Conservative MP tables bill to make December 'Christian Heritage Month'

A Conservative member of Parliament is making an effort to designate December as 'Christian Heritage Month.' On December 5, Ontario MP Marilyn Gladu tabled Bill C-369, An Act respecting Christian Heritage Month, to the House of Commons.

Conservative MP tables bill to make December 'Christian Heritage Month'
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
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A Conservative member of Parliament is taking a leap of faith in her bid to designate December as "Christian Heritage Month."

On December 5, Ontario MP Marilyn Gladu tabled Bill C-369, An Act respecting Christian Heritage Monthto the House of Commons.

"Canada is a country that celebrates all faiths," she said. "It's only fair and right that we would have a Christian heritage month since there's 19.3 million Christians in Canada, according to the last census. And what better month to pick than December?"

While Parliament has observed Christmas since 1867, observances in Canada pre-date Confederation and occurred as early as 1641, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia.

Tory Leader Pierre Poilievre said on November 30 that the "rich cultural traditions Christians and many other Canadians share at this special time" should be honoured. "Affirm their right to celebrate freely," he added.

However, Canada’s 2021 census notes that only 53.3% of Canadians identified as Christian — down from 77.1% two decades prior. 

During that period, the number of Muslims increased from 2% of the Canadian population to 4.9%. Whereas the number of Hindus and Sikhs in Canada doubled, according to the census. 

Gladu’s private member’s bill follows a petition campaign against the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) for calling Christmas 'racist' and attributing the statutory holiday to “systemic religious discrimination.”

In a Discussion Paper On Religious Intolerance, the Commission singled out Christmas being a statutory holiday as an example of religious discrimination since it is Christian, reported Blacklock’s Reporter. 

It said that non-Christians need to make special requests to observe religious holidays, whereas Christians observe Christmas and Easter as the only statutory holidays linked to religious holy days.

"Canada’s history with religious intolerance is deeply rooted in our identity as a settler colonial state," it stated. "If we want to end religious intolerance it is important that we understand it." 

However, Gladu noted that other faith groups in Canada, including Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Jews, already have their own heritage months.

Since last week, Parliament has repeatedly denounced the Commission for the report.

MPs on November 29 condemned the report, saying people must be free to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ without fear of discrimination.

"According to the Canadian Human Rights Commission the simple celebration of Christmas — the tree, the family, the music, the gifts — is systemic racism," said Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet. 

Blanchet asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to explain the Discussion Paper, questioning, "Is Christmas racist?" Trudeau replied, "Obviously, Christmas is not racist."

On November 30, the House unanimously condemned the report, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

"It is still incredible we have to remind people Christmas is not discriminatory," said Bloc House Leader Alain Therrien, sponsor of the motion. "Everyone agrees on the importance of this."

The motion asked that MPs denounce the polarizing report and "unite during this Christmas period."

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