CUPW does not tolerate hatred and welcomes language that would discourage discrimination; however, we do have grave concerns with the motion as it has been presented, specifically dealing with adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. Out of the 11 examples listed in the IHRA's working definition, seven of them make specific mention of Israel and have been used to silence dissatisfaction with Israeli policies regarding Palestinians.
Antisemitism, as with any form of discrimination, is already illegal in Canada under the Charter, and while it is unfortunately on the rise due to extremist groups, preventing dissent of Israeli policies through this legislation, as it is currently worded, will only serve to increase tensions against the Jewish community.
While CUPW applauds the introduction of legislation to combat this type of discrimination, the problem with this particular definition of antisemitism is that it includes criticism of the state of Israel as a form of antisemitism, which is a dangerous form of association. Policies adopted by a state must always be open to criticism if a true democratic society is to exist. Equating political dissent to hate speech undermines the ability to express disapprobation, a fundamental right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
CUPW believes in freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination. Bill 168 in its current form, utilizing the IHRA definition, could work to dismantle both. We would appreciate your cooperation in defeating this bill and working towards legislation that would put an end to all forms of discrimination without threatening freedom of expression.