Friday, October 09, 2015

His Best Laid Plans

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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.


12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The plan only has to stay together for the next 10 days... so far the wedge is working.

Owen Gray said...

We're at a turning point, Anon. The question is, "Are Canadians beginning to put two and two together?"

Pamela Mac Neil said...

Muslims turning out to vote in droves Owen, will do it for me. I don't believe large numbers of Canadians support this racist rhetoric. The fact that Harper has turned the wearing of the niqab into an election issue, doesn't sit well with them either. It will be interesting what the early voting shows.

Owen Gray said...

We are a land of immigrants, Pam. Harper doesn't know his Canadian history.

The Mound of Sound said...

I've heard one "old stock" Canadian back Harper on this, Owen. He's a white guy, 76-years old, with prostate trouble. Enough said.

Toby said...

Stephen Harper’s Northern Foundation is surfacing again. Anyone who followed this guy knew better than to elect a closet white supremacist to our parliament but when I warned friends I was told that Harper had changed. Yeah, sure.

Owen Gray said...

The warning bells went off long ago, Toby. But only a few people were paying attention.

Owen Gray said...

It would be heartening to know that old stock Canadians are a dying breed, Mound.

Mogs Moglio said...

Harper and what his conservative stands for: fat frat white wealthy older boys [they never grew up in spite of their age] with a beer belly and a racist outlook to boot...

Owen Gray said...

What we're witnessing is not adult behaviour, Mogs.

Steve said...

I hate the Nijab, I think most religions upon examination are right up there with facist Pthyonism.
However, I think most Canadians feel a viseral distaste to Harpers fear mongoring and ignorance of the rule of law. Furthermore, if Harper is going to ban the burqua, Jews, Sikis and others who have their own religious garb are going to be caught in the same fashion disaster.

Owen Gray said...

As I recall, Steve, it was Harper who established an Office of Religious Freedom. Something doesn't compute.