March 23, 2017

M-103, “regarding Systemic racism and religious discrimination” passed in the House of Commons with a final vote count of 201 in favour, and 91 opposed. I was among the 201 who voted in favour of this motion.

Over the past several months, M-103 has become a high-profile issue for many Canadians, and I heard a great deal of input from my constituents, both for and against. These individuals were dedicated to an important issue, and I commend their involvement in our governing process.

There was however, a great deal of misinformation circulated regarding M-103. On February 17, I published an open letter to my constituents to explain my views and dispel what I viewed was a false characterization of the motion. That information is still readily available; however I would like to take this opportunity to re-iterate my beliefs.

Contrary to a common misconception about M-103, it has no influence on Canadian law. It does not criminalize any new form of speech, nor does it inappropriately shelter one religion at the expense of others. Rather, it calls for the Government of Canada to develop a comprehensive response to xenophobia across all ethnic, religious and cultural denominations while addressing a clearly observed rise in hate crimes perpetrated upon Muslim Canadians. This is similar to a motion carried unanimously in the House of Commons in 2015 which condemned hate-motivated crimes against Canada’s Jewish community.

Yesterday’s vote in the House of Commons reflected Canadians’ view that a climate of hate and fear is antithetical to the fabric of our society. Nobody deserves to feel less at home in this country simply because of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, or any other denomination. I am proud that M-103 passed in the House of Commons, and to live in a country that possesses the moral courage to condemn blind intolerance in all forms.