A motion is pending in Canada’s House of Commons that, if approved, calls for recognizing the need to
- quell the increasing public climate of fear and hatred,
- [condemn] Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination and
- take note of House of Commons’ petition e-411 and the issues raised by it.
It also requests a study of how the government should create a “whole-of-government” approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination and collecting data on hate crime reports.
The House of Commons petition e-411 takes pains to separate violent extremists from the rest of the Muslim population.
Comment: The heart of the motion may be in the right place, but it does not add much beyond the existing Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which already guarantees equal rights and freedom from discrimination based on religion.
While this motion does not go so far as to criminalize speech deemed to be Islamophobic, it does open the door to the Canadian government policing speech. That is a slippery slope indeed. (Comment by Patricia Padurean)