Ontario PC leader says he'll support anti-Islamophobia motion

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown says he will support an anti-Islamophobia motion that will be introduced in the provincial legislature on Thursday.

Patrick Brown says Islamophobia has no place in Ontario, hostility towards Muslims is 'real'

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown says he will support an anti-Islamophobia motion that a Liberal MPP plans to introduce this Thursday in the provincial legislature. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown says he will support an anti-Islamophobia motion that a Liberal MPP plans to introduce in the provincial legislature on Thursday.

Brown said Tuesday that Islamophobia has no place in Ontario.

"Whether it's hate against any faith, it's wrong. I will always stand in opposition to any form of hate," Brown told reporters at Queen's Park.

He said he is going to encourage members of the Ontario PC caucus to support the motion as well. The caucus is scheduled to meet on Tuesday.

"I think it's pretty straightforward to condemn any form of hate. In terms of Islamophobia, it is real," Brown said.

Liberal MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers, who represents Ottawa-Vanier, has said she will introduce a motion this week calling on the legislature to condemn all forms of Islamophobia.
Liberal MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers says she will introduce a motion in the Ontario legislature on Thursday calling on the House to condemn Islamophobia. (David Smiley/courtesy CCLA)

Des Rosiers sent a letter to other MPPs on Friday asking if they will support her motion. 

Amira Elghawaby, communications director for the National Council of Canadian Muslims, told CBC Toronto that the council is pleased that Brown will support the Ontario motion.

"I welcome his support and I am happy to say I am not surprised. He has shown a willingness to address these issues head on," she said in an interview from Ottawa.

 "It's very important that our political leaders do show the way forward as we confront the various forms of hate that are out there. Islamophobia is a growing concern in Canada."
Amira Elghawaby, communications director for the National Council of Canadian Muslims, says the council is pleased that Brown will support the Ontario motion.

Elghawaby noted that the Quebec legislature passed a similar motion in October 2015, after an incident in Montreal in which a pregnant Muslim woman was approached by a group of young people who knocked her to the ground and removed her veil.

The Quebec motion passed unanimously.

She said such motions are symbolic but important because Muslim communities are feeling targeted.

In her letter to MPPs last week, Des Rosiers said the reaction to a debate in the House of Commons on the same issue prompted her to ask the government House leader to allow her to make a motion in the legislature.

Mississauga-Erin Mills MP Iqra Khalid has tabled private member's motion M-103, calling on the federal government to eliminate "Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination."
Liberal MP Iqra Khalid makes an announcement about an anti-Islamophobia motion on Parliament Hill on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. (Patrick Doyle/Canadian Press)

Des Rosiers said she felt compelled to take a stand in Ontario given "troubling comments" about the federal motion from the Conservative Party of Canada.

"I believe that hate crimes have no place in Canadian society," Des Rosiers writes.

"Islamophobia needs to be addressed head on as we have seen too many acts of hatred and violence, most recently the mass shooting at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City, where six Canadians of Muslim faith were killed and 19 injured."

Islamophobia is defined as an irrational fear of Islam and a hatred or extreme dislike of Muslims.