FUREY: The rise of the organized Muslim vote in Canada

In many ways, the Muslim community is following the pattern by many ethnic groups.

Muslim Canadians were particularly mobilized in the 2015 election given their perception, not without merit, that the previous Conservative government was hostile to some Muslim groups and was using them for virtue signalling to their base (e.g., niqab ban at citizenship ceremonies, “barbaric practices tippling”) and their voting turnout, along with many recent immigrants, increased significantly compared to previous elections.

And all groups can claim to play a significant role (e.g., Italian Canadians, Corriere Canadese 23 September, Indigenous peoples, Assembly of First Nations sets sights on influencing election, among others):

A number of puzzled columnists and policy experts are currently trying to figure out why it was that Canada under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has broken with its tradition of voting down United Nations resolutions that denounce Israel and – as happened last week – joining the pile-on to condemn the only Jewish state in the world.

So far the working conclusion they’ve arrived at is that it was done because Trudeau covets a two-year seat at the Security Council and this is one way to win over votes at the notoriously anti-Israel body. That’s no doubt part of it.

There could be something else at play though: Maybe this is just what Canadian voters want. Or at least what one highly motivated and increasingly influential segment of the electorate wants.

In the months leading up to the election, a group called The Canadian Muslim-Vote (TCMV) was unapologetic in predicting the power the organized Muslim vote could yield over the 2019 federal election results.

“The Canadian Muslim community has the numbers to decide the winners and losers this election, which directly impacts the composition of the government we will have,” TCMV executive director Ali Manek wrote in a press release that went out on October 17 – just days before the election. “Muslim voters have turned out to the Advance Polls over Muslim Vote Weekend and we will be there on election day because we understand that we speak the loudest when we vote.”

TCMV also released the results of an online survey, finding that the top three issues selected by Muslim voters were immigration (64%), foreign policy (60%) and healthcare funding (58%).

The poll did not further break down what particular foreign affairs issue animated Muslims in Canada. However, the controversial Canadian Muslim Voting Guide – authored by Wilfrid Laurier University professor Jasmine Zine with support from a federal grant – had sections on foreign policy that pushed Muslim voters to judge the issue solely through the lens of boycotting Israel while supporting Muslim majority countries in North Africa, South Asia and the Middle East.

What do you think the answer would have been if TCMV had polled to ask which way Canada should vote on UN resolutions concerning Israel?

Now it would be entirely unfair to say that all Muslims in Canada are de facto anti-Israel. For example, the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee regularly has Muslim allies helping to organize and boost their events. And there were Muslim activists and candidates happy to campaign alongside the Conservative Party of Canada, which is proud of its pro-Israel stance.

But let’s not kid ourselves either. Whether it’s the recurring news stories of imams preaching anti-Semitism or events like the recent anti-Israel violence that erupted on York University campus last week, there’s a running theme going on that’s pretty easy to figure out.

While the Muslim community has always been targeted as a special interest voting bloc – what my colleague Tarek Fatah laments as the ghettoization of politics – this was in the past an ad hoc operation. It was a community affair that happened riding-by-riding and was more about political strategists organizing them than Muslim groups organizing themselves.

That’s clearly changing – whether through Manek’s national project or smaller scale efforts, like attempts to register an Islamic Party of Ontario with Elections Ontario. (The latter seems to have fallen apart, although when I spoke with Jawed Anwar, its leader, earlier this year he said he was quite serious and committed.)

In fact, the TCMV even went so far as to produce a list of 73 closely fought ridings where they predicted that Canada’s estimated 765,000 registered Muslim voters could decide the winner. They wrote that mosques in 17 of those ridings had already participated in get-out-the-vote initiatives and bragged that “in the recently concluded Alberta provincial election mosques used Friday sermons to encourage Muslims to vote.”

My colleague Farzana Hassan predicted these possibilities back in September, before TCMV released their targeted ridings list. “It will be interesting to see how the election unfolds from a Muslim perspective,” she wrote. “With support for Trudeau and Scheer neck and neck, the Muslim vote may determine how the result goes in swing ridings.”

There is no serious exit polling conducted in Canada, so for all we know the Muslim vote did determine the outcome in multiple ridings and Manek’s project was a success.

Over a decade ago I watched as Muslim women were literally bused in to a Liberal nomination meeting and then instructed on how to vote by the neighbourhood imam. Operations like TCMV – a self-described non-partisan operation – are basically an attempt to do this on a national scale. (As an aside, it should be noted that Ali Manek has previously sought Liberal nominations on both the provincial and federal level.)

Demography is destiny, as the saying goes. Yet people are sheepish about discussing this issue. It’s considered politically incorrect to even acknowledge that the Muslim population – and therefore the Muslim vote – is increasing in Canada faster than other groups. No wonder. The whole thing that spurred the human rights tribunal battles involving Mark Steyn over a decade ago was an essay that appeared in Maclean’s breaking down the population numbers game and what it means for the future.

