The polls are all over the place. But, if you go to political events -- even Stephen Harper's invitation only events -- you hear interesting things. Michael Harris writes:
Here’s some human intelligence gathered by yours truly on a trip this week to Vancouver. It’s not a poll. It’s just a hunch.
Shortly before I arrived, Jason Kenney had been at an event put on by the city’s large South Asian community. One prominent member of the local Sikh community approached the minister and told him that if the government’s inflammatory statements about the niqab resulted in attacks against Muslims in Canada, the Conservatives would bear the responsibility. Three attacks later, his words took on new meaning.
Those attacks are backfiring on Harper and a storm is brewing:
He has always courted the immigrant vote, and rather successfully. But the niqab offensive is reminding a lot of Canadians of the immigrants in their own past. With Harper’s racist attack on Muslims (not ‘borderline’ racist, as former Newfoundland premier Danny Williams suggested) and new legislation giving the government several ways of stripping Canadians of their citizenship, there is a restlessness rippling through an important part of the Harper base.
And it’s not just Sikhs. It’s Jews who remember their grandparents being turned away from Canadian shores. It’s Irish who remember hearing stories about how their relatives were treated like dirt here after they fled the potato famine in their native land to come here. It’s Japanese who recall the internment camps where they were sent for the crime of their ethnicity. It’s the Italians who will never quite forget being called ‘wops’ and ‘dagos’ as they tried to make their way in this country.
In a nutshell, everyone who has ever tried to make a fresh start in Canada has reason to worry about Stephen Harper’s war on the niqab. Could it be that they’re thinking we’re all Muslims now?
Some people call it karma. Some people simply hold to the belief that what goes around comes around. However, you put it, the prime minister's best laid plans are going astray.