PressReader - LStep Channel - CALL OUT RACISM
To say the least, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau’s town hall at the Univer­sity of Regina last week, for many, did not paint Saskatchewan and its peo­ple in the best pos­si­ble light.The ugly head that is racism reared it­self once again when one of the peo­ple se­lected by the prime min­is­ter asked a ques­tion about the prob­lem with open borders and fin­ished it by sug­gest­ing Is­lam and Chris­tian­ity can­not mix. Sadly, this one ques­tion of 19 asked has at­tracted much of the spot­light.Writ­ing about it here is by no means an at­tempt to take away from some of the more thought­ful ques­tions about pipe­lines and tar­iffs, or the one asked by a fe­male oil­field worker won­der­ing ex­actly what Trudeau meant when he sug­gested you get “gen­der im­pacts when you bring con­struc­tion work­ers into a ru­ral area.”For­tu­nately, most peo­ple in Saskatchewan know the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple in Saskatchewan do not think the same as that ques­tioner of mix­ing cul­tures. Un­for­tu­nately, many peo­ple in other parts of Canada see us as the back­woods of the coun­try, made up of peo­ple who do think the same way as that man at the town hall. That’s why it’s up to the rest of us to call out racism and xeno­pho­bia in all its forms — be it the at­tack on a Mus­lim man in Saska­toon, in­sults hurled at protest cam­pers in Regina or ca­sual racism we’ve all heard but left alone for fear of caus­ing a scene.Our own Mur­ray Mandryk cor­rectly called on the lead­ers of the con­ser­va­tive right to de­nounce such state­ments, which are of­ten as­so­ci­ated with that par­tic­u­lar side of the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum. But it is also up to the rest of us who don’t subscribe to such be­liefs to say something too — whether it is in our own homes, com­mu­nity gath­er­ings, work­places or a large fo­rum with a na­tional au­di­ence.Rightly, sev­eral mem­bers of Thurs­day night’s au­di­ence booed this par­tic­u­lar ques­tion. But some also cheered at an ear­lier point in the man’s ques­tion (be­fore he ex­pressly said the two re­li­gions don’t mix, but while it was clear what he was get­ting at). It got the same mixed re­ac­tion from peo­ple com­ment­ing on Post­media’s so­cial me­dia chan­nels. It’s also worth not­ing that Trudeau could have called out the Is­lam­o­pho­bia rather than giv­ing a typ­i­cal an­swer about the im­por­tance of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and how we need to be “good neigh­bours.”More and more peo­ple of non-euro­pean de­scent are call­ing Saskatchewan home than ever be­fore. And there is a grow­ing un­der­stand­ing of the need for recog­ni­tion of the wrongs done to In­dige­nous peo­ple through the years. It is time for more peo­ple in this prov­ince to talk about the im­por­tance of both, and for oth­ers to take the time to un­der­stand it.

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