Motion 103, also known as M-103, was a non-binding motion in the 42nd Canadian Parliament stating that the members of the House of Commons called on the Government of Canada to condemn Islamophobia in Canada. It also called on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to carry out a study on how racism and religious discrimination can be reduced and collect data on hate crimes. The motion was introduced by Iqra Khalid, the Liberal MP representing Mississauga—Erin Mills.
The motion passed by a vote of 201–91 on March 23, 2017. The debate surrounding the motion was characterized as "deeply divisive", especially within the Official Opposition Conservative Party of Canada which was in the midst of a leadership election.
Iqra Khalid, a Liberal Party member of parliament, presented Motion 103 in the House of Commons on December 5, 2016. Frank Baylis, another Liberal Party member of parliament, seconded the motion. The motion stemmed in part from e-petition E-411, which was exclusively about Islamophobia.
Some incorrectly refer to it as a "bill or a law, out of confusion or deliberate attempts to spread misinformation". M-103 is a private member's motion, which is a "proposal moved by an MP to draw attention to an issue considered urgent or of public interest", and is not equivalent to a law.
Motion 103 calls on the government to "condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination", asks the government to "recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear", and request for the "Commons heritage committee to 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 provide context for hate crime reports and to conduct needs assessments for impacted communities. Findings are to be presented within eight months." Khalid has been "unwilling to entertain any compromise on the specific wording" of Motion 103.
The exact text reads:
(a) recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear; (b) condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination and take note of House of Commons’ petition e-411 and the issues raised by it; and (c) request that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage undertake a study on how the government could
(i) develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia, in Canada, while ensuring a community-centered focus with a holistic response through evidence-based policy-making,
(ii) collect data to contextualize hate crime reports and to conduct needs assessments for impacted communities, and that the Committee should present its findings and recommendations to the House no later than 240 calendar days from the adoption of this motion, provided that in its report, the Committee should make recommendations that the government may use to better reflect the enshrined rights and freedoms in the Constitution Acts, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.— Private Members’ Business M-103
Singling out Muslims
Motion 103 has been accused of "singling out Muslims for special treatment", by condemning only Islamophobia by name and not explicitly mentioning other religious groups. This argument was made by Pierre Lemieux, and Kellie Leitch.
Several previous motions in the House of Commons have singled out individual religions in a similar manner (for example, asking MPs to condemn anti-Semitism). Conservative MP Michael Chong pointed out that the House of Commons had previously passed motions that denounced hatred against Jews (on February 22, 2016), Yazidis (on October 25, 2016) and Coptic Christians (on October 17, 2011).
In response to Motion 103 David Anderson, a Conservative member of parliament, tabled an alternative motion on February 16, 2017. The difference in the motions is that Anderson's motion doesn't contain the word "Islamophobia" and asks the House of Commons to "condemn all forms of systemic racism, religious intolerance, and discrimination of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, and other religious communities." Anderson's motion was defeated 165–126. The Conservative Party, Bloc Québécois, New Democratic Party, and Green Party voted for the motion and the Liberal Party voted against the motion.
Freedom of speech
Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose repudiated such claims and said: "To be clear, this is not a 'bill' nor a 'law'. It does not 'introduce Sharia law' as some people have suggested nor would it 'ban freedom of speech'." The Canadian Civil Liberties Association also said that M-103 does not restrict free speech in any way.
Hate crimes against Canadian Muslims
An argument in support of the motion is that it addresses a "pressing issue". Statistics Canada data indicated that hate crimes against Muslims more than doubled in the three-year period between 2013 and 2016. Canadians indicated the urgency of addressing this issue by signing a petition (with 70,000 signatures) condemning Islamophobia. Then in January 2017, 6 Muslims were killed in a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque.
Iqra Khalid said that the death threats she has received, and the threats of violence that Canadian mosques have received, only serve to highlight how important it is for Parliament to condemn Islamophobia.
