Prime minister and MPs mark 4th anniversary of Quebec City mosque shooting
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says party will introduce anti-racism legislation that targets white supremacists
The prime minister and members of Parliament took a moment to mark the fourth anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting today — and to call for action to fight against racism and discrimination that targets Canada's Muslim community.
"The duty to remember is the duty of honour and respect. Four years ago, six Canadians united by their faith fell victim to the bullets of a killer. This was an act of terrorism inspired by Islamophobia," Conservative MP Gérard Deltell said in the House of Commons.
"Islamophobia and all phobias based on religious beliefs have no place and must be condemned without any conditions. These forms of violence have no place in Canada. Your memory will be preserved forever; we will not forget you ever."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who yesterday announced that Jan. 29 will become an official day of remembrance for the victims of the attack and a time to call for action against Islamophobia, defended people's right to worship free from violence.
"Every year on this day, we will honour the victims, and we will recommit ourselves to fighting the discrimination and hate that took them from us," Trudeau said Friday from outside Rideau Cottage. "No one should ever be afraid because of the way they pray. Not in Canada. And not anywhere around the world."
On Jan. 29, 2017, 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette entered the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre and opened fire just before 8 p.m., killing six and injuring five others.
The attack lasted less than two minutes. In that time, 17 children lost their fathers, six wives lost their husbands and many lives were changed forever.
"The Islamic-phobic rage of one killer left 17 children orphaned," Liberal MP Arif Virani told the House.
"As a Muslim man and a father of two young boys, I can't fathom the sense of loss that those families feel to this very day. As an MP, I can commit to do better; to do better by calling out Islamophobia by name; to do better by taking action on hatred whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head."
'Let's work together'
Bloc MP Marie-Hélène Gaudreau told the House of Commons that every Quebecer must be able to practise their religion freely and live without fear.
"I would like to say to the Muslim community of Quebec City in particular, and also of all of Quebec, that they can count on us as allies to ensure that such violence never happens again. Our thoughts are with you now and in the future," she said in French.
WATCH | Anniversary underscores importance of fighting prejudice:
The NDP's Alexandre Boulerice described the attack as a sad episode in Canada's history that should serve as a reminder to fight racism and discrimination in all its forms.
"As MPs we all have an obligation to lead by example, so let's be more mindful of the potential impact of our words," he told the House of Commons." This sad anniversary of the attack on the Quebec City mosque reminds us that racism and hatred do exist in this country, and sometimes it kills. Let's work together to ensure that these six people did not die in vain."
After delivering statements, MPs in the House of Commons stood for a moment of silence to mark the four-year anniversary.
NDP anti-racism legislation coming: Singh
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also expressed his condolences to the bereaved and survivors of the attack but said more has to be done than to just remember.
"We need to see all parties commit to real action — to fight the root cause of this and not be afraid of pointing out white supremacy and extreme right wing groups that openly promote hate and violence."
Singh said his party is drafting legislation that will target white supremacist organizations and other hate groups. He would not provide details of what measures would be in the legislation or when it would be coming.
"It is so essential to do something in the memory of those lives lost, to stop this from ever happening again," Singh said.