A year has gone since Trudeau first came into office, offering a welcome message of change throughout his campaign. Yet, although Trudeau has had some accomplishments in office so far, Muslim Canadians must remain skeptical of his government and must be prepared to hold him accountable on issues that directly or indirectly impact our community. If we make the mistake of idolizing him, we risk granting him the freedom to disregard our interests. And many of his actions do indeed deserve to be critiqued.
On the question of Islamophobia, for example, many Muslims like me were initially encouraged when Trudeau publicly condemned hate crimes against Muslim-Canadians. Following the surge in incidents of racial abuse towards Muslims after the Paris attacks in late 2015, Trudeau stated, "These recent acts of intolerance have no place in our country and run absolutely contrary to Canadian values of pluralism and respect."
However, the Trudeau government has been slow to take meaningful actions that live up to our PM's words. It is true that Liberal MP Frank Baylis sponsored a Parliamentary petition against Islamophobia, which garnered almost 70,000 signatures -- more than any other Canadian petition on this issue. However, it was NDP leader Thomas Mulcair who introduced the motion in Parliament on October 6. Given that it was a Liberal MP -- Baylis -- who sponsored the petition, it is quite puzzling and rather disappointing that it was not Trudeau who introduced the motion at the House of Commons.
"Progress" on Islamophobia by Trudeau at the federal level has been far outpaced by measures, albeit mostly symbolic, taken by provincial parties. For instance, an NDP private members's bill was recently unanimously passed by the Ontario legislature, making October Islamic Heritage Month in that province. Furthermore, a resolution condemning all forms of Islamophobia was initiated by the Liberal party in Ontario and was later passed successfully just this past summer.
Yet, the Liberal party has failed to raise a similar motion at the federal level. Trudeau's federal Liberal party has thus proven to be slow to act on issues of Islamophobia. As Muslim Canadians, what we need from Trudeau is substantive action, not just encouraging words."Substantive"? Or "submissive"?