Photo by Darin Milo
The Council of Canadians Regina and Saskatoon chapters took part in a counter-protest today against a group of self-described "freedom fighters" opposed to M-103.
Regina chapter activist Jim Elliott was there and was interviewed by Radio-Canada, and Saskatoon chapter activist (and member of our national Board of Directors) Tracey Mitchell was also in Regina for this counter-protest.
The Regina Leader Post reports, "Dozens of people gathered at Regina City Hall on Saturday to protest and counter-protest the federal anti-Islamophobia motion M-103."
The article highlights, "Across the country, supporters of the far-right organization Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens planned protests called 'March For Freedom, Liberty & Justice'. About a dozen people showed up for the Regina protest. Around 50 came for a counter-protest organized by the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism, Colonialism No More and Voices for Justice and Police Accountability. Zarqa Nawaz, creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie, attended the counter-protest [and] was comforted to see the support by counter protesters for Muslims at the protest."
Liberal MP Iqra Khalid put forward the non-binding motion that asks the government to:
- recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear,
- request the heritage committee study how the government could develop a government-wide approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination, including Islamophobia, and
- collect data to contextualize hate crime reports and to conduct needs assessments for impacted communities and present findings within 240 calendar days.
Protests and counter-protests also happened in Toronto, Windsor, Hamilton, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Saskatoon and other cities.
The Council of Canadians began expressing its support for the motion last month. We support diversity and inclusion - and reject racism and Islamophobia.
The Liberals, NDP and Green Party leader Elizabeth May have all stated they will vote in favour of the motion. Conservative leadership candidates Kellie Leitch and Maxime Bernier have stated they will vote against M-103. Kevin O’Leary, who is believed to be the front-runner to win the Conservative Party leadership convention on May 27, has said that if he had a seat in the House of Commons he would vote against M-103.
The motion is expected to be voted on in the House of Commons in April.