In light of the terrorist attack in Quebec, isolated acts of hate crimes in Ontario and the change of direction in American politics, I want to take this opportunity to let my constituents know who and what I stand for. I know many have a sense of foreboding and fear, and I want to assure the Brant community that we are and always will be a place of acceptance, inclusion and peace.
First and foremost, I want to reassure Muslims in the Brant community that I stand with them and support them in this time of fear. We are your neighbours and your friends. You belong here. The city of Brantford, the region of Brant, and the province of Ontario is yours just as much as anyone’s. Ontario does not belong to one group of people, to one race or to one religion. It is a province for all; and at this time, I want to extend this message especially to Muslims who may feel scared or threatened at this time.
I also want to convey this sentiment to any other immigrant, refugee or newcomer to Brant. I will do everything in my role as MPP to support anyone experiencing anxiety and trepidation as a result of their faith, background or ethnicity. As your MPP, I am elected to represent all people of Brant, regardless of religion or country of origin.
Ontario is the most multicultural province in Canada, where half of all new immigrants make their home. Ontario has been and will continue to be a land of opportunity. We are a prosperous and democratic society built on the hard work of immigrants. At this time, we need to recognize the foundations of our rich heritage and culture. We need to proclaim the values of acceptance, tolerance and multiculturalism in direct defiance of the politics of hate, division, segregation and fear.
As Pierre Elliot Trudeau stated, “A society which emphasizes uniformity is one which creates intolerance and hate.” The constitution of Canada protects against intolerance and hate by guaranteeing everyone the freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief, opinion and expression. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. Everyone does truly mean everyone. Whether you are a multi-generational Canadian, a new Canadian, an immigrant or a refugee, you have the right to life, liberty and security, and the freedom to practice any religion. No matter where you come from, if you are in Canada, you are protected by these rights.
I became an MPP in order to make Brant the best place to live, work, play and raise a family. I believe that this includes making Brant a place of multiculturalism, acceptance and tolerance. I believe that there is no room for hate at all. Love uplifts the soul. We must stand united in defense of this great beacon of hope in the world. Reject hate. Embrace love.