BY DEEPAK OBHRAI
Conservative MP for Calgary
IN my recent engagements with the Muslim communities, they have expressed that they are fearful of not being treated as other Canadians. What they want is what all Canadians want, a future for their families and to be able to practice their religion freely, as other faiths do.
So does Motion 103 achieve this objective for the Muslim Communities?!
Before this can be answered I have one simple question to ask: are the laws that are in place that protect Canadians from hate speech, hate crimes and violence failing Muslim Canadians?
The answer is NO, they are not failing them, they are actually designed to protect all Canadians, and Muslim Canadians must harness these laws to send a message that they too are protected equally.
However, if you want to be treated equally you must also act equally towards Canadians of all faiths.
In its current form, motion M-103 has brought a strong division between Canadian communities, including the Muslim communities themselves. It is the rhetoric given by the Liberal MPs and Cabinet Ministers that are creating an environment of fear, anger and confusion.
What needs to be made clear is that most Canadians who are challenging this motion are not challenging the issues facing the Muslim communities or that racism does not exist; what they are uncomfortable with in this motion is the fact that it is favoring one community over others. Even though the motion is written broadly to include other groups, it highlights only the religion of Islam (Islamophobia), therefore any debate or mention of this motion will continue to focus on this religion at the exclusion of others.
It is for this reason why so many of my supporters, including those in the Muslim community have reached out to us. It is clear, that if the Liberals keep using this type of rhetoric and push an agenda of divisive politics, it is the Muslim community that will suffer, and be further ostracized.
In my decades of experience in Parliament, it has always been the case of finding a compromise from all sides. I find it alarming and very telling of the Liberal caucus using this motion to divide our country and further harm the very group they are professing to help.
The blatant use of this issue to politically divide a country was made ever so clear
when Former Minister of Justice, Hon Irwin Cotler, whom I respect deeply and with whom I have worked on human rights issues, advised the young MP, Iqra Khalid, to
compromise by making the motion broader to include all groups and to use a more appropriate concept of “anti-Muslim bigotry” which in the larger scope is more definitive than the ambiguous term “Islamophobia”.
The Liberals’ refusal to compromise and work with everyone to create a motion that supports ALL groups, reveals that this issue will be used to further the Liberals’ political agenda to gain more favors from the Muslim communities.
Unfortunately for the Liberals, this has caused more of a divide, simply because they refuse to treat all groups equally. Furthermore, many Muslim supporters have reached out and expressed their fears if they are seen as being given special treatment and this will further harm the very group the Liberals are professing to protect.
So who wins here? No one. Laws are already in place to protect Canadians from hate speech and hate crimes. Canadians are asking only for equal treatment for all.
As it is, I already supported the e-petition that asked the House of Commons to recognize that extremist individuals do not represent the religion of Islam as well as the Charter of Inclusiveness which treats all communities equally, brought forth by the Muslim community, therefore this is not an issue of supporting/not supporting Muslim Canadians, but that of treating everyone as equals.
That is why in its current form I cannot support this motion, as it promotes divisiveness.
The Liberals must not make the safety of our Muslim community a political agenda. The safety of all Canadians is paramount and to play these games is what ultimately puts everyone at risk.
And finally, to my colleague, Iqra Khalid, it is terrible when you receive hate and racist mail. I have been subjected to this as well for the last 20 years. My advice is to focus on those letters that you also received that have told you they too are appalled at the hate literature levied at you.
As I stated earlier, if you want to be treated equally you must also act equally towards Canadians of all faiths.