Muslims in the House: December 5-9

E-Petition 411 and Motion 103 Condemning Islamophobia 
An e-petition condemning all forms of Islamophobia was presented in the House of Commons by Liberal MP Frank Baylis (Pierrefonds-Dollard). The petition, which previously passed with unanimous support in the House of Commons, received more support (69,742 signatures) than any e-petition in Canadian history. MP Baylis emphasized that the House of Commons has an “enduring commitment to the Canadian ideals of religious freedom” and continues to support diversity of Canadian society.

Liberal MP Iqra Khalid (Mississauga-Erin Hills) stood in the House of Commons, as a Muslim woman, in support of the e-petition. Moreover, MP Khalid put forward Motion-103, which calls “on our government to condemn Islamophobia” and continue to “work towards eliminating all forms of systematic racism and religious discrimination.”

A Call to Change Canada’s Policy towards Myanmar
Conservative MP Garrett Genius (Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan) condemned the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. He acknowledged and denounced the Mynamarese government’s continuous efforts to kill and displace thousands of Rohingya people. He urged the government to reconsider its policy towards Myanmar, suggesting the government react to the “troubling and worsening situation” facing Muslims in Myanmar.

Bill-304 – The Crimean Tatar Deportation Memorial Day Act
Members of the House debated Bill 304, which would designate May 18th as a day to recognize the plight of thousands of Crimean Tatars under the Soviet regime. The bill would have the Canadian government recognize the mass deportation of nearly 200,000 Crimean Tatars in 1944 as an act of genocide. The Crimean Tatars are an ethnic Muslim group persecuted under the Soviet regime. The bill was introduced by Conservative MP Kerry Diotte (Edmonton-Griesbach), and is supported by the Conservative Party.  The Conservatives believe that this Memorial Day is an important “part of the international effort to counter Russian propaganda, which seeks [to] wipe out every trace of Crimean Tatars” from its history.

NDP MP Linda Duncan (Edmonton-Strathcona) spoke in support of the bill going to committee, although she had concerns about the name of the bill and parts of the preamble. The Liberals support the “intent of the bill to create a memorial day” to recognize the suffering of the Crimean Tatars. However, the Liberals “do not support this legislation” in recognizing the mass deportation of Crimean Tatars as an act of genocide.

A motion to pass the bill to a second reading was successful.