The Ford government is denying claims it voted against a resolution condemning Islamophobia during an emergency session of the legislature on Thursday night.
Liberal MPP Mitzi Hunter tweeted that she sought the legislature’s unanimous consent to condemn all forms of Islamophobia and reaffirm support for the Anti-Racism Directorate and that the government “said no.”
The proposal comes in the wake of a deadly attack on a Muslim family in London, Ont., in which four people were killed and a child was sent to hospital with serious injuries.
Nathaniel Veltman, 20, has been charged with four first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in the attack, which police say was a premeditated and premeditated act targeting Muslims.
Government House leader Paul Calandra called Hunter’s allegation “completely untrue”.
“It is very disappointing that the Liberal Party is pursuing such serious politics as Islamophobia,” Calandra said in a statement.
“What happened today was a Liberal MPP, without any notice, trying to surprise the government with a proposal we haven’t seen yet. It’s our policy to turn down all requests for unanimous consent that we’ve already done. Haven’t seen.”
Calandra pointed out that in 2017, under the previous Liberal government, the legislature unanimously adopted a resolution condemning Islamophobia in the wake of the Quebec mosque shootings, which killed six people and injured 19 others.
“If liberals are serious about this, they know very well that surprise resolutions in the Legislature are not the way to do it,” he said. “They should reach out with the government, the NDP and the Green Party and specifically work on an issue of such importance, as we have done in the past.”
Cody Welton, the deputy chief of staff within Doug Ford’s office, responded to a tweet by journalist Fatima Syed, questioning why Hunter was “playing a fraudulent political game with something so serious?”
He replied in a tweet, reiterating what Calandra had said earlier, “She did not apprise the government of the proposal which is customary.”
“We had no material or copy, we would have worked with them and the community. Instead she moved it without knowing that the government would say no, so she could make an unfounded allegation, implying that the government is Islamophobic. “
Ontario legislators were recalled from summer vacation to Queens Park for a marathon sitting Thursday as the Ford government prepares to enforce the clause, despite reinstating parts of a law prohibiting third-party election advertising.
A judge struck down parts of the law earlier this week, but the progressive Conservative government said it would reinstate them through new legislation that includes a clause that allows legislatures to suspend parts of the charter for five years. Allows override.
Government House leader Paul Calandra said legislators would debate throughout the night in the early hours of Saturday and continue proceedings on Sunday afternoon, with a vote on the bill scheduled for Monday evening.
Files from the Canadian Press were used in this report.