Rafe- Niqab defence may cost Trudeau, Mulcair...but they're right

Rafe: Niqab defence may cost Trudeau and Mulcair…but they’re right

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Rafe- Niqab defence may cost Trudeau, Mulcair...but they're right
Photo: Flickr CC Licence / Flood G

I find myself, late in this election campaign, ashamed to be a Canadian. As a longtime supporter of the rights of Quebec going back to days where I was involved in constitutional affairs in this country, I find myself utterly appalled at their creation and fanning of the “niqab” issue.

Let’s make no mistake about it, this is racism pure and simple. When I read Jason Kenney saying, “If anything’s dangerous, it would be legitimizing a medieval tribal custom that treats women as property rather than people,” I want to throw up.

What has happened to this country under Stephen Harper, the instigator of this disgrace? What’s happened to a nation famous for tolerance, understanding, and I suppose most importantly of all, minding one’s own business?

Don’t we see what’s happening to us? Don’t we have the ability to look back at our glorious history with regard to relations between peoples and see that we are being corrupted?

I once hosted a 39-part TV series on religions and can tell you that after examining 38+ atheism I came to the conclusion that every single tenet of faith stretched credulity to the utmost, yet what really stuck out was the willingness of all Canadians to tolerate the beliefs – or lack of them – of their fellow citizens.

Given the history of other parts of the world, many of whose citizens are now Canadians, this for me set Canada apart as a very special place. That Mr. Harper, the prime minister of the country, would raise a woman’s veil as a matter of public safety is so appalling that I, who has made his living with words for 60 years, am speechless. Somehow, I feel unclean.

Fortunately, there is a bit of courage around. Mr. Mulcair in Quebec has shown that rare commodity in standing up for what is right, knowing that every utterance was costing him and his party votes.

Similarly, Mr. Trudeau, in the traditions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the simple raw decency for which Canadians have hitherto been known, has also taken the road of courage not convenience.

I expect that Mr. Harper will win the election on this issue. In doing so, he will destroy our hard-earned reputation as a nation of tolerance, generosity of spirit, and fair play – sully the reputation of a country respected the world over for its ability to live and let live.

This election, too, will pass. When it does and the final words are written, Mr. Mulcair and Mr. Trudeau will stand high amongst their fellow citizens while Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe – and John Weston, my MP – will stand out as cheap politicos who would inflame the passions of the public and sacrifice the nation’s self respect in order to satisfy personal ambition.

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About Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

59 thoughts on “Rafe: Niqab defence may cost Trudeau and Mulcair…but they’re right

  1. Why do so many of you keep referring to a citizenship hearing? That is now before the SCC and I would be surprised as hell if they didn’t support the right to wear a niqab under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Just as they would a turban, Jewish skullcap or a large cross around the neck.

    The issue is why now? I’ve lived in this country for nearly 84 years and never heard of a niqab until Harper equated it to Muslims murdering us in our sleep; until for the crassest political reasons he brought in C51. Now we have different classes of Canadians depending on whether or not you were born here, the Jason Kenny Rule On Accents, the Jason Kenny concern about “medieval practices”, Quebec Tories + Harper and the Tories at large in bed with the BQ and Harper supporting laws against veils and crucifixes and on it goes! What the Hell has happened to this land of peace, tolerance and live and let live?

    Get real – a lot of Tory supporters just don’t like Indo-Canadians, Muslims and other what they consider lesser Canadians. You bet its racism. I forgive them because they can’t help it. That’s their default position.

    The Tory party of Diefenbaker, Clark, Mulroney, Flora Macdonald, my lifelong friend John Fraser weren’t like that at all. Diefenbaker brought in our first Bill of Rights, though not entrenched. They were part of the civility we carefully developed.

    I’ll close with a surprise. I support the right of you bigots to be what you are.

