London party

As Bill languishes, NDP pledges to pass London Family Law if elected

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Landmark legislation to tackle Islamophobia in Ontario, dedicated to four members of a London Muslim family killed in a crash that police say was deliberate, could become an issue in the June provincial election as the weather press to pass the bill.

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The Our London Family Act, containing sweeping measures to help tackle racism and discrimination, came together in the fallout from last June’s accident which killed four members of the Afzaal family who were walking when a vehicle jumped the curb and hit them, with police alleging the family was targeted because of their Muslim faith.

On Wednesday, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government ‘doesn’t see how urgent’ the legislation is and promised an NDP government would pass it. “immediately”.

“Ontarians deserve so much better than the Conservative government’s failure to prioritize this bill,” she said, adding “we need to act now to fix what matters most and fight Islamophobia.” in our province”.

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With the election slated for June 2, Ontarians are expected to be immersed in campaigning after the Conservatives table their budget late next week, leaving as little as a week at most after that before the legislature dissolves. .

Bills that do not pass before the Legislative Assembly dissolves and an election is called die on the Order Paper, so timing is critical.

The bill also has the support of the Liberal caucus and the lone Green Party MPP, but would require government support to pass.

“Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the NDP caucus, the National Council of Canadian Muslims and the thousands of people who wrote, the (progressive) Conservative government said last Thursday that it would not pass the bill. before the election,” said the London NPD. MPP Terence Kernaghan, whose party introduced the bill.

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“It’s unfortunate it should be in effect today,” said the MPP for London North Center.

After the June 6 collision, “many political leaders came to London and made various commitments,” Kernaghan said. “We are approaching almost a year since this horrific event and we need to see action. Words are not enough.”

The Liberals also say they would introduce new laws to protect places of worship from violence and intimidation and pass the Our London Family Act, which is part of a host of pledges to tackle discrimination.

The bill would create safe zones around religious institutions, provide schools with more education and tools to fight racism, ban protests at Queen’s Park that incite racist, homophobic and other hatred, and prevent white supremacist groups to register as corporations.

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Killed in London were Talat Afzaal, 74, his son Salman Afzaal, 46, a physiotherapist who worked in area nursing homes, his wife, Madiha Salman, 44, a PhD student in engineering at the Western University and their daughter, Yumnah, 15, an Oakridge High School student.

The couple’s son, Fayez, 9, was seriously injured, but survived.

A London man faces four counts of first degree murder and one of attempted murder.

Earlier this year, the legislature voted to send the bill to its standing justice policy committee for review.

In early March, London West NDP MP Peggy Sattler called on the Ford government to bring the bill back from committee and pass it before the end of the session, “making it clear that Islamophobia and hatred have no place in Ontario”.

But Sattler failed to win unanimous consent on a procedural step to send the bill back to parliament.

The bill would also establish a provincial review of hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents in Ontario and establish an anti-racism council to provide input into government policies. He is also calling for more minorities to be hired for provincial jobs.

Ford’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

-With files from The Canadian Press

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