You can talk about this or you can ignore it. You can see it as a positive, negative or neutral phenomenon. But whatever your take, there’s no denying that the Muslim vote in Canada is growing and so is its influence.

Source: FUREY: The rise of the organized Muslim vote in Canada

FUREY: What they’re not telling you about Canada’s hate crime stats

While there are limitations in the annual police reported hate crimes, by and large they provide a reasonable albeit imperfect indicator. The threshold of reporting to the police is higher than reporting to community organizations, particularly for communities that have lower levels of trust in police (e.g., Blacks).

While it would be nice to have data on charges laid and convictions, unlikely that such data would indicate large numbers of fraudulent claims that Furey intimates. StatCan in fact did such an analysis in its Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2017, showing this not to be a major issue.

As to his critique of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network’s call for an annual survey, I agree that this should not replace the police-reported reports, again given the higher threshold.

And we do get some data from the General Social Survey on discrimination and dealing with the police, depicted below:

StatCan did a useful analysis of the 2017 and earlier report (Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2017) that provided a breakdown of violent vs non-violent hate crimes by group, showing, for example, a greater proportion of violent hate crimes against Muslims (40 percent) than Jews (15 percent):

Hate crimes targeting the Black population and religion more often non-violent

Non-violent crimes accounted for 62% of crimes targeting the Black population from 2010 to 2017. A significant portion (53%) of these non-violent crimes were mischief. Non-violent crimes most often occurred in a single-family home (18% of incidents), in schools outside of school hours (14%), and on the street (14%). Of the 38% of hate crime targeting the Black population that were violent crimes, common assault was the most common type (14%). One quarter of violent hate crimes targeting the Black population took place on the street, 16% in a single-family home and 12% in a dwelling unit.

During the same period, 60% of crimes against the Muslim population were non-violent while the other 40% were violent. The most common violent hate crimes were uttering threats (18%) and common assault (8%) (see note 20). The most frequent locations of violent incidents were the street (19%) or at a single-family home (17%). The most frequent non-violent crimes were mischief (35%) and public incitement of hatred (9%). Non-violent crimes targeting the Muslim population occurred most often at religious institutions (17%).

From 2010 to 2017, 85% of hate crimes against the Jewish population were non-violent. The majority of these hate crimes were mischief (70%). The second and third most frequent offences against this population were uttering threats (6%) and hate-motivated mischief relating to property primarily used for religious worship or by an identifiable group (5%). While a notable proportion of non-violent hate crimes targeting the Jewish population occurred at a single-family home (18%), on the street (13%), or in schools outside of school hours (11%). Violent crimes most often occurred in a single family home (21%), businesses (17%), or on the street (15%).

Hopefully, StatCan will do an update of this analysis for 2018, including a data table:

It’s that time of the year again, when Canada’s annual hate crimes statistics are released and advocacy groups send out their press releases and take to the airwaves to break down what it all means.

While there’s often an alarming tone to the occasion, this year’s conversation will likely be more muted than in previous years because the latest numbers have gone down by 13%, from 2,073 in 2017 to 1,798 in 2018.

That said, as StatsCan explains: “Even with this decline, the number of hate crimes remains higher (with the exception of 2017) than any other year since 2009, and aligns with the upward trend observed since 2014.”

When broken down by identifiable group, Monday’s release means a 50% drop in hate crimes targeting Muslims, 15% fewer targeting sexual orientation, 12% fewer against black individuals and a 4% drop in incidents against Jews.

But this time around, before we take these numbers and try to craft a narrative around them, let’s take a step back and look at how they’re put together in the first place. Because there’s a lot StatsCan isn’t telling you in their release that doesn’t make its way into the basic reporting.

For starters, an overview of hate crimes will cover broad terrain – from graffiti that harms no one to violent incidents like the Quebec mosque massacre. They’re both bad and it’s right to have a zero-tolerance attitude to all categories, but obviously, the first one is cause for much less concern than the second one.

The numbers have always shown that, thankfully, the more severe forms of hate crimes are much rarer. Out of the 1,798 number, there were 138 incidents in 2018 that involved bodily harm to an individual and only 2 of those resulted in deaths. Compare that to “mischief/mischief to religious property”, which had 782 incidents. Threats alone made up for 251 incidents.

There’s another problem with all of this data though, one that calls into question not just how we talk about specifics, but the validity of the entire conversation itself.

The StatsCan release on Monday added some interesting context: “Police data on hate-motivated crimes include only those incidents that come to the attention of police services.” In other words, there could be more hate crimes happening that the police never heard about.

That’s a fair point. But they don’t offer the flip side of the coin, and they should. Which is that these stats aren’t “hate crimes” full stop. They’re “police-reported hate crimes”.

What does that mean? It means what it sounds like. Someone calls the cops and says a hate crime occurred.