    I just pray to God that you’re not in charge after the 19th

  2. By definition, racism works both ways, in this case: if you think and behave differently because you think you’re better or above the other, you’d be consider a racist. Most religious people think THEY know the way and therefore become racists; better then me, an atheist. As far as i’m concerned, the courts should have felt the pulse of citizens before coming to that decision; by the way these are political appointees, most of the time and the final word always come down to one vote, to finalise the decision. It’s not a question of refusing access to the country but to show respect for the country you are about to be received in. If i was handing out a certificate of citizenship to anyone, i would like to see the smile and the lips that form the word thank you, in one of the official languages. Next, we’ll need to provide translators, because futur recipients will want to use their language, instead of ours and we’ll never be sure if they say thank you or fuck you. When i was 17, i met a 16 year old girl, on the beach, during the summer; we liked each other and hung out as often as possible graduating to kissing, etc. I got her address before she left, after summer ended, and went to see her, at home, in Montreal. When i got there, her father took me aside and said: Paul, this thing will never happen; i hope you understand me. Best say your goodbye, now and don’t come back. Tell me Rafe: was that racism on his part? I have a few more stories, i could tell but will hold. Every time i see someone with some kind of agenda pushing to be reckon with or settled in the immediate, i wonder who’s behind with the money to sustain the action. A turban wearing Sikh seeking access in the mounties, got in and that later lead to another Sikh demand that saw a kid carry a ceremonial dagger under his garment, because that’s how they do things over there and Sikhs never ever use that thing for violence; i suppose. Shit, when i was six, i stabbed my brother in the arm with some scissors, i can’t remember why, but i remember where we were at the time. Sure, Utopia would be nice but until then, i like the old say: when in Rome…

  3. I agree Raif, Racism pure and simple. Lookie here: (for anyone who buys that Harper just went to one meeting of the Northern Foundation, and then never went back when he realized they were anti-apartied – anti Nelson Mandela for gods’ sake!) Enjoy!
    http://www.roughingafterthewhistle.com/Thread-Stephen

    Oh, and when he says “ya, but that was then, this is now” can someone please remind him of just how young he thinks people’s permanent goals, values and beliefs are indelibly formed? (in case he’s forgotten how he feels about Omar Khadir)

  4. Please do not be distracted by the issue of the niqab. It is a red herring to distract voters from the really important issues of the election Climate, national daycare strategy and PHARMACARE. This is a cheap political tactic not worthy of discussion by thinking Canadians. Vote on Election Day please vote!

  5. Should not most of our outrage be reserved for the 93 percent of Canadians who are in favour of the requirement that women remove their niqabs or burkas at citizenship ceremonies?

    We have known all along that Harper is ruthless and vindictive. But to discover that so many of our fellow Canadians are despicable low life is truly shocking.

    What we really need is a new electorate. The one we have now will drag us all down into the Swamp of Despair with them.

    1. One has to also ask the question; How do we know the person under the niqab is who they are supposed to be? What’s to keep a male terrorist from hiding under it with intent to do harm at a gathering where there are many political representatives? We all know this type of thing can and DOES happen.

      Is there not some kind of compromise that could be reached? Something to alleviate worries of national security AND those who CHOOSE to wear the niqab (and it is my understanding that it IS a choice). Would security and niqab wearer’s agree to having female officers verify the identities of the women wearing niqabs (perhaps in in a separate, secure room) PRIOR to the Citizenship Ceremony?? I have to admit I don’t know a lot about the reasons for the niqab but, and please correct me if I am wrong, I believe it has to do with not showing the face to any male but direct family members (not sure of the reason behind it). If I am correct and it is about a non-family member male seeing their faces then having the verification completed by female officers should alleviate that concern.

      Just a thought….

      1. “How do we know the person under the niqab is who they are supposed to be?” They have already agreed to show their face before the ceremony. That’s not even at issue.

  6. As Raheel Raza rationally states in her article that I’m sharing below, this is a Muslim extremist political ploy on women. Historically, the niqab/burqa dates to pre-Islamic times. The Netherlands & France banned the burqa because 1) the Koran never states that a woman needs to cover herself up — I knew this from a course in World Religions for my BA in the 1980s — and I had a Muslim prof who did not believe in wearing the burqa, nor niqab. She translated a passage for us that basically says that both men & woman should dress modestly. The Netherlands & France both stipulate that based on #1’s reasoning, it is also for 2) security reasons. Plus if I recall correctly the face-veil was part of women’s dress among a certain class of women in the Byzantine times. Before Islam, Byzantine art often depicted women with covered hair, but never women with veiled faces! It was adopted into Muslim culture only during the Arab conquest in North Africa & the Middle East and later on elsewhere. The way I see it — my prof is rolling in her grave over this issue in Canada.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/raheel-raza/niqab-burka-ban-canada_b_8189112.html

    1. Nice to read facts about this garment instead of impressions of how one should feel when confronted with the wearer.

  7. So you believe faceless persons should be sworn in as Canadian citizens, issued government/ provincial identification cards such as medical and drivers licenses.I don’t care if they wear the niqab in public, but federal and provincial identification!The rest of Canadians have to comply with these rules and then we can wear whatever we want in our daily lives.There is only one race the Human Race.

