OTTAWA – Today in the House of Commons, Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement voted against M-103, a motion that the Liberal government refused to change to recognize all forms of religious discrimination. The Conservative caucus called a free vote on the motion.
M-103 exclusively focused on the term `Islamaphobia,` neglecting an opportunity to recognize that many faith groups face discrimination and desecration of sacred places of worship. Conservatives had called upon the Liberals to adopt a more inclusive motion, but the idea was ignored.
“Conservatives are fully committed to freedom of religion and freedom of speech. We condemn, in the strongest of terms, all acts committed against religious communities, including at places of worship. I would have supported a motion that was more inclusive and fully representative of my belief,” said Clement. “There has been commentary, including from Muslims, that passing such a motion could lead to shutting down legitimate debate. I will never support restrictions on legitimate freedom of speech.”
In 2012, the previous Conservative Government established the Office of Religious Freedom within the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Office had been at the forefront of the battle to protect freedom of religion and belief in Canada and internationally. The Liberal Government gutted and then shut down the Office of Religious Freedoms shortly after coming into power.