It doesn’t mean these are all cases where someone was found guilty of perpetrating a hate crime. It doesn’t have to even mean the police properly investigated the incident. For many of these cases, it just means someone said something happened and the police jotted it down.

When I made a media request to Statistics Canada last year to ask for the number of actual charges, convictions and acquittals related to hate crimes I learned that they don’t compile these figures. This means they don’t tally the proven cases – they count when everything is still at the potential stage.

Prior to the release of this year’s data, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network – our version of the controversial left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center – called on Statistics Canada to revise their methodology. They recommend that instead of using police-reported data, StatsCan does an annual survey that “asks Canadians if they’ve been the victim of a hate crime and takes a believe-the-victims approach”.

Is this a wise idea? Wouldn’t that only further muddy the waters? The facts tell us that alleged victims can and do lie.

A special prosecutor is currently being assigned to investigate the Jussie Smollett case. A Winnipeg couple has been charged for allegedly staging an anti-Semitic attack against their own cafe. And everyone remembers the hijab hoax case in Toronto that saw none other than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weigh in on an assault that never happened.

One expert on the issue recommends Canadians ask critical questions of these statistics. “What’s the rate of hoax? That’s a blunt question but it’s extremely useful,” says Wilfred Reilly, a professor of political science at Kentucky State University, in an interview with the Sun.

Reilly studied American hate crime statistics in-depth, resulting in the publication of his new book Hate Crime Hoax: How the Left is Selling a Fake Race War.

“I would put the confirmed hoax rate at about 15% – cases that definitely unraveled and were provably debunked,” explains Reilly. “5% result in convictions and the rest are ambiguous.” He suggests the Canadian figures could likely be similar.

If we’re going to have a national conversation about hate crimes every year, we’re going to have to get better data. Or, at the very least, let Canadians know the facts behind the numbers we’re discussing so they can determine their usefulness.

Could the real number of hate crimes happening be significantly higher? Certainly. Or could we be overrun with hoaxes? That’s also possible. Given what we’re working with, we just don’t know.

Source: FUREY: What they’re not telling you about Canada’s hate crime stats

Coyne, Patriquin and Furey: On the reversal on asylum seekers

Both Coyne and Patriquin being harshly critical and not appearing to believe that asylum shopping is a serious issue, the Globe and columnists like Furey  appear to be supportive of the government’s change in approach. Starting with Coyne:

Naturally, they put it in an omnibus bill.

Buried deep inside the 392 pages of Bill C-97, the budget implementation bill, is a package of amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that would turn decades of Canadian refugee policy on its head.

The changes would disqualify from consideration refugee claimants who had previously made claims in “a country other than Canada.” (Also ineligible: those whose claims had already been rejected in Canada, or who had been granted refugee protection elsewhere.) What is more, this would apply even to those already on our soil, seeking asylum.

Ever since the Supreme Court’s landmark 1985 ruling in Singh v. Canada, refugee claimants under the protection of Canadian law cannot be deported without having their case heard before an independent tribunal — a recognition of the serious, possibly fatal consequences of sending a genuine refugee, with a “well-founded fear of persecution,” back to his country of origin. Under the new policy, the best that those affected could hope for would be an interview with an immigration official, as part of a “preremoval risk assessment.”

All this came as a complete surprise to refugee advocates. The only mention of it in the budget the bill claims to be implementing was this cryptic remark on p. 326: “The government proposes to introduce legislative amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to better manage, discourage and prevent irregular migration.”

They could hardly have guessed what this would turn out to mean. The changes not only go far beyond the existing Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States, which allows Canada to turn back claimants arriving at official points of entry on our southern border — not once they have already crossed — but would extend it to a number of other countries with whom Canada has immigration “information-sharing” agreements.

Understand: the people whose claims Canada would summarily reject in this fashion would not necessarily have had their claims assessed and rejected by another country – it would be enough that they had made a claim. They would face deportation, what is more, not to the country in which they had earlier made their claim, but to their country of origin, to meet whatever fate awaited them there. All this, without even the right to an independent hearing.

This sort of draconian shift in policy would be shocking coming from any government; among other objections, the courts are almost certain to rule it is a violation of the Charter of Rights. But to find it proposed by the same Liberal government that had long congratulated itself for its commitment to refugee rights, while castigating critics as intolerant, racist and worse, is simply breathtaking.

This is not just the most extraordinary about-face yet — from #WelcomeToCanada to deportations without hearings, in the space of two years — from a government that has made a habit of them. It is a fundamental breach of faith.

“We will restore Canada’s reputation,” the Liberals boasted in the refugees section of their 2015 election platform, “and help more people in need through a program that is safe, secure and humane.”

“Canada once welcomed refugees openly,” it goes on, “but that proud history has faded after a decade of mismanagement under Stephen Harper. We will renew and expand our commitment to helping resettle more refugees, and deliver a refugee program that is safe, secure and humane.”