  8. I think it’s a stretch to say that Canada has become intolerant because of this one issue, but then again, I suppose that could be interpreted as fitting a narrative. Canada certainly is not as “intolerant” as some of the countries where we are getting immigrants from. To me, to ask someone to uncover their face for a few brief moments to affirm their acceptance into the Canadian family is not unreasonable, considering there is no issue with them wearing the niqab at any other time. It seems to me (my humble opinion), that the intolerant ones, are those that insist on the face covering during the ceremony, and suggest that we as Canadians have lost our way to value anything else. No one is forcing, or telling this woman who’s to dress; what to, or what not to wear. The citizenship is completely voluntary, and if this woman’s personal conviction demands, she is free not to take it.

  9. Guess I have been voting for longer than most of the above so I will give my thought on this.
    If anyone went to vote and wore a mask it would be very simple – they would not be allowed to vote. Go ahead, try it and see what happens. Every one says this is Canada and this is a free county and you can do what you want to. Try speeding and see what happens. It is free only because a lot of Canadians gave their lives to keep it that way. Why don;t you say they were a bunch of idiots to protect this country so that you can say that people who come to Canada can do what they want under the saying that it is part of their religion. That is not religion that is simply men trying to keep women under their thumb so they cannot have the rights of other women. Doesn’t really matter as fairly soon there will be enough of ‘other religions’ to overtake us anyway. Thank GOD I won’t be here to see that happen!

    1. So now my comments are awaiting some kind of review. HORRAY FOR CANADA
      Seems to me that is really a form of – damn I can’t think of the word but if anyone is interested you will know what I mean.

      1. Sorry Jack – it’s a necessity for weeding out spammers – the first time someone new comments on the site we have to verify they’re a human being and not here to pimp sneakers or e-cigarettes. You passed the test 😉

  10. “we all have a sense of decency, fair play…”
    NO we don’t. Obviously, we don’t or Harpy wouldn’t have been able to whip this into such a froth. I guess next we’ll get two-tiered citizenship, with those born here of parents who were born here getting top spot and then those born here of immigrant parents, then those who are immigrant citizens and then…down , down, ever down the line until we get to migrants and refugees who have no rights at all, not ever, nor with their children nor their children’s children, yea even unto the second and third generation….

    this government seems comprised of particularly nasty gits with severe mental illness.

  11. This unfortunately has happened and Harper has wrecked my reputation as a Canadian by sending are troops and fighter planes to bomb Isis,instead of being a peace keeper.
    He has tried to spread fear throughout my country and has tarnished what Canadians stand for, please let’s stop this fear mongering and get back to being Canadians.
    Please I do hope we can get back to were we as people stand up to these propaganda dictator’s and start looking after are country within are country. And send out are true help through the way we as Canadian’s do best and that is being a peace keeper.
    We Have to STOP HARPER

  12. The niqab “debate” .

    Another non issue that misdirects the attention span of the average voter from the reality of the current govts. scandals of criminal fraud, election tampering, year over year deficit budgets, Omnibus Bills, C-51, conservative campaign invitation only events, …and on and on and on……
    Stephen Harper is many things.
    But stupid isnt one of them…..

  13. It is so terribly sad to realize Harper may actually win using hate, racism and fear-mongering as primary factors in his “platform”. But the saddest part is to see how many Canadians are supporting this sick, twisted, insane position of a very sick individual.

    Thanks to Harper, Canada has really changed a lot in the past few years, from being a compassionate, decent, respected country in many areas and around the world, to something very different. What happened to the Canadian conscience? I still want to believe most Canadians have one, that we care, and respect everybody. And we have the chance to show Harper he is so wrong when we vote on Oct 19.

