To many of us who live in B.C.’s north, Ottawa may seem as far away as the black hole at the centre of our galaxy.
But, like the fabled colossal collapse of space/time, Ottawa, too, exerts an almost imperceptible, yet ineluctable, influence over our lives.
Take for instance the parliamentary motion called M-103 introduced by MP Iqra Khalid and ratified by the House of Commons on March 23, 2017.
The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage will now be convened to investigate the state of discrimination and religious intolerance in Canada and within 240 days offer a “whole of government” approach to the issue.
Sounds good, but on closer scrutiny things aren’t as they seem.
The target of the committee is to “recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear” and reduce or eliminate “systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia”.
Tellingly, in February, the Liberal party defeated a similar Conservative proposal which listed many faith groups by name but neglected to use the term “Islamophobia”.
Why do you think the Liberals did this?
We need to be vigilant, here, because:
(1) If M-103 is about discrimination and religious intolerance why does it deliberately ignore the most persecuted people group in Canada?
According to RCMP reports, Jews are eight times more likely than Muslims to be persecuted and it is doubtful Ms. Khalid would be inclined to include, front and centre, the clearly defined term “anti-semitism” in her crusade.
(2) Preference for the term “Islamophobia” is deceitful. Any use of the suffix “phobia” is a tactical manoeuvre to leverage an agenda. It already tags opponents of a cause as morally, socially, or intellectually deficient.
“Islamophobia” is dishonest and intolerantly ambiguous (even quoting the Koran could be construed as “Islamophobic”).
Professing the ideals of tolerance and equitability, the Canadian government is, under the hegemony of the Liberals, moving us all toward a state in which freedom of thought and belief (guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms) is trumped by a system of thought in which neither thought nor belief is particularly free.
Eventually, lampooning Muhammad could be considered a criminal offense in Canada.
“Islamophobia” conflates a world view with its adherents, as if an idea had the same rights as an individual.
Islam is not a person, it is an ideology and like any ideology deserves the respect of critique.
Any attempt to procure protection or exemption is at the very least intellectually dishonest and at the worst a duplicitous manoeuvre to eliminate criticism and opposition.
An egalitarian society that permits it (or any ideology claiming special status, even postmodern secularism,) will soon be searching for its own vital signs.
If the heritage committee proceeds to “collect data to contextualize hate crime reports”, I may in this very piece be signing my own subpoena.
But, to quote someone who once stood up to another tyranny presuming infallibility and autocratic authority: “here I stand, I can do no other”.