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Condemning Islamophobia

After weeks of controversy, the Canadian Parliament voted to condemn Islamophobia

Canada’s Parliament votes to condemn Islamophobia

An overwhelming majority of Members of Canadian Parliament voted in favor of a motion that calls on the House of Commons to “condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination” and to do a better job of collecting hate crime statistics.

Motion 103, or M-103, elicited fervent opposition from the second-place Conservative Party, and a slew of protests from opponents who appeared to wildly misunderstand the motion or, in some cases, openly support Islamophobia.

The final House of Commons vote broke down 201 in favor — including the Liberals and  NDP, as well as one independent and the lone Green Party member — while 91 members of the Bloc Quebecois and Conservative Party voted against it.

VICE News has previously broken down M-103, what it does, and the debate around it. 

From the Conservatives, only Michael Chong — a centrist running for the party leadership — and longtime politician Bruce Stanton voted for the motion. MP Alex Nuttall abstained. Others skipped the vote.

Most Conservatives contended that they weren’t against condemning racism or religious discrimination, but fretted that the motion specifically singled out Islam, and failed to defined Islamophobia.

Gérard Deltell, House Leader for the Conservative Party, told reporters after the vote that his party would prefer a motion that condemned discrimination against “all religions” and contended that: “Islamophobia is very difficult to define, and it can affect, to a certain degree, freedom of speech.” He said the motion was “partisan.”

However, this isn’t the first time the House has condemned specific religious discrimination, in the case of violence and hatred towards Christians and Jews, and not even the first time it has specifically condemned Islamophobia. M-103 would also do exactly what the Conservatives has said it doesn’t do — call for a study into discrimination and hatred against people of all faiths.

VICE News asked Deltell why his party keeps insisting the opposite.

“We all understand that the motion about Islamophobia talked about Islamophobia,” Deltell said.

VICE News asked Deltell to define anti-semitism, but he refused, and contended that previous motions condemning anti-semitism were somehow different.

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