But that was then, and the refugees that made such useful props for Justin Trudeau in the last election have become an obstacle to his chances in the next, in the face of relentless Tory fear-mongering about the “crisis” on our border. So, over the side they go.

That this was accomplished via yet another mammoth omnibus bill compounds the sense of betrayal. The 2015 Liberal platform also denounced the Harper government for its use of omnibus bills “to prevent Parliament from properly reviewing and debating his proposals,” vowing to “bring an end” to “this undemocratic practice.”

When the bill comes to a vote, moreover, Liberal MPs will inevitably be whipped to support it — as a budget bill, after all, it is an automatic confidence matter. This turns yet another Liberal campaign pledge inside out.

The platform had promised that MPs would be free to vote as they pleased on virtually all questions; outside of confidence matters, the whips would be applied only to votes that “implement the Liberal electoral platform” or that touch on “the protections guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” In this case, MPs will be whipped to vote for a bill that contradicts the platform and runs roughshod over Charter guarantees.

Mere hypocrisy or breach of faith, however, would not suffice to condemn the Liberal changes, if they were otherwise well-advised. It would be obtuse to hold a government to the course it had set out on, however disastrous, just for the sake of a foolish consistency. Those Conservatives who are now attacking the Liberals for adopting the very positions for which they had previously attacked the Conservatives – on top of the changes in the omnibus bill, the government was earlier reported to be in negotiations with the United States to extend the Safe Third Country Agreement to the entire border — are entitled, perhaps, to gloat. They are not entitled to claim vindication.

No, what is wrong about the new Liberal policy is not that it is hypocritical, but simply that it is wrong: arbitrary, inhumane, and vastly unnecessary. There is no emergency that could possibly justify rejecting refugee claimants out of hand, solely on the basis of having made a prior claim, — “asylum-shopping,” the Border Security minister, Bill Blair, called it, without apparent sense of shame — still less deporting them without a hearing. The numbers of those crossing the U.S.-Canada border irregularly are falling, not rising.

The emergency, rather, would appear to be in the falling numbers of those telling pollsters they intend to vote Liberal. For what is the risk of sending innocent people to their deaths, when there are marginal seats in peril?

From Patriquin:
As a term, “asylum shopping” is probably worthy of scare quotes. Though it’s not quite as loaded as “chain migration”— a term usually used to inspire fear of an unchecked immigrant invasion — it nonetheless invokes those darker stereotypes often ascribed to migrants. These people aren’t running from an immediate danger, you see. They’re seeking asylum in multiple countries, probing for the weakest point, if only to steal our jobs and harvest the bounty from our social safety net.

“Asylum shopping” didn’t tumble from the lips of Bill Blair, the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister — at least, not entirely. Nonetheless, he was the picture of consternation at the allegedly pervasive practice.

“We don’t want them shopping and making application in multiple countries. What we’re trying to do is to make sure the system is fair and efficient for those who truly need our protection,” Blair said this week. Cracking down on asylum shopping is a key part of the government’s $1.2 billion effort to reduce the number of would-be migrants coming into the country.

Fair enough.

The number of asylum seekers has nearly tripled since 2016, and addressing the issue, or at least further girding the system to deal with its reality, is a certainly a legitimate government goal. The problem is the rhetoric that Blair and others have attached to it. By first politicizing the idea of “asylum shopping,” then quickly promising to do something about it, the Trudeau government has shown how desperation tends to breed rank hypocrisy.

The latter-day Liberals are proof of the axiom that in politics, you inevitably become what you once professed to hate. Imagine the conspicuous indignation that would have emanated from 2015-vintage Liberal Party ranks had the Conservative government cooked up, in the crucible of Stephen Harper’s all-powerful PMO, a plot to try and override the country’s independent judiciary by jettisoning a certain Quebec-based engineering firm from likely legal catastrophe.

And yet in 2019, four years after winning an election by way of promises to do away with such Conservative overindulgences, the Liberals did just this — and through an all-powerful PMO of the type Trudeau himself vowed to dismantle, no less.

Though more visceral a topic, the government’s “asylum shopping” gambit nonetheless comes at the tail end of a similarly tortured ideological climbdown. The 2015-era Liberals chided the Conservative’s apparently heartless response to the Syrian refugee crisis.

“You don’t get to suddenly discover compassion in the middle of an election campaign,” Trudeau said of the Harper government’s reaction to the drowning death of Alan Kurdi, whose tiny body washed up on a Turkish beach.

Trudeau, Trudeau assured us, would do better. And to his great credit, he made good by allowing some 25,000 Syrian refugees into the country. About two years later, he became a notably photogenic counterpoint to Trumpian nativism by welcoming “those fleeing persecution, terror and war” by way of Twitter, just as The Donald was wishing them gone. Conservative criticism on migration was nothing short of “fear mongering,” as Trudeau put it late last year.