  14. In 2003, a small religious minority group asked for an exemption from the new requirement for photo ID, they claimed having their picture taken and the ID card created would violate their strongly held religious beliefs and be a violation of their Charter right to freedom of religion.
    The government denied the request, so the religious minority group challenged the new rule in court. They won, then they won on appeal. So the government appealed to the Supreme Court and won. In 2009 the court said the new regulations did violate the religious freedom guarantee of the Charter — but that it was a minimal impairment of the right.
    This small religious minority group were Christians, members of a sect called the Hutterite Brethren. The government in question was the Alberta government, concerned about the security of their driver’s licence system and identity theft in a post-9/11 world.
    In Canada, we have always taken oaths and sworn testimony with faces uncovered. There were no rules because none were needed. It was expected and it was how we operated. Now some Muslim women want to take the oath of citizenship with their faces covered. They claim not to do so is a violation of their religious freedom. I could also point out that any of these women taking part in the Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca that has just wrapped up, would not be allowed to do so with their faces covered.
    Is it a heavy burden for these women to show their face while swearing an oath? No, it happens for a few moments, that is all. The Hutterite Brethren have to have a permanent photo, a constant violation of their faith, or give up driving. The court still called it a minimal impairment.
    Neoprogressives love to point out that this shouldn’t matter because there are really only a few women that dress like this. That same argument could have been made and likely was made for the Hutterite Brethren. It didn’t hold.
    I will leave you with this though: If you did not stick up for the Hutterites, or won’t call for their exemption from the driver’s license law now, then you really shouldn’t be feigning to want to “throw up” over anyone opposed to the the Niqab.

  15. A poem for niqabi harper.

    ‘Lose some sleep’

    Losing sleep over my
    black silk niqab, harper

    try to lose it over
    missing murdered red
    brown women
    of this fast-fracking
    land, harper

    Losing sleep over my
    black silk niqab, harper

    Lose it over
    homeless jobless
    multicoloured people
    of your C51-aspiring
    brand, harper

    Losing sleep over my
    black silk niqab, harper

    Lose it over
    spilled oil minimum wage
    toil poisoned soil
    of your tarsands-producing
    wasteland, harper

    By morning
    perhaps we’ll see the
    bright BARE face
    of a composite order for a
    national inquiry just economy
    sustainable development
    UN-VEIL
    and
    RE-VEAL
    itself on the
    parliament hill
    in your soft pink
    hand, harper.
    A not-for-profit
    stand, harper.

    https://gandholi.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/lose-some-sleep-by-fauzia-rafique/

  16. Control that is what the niqab is nothing less.would you still be so tolerant if they were made to were dog callers.traditions thought up by mohamed..a lunatic,or bipolar at the very least,back in the savage days.wrote this religion,dont know if you read the qoran ,its quite interesting.and totally batshit crazy.as a canadian i like to think freedom for all.how many women do you suppose chose to be completly hidden from society.we know what there men think.thats why the statis quo.

  17. Visitors to mosques, synagogues, temples, churches are asked to cover their heads, remove shoes, dress modestly, and generally respect the customs of the institution and culture of that place and/ or ceremony. Why should it be different or expectations reduced for people who actually part take in a ceremony to become part of this great institution called Canada?

  18. To the writer of this article I will say that is your opinion and not that of Canadians. Why don’t we put this to a vote and see the results on this niqab issue. Canadians are totally against the wearing of Niqab during official ceremonies like citizenship. We can’t accept everything in the name of being democratic or in the name of religion or culture. common sense shows that the wearing of niqab during citizen ceremony is out of the question. Very simple to understand.

    1. Good point Kenneth. These kind of issues should be brought to a public vote and the results should be implemented. Canada is much too politically correct in the wrong ways.

  19. I was somewhat ambivalent on this issue, until it was made into such an issue. If, on the one hand, someone wishes to become a Canadian citizen, and this (baring your face) is what is required, then do it, or go home. I’m not even allowed to wear a smile when I get my passport or licence photo taken.
    On the other hand, what harm does it do? If that is your custom/religion then it should be encouraged in the name of multi-culturism. Does that mean someone from mid Africa (or Wreck Beach) should be permitted to attend bare breasted?

    1. Showing one’s face IS required, and IS performed for official purposes. It is just not required for the ceremony, it is just a ceremony. That’s what Harper deliberately obscures and touches on everyone’s nerves, racist or not. He is a liar pure and simple, so many don’t seem to see that. He lies ALL the time, he’s addicted to the practice. So there is nothing to be ambivalent about, it’s very straightforward.

