conservative version passed, the Liberal one would be considered moot. Both motions make similar recommendations, including that the heritage committee study the issue and develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating discrimination, collect data to contextualize hate-crime reports and report back to the Commons within eight months.

The NDP, Bloc Qubcois and the Green Partys Elizabeth May supported the Conservative motion, although the New Democrats say theyll also support the Liberal one. Of the nine sitting Conservative MPs running for leader, only Michael Chong has said he will support M-103.

Representatives from the Canadian Muslim Forum, a non-profit organization established in 1993 to represent the Muslim community on public policy issues, urged parliamentarians to pass the Liberal version of the motion, calling it very courageous.

We are a community under siege, said Samer Majzoub, the forums president.

He said the Conservatives reaction has, directly or indirectly, created waves of Islamophobia all over the country.

This motion, unfortunately came as trying to delegitimize the M-103, and trying really to degrade this motion, Mr. Majzoub told reporters Tuesday before the vote.

Conservative MP Grard Deltell said he disagrees with the characterization that the Conservative motion would have delegitimized M-103.

But, he said, We respect their liberty of speaking, and we respect also the liberty of religion. This is what our motion was all about. And unfortunately, the Liberals decided to vote against.

On Thursday, the Ontario legislature will vote on Liberal MPP Nathalie Des Rosierss motion, which denounces attacks, threats of violence and hate crimes against Muslims and condemns all forms of Islamophobia.

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Browns office said he will vote in favour of the motion and has instructed his caucus to do the same.

With a report from Les Perreaux

Follow Laura Stone on Twitter: @l_stone

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Liberals vote down Conservative anti-racism motion – The Globe and Mail

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February 21, 2017   Posted in: Anti Racism |

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