Lead­ers must take a tougher stand on racism

PressReader - LStep Channel - Lead­ers must take a tougher stand on racism
Lead­er­ship is more than pan­der­ing to ev­ery­one you hoped might be part of your base … or ar­guably worse, not tak­ing on those who spew rad­i­cal no­tions and some­times down­right racist views.This was a big prob­lem for the con­ser­va­tive right long be­fore the yel­low-vest move­ment, although an un­will­ing­ness to speak out against rad­i­cal fringe el­e­ments seems to be a strug­gle for all par­ties right now.Con­sider the fed­eral NDP’S in­abil­ity to dis­tance it­self from some on its en­vi­ron­men­tal left who op­pose pipe­lines and want to keep the oil in the ground and fol­low the Leap Manifesto. Although not fed­eral or provin­cial party pol­icy, it has wreaked havoc with NDP electabil­ity — es­pe­cially in Al­berta, where Premier Rachel Not­ley has taken prag­matic stances.One might as­sume the ever-too-flex­i­ble fed­eral Lib­eral lead­er­ship would not have this prob­lem, given that the party of­ten stands for lit­tle in its pur­suit of power. Yet Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau said vir­tu­ally noth­ing when Que­bec Premier Fran­cois Le­gault de­clared last De­cem­ber that oil was so­cially un­ac­cept­able in that prov­ince.Le­gault is not a Lib­eral premier and likely wasn’t even ac­cu­rately speak­ing for Que­be­cers, given they are sub­scrib­ing to big­ger homes and more fos­sil-fuel-burn­ing SUVS. How­ever, Trudeau’s un­will­ing­ness to take a strong stance likely had some­thing to do with those in his own Que­bec base who clearly do not sup­port Western oil. Is it any won­der he faces such hos­til­ity in the West, as was ev­i­dent at last week’s town hall meet­ing in Regina?Some ar­gue Trudeau de­serves sym­pa­thy for fac­ing the rad­i­cal, un­hinged and some­times racist views at last week’s event. Re­ally, he needed to show more lead­er­ship by be­ing far more blunt to them. The guy spew­ing non­sense about Mus­lims and Chris­tians be­ing un­able to co­ex­ist didn’t de­serve Trudeau’s po­lite ev­ery­one-has-a-right-to-speak-it’s-a-mul­ti­cul­tural-na­tion re­sponse. He de­served to be more than booed. He needed to be called out for his in­tol­er­ance and prej­u­dice.What’s needed is a strong, uni­fied voice from all po­lit­i­cal lead­ers call­ing out racism in Canada. That in­cludes Con­ser­va­tive Leader An­drew Scheer. Where is Scheer? There can be no false equiv­a­lency here. This is a prob­lem of the con­ser­va­tive right. Con­ser­va­tive lead­ers need to speak up.One prob­lem for Scheer is that some in to­day’s Con­ser­va­tive party sim­ply have been un­will­ing to de­tach the party from the fringe. Some ar­gue they have clung to it.Con­sider Con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship hope­ful Maxime Bernier’s views on “ex­treme mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism.”Con­sider a tweet from Regina Se­na­tor Denise Bat­ters (who once proudly posted on Twit­ter a pic­ture of her­self hob­nob­bing with for­mer Rebel Me­dia cor­re­spon­dent and racist move­ment sym­pa­thizer Faith Goldy) that a fed­eral Lib­eral min­is­ter needs to be ques­tioned about how “his birth­place be­ing Saudi Ara­bia im­pacts this file for him.”Con­sider the party’s se­lec­tion of the im­age of a black man cross­ing the bor­der un­der the Twit­ter head­line “mi­grant cri­sis.” There are umpteen other flare-ups from in­di­vid­ual MPS from a party that now has a for­mer Rebel Me­dia ex­ec­u­tive as a po­lit­i­cal ad­viser.One gets why so many would be rightly frus­trated by any num­ber of Lib­eral gov­ern­ment poli­cies, or sim­ply its self-righ­teous con­duct that ap­pears to be about po­lit­i­cal gain. A per­fect ex­am­ple was For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land parad­ing teenage Saudi refugee Ra­haf Mo­hammed Alqu­nun this past week­end for rea­sons that did not go be­yond a photo op.But far more press­ing in this coun­try right now is how main­stream pol­i­tics is ei­ther toy­ing with or feed­ing into the darker nar­ra­tives we heard at Trudeau’s town hall. Politi­cians — es­pe­cially con­ser­va­tive politi­cians — need to take a stance.Oth­ers are draw­ing lines. At last week’s Canada Ac­tion pro-pipe­line rally, or­ga­niz­ers asked those in the so-called yel­low-vest move­ment to keep at home both their at­tire and al­ter­nate views on is­sues like vac­ci­na­tion, im­mi­gra­tion and other rad­i­cal right-wing no­tions. It was sim­ple and it worked.We need to hear the same thing from our politi­cians. They have a duty to draw a line.

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