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Canadian government consider help for MPs facing harassment, death threats

Ottawa (IINA) � The Canadian Liberal government is considering help for MPs facing increased harassment, hatred, and even death threats after the backlash to an anti-Islamophobia motion.

The Toronto Star News has learned the Liberal cabinet will consider ways to help MPs from any party grappling with hatred and harassment at their offices. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said they could not confirm nor deny any issues that may be before cabinet. But in a statement, a PMO spokesperson, Cameron Ahmad, said the government is eager to work with MPs to make sure their workplaces are free from intimidation.

Every member of Parliament and indeed, every Canadian is entitled to work and live in an environment that is free of hate speech and the threat of violence, Ahmad wrote.

As always, we remain eager to work alongside MPs, including opposition members, to tackle any form of hate or threat to ensure all MPs and their staff are guaranteed a safe working environment.

Angry constituents and irate letters or phone calls are a fact of politics at any level. But some MPs have reported more disturbing, racially or religiously charged comments their staff have had to field. Mississauga MP Iqra Khalid who introduced a motion condemning Islamophobia, told the House of Commons last month that thousands of such messages flooded her offices in response to the motion.

Omar Alghabra, another Mississauga MP and the parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs, said his primary concern in dealing with these comments is his staff, who have to receive and process the calls, emails and social media posts. I’m the political candidate, and I’m the representative, and I expect people will sometimes be saying tough things towards me, but I want to make sure that my staff who has maybe never seen this before . . . are protected, and know that everything is OK, Alghabra said.

Especially the calls. (Staff are) the ones who are dealing with them. Alghabra said he considers the backlash against Khalid’s anti-Islamophobia motion is an unfortunate reaction to a campaign of misinformation and ignorance.

Heather Bradley, a spokesperson for Speaker Geoff Regan, said the House of Commons would consider requests from MPs for resources to address harassment or hate speech. The process would be (the MP) would go to the (Board of Internal Economy), Bradley said on Friday, referring to the committee that handles financial and administrative matters for the House of Commons.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

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