Use of term Islamophobia
Rona Ambrose and Lisa Raitt criticized the motion for its use of the term Islamophobia, which they described as "controversial". Many Conservative MPs said that the Liberals needed to define Islamophobia.
On February 15, Iqra Khalid stated that the definition of Islamophobia is "the irrational hate of Muslims that leads to discrimination".
Support for Motion 103
In response to the M-103 debate, Ontario Liberal MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers introduced a similar motion in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario that called for the condemnation of Islamophobia. Des Rosiers' motion was supported by both the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario and Ontario New Democratic Party, and was passed with a unanimous vote.
Opposition to Motion 103
Demonstrations organized by the Canadian Coalition for Concerned Citizens against M-103 were held on March 4, 2017 in several cities across Canada. In Montreal, Quebec City, and Toronto demonstrations were attended by hundreds, while others in cities like Saskatoon, and London, Ontario were smaller. Stephen Garvey, leader of the newly formed nationalist National Advancement Party of Canada, organized protests against M-103 in Calgary. Many of these demonstrations included contingents from far-right groups including La Meute, Pegida, and the Soldiers of Odin.
Harassment of Khalid
- "House of Commons passes anti-Islamophobia motion". CBC News. March 23, 2017. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
- huffingtonpost.ca: "M-103: Anti-Islamophobia Motion Easily Passes House Of Commons", 23 Mar 2017
- Harris, Kathleen (February 17, 2017). "5 things to know about the Commons motion on Islamophobia". CBC News. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Akin, David (February 16, 2017). "Unhappy with anti-Islamophobia motion, Tories have their own condemning religious intolerance". National Post. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- torontosun.com: "M-103 passes and now the Islamophobia study begins", 23 Mar 2017
- Harris, Kathleen (February 9, 2017). "Liberal MP's anti-Islamophobia motion set for debate on Wednesday". CBC News. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Boutilier, Alex (February 16, 2017). "Liberal MP swamped by hate mail, threats over anti-Islamophobia motion in Commons". Toronto Star. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Spencer, Christina (February 17, 2017). "Spencer: Islamophobia motion has been reduced to an exercise in cynicism". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- "Conservatives wrestle over Liberal MP's anti-Islamophobia motion".
- Gunter, Lorne (February 14, 2017). "The real threat behind M-103 is 'mission creep'". Toronto Sun. Edmonton Sun. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- "What you need to know about the anti-Islamophobia motion making waves in Ottawa".
- Collenette, Penny (February 19, 2017). "Forget the White House, pay attention to our own House: Collenette". Toronto Star. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Stone, Laura (February 21, 2017). "Liberals vote down Conservative anti-racism motion". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
- Gunter, Lorne (February 19, 2017). "The harassment of Khalid is wrong, but doesn't justify M-103". Toronto Sun. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- "Transparent double standard on freedom of speech: Kanji".
- "Anti anti-Islamophobia".
- "M-103: Liberal Government Will Support Iqra Khalid's Motion Condemning Islamophobia".
- Mehler Paperny, Anna (April 13, 2016). "Hate crimes against Muslim-Canadians more than doubled in 3 years". Global News. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
- "We Spoke With the MP Behind Motion M103 About Threats, Conspiracies, and Islamophobia".
- "Liberal MP won't remove Islamophobia reference from motion condemning discrimination".
- "MPP wants Ontario legislature to hold its own debate on Islamophobia".
- Ferguson, Rob (February 21, 2017). "Patrick Brown says Ontario PCs will support anti-Islamophobia motion". Toronto Star. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
- "Ontario legislature unanimously passes anti-Islamophobia motion". CBC News. The Canadian Press. February 23, 2017. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
- Montpetit, Jonathan (March 5, 2017). "What we learned about the far right over the weekend". CBC News Montreal. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- Brooks, Anna (March 5, 2017). "Protesters in Calgary clash over M-103 anti-Islamophobia motion". Calgary Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2017.