FEDERAL NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and NDP Public Safety Critic Matthew Dubé have sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding the 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada that labelled the Sikh and Muslim communities as extremists.
The letter to Trudeau highlights concerns about the inappropriate labeling of the Sikh and Muslim communities in the report, in some circumstances without sufficient evidence.
The letter noted that the report has left Canadians with many questions and many concerns specifically regarding the fact that the report uses terms such as “Sikh”, “Shia”, and “Sunni” to label and equate entire communities to extremism.
“This report unfairly stigmatizes Muslim and Sikh communities, while failing to consider dangerous and unintended consequences. These consequences include the potential to place vulnerable communities and all Canadians at greater risk, by emboldening the harmful stereotypes that fuelled terrorist attacks in Christchurch, Quebec City and Oak Creek” said Singh. “Political leaders must act with great care and responsibility, so their words are not used to exploit fear and fuel hatred – instead, they must promote solidarity and challenge hatred, whenever atrocities occur.”
Dubé added: “You have in us and in our caucus, a strong ally prepared to tackle extremism. It is of tantamount importance to us, however, that any approach avoids further divisions between groups, which in turn fuels hatred and in some circumstances violent acts.” He added “There is nothing more important to us, than the safety and security of all Canadians.”
Jagmeet Singh and the NDP urged Trudeau and his Liberal government to remove the report from government websites until all promised changes regarding these labels and references to the Sikh, Shia and Sunni communities are made, or until a clear explanation including any evidence, where appropriate, is released.
DUBE also notified the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security of his intention to move a motion to invite the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, to appear before committee and answer questions related to the Public Report tabled in Parliament on December 11, 2018.
Dubé introduced the motion after sending a letter to the Minister last December, which the Minister did not answer. Dubé’s letter raised questions about the concerns expressed by Canadians regarding the labelling of Sikh and Muslim communities as extremists. His letter also raised the dangers of this labelling and its potential to lead to inappropriate stereotypes and stigmas.
While speaking to the Committee on Wednesday, Dubé introduced the following motion:
“That the Committee invite the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to appear before it no later than June 21, 2019 to respond to and take questions on the 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada tabled in Parliament on December 11, 2018.”
Dubé went on to state: “We’ve heard from communities that are named in this report that there is concern over what impact it can have.” He added: “It’s become pretty clear that there needs to be rethinking of how these groups are identified in these reports and a better understanding of the thought process behind the decisions.”