Ah, but that was before the churn of the next election cycle and the Liberal government’s increasing desperation in the wake of the SNC-Lavalin fallout, not to mention the corresponding bump in Conservative fortunes. The Trudeau government’s migration bon mots belie a certain truth: the steady tide of asylum seekers from the U.S. has eroded the Canadian welcome mat, according to a comprehensive Angus Reid poll conducted earlier this year.

This enduring and widespread sentiment is directly at odds with the Trudeau government’s pro-migrant spiel, peddled for the last four years. So as we approach the October election, the government has simply changed its tune, from “Canadians will welcome you” and “diversity is strength,” to “fair and efficient” and “asylum shopping.”

For any government, delegitimizing the plight of migrants is crass, bottom-feeder politicking. For the Liberals, whose rise to power was meant to be a rebuke to this kind of thing, it is even worse — particularly considering how asylum shopping isn’t a particularly widespread problem, as the CBC’s Kathleen Harris pointed out this week.

It’s just further evidence that the convictions of the current government ebb and flow with its re-election prospects.

Source: Delegitimizing the plight of migrants is crass, bottom-feeder politicking

From Furey (who no longer appears to be working for the Sun and features regularly with the online True North of former Conservative staffers and candidates):

Finally! The Liberals have done something to deal with the unsustainable influx of people crossing illegally into Canada, mostly at the Roxham Road crossing along the Quebec border.

The data shows that for both 2017 and 2018 there was a near constant flow of approximately 20,000 people per year. It was a troubling figure and one that showed no signs of decreasing. Thankfully the numbers for January and February of 2019 have shown a decrease but there’s no guarantee the numbers won’t rise again.

While refugee advocates wanted to characterize everyone crossing as genuine refugees fleeing war and famine, there was little evidence to support that.

The majority of asylum claimants came from Haiti and Nigeria – two countries that Canadians certainly wouldn’t consider ideal places to live but aren’t facing major wars displacing people and aren’t ravaged by recent natural disasters. All indication was that these were economic migrants – people who simply wanted to move to Canada. You can’t blame them, Canada’s a pretty great country, but there are rules and processes in place to come here and those need to be followed.

For two years, groups like True North, conservative politicians, various pundits and members of the legal community pointed all of this out, how it’s unsustainable and how there needs to be changes, and the Liberal response was to cry “racist” and other nasty labels.

Good luck with that strategy, I’d always thought.

The various polls over the years showed the majority of people didn’t support what was happening at the border. And there was no way they were going to buy into this cynical messaging that opposing legal immigration was somehow a wholesale racist statement. Meanwhile, recent immigrants and others whose family members were still waiting in the legal queue weren’t happy either.

It looks like the Liberals have realized that despite their Social Justice Warrior inclination towards open borders, the rest of the public aren’t going along with it. Maybe because they’re finally clued in or because of the upcoming election, they’ve decided to do something about it.

Buried within the 2019 budget omnibus bill are changes to the asylum system that aim to deny people have had an asylum claim already rejected in the United States (and other safe third countries such as the U.K.) from then going on to make one in Canada.

It’s to prevent what Border Security Minister Bill Blair calls asylum shopping. This means they wouldn’t be placed in the multiyear waiting line, where they receive government assistance while waiting to hear if their claim will be accepted. Instead they’ll more likely be fast-tracked for rejection and removal.

This won’t actually put that big of a dent in the numbers as the statistics show only about 10% of the current illegal crossers had previously applied for asylum in the United States.

It’s rather humorous to now watch as refugee lawyers and activists display their outrage towards Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, throwing the same sorts of words at him as he previously tossed at others and also threatening legal challenges.

But still, these changes are something and it’s a move in the right direction.

Here are the questions though: Why didn’t they do it sooner? Is this only for election purposes? Will they keep advancing on this file? And was all the name-calling and divisiveness over the past two years worth it?


Maxime Bernier rejects Liberal MP’s apology over ‘check your privilege’ Twitter row

Lost opportunity for dialogue.

Bernier, the son of a former MP, who represents Beauce, a rural riding with only 1.1 percent visible minorities and overwhelmingly francophone, and Caesar-Chavannes, who represents Whitby, an urban riding with 25.3 percent visible minorities, would each benefit from sharing their life experiences and perspectives, and being more careful with tweets that shut down rather than engage conversations:

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier is rejecting an olive branch from Liberal counterpart Celina Caesar-Chavannes after the pair exchanged barbs on Twitter over issues of race and identity politics.

Bernier, Caesar-Chavannes and Liberal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen were going at each other over funding in the budget that Hussen described as historic for racialized Canadians.

The budget included money for a national anti-racism plan, mental health supports for at-risk black youth and funding to collect better data on race, gender and inclusion in Canada.

Bernier says targeting specific Canadians by race is divisive and contrary to the idea of being “colour-blind,” prompting Hussen and Caesar-Chavannes — both visible minorities — to accuse him of ignoring the fact that minorities are treated differently.

In a tweet today, Caesar-Chavannes apologized to Bernier for telling him to “check your privilege and be quiet,” suggesting they meet in person so they can try to resolve their differences on an important issue.

