MEDIA ADVISORY: Justice Centre appears before Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to testify re: Charter impact of M-103

OTTAWA: The Justice Centre will appear before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage Wednesday, September 27, to explain the potential impact of Bill M-103 (“Systemic racism and religious discrimination”) on Charter rights.

The Justice Centre’s Litigation Director, Jay Cameron, will appear before the Standing Committee between 3:30 P.M. and 5:30 P.M. in the Wellington Building, room 415.  Other witnesses include Fr. Raymond J. de Souza, Canadian Council of Imams, Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, and International Christian Voice.

On March 23rd 2017, the Canadian House of Commons passed M-103, a non-binding Motion that condemns religious discrimination, while particularly highlighting “Islamophobia”. The term “Islamophobia” is not defined in the Motion.

As outlined in its Brief to Parliament, the Justice Centre writes:

Attempting to “completely eliminate racism and religious discrimination including “Islamophobia” in Canada’s multicultural society would require government oppression and control of not only speech and expression, but thought itself. In proposing to eliminate racism, discrimination and “Islamophobia”, the government necessarily makes itself the sole arbiter of what constitutes those things, and tasks itself with their elimination. If M-103 is legislatively codified, the unconstitutional infringement of freedom of thought, belief, expression and religion is inevitable.

The Justice Centre will make three key observations to the Committee:

  1. The Motion is vague and lacks the certainty for proper legislative recommendations.
  2. The state has no business in attempting to control the minds and thoughts of its citizens, as is implicitly proposed by the Motion – the Charter stands as a guardian between the citizen and oppressive state action.
  3. The term “Islamophobia,” interpreted to mean an “irrational fear of Islam,” is not capable of legislative prevention.