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e-4335 (Social affairs and equality)

Initiated by Nadia El-Mabrouk from Montréal, Quebec

Original language of petition: French

Petition to the Prime Minister

  • A religious representative answering directly to the Prime Minister violates the religious neutrality of the state as the mandate to combat racism and hate propaganda against all citizens falls to the Department of Canadian Heritage and Justice Canada;
  • Islamophobia is a militant, overused term that conflates respect for Muslims with absolute respect for the precepts of Islam;
  • It is the term promoted by Islamist regimes and activists around the world in order to silence any criticism against actions carried out in the name of Islam;
  • Its use includes actions or words deemed blasphemous with regard to the Muslim religion, whereas blasphemy is not a crime in a liberal, democratic regime guaranteeing freedom of expression;
  • The title of the position does not include combatting religious intolerance which, in the name of religious beliefs or texts, incites hatred;
  • This position could prevent criticism of religious fundamentalism, whose first victims are Muslims themselves, whose full freedom of conscience implies the opportunity to oppose religious practices, change their religion or no longer have one;
  • Canada already has the legislative tools to combat hate, in all its forms;
We, the undersigned, Canadians and Quebeckers, call upon the Prime Minister to abolish the position of Canadian representative on combatting Islamophobia.

Response by the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Paul Chiang

A key component of Canada’s multiculturalism policy, as reflected in the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, is a commitment to assist individuals and communities of all origins with the elimination of any barrier to full participation in Canadian society. Systemic racism and religious discrimination, of all forms, are examples of such barriers, and ultimately hinder inclusion in Canadian society.

While all forms of religious discrimination need to be addressed, the increase in incidents against Muslim communities in Canada cannot be ignored. Data gathered by Statistics Canada on police-reported hate crimes, shows that Muslims in Canada are disproportionally targeted in racist and hateful incidents, with a 71% increase in hate-based crimes in 2021 compared to the previous year. Over the past few years, we have also seen horrific acts of anti-Muslim hate and violence, such as the attack at the mosque in Quebec City that killed six Muslim men and injured many more, the murder of a mosque caretaker in Toronto, and the murder of four members of a Muslim family in London, Ontario.

These hate crimes fueled by Islamophobia in Canada and around the world remind us of the need to show even more boldness, strength, and determination in the fight against Islamophobic hate.

The appointment of the Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia (Special Representative) reflects the calls for action from Muslims across the country, as well as what the Government heard during the National Summit on Islamophobia held in July 2021. 

The appointment of the Special Representative was made through an open, transparent, and merit-based process. Reporting to the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities, the role will serve as a champion, advisor, expert, and representative to the Canadian government, for the purpose of enhancing efforts to combat Islamophobia and promoting awareness of the diverse and intersectional identities of Muslims in Canada. The Special Representative will collaborate with partners, institutions, and stakeholders to support Canada’s efforts to combat Islamophobia, anti-Muslim hatred, systemic racism, racial discrimination, and religious intolerance. Adopting a human rights-based approach, the Special Representative will support the Government of Canada’s goal to protect human rights, and to advocate for and advance inclusive public policy and respect for diversity.

The Government strongly re-affirms its support for the Special Representative, and will continue to fight racism, discrimination, and hate in all its forms as we continue building a country where everyone feels safe and respected.

Open for signature
March 3, 2023, at 2:43 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
May 2, 2023, at 2:43 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Martin Champoux (Drummond)
May 18, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01470)
Government response tabled
August 16, 2023
Photo - Martin Champoux
Bloc Québécois Caucus