Bernier replied by saying he isn’t interested in a meeting because the two share no common ground, and says Conservatives should support treating everyone individually without any labels at all.

Source: Maxime Bernier rejects Liberal MP’s apology over ‘check your privilege’ Twitter row

Predictably, Anthony Furey of SunMedia picks up on this without understanding or acknowledging that systemic discrimination exists, it is not only about individuals:

Bernier, a former Conservative leadership candidate and well-known free-market advocate, was initially responding to comments posted by Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, who himself celebrated the budget as “a historic budget for racialized Canadians.” Hussen went on to applaud budget additions that included $19 million for black youth and mental health and $31.8 million for racialized newcomer women.

“I thought the ultimate goal of fighting discrimination was to create a colour-blind society where everyone is treated the same,” wrote Bernier. “Not to set some Canadians as being ‘racialized.’ What’s the purpose of this awful jargon? To create more division for the Liberals to exploit?”

It was these remarks that set Caesar-Chavannes off and veered the exchange into toxic territory. She called on Bernier to “do some research, or a Google search, as to why stating colour blindness as a defence actually contributes to racism. Please check your privilege and be quiet.”

She then linked to a column on race issues from The Guardian, a U.K. publication routinely mocked by critics for it’s divisive far-left editorials.

Bernier didn’t take kindly to being told to pipe down, responding on Twitter to say: “You are aware we live in a democracy with free speech as one of its building blocks, right?”

Clearly feeling the heat online, Caesar-Chavannes offered something of an apology, posting early Tuesday morning: “I am not too big to admit when I am wrong. Limiting discussion on this issue by telling you to be quiet was not cool. If you are willing, let’s chat when back in Ottawa. We are miles apart on this important issue and it is possible to come a little closer.”

Some apology. It seems she’s apologizing for telling him to shut it but not for hurling the privilege accusation, then sanctimoniously implying that she’d be willing to educate him out of his ignorant ways “if you are willing.”

It’s unclear which alleged privilege she was specifically referring to, but Bernier is a Caucasian male.

Caesar-Chavannes generated headlines in December when she complained that working in the House of Commons was like “death by a thousand cuts” due to the constant racist “microaggressions” she routinely faces as a black woman. One example she cited is how a woman in the washroom jokingly told her not to steal her purse, a comment Caesar-Chavannes took to be racially motivated.

For Bernier’s part, he wasn’t too charmed by her non-apology.

“Thank you for recognizing my right to air an opinion. I don’t think we can find much common ground beyond that however. You and Min Hussen implied I’m a racist because I want to live in a society where everyone is treated equally and not defined by race.”

He went on to say it’s important to address injustices but not in a way that divides people along racial lines.

That’s what you get when you throw a low blow at someone, as Caesar-Chavannes did. It’s difficult to come together after such a wall has been tossed up. It needlessly divides.


Source: FUREY: Toxic ‘privilege’ debate rears its head on Parliament Hill


Canadians don’t want an anti-Islamophobia day: [Forum] poll

Not surprising given other polling showing anti-Muslim attitudes or fears but in the end, not an issue that should necessarily be decided by public opinion. Demographics also not surprising:

Should Jan. 29 be set aside to combat Islamophobia?

That day — tomorrow —  is the first anniversary of the mass murder at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City. Six Muslims were killed in this hate crime.

Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders in Canada would like to take a stand against intolerance and see Jan. 29th declared a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia.

A recent Forum Poll suggests that many Canadians are against this.

Forum Research polled 1,408 Canadian voters and found half (49%) disapproved of designating such a day. Almost 40% disapproved strongly.

Approval came from only 17% of those polled; strong approval was noted among 7%.

The same number — 7% — say they don’t know, while fully a quarter (26%) neither approve nor disapprove.

So who is on the nay side? That would be older, wealthier men living in the Prairies or Alberta, half with university degrees and 69% of whom support the Conservative party.

Those who approve a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia are aged 34 or younger and support the Liberals or the NDP. They are also the least wealthy (26%).

The question asked was: Would you approve or disapprove of a national day of remembrance and action on Islamophobia?

Results based on the total sample are considered accurate +/- 3%, 19 times out of 20.

Source: Canadians don’t want an anti-Islamophobia day: poll

FUREY: Hijab hoax girl, family owe Canadians an apology

Hard to disagree, although more information on the back story on why Noman pulled that stunt would be helpful:

It was the assault that pulled on the heartstrings of a nation.

Khawlah Noman’s story of being attacked not once but twice by a man in his 20s who used scissors to cut her hijab garnered responses from coast-to-coast.

The media seized upon this troubling tale as camera crews rushed to her Scarborough school for a press conference several hours after the Friday morning assault happened.

Noman was flanked by her young brother, who witnessed the despicable act, and her mother – who was in tears.

