Six Canadians were slain Sunday January 29th. These individuals were Canadians of the Muslim faith, who were simply in their mosque, their house of worship, peacefully praying. This act is equal parts terrorism and hate crime, and unequivocally anti-Canadian.
Peterborough is no stranger to local mosques being targeted in the wake of global events. Shortly after the Paris terror attacks in 2015, where 129 people were killed, Peterborough’s only mosque, Masjid-Al-Salaam, was set aflame as a clear message from those who hold Muslims in ill will, “you are not welcome here”. The public’s response must be one that emphasizes solidarity amongst Canadians and not a burgeoning police state to combat hate.
What occurred shortly thereafter the arson attack on the Peterborough mosque was inspiring. Canadian solidarity was put on full display, as thousands of dollars were raised in a matter of days to rebuild the mosque. During the mosque’s reconstruction the doors of both local churches and a synagogue were opened to those who were left without a place to worship. That option won’t be available to those who lost their lives on the 29th.
A global movement is fomenting that demands that forces of oppression be stopped dead in their steps. Even those who are Conservatives, such as Member of Parliament Michael Chong, stated just days after the mosque killing that “demagoguery is leading to cesspools of hate on social media and it’s leading to an increase in hate crimes.” Canada has reached a consensus that condemns the actions of a hateful few, and what Canada must now do is create safety without injuring liberty and privacy.
When minorities are being targeted it is the duty of the majority to stand up and protect them. It is the duty of the government to protect it’s citizens, it is not the government’s duty to revoke civil liberties from it’s citizens.
Leading up to the federal Canadian election in 2014, much fuss was made about Justin Trudeau’s stance on Bill C-51 which was heavily contested. This anti terrorism bill has fallen to the background in recent months, as there have been greater worries for Canadians South of the border. Hate speech and racism are finding a daily echo chamber on social media that is transcending national borders.
Trudeau’s Liberals endorsed the Bill in 2014 in a thinly- veiled attempt to seem “tough” on terrorism. The promise to reform the bill once elected and take out the particularly egregious elements of the bill is in line within the true liberal fashion of promising everything to everyone. These reforms have not happened.
The argument on behalf of law enforcement for bills like these 15 years ago in the wake of 9/11 and to this day is that as technology progresses, so too must the powers of law enforcement to keep people safe. This argument is flawed, because it is clear to anyone who is looking at the world that terrorist attacks are not a result of a lack of capabilities on behalf of law enforcement. Terrorism is caused by hate, and a rejection of the multiculturalism that we have in Canada, not a lack of law and order. . Bill C-51 gives law enforcement the power to arrest on suspicion of terrorist activity. The word suspicion is as broad as Trumps definition of success. It gives outrageous powers to law enforcement, and to what extent this law has been enacted in Canada under the Liberals is unclear. The other caveat to this bill is that it gives law enforcement the power to unilaterally disrupt gatherings, whereas prior, it only had the ability to monitor them.
In the wake of the mosque attack, there has been a movement to categorize the event itself as terrorism, and the killer as a terrorist. If Canadian Progressives are not diligent about remaining steadfast in their opposition to a police state, the Liberal Party of Canada can use this event as political capital to start acting on Bill C-51 under the guise of protecting minorities.
Canadians have to temper the urge to demand safety from a government that doesn’t have the means to guarantee it. What Canadians need from a government is a weighted counter balance to the discourse emanating and spilling over from our southern neighbor into Canada. Prime Minister Trudeau has offered some, and Thomas Mulcair has labeled President Trump a fascist, but more is needed.
The terrorist attack in Quebec City is tragic and fueling a sense of collective dread amongst Canadians. Canadians have to avoid letting politicians use this fear as justification for stripping them of their rights. Patriotism is needed through building communities, not through a patriot act, or a bill, and certainly not a police state.