Justice committee votes to expunge Conservative MP’s ‘hurtful’ remarks to Muslim witness from official record

The House of Commons justice committee in Ottawa has voted to strike controversial remarks from Conservative MP Michael Cooper from the record.

Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault put forward the motion on Tuesday morning, calling Cooper’s comments “discriminatory, hurtful and disrespectful.”

Over the weekend, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer removed Cooper from the justice committee after the Alberta MP confronted a Muslim witness in hearings studying online hate.

Cooper had told Faisal Khan Suri he should be “ashamed” after he drew a link between “conservative commentators” and the online history of mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette.

Cooper also quoted from the manifesto of the man accused of the mass killings in Christchurch, New Zealand, in an attempt to discredit Suri’s testimony.

The committee voted 6-0 to remove the name of the attacker and a section of his manifesto that Cooper had read at committee. Conservative committee members abstained from voting.

NDP MP Randall Garrison said we are living in “incendiary times,” and warned people must not confuse free speech and the exchange of ideas with “throwing gas on the fires.”

Deny extremists a forum

“I think we have a responsibility as a committee of Parliament to make sure we do not contribute to that, and that we respect the wishes of the New Zealand government in trying to make sure that those who engage in violent acts based on extremist ideologies do not get a public forum to spread their ideas,” he said.

Conservative MP John Brassard said Scheer had already dealt with the matter, and Cooper has apologized.

“This is nothing more than a stunt,” Brassard said.

Tuesday’s meeting, which is hearing from free speech activists Mark Steyn, John Robson and Lindsay Shepherd, was initially to be televised, but MPs voted to have it recorded for audio only.

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