The public sentiments were like a deluge: they came fast and they came strong. Toronto Mayor John Tory. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. They all issued statements. “Canada is an open and welcoming country,” posted Trudeau, “and incidents like this cannot be tolerated.”

The Toronto Sun featured the story on the front page. My colleague Lorrie Goldstein posted the following sentiment that I agreed with and retweeted: “One can only imagine how terrified this innocent child must have been to have been attacked twice by the same man in the space of a few minutes. Appalling.”

I thought at the time that everyone falling over themselves was a bit too much. The suspect had not yet been found. Maybe things weren’t quite as they were portrayed. And, besides, people are unfortunately assaulted daily in this country and the overly political response to this one implied that assaulting a girl in a hijab was somehow worse and more deserving of censure than assaulting one without.

But even if the response was overkill, the basic idea of a girl being randomly attacked while walking to school was still worthy of our condemnation. It’s not like it would turn out to be a hoax. Right? Wrong.

On Monday, Toronto Police issued the following brief statement. “After a detailed investigation, police have determined that the events described did not happen,” it read. “Our investigation is concluded and we don’t expect anything further.”

It did not happen. It was a hoax. Well then that statement just doesn’t cut it. While police may not be expecting anything further, Canadians certainly will be.

The outpouring of public support this girl received shows Canadians are compassionate people. They take allegations of this type of intolerance seriously. Yet their generosity was abused.

There are too many questions remaining for the cops to leave it like this. Last August, police considered charging a man in Durham Region for misleading them about a false Islamophobia complaint. Section 140 of the Criminal Code covers public mischief. It says that “making a false statement that accuses some other person of having committed and offence” could see you locked up for up to five years. They even arrested a homeless man in the case, only to later find the complainant’s story didn’t add up.

Khawlah Noman, 11, is accompanied by her brother Mohammad Zakarijja and their mom Saima Samad as she recalls a man slicing her hijab as she and her sibling walked to Pauline Johnson Public School in Scarborough on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018.
Now Khawlah Noman is an 11-year-old, so would not be charged. But what did her mother know? Watching the girl’s video statement again, the girl’s words look well-prepared. It must be asked, given what we now know: Was she coached?

“Heartwarming note: A friend gave her another hijab to wear,” CBC reporter Ali Chiasson tweeted from the press conference. “The one she was wearing with the 12 inch gash is with police as evidence.”

What does this element now mean? Did someone fabricate evidence? That would make it so much worse.

One sad outcome of this story is that decent, fair-minded Canadians whose hearts went out to this girl may look at the next such attack with suspicion. And that one could be real.

The family, the police and the school board owe us an explanation. And Khawlah Noman and her family owe Canada an apology.

via FUREY: Hijab hoax girl, family owe Canadians an apology | Toronto Sun

A whole lot of people owe Kellie Leitch an apology | Furey

Anthony Furey defends Kellie Leitch and wants her back in the limelight? Suspect most conservatives do not:

So keep an eye on Scheer’s secret agenda. Those are the pearls they’ve instructed us to clutch as we head out to the summer BBQ circuit. Good to know.

However, I can’t help but feel that one poor soul has been badly served by this shift in the liberal media narrative.

I mean, here’s Scheer getting front-page headlines as public enemy number one and, all of a sudden, former leadership candidate Kellie Leitch is persona non grata.

All during the leadership race, the Ontario MP and revered surgeon was getting constant attention from the media elites as a big threat to Canada, and now she’s not even worth a mention.

Last year, Leitch advocated screening prospective immigrants for “Canadian values”. She made clear from day one what she meant by this was that Canadian pluralism means respect for women’s rights, gay rights, ethnic and religious diversity and other such progressive notions.

Not a bad idea, I thought. A sizable majority of Canadians across the political spectrum liked it too, polls showed.

We welcome thousands of people to Canada every year that come from cultures that have very different social norms, such as the criminalizing of homosexuality.

It’s just common sense to tell them how things work here. Northern European countries already do this and Australia is expanding its own values test.

Yet somehow my colleagues in the liberal consensus media could see into Leitch’s soul and knew her true intentions were the exact opposite of her words.

Even though Leitch said, for example, that diversity was important, she actually meant, they assured us, the opposite.

Now I get that Leitch lost, but it’s still odd that she’s completely disappeared from the liberal media hit list and now the previously harmless Scheer has taken her spot as top ogre.

Maybe the liberal-friendly media never truly believed the, er, psychic insights they discerned about Leitch and spoon fed to their audience.

Maybe it was just because they always need to find a conservative to cast as an evil villain, regardless of the facts.

And if that’s true, a whole hell of a lot of people in the liberal media owe Kellie Leitch a very big apology for playing this dirty game on her.

