Saturday, October 10, 2015

Another Word From Harry Smith

Harry Smith, who I have written about previously on this blog, has some timely reminders for us this election season.
...because so many Canadians of my generation had come from nations fraught with religious and ethnic tension, we tried to create a more tolerant society that crossed political beliefs. Inclusion and acceptance became a watchword that no political party could own because every Canadian shared the concept that human rights were universal.
Sadly, of course, we are now led by a demagogue who would change all that:
But now the fall air is crisp with the politics of hate and fear as Canada's general election wends its way to election day on Oct. 19. It has been this country's longest and most expensive election campaign in history. And the most important, because the democratic values that make Canada the envy of the world are at stake. The Harper government has muzzled scientists, silenced environmentalist and now with its crass politics of race, also threatens to destroy the ethnic mosaic that made Canada a unique oasis in a world of conflict.
Harper, in his quest to sow discord and suspicion, has some unenviable historical companions:
Stephen Harper persists like a modern-day Joseph McCarthy in creating a sweltering climate of fear against Canadian Muslims by employing dog whistle politics that equates an honourable religion with terrorism and radicalism.
The Harper government has waged a cultural war against Muslim women who choose by the dictates of their faith to wear the niqab. Already women have been physically and verbally attacked for donning the veil. We have not seen this type of xenophobia since the Second World War, when Japanese Canadians were vilified and eventually stripped of their rights as citizens and forced to live in labour camps far from the communities they once called home.
Just a few of the many things to think about whether you are taking part in the advance polls this weekend, as I have, or waiting until October 19 to help decide Canada's future.

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