Grant Bachand | Contributor
M-103 has been the bane of my life. The recent rally at city hall was a perfect example of how the conversation has become completely unhinged and toxic. On one side, there’s grumpy old white people who want to retain their freedom of speech, AKA “I want to be able to insult Islam, and nobody else can say anything.” On the other side is the proponents for the motion, who willfully look past some of the motions major failings in the name of unrelenting tolerance and open-heartedness. Both sides are exhausting to listen too for different reasons, and both sides have decent arguments.
Let me start off with the old angry white people. I have never tired of the boomer generation’s constant barrage of complaints about the rapidly changing society and how in some way or another they are negatively impacted. The complaint by these groups is that somehow by allowing M-103 to go through, Canada will be overtaken by Sharia Law is an absolute garbage argument. That line of thinking is bigotry with a lovely coating of fear mongering. There is no reality to it and is completely ill informed. The point that Islam is above criticism is a silly argument too; we freely critique other religions, and Islam does not get a pass on that.
The individuals who are on side with the bill, however, do have a strong case. Some critics of Islam say they are against the motion because of freedom of speech but in reality, they just really don’t like that Mohammad living down the street is different from them. The motion looks to push back on that bigotry, and we have to start somewhere, therefore, putting forward a motion to study this problem is a good starting point. Governments are too often looked to for leadership in the area of social change because it is easy to make them do it instead of individuals in their lives. Whenever the state gets involved in anything, it is never a minor or subtle approach; it is far-reaching and possibly invasive. Therefore something as important as ending bigotry should not be left to something as clumsy as government. It should be lead by individuals. Instead of asking the government to deal with racism, how about individuals do it instead? If you are at a family dinner and your parent says something that could be construed as racist, stand up and say something. If you read a piece of fake news lambasting Muslims, support real journalists who fight back against fake news. If you feel the public is becoming less informed, do something about it; become a writer, a teacher, an artist, an activist, or someone with a big ass microphone. Don’t look to the state to fix the ills of society because they aren’t known for doing the best job with those things.
This motion put forward by the Liberals is quintessentially liberal. It has a great heart at its center but is fundamentally and logistically short sighted. The government should help fix the social ills of our society, however, we shouldn’t sit back and assume government will fix everything. It is better if we take an active role in the betterment of society on an individual level than at a state level.