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Liberal MP's motion on Islamophobia gets government support

Conservative critics say the move affronts freedom of speech.

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly speaks at a press conference announcing that the government will support a motion from MP Iqra Khalid, who is standing over her left shoulder.

Ryan Tumilty / Metro Order this photo

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly speaks at a press conference announcing that the government will support a motion from MP Iqra Khalid, who is standing over her left shoulder.

A parliamentary motion condemning Islamophobia and asking for a deeper look at hate crimes will likely pass in the House of Commons after the Liberal government put its weight behind it.

Liberal MP Iqra Khalid’s motion calls on the government to recognize the need to quell an increasing climate of hate and fear, request the heritage committee develop a government-wide approach to reducing racism, including Islamophobia and collect data on hate crime reports. 

The motion was set for debate Wednesday night after Metro's deadline, but several Conservatives have already said they’re disappointed it singles out only one religion. 

Hertiage Minister Mélanie Joly said the motion fully respects freedom of speech. 

“Motion 103 is about ensuring that in Canada we stand for free and respectful exchanges of ideas and opinions and there is no place for hatred and no tolerance of abuse,” she said.

“We need to make sure that every single citizen in this country feels included,” she said. 

Khalid rejected calls to remove the word Islamophobia from her motion. 

“We have had support from Canadians at large on the wording of the motion as it stands today,” she said. “Watering down the words of this motion is not in the best interest of all of these people.” 

She said the motion is about all types of discrimination. 

“This motion, while it names Islamophobia, is broad in scope to include all marginalized communities.” 

Several Conservative leadership hopefuls including Maxime Bernier, Andrew Scheer and Kellie Leitch indicated they would be voting against the motion, citing free speech concerns. 

In an email to supporters, Leitch said tolerance had to go both ways. 

"Canada is a tolerant society, but tolerance isn't just the right to hold beliefs, it is also the right to disagree with other beliefs and criticize them."

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