Canadian government funded ‘Muslim voting guide’

Muslims by the nature of being Muslims do not stop being everyday citizens. The issues that matter to Canadians in many cases also matter to us with perhaps a caveat here or there.

Ali Taghva Montreal QC

The Canadian government has funded the publication of a Muslim voting guide by Wilfrid Laurier University’s Canadian Islamophobia Industry Research Project.

The “Canadian Muslim Voting Guide: Federal Election 2019” was released roughly three days before the federal election, on October 18th.

The guide’s preparation page shows its funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), a federal agency.

From one of the pages

Shockingly, the guide lists six issues as deeply important to Muslims, and grades each leader qualitatively.

The alt-right and Islamaphobia, M103, religious freedoms in Quebec (Bill 21), immigration and refugees, the BDS movement and foreign policy.

The grading is incredibly vague and some of them are misleading.

According to the guide, “the criteria used to determine these grades has been based on whether a party leader’s particular political standpoints and/or policy initiatives are positive or detrimental to the interests of Canadian Muslims and the wider geopolitical concerns that affect Muslims globally.”

Oddly, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was graded an “F” on immigration and alt-right groups despite there being no evidence he supports extremists groups (he’s actually condemned them) and his immigration platform was very similar to that of the Liberals. Meanwhile, the government’s own internal polling showed the majority of Canadians are not pleased with Trudeau’s lax attitude toward the open border, yet still received a passing grade.

While aiming to “inform” Muslim voters, the guide appears to fall short on multiple instances with the most important being the lack of information behind how these six issues became the most important to Canadian Muslims or how exactly these grades were determined. Where data was used, it appears it was top-line, involving polls of the general population rather than of actual Muslims.

Understandably, Quebec’s Bill 21 was included an issue, but where were the other issues that matter even more such as economic integration, climate change, or housing prices?

Muslims by the nature of being Muslims do not stop being everyday citizens. The issues that matter to Canadians in many cases also matter to us with perhaps a caveat here or there.

The research did not just ignore key issues like the economy, it also poorly explained the ones it set out to talk about such as how Muslims experience hate.

The guide interestingly ignores left-wing extremism but focuses on the alt-right, seemingly forgetting that Quebec Solidaire supported Bill 21, and communism at its core rejects all religions.

While the lack of information on key issues is problematic, the number of enemies the guide creates is perhaps the most worrying for both the government and Muslims in Canada.

Within its pages, the guide brings BDS forward as a top-six issue, while also claiming that Zionist and Christian ideologies were fomenting hate against Muslims.

Both of these claims are serious problems as they create division between Muslims and other religious groups while also creating an image where Canadian Muslims stand in clear contrast with virtually every party in the country.

In 2016, the House overwhelmingly voted to condemn BDS, as well as “all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS Movement, both here at home and abroad.”

With so much controversy you’d imagine at least some level of polling would be done to determine how Canadian Muslims stood on this issue.

None was found in the report.

Following the release of the report, multiple Jewish groups voiced serious concern regarding the inclusion of  government funds with a guide that involves support for “anti-Semitic BDS.”

With so much blow-back, it may be wise for the government to ban future voting guides which could treat vast swaths of the population as unable to make up their own minds.

The Post Millennial reached out to the authors of the guide but received no comment by the time of publication.


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