Canada is in the dying days of a painful and tiring national election. With a small and extremely diverse population spread across the second largest sovereign land-mass on earth, speaking to – and on behalf of – all Canadians, is undoubtably difficult.
I have written about my experience with Islam (for better and for worse) and I am certainly deeply concerned about the role of religion in public discourse. Notwithstanding, we are in the grips of the most manipulated and racially-charged election of our modern era.
Mr. Harper; you may be a political tactician, but you are a sick, manipulative Machiavellian, bent upon minor success that will only ignite nascent intolerance that should have died with the Bloc Quebecois and William Aberhart (Look it up).
Recently I visited some people in Trois-Riviere, Quebec with whom I do business. I consider at least one of them a friend – and know he is good for Canada. I know he believes in many of the values we share and that we speak the same proverbial language.
In less than two minutes he clarified; “I am not racist, but I think we should be treated with respect.” He also astutely identified; “Harper was a perfect tactician in raising this issue.”
The issue is a woman wearing the Niqab for a citizenship ceremony.
To paraphrase Naheed Nenshi – the almost universally popular (and muslim) mayor of Calgary; “I do not really like the Niqab, but if we are concerned about the rights of muslim women, there is a much larger discussion to have.”
How dare the Conservative government of Canada ignore child poverty, ignore aboriginal living conditions and actively support trade with Saudi Arabia, while fomenting active prejudice in Canada.
Shame! Shame .. you embarrass me, Stephen Harper … you worry me Blake Richards and you, Gilles Duceppe – thank you for showing us what is most ugly about your pure laine (pure-wool – i.e. pure blood) Quebec nationalism. In fact, you foment intolerance. The nationalist line in Quebec was rejected by the many NDP voters who felt (and feel) Quebec values should represent a more just country, rather than closed-minded fear of the greater world.
If we are not better than that, Mr. Duceppe, please be proud of your fascist precursor, Adrian Arcand – the Canadian Fuhrer. He too believed in ‘our’ pure race and opposed immigration. You trades upon hate and mistrust.
We are akin to an underpopulated European Union, or a pro-healthcare, gunless American unity of States. Canada is a test subject for diversity, tolerance and migration. We are somewhat trapped by a virtually dysfunctional British Parliamentary system, a Prime Minister’s office far beyond its mandate and regional bickering. Nonetheless, Canadians proudly remember our history of peacekeeping and our tradition of supporting immigration and certainly supporting refugees.
There is a lot to be discussed and explored in our society and certainly support for the separation of church and state is fundamental to the functioning of our civil society. But we simply cannot decide an important election on the back of intolerance and perceived threats. Should the Niqab be discussed? most absolutely. But should one woman taking a ceremonial pledge, whist wearing a Niqab define our national discussion?
Of course not.
Environment, free trade, transfer payments, education, poverty, healthcare, women rights, potable water on reserves, gun control, FISCAL POLICY, refugees, the senate, parliamentary reform… these are issues. Let’s discuss.
Mr. Harper – I certainly hope you read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on First Nations. Or perhaps you could re-visit our relationship with Saudi Arabia. Perhaps reform the senate (as promised). Perhaps not take Canada down the road of intolerance and ignorance. You are a bad person.
To quote former Progressive Conservative Premier Dany Williams (NL): “either vote ABC (anyone but Conservative) or don’t vote at all. Harper has to go.”