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FORSETH – Faith discrimination must be dealt with in a fair, equal and democratic way

(AngusReid.org)

Rally after Quebec mosque attack. (AngusReid.org)

TODAY (Thursday, Feb. 16) Members of Parliament will be voting on a Private Members’ Motion from Liberal MP Iqra Khalid (Mississauga-Erin Mills).

forsethalan-colhed-20jan2017Motion M-103 seems somewhat general in nature on first glance of the title, “Systemic Racism and Religious Discrimination” … but NOT once you read the actual text, which in fact instead highlights a very specific religious belief system.

Here is the actual text of the motion:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should:
(a) recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear;
(b) 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; and
(c) request that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage undertake a study on how the government could
(i) develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia, in Canada, while ensuring a community-centered focus with a holistic response through evidence-based policy-making,
(ii) collect data to contextualize hate crime reports and to conduct needs assessments for impacted communities, and that the Committee should present its findings and recommendations to the House no later than 240 calendar days from the adoption of this motion, provided that in its report, the Committee should make recommendations that the government may use to better reflect the enshrined rights and freedoms in the Constitution Acts, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Given that many Christians feel under attack by many on the left, and in the media, and that it appears quite okay to attack Christian beliefs without repercussion, why do we suddenly have the need to specifically insert Islamaphobia into a Private Members Bill?

The National Council of Canadian Muslims held a news conference in Ottawa, just days ago, at which Ihsaan Gardee:

“… thanked Canadians for their outpouring of sympathy and solidarity following the Jan. 29 killings, which also left 19 others wounded … asked Canadians to take action to curb Islamophobia and listed suggestions for the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government
“… Muslim leaders laid out steps, including more money to train police at the community level about how to deal with hate crimes and public annual reviews of hate crimes … suggested the creation of an anti-racism committee to oversee issues of racism and support education campaigns, as well as institute a course on racism to be taught in high school
“… the letter called for all members of Parliament to support Motion 103, a bill to study ways of reducing Islamophobia … “

Yes, all Canadians should be united, as one, in their disgust of the shootings which took place on Jan. 29.

MP Iqra Khalid.

MP Iqra Khalid.

That said, when you take out my Bold Italics from the text of the Private Member’s Petition (noted above), does it not — on its own — cover all aspects of faith discrimination in a fair, equal and democratic way? The Motion would then fairly, relate to all faiths, including the much maligned Christian beliefs!

There is NO NEED to single out any particular group or faith for special status.

But again I come back to what many Christians would perceive as discrimination against them, and for which I have yet to hear of any ‘special’ government measures, or protections, to address them.

Ongoing has been the fight Trinity Western University has been waging against those discriminating against their Law students. First Nations prayers seem to be welcome in all levels of education, official ceremonies, government events — and yet Christian groups and organizations are banned at worst, or made unwelcome at the least. Christmas has been dumbed down to a genetic holiday of simple gift-giving due to a loud and vocal minority of people who will do anything to drive out any long-standing and centuries long established history as a Christian Holiday — ditto for Easter, and on the list goes.

As Louis Groarke, a professor of philosophy at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, stated: “In traditional representations, Lady Justice is blindfolded, with a sword, holding up the scales of justice. She is blindfolded so she can’t play favorites. The law is supposed to protect everyone from discrimination.”

It seems like some (many, perhaps) who are easily offended by anything to do with the church, or Christianity, fail to understand this concept of justice means that no one should be singled out — and no one should have their beliefs diminished, ridiculed, or refused.

In Kamloops, I’m Alan Forseth, and that’s where I stand.

Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident and former member of the Reform Party of Canada, the B.C. Reform Party and the B.C. Conservative Party. His blog is My Thoughts on Politics and More.

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9 Comments on FORSETH – Faith discrimination must be dealt with in a fair, equal and democratic way

  1. CAMILLE B VILLENEUVE // February 16, 2017 at 8:11 PM // Reply

    “Christian groups and organizations are banned at worst, or made unwelcome at the least” ??? Can you give us a few examples?

  2. As Christians we can afford
    forgiveness and tolerance…we are that good.
    However I am not sure about the other cheek…

  3. Lawrence Beaton // February 16, 2017 at 12:05 PM // Reply

    Motion M-103 should cover all religions and not single out one particular religion. Thank you, Mr. Forseth for your thoughts on this very important Private Members Motion

  4. While I entirely agree that the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom must apply equally to all, whatever religion they profess or practice, to suggest that Christians are now subjected to systemic discrimination in our society is going too far. Christianity has enjoyed a privileged status in our society, culture, and law, for centuries. It is the erosion of those long held privileges that forms the principal subject of the writer’s complaints. This is akin to white males whining that they are now the subject of systemic discrimination and that the restoration of their former status is needed to make our country “great again”. We are seeing where that movement takes us. Let’s not make the same mistakes regarding religious freedom.

  5. I really appreciated your column today about Motion M-103. Thank you so much Alan Forseth.

  6. E M Helen McLean // February 16, 2017 at 10:43 AM // Reply

    Thank you for your explanation of
    Motion 103 with the PMB . I do not see the need to single out or name any particular faith or non-
    faith- the intent to respect all
    should be clear .It has been my
    observation over the years that the more publicity a certain issue receives the more exacerbated it
    becomes and respectful opinions
    in some cases become more overwhelmed and rationality disappears.
    I will be watching with interest.

  7. Ken McClelland // February 16, 2017 at 9:09 AM // Reply

    Thank-you for your comment on this. I too would interpret the motion to prohibit ANY religious discrimination, as that is what the preamble reads. Why is Islam singled out for special protection? It seems to me this motion is redundant, as those protections are already supposedly in place. In part, The Charter is supposed to ensure equality for all in reference to religious beliefs, not special treatment for some because of particular beliefs.

  8. CAMILLE B VILLENEUVE // February 16, 2017 at 8:59 AM // Reply

    Nothing should be above scrutiny and criticism. Ridiculous beliefs should be mocked.

  9. Time for a crusade…

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