On this very special day for Muslims around the world New Democrats want to thank the community for your deep contribution and commitment towards building a stronger fabric of tolerance, respect and understanding here in Canada. Every day, individually and collectively, you promote human rights, inclusiveness and diversity. This vitally important work is building a fairer more equal Canada and a better world.
The humanitarian values we share are also based on our shared commitment to human rights and social justice. But as you know, these rights can be threatened at any time.
Like so many members of this community, we said it was wrong for Canadian citizens to be arrested without a warrant and imprisoned for up to a year without a trial or criminal charges. We all know the damage that can be done when a government suspends human rights. We all remember the story of Maher Arar, and we share in your outrage.
In 2007, as leader of the NDP, Jack Layton was proud to work with many leaders of the Muslim community, and lead the opposition against further anti-terror measures that were before Parliament at that time.
The Layton family has been very honoured and proud of the acknowledgment by so many in the Muslim community of Jack’s life’s work as a champion of diversity and human rights including the recent posthumous award from the The Islamic Foundation of Toronto and the Muslims of Greater Toronto.
Today, New Democrats under the dynamic leadership of Tom Mulcair continue to stand up for human and civil rights in Canada which are once again being threatened by the renewal of the Stephen Harper’s Anti-terrorism bill, Bill S-7. We in the NDP will continue to fight against this Bill as we work with the Muslim community and all Canadians in building bridges of understanding in our country.
We must be vigilant – if we threaten the rights of one individual, we threaten the rights of everyone in our society. And that is why we must stand together.
As we celebrate Eid ul-Adha, Canada’s New Democrats wish you all, including the many participating in the holy pilgrimage of Hajj, peace, love and happiness.
Member of Parliament for Davenport
Chair of NDP Toronto Caucus