Friday, October 9, 2015

About That Pavlovian Response

It is enough to make a recovering cynic suffer a very bad relapse. As I noted earlier this week, to see what lurks just beneath the surface of Canadian sensibilities, something dark and ugly, is extremely disheartening. Amply revealed by the Machiavellian incitement of prejudice engineered by Lynton Crosby to maximize the Harper regimes re-election, we are bearing witness to far too many of our fellow citizens responding far too enthusiastically to the ringing of the Pavlovian bell. I feel ashamed and disgusted.

Consider this blatant pandering for the Quebec vote, the latest salvo in the Con attack ad war against Trudeau:

Or how about this?

According to the latest Forum poll,
73 per cent said the issue won’t influence their vote, 20 per cent of respondents said it will. About half of the latter category (11 per cent) said the issue will influence them a “great deal.
I take little comfort that the majority say they will not be influenced by this latest demagoguery from Harper. The fact that 20 per cent are is disquieting, in that they represent a sizable number of Canadians who seem to lack any insight into the fact that they are being grossly manipulated here. As I said in my earlier post, one may not especially like the niqab, but to make it determining factor in your federal vote is something I find very hard to understand.

And then there is this Angus Reid poll,

where 46 per cent held an unfavourable view of Islam in 2009, [but] that figure has risen sharply to 54 per cent this year.... In Quebec, 48 per cent said they would find it unacceptable for one of their children to marry a Muslim, up slightly from 45 per cent in 2009. In the rest of Canada, those who found the thought of a son or daughter marrying a Muslim unacceptable shot up to 32 per cent from 24 per cent.
Matters are getting worse, with Harper now considering a wider ban on the niqab:
A proposed ban on niqabs in the federal civil service would affect an infinitesimally small number of bureaucrats — if any at all. Statistics from 2011 show only 1.8 per cent of 257,000 federal employees are Muslim women and only a small subset of them is likely to wear face coverings. The Conservatives have already tried to require Muslim women to show their faces at citizenship ceremonies, but those rules are being challenged in the courts. Harper's comments on Wednesday make clear he is eyeing additional legislation to require women to unveil every time they want services from the federal government.
The words of Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau resonate:
"Stephen Harper is reminding us every time he does this why he doesn't deserve to be prime minister," Mulcair said in Enoch, Alta., as he highlighted his party's $4.8 billion plan to improve aboriginal education Trudeau, in London, Ont., said Harper's divide-and-conquer approach "is unworthy of the office he holds and he needs to stop." "No election win is worth pitting Canadians against Canadians."
Be assured that Stephen Harper's evil mischief is pitting Canadians against Canadians. Consider the situation of Rezan Mosa, a 22-year-old native of Vancouver who decided to wear the niqab:
Mosa, a student at Brescia University College in London, Ont., said that as anti-niqab sentiment has ramped up on the campaign trail in recent weeks, she’s experienced more incidents of discrimination. “There’s definitely a noticeable difference,” said Mosa, who began wearing the veil over 18 months ago. “Just a lot more people staring, making comments, telling me to go back to my country.” She said the incidents have made her “feel very unsafe.”
Mosa is not alone:
The National Council of Canadian Muslims said it has received several reports of Muslim women being verbally or physically assaulted in the last month. It pointed to a disabled Muslim 19-year-old woman who reported to police that she was verbally threatened at an Ottawa shopping centre. The Star could not independently verify the report. The group tracks such incidents and recorded the details on its website, saying the woman was “young, visibly Muslim and disabled” when a middle-aged white man told her “to remove ‘the f---ing rug off (her) head.’ ”
One more incident perhaps best illustrates the terrible consequences of fanning the flames of intolerance:
In the early evening of Sept. 17, before dark, a 17-year-old girl strolled from the Al-Noor Mosque in St. Catharines, Ont., to the plaza across the street. She was planning to buy a drink and snack. Then three other girls, teenagers the girl from the mosque didn’t recognize, walked up behind her. According to Sallah Hamdani, a spokesman for the local Islamic community, the trio of girls began by making bigoted remarks. Isn’t it against your religion, one asked, to be out walking alone? Ugly words escalated into pushing, then punching. “There was blood. She went to the hospital to make sure her nose wasn’t broken,” Hamdani said. “Her hijab was pulled. You can’t keep it on during a fight.”
Stephen Harper and his operatives are very much aware of the fallibilities human nature is subject to. To exploit those weaknesses for electoral gain is yet another indictment of his unfitness to govern. I just wish more Canadians could see what is so obviously staring them in the face.


  1. Tim Harper over at TO Star said today that Harper is playing dangerous politics. However, it is not only dangerous, it is irresponsible as well. There are numerous examples all over the world where the fanning of racial flames had led to violence and loss of lives. Once lit, such flames are difficult to control. I once lived in a country where neighbours who had lived peacefully beside each other for decades started killing each other because of racial tensions incited by politicians seeking power and playing the wedge issues just like this.

    One can only conclude that there are two possible explanations why these people support Harper on this issue: (1) they are genuinely ignorant of the possible dangerous consequences, or (2) some of these people could actually be hoping for violence against the people they dislike or fear. I suspect that some of the latter hate the Trudeau name because it gave us the Charter which protected the rights of minorities against the old-stock or pure laine Canadians.

    Hopefully, the rational Canadians, who are in the majority, will prevail and kick Harper and his rabid supporters from political power. After that, hopefully Trudeau (it is looking like the chances of a Lib minority supported by the NDP are higher than the other way around) will keep his promise and bring about electoral reform and proportional representation, or merge the darn Liberal and NDP parties so that vote splitting does not let Harper and his supporters lead this once beautiful and tolerant country down the path to Hell.

    1. Well-stated, Anon. I think the outcome of this election really depends upon how many fair-minded Canadians turn out to vote. The kind of ugly bigotry that Harper has cultivated will not stand a chance if people of good will discharge their obligations of citizenship by Oct.19. The advance polls opened at noon today, and early indications suggest a steady turnout.

  2. Replies
    1. I'm heading down to the advance poll as soon as I finish my afternoon cup of coffee, Mound