When Motion 103 passed during the 42nd session of the Canadian Parlement back in March, many expressed concern over the far-reaching nature of the claims of racism, and specifically Islamophobia. While hate crimes and discrimination are already illegal, this new motion took a specific aim at anyone speaking out against Islam, including those with concerns about radical jihad and Sharia law. In other words, censorship of Sharia law was being enforced. When it was passed, many of these concerns were dismissed. The concerns have become a reality in a courtroom as Motion 103 hearings take place this week.
According to a report about Motion 103:
“Motion 103, also known as M-103, is a motion first proposed during the 42nd Canadian Parliament by Iqra Khalid, a Liberal MP representing Mississauga—Erin Mills. The motion states that the members of the House of Commons call on the Government of Canada to condemn Islamophobia in Canada and “all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination”. It also calls on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to carry out a study on how racism and religious discrimination can be reduced and collect data on hate crimes.
The motion passed by a vote of 201–91 on March 23, 2017. The debate surrounding the motion was characterized as “deeply divisive”, especially within the Official Opposition Conservative Party of Canada which was in the midst of a leadership election.”
As M-103 came before parliament, it was sold as a way to combat racism and emerging hate in Canada. The odd thing about this particular measure is that does not protect all that might be targeted by hate speech or even racism but instead singles out Muslims for special protections.
These special protections can include criminalizing something as simple as a news source speaking out against issues with Muslim immigrants or even fears about extreme jihad terrorism. According to a recent report from the M-103 committee:
“…the balance of Islamophobia with other forms of discrimination was entirely in their hands, and those of the experts slated to testify.
One such expert was Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former CSIS manager and RCMP officer. In his testimony, he mused about revoking broadcast licenses for “radio poubelle” (a Quebecois phrase meaning “trash radio”) that he says feeds Islamophobia in his home province.
Toronto Sun columnist Anthony Furey linked Juneau-Katsuya’s comment to a CBC story, published in the wake of the Quebec City mosque shooting, castigating radio stations that “often air segments voicing concerns about Muslim immigration and the threat of Islamic terrorism — programming that leaves many local Muslims feeling alienated and misunderstood.”
It seems scary to think that one small group feeling alienated by the fear of others tied to threats of terrorist acts is, in fact, a crime. This does not mean mane that any group that feels alienated by this type of talk is covered by M-103, it is definitely for Muslims only. To make this point a reporter explained:
“As a conservative Christian, I feel pretty alienated and misunderstood whenever I’m exposed to CBC programming, but I don’t think that’s grounds to yank the network’s broadcasting rights.
This recommendation from one of the heritage committee’s star witnesses substantiates the fears that the government’s efforts to target Islamophobia may well go after people and platforms raising legitimate criticisms of radical Islam or immigration policy.
As I predicted, the goalposts are being moved. Between Canada’s Criminal Code already outlawing violent hate speech and there being no constitutional right to freedom from criticism, I’ve yet to see where the government can intervene to tackle the Islamophobia boogie man without curbing legitimate and necessary liberties.”
Are we to assume that Muslims are the only ones that face possible discrimination or perhaps they are the only group worth of this extra level of protection. The idea that an entire news source could be shut down merely for upsetting a small group as they expressed real fears tied to extreme jihad terror does not make much sense.
For any other group, it is not enough to cry out for immediate action based on them being made to feel uncomfortable or even misunderstood. Many feel this way on a daily basis as their more conservative views are vilified or made to have some form of a sinister agenda. M-103 makes a clear distinction about who is even allowed to feel this way.