NDP Public Safety Critic Matthew Dubé’s motion on Monday to invite the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, to appear before committee and answer questions related to the 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada passed at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. His motion requires Goodale to answer questions regarding his decision to name Sikh and Muslim communities as extremists in the report.
The following motion, introduced by Dubé was passed at committee:
“That the Committee invite the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to appear before it no later than June 21, 2019 to respond to and take questions on the 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada tabled in Parliament on December 11, 2018.”
Dubé introduced the motion after sending a letter to the minister last December, which the minister did not answer. Dubé’s letter raised questions about the concerns expressed by Canadians regarding the labelling of Sikh and Muslim communities as extremists. Later last week, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Dubé also sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau highlighting the same concerns about the inappropriate labelling of the Sikh and Muslim communities in the report, in some circumstances without sufficient evidence.
This weekend, Singh attended a community town hall in the Greater Toronto Area attended by over 400 people who expressed serious concerns about the Liberal government’s report. At the town hall, community organizations expressed worry that the Liberal government failed to make appropriate changes requested by impacted communities – leaving Canadians belonging to the Muslim and Sikh communities feeling vulnerable and stigmatized.
“This report unfairly stigmatizes Muslim and Sikh communities, while failing to consider dangerous and unintended consequences. These consequences include the potential to place vulnerable communities and all Canadians at greater risk, by emboldening the harmful stereotypes that fuelled terrorist attacks in Christchurch, Quebec City and Oak Creek,” said Singh in the letter. “Political leaders must act with great care and responsibility, so their words are not used to exploit fear and fuel hatred – instead, they must promote solidarity and challenge hatred, whenever atrocities occur.”
The NDP urged the Prime Minister and his Liberal government to remove the report from government websites until all promised changes regarding these labels and references to the Sikh, Shia and Sunni communities are made, or until a clear explanation including any evidence, where appropriate, is released.