Many MPs will attest to having had to deal with irate constituents and delegations urging them to either abstain, vote against or support the controversial M-103 a non-binding motion condemning Islamophobia and religious discrimination. Mississauga-Streetsville MP Gagan Sikand was among the handful of Liberal MPs who chose to abstain from the vote supported by his party. Many applauded this decision.
On a Facebook post, he explained his reasons.
“First and foremost, I would like to state that I will always condemn “Islamophobia” and all discrimination. I believe in the Charter and the protection it affords to all Canadians.
It is unfortunate that this motion has divided so many communities. Being a representative of all residents in my riding and based on the correspondence and conversations I have had, I must act accordingly. The vote belongs to the residents and I am merely a conduit of it.
Since the residents of Mississauga-Streetsville were fairly evenly split, I was of the opinion that abstaining best reflected everyone.”
This week Can-India caught up with MP Gagan Sikand to ask him if he received any backlash he has experienced over abstaining from voting in favor of M-103.
“I listened to many delegates from all communities both in favor of M-103 and against it. There were South Asians as well as Muslim delegates who were opposed to it. I cleared away the misconceptions and fears people had about the bill but finally I listened to my constituents,” he said.
MP Gagan Sikand admits that his decision has resulted in him getting a backlash from those upset that he abstained from the vote.
Gagan Sikand who is Sikh reminds those upset with him that he understands the issue facing the Muslim community because Sikhs as a community faced the same thing back in 1984. “Back then the Sikh community had to come out and remind Canadians about their contributions and charity and also to condemn terrorism acts,” he said.
Sikand sees the Muslim community going through much the same thing today. Ironically Sikhs are also facing attacks though often because they are mistaken for Muslim so much so that an ad campaign has begun in the US to educate Americans about Sikhs and Sikhism. – CINEWS