Source: A whole lot of people owe Kellie Leitch an apology | FUREY | Columnists | Opinio

Canada’s M-103 debacle is a trial balloon for something much bigger | Furey

Sun Media continues to fan the flames. And not sure that the Conservatives are that keen, Kellie Leitch and Steven Blaney excepted, are that keen on maintaining a high focus (Patrick Brown, leader of Ontario PC, in his acceptance of the comparable motion – “hate is hate” – said it well):

“There will be no Shariah law in Ontario,” Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty said in 2005.

He was announcing that religious arbitration decisions would no longer be backed up by Ontario courts.

“There will be one law for all Ontarians.”

We made the right choice then. But a lot has changed in the years since. Would we do the same now?

This is the undercurrent of the fight now playing out over Canada’s so-called anti-Islamophobia motion, M-103. The motion itself is fairly benign, its only actionable item being the call for a committee study.

The bigger problem is this whole exercise is about getting a Western liberal democracy to grant recognition to weaponized language used around the world by Islamists to shore up their intolerant political agenda.

While to ill-informed social justice warriors, rejecting Islamophobia just means the common sense courtesy of not ripping off a woman’s hijab in the grocery store, that’s not what it means for many millions of people across the Muslim world.

A quarter of the countries in the world have some form of anti-blasphemy and apostasy laws, many of which are fuelled by a broad definition of Islamophobia. For too many of their citizens, opposing Islamophobia means locking up contrarian bloggers or cartoonists who draw the prophet. This is what we’re at risk of normalizing.

The motion was previously slated for second reading in April but is now set to appear in the House of Commons on Tuesday. The scheduling change means the fallout from M-103 will be drowned out by the federal budget, which will be tabled on Wednesday.

Clearly, the Liberals are no longer so keen on giving this the limelight. No wonder. They thought they’d set a trap for the Conservatives but instead fell into it themselves.

Motion sponsor Liberal MP Iqra Khalid has shied away from most media requests. When Conservative MPs such as Erin O’Toole proposed modest amendments to get consensus, Khalid declined and revealed the prime minister’s office was calling the shots.

Then Canadians saw right through her exercise of reading the thousands of mean messages she’d been sent. They know full well that hateful threats are wrong but also know two wrongs don’t make a right.

While those of us in the press criticizing the motion were, at first, few, more have come on board. CBC journalists Terry Milewski and Neil Macdonald have recently asked smart questions about it.

Meanwhile, multi-faith and ethnically diverse protests have cropped up across the country. And on Monday, a new group called Canadian Citizens for Charter Rights and Freedoms gave a press conference against the motion on Parliament Hill.

The strongest moment was when a gay Muslim man who gave his name as Yusuf took to the microphone to explain “we would like to open our religion to criticism – to find our weaknesses and strengths.”

Yusuf’s referring to the Islamic reformation, a process people both in and out of the faith argue is needed to drag this growing monotheism into modernity. Will the Liberals help or hinder making progress on one of the defining issues of our time?

This matters. The time to get it right is now.

An Environics poll from last year revealed Canadian Muslims are becoming more observant and more likely to embrace patriarchy and homophobia. A Macdonald-Laurier Institute survey from 2011 found 62% of Canadian Muslims backed some form of Shariah law. And Statistics Canada found the Muslim population recently doubled over 10 years, crossing 1 million persons in 2011.

We may not see it now, but this motion is a trial balloon for the main event – likely a future debate that will resemble what Ontario had in 2005. But this one will be much bigger.

Source: Canada’s M-103 debacle is a trial balloon for something much bigger | Furey | Co

Abolish office of religious freedom: Anthony Furey

Interesting that the call to disband the office is coming from the Toronto Sun which generally supported the previous government:

It really does look like the office is just multicultural pandering, letting various religious groups – and they’re well-represented on the office’s 23 member advisory committee – feel the government is going to bat for them around the world.

It’s not exactly a “Canada first” endeavour, is it? I’m rather uncomfortable with us encouraging religious leaders into thinking their priorities are automatically Canadian policy priorities.

It’s even in the mandate: “The office will promote freedom of religion or belief as a Canadian foreign policy priority.”

A good and true sentiment, but a priority? No thanks. Canada’s foreign priorities should be about geopolitical stability with a view to our economy and security interests. If religious freedom becomes a secondary goal in these ventures then fine, but it shouldn’t be a standalone one.

However Garnett Genuis, Conservative MP for Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan, believes the office is doing good work and hopes the Liberals keep it.

“Religious persecution is increasing and there are religious undertones to a lot of conflicts that exist in the world today,” he told me in a phone interview.

“If you believe the government should be involved in development assistance to some point, this is a very effective way for the government to be contributing to global harmony,” Genuis adds. “It helps to elevate our reputation as a country that takes human rights seriously and is willing to put its money where its mouth is.”

If these activities are priorities for the government, they shouldn’t be undertaken by a secondary office, but directly championed by the foreign affairs minister. And if they’re not that important, then leave them to the NGOs. There’s really no compelling reason for the Liberals to maintain this office.

Source: Abolish office of religious freedom | Furey | Columnists | Opinion | Toronto Sun