    2. This made the light bulb go on for me. Explains how Harper grows his base by breeding contempt for “intellectualism”.

      by Darryl R Taylor Analysis of a Metronews article

      “One of the aspects of Harper’s media campaigning style that is being under-utilized both by the leaders of other parties, and even grassroots movements like the extended ABC agenda, is the contempt for Canadians that he evinces.
      In fact, the expression of that contempt actually becomes exactly what his supporters cling on to without really understanding it. They embrace as a self-identification something well below their actuality or even their potential until it becomes functionally true.

      For a recent example, take his interview with Metro news that was on the front page yesterday, and one of the leading quotes:
      (referring to the other party leaders as ‘elites’, and regarding their stances on immigration, the ISIS crisis, and other issues that are fearsome and therefore fodder for his right wing style of persuasion)
      “Look, it’s not that elite opinion doesn’t matter, and in all matters expert opinion always counts, but you cannot govern well and you cannot govern properly unless you understand the values and realities of ordinary Canadians,” Harper said.

      Let us look a bit closer at the actual statement and break it down a bit.
      He does acknowledge that the people he is criticizing are well educated and knowledgeable, in fact “experts”, but he does so in such a way that denigrates their opinion and subtly reinforces the anti-intellectualism that his media engine feeds upon.

      Ezra Levant was a master of this tactic of backhanding, but Harper and his team are far more subtle about their approach as he is playing on a larger stage that does not have the predisposition of Sun News fans.

      “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”-Isaac Asimov

      The above quote is about exactly the phenomena that Harper works with, it allows people who are full supporters of the Conservative party, the oil patch and pipeline projects, pretty well anything he wants them to focus on, to dismiss the views of people who are actually more informed than they, or who exercise greater critical thinking skills.
      This segues into what is implied by his closing words:
      “..you cannot govern well and you cannot govern properly unless you understand the values and realities of ordinary Canadians,”
      He characterizes his opponents as being something more removed from the Canadian population than he, while inferring that expert opinions are not relevant to typical citizens.

      It is subtle, but think on it.
      He basically states that ordinary Canadians are not intelligent nor educated enough to find meaning in complicated analysis’ of issues, and in such a way that people enjoy it.
      Subliminally it also gives permission to people identifying as average or “normal” to not bother looking closely or deeply at the issues and what is said about them, something that people do seek.
      All that could be said more succinctly by a video bite in the format of “Harper says” followed by “Stephen Harper doesn’t think that regular Canadians are interested or intelligent enough to understand the issues unless they are made simple for them. Do you want a Prime Minister who thinks that you are stupid?”.
      Yes, that is a bit of the same kind of tactic that he uses, with the exception that it actually twists the words to reflect a truth.
      Opposition leaders need to be taking advantage of this to use Harper’s contempt for the general Canadian population against him.

      Metro interviews Stephen Harper: PM talks terrorism, Syrian refugees and ‘elite political…

      Metro sits down with the Prime Minister ahead of the looming 2015 federal election.

  20. Pamela – I’m hoping that a wave of decency takes over and the real Canada votes.

    I have voted since 1952 and have never ever before felt literally ill to my stomach at what I’m reading and hearing. Will it be turbans next?Jewish skullcaps? Unpopular messages on baseball caps?

    Most of us, region to region, culture to culture, language to language are as unalike as chalk and cheese – except we all have a sense of decency, fair play, tolerance and a willingness indeed enthusiasm for minding our own business. Take all that away – and it’s a hell of a lot – and we no longer have a nation just groups of people who, relatively peacefully, trade with one another.

    Please God bring this nation back to its basic decency – in time.

    1. It makes me feel ill thinking about this. However Canadians have been VERY passive and haven’t stood up like they should have. Canadians have been the Nice people who have accepted foriegners for years. The time has changed.

  21. I think there is a good chance Harper won’t win the election. Canadians are not as easily manipulated as h would like to think.

        1. Well, other than a toothless soothsayer tossing bones on a table or interpreting chicken gizzards……
          Polls are all we have.
          🙂

          1. “Well, other than a toothless soothsayer tossing bones on a table or interpreting chicken gizzards……

            Polls are all we have.”

            This is the common Canadian outlook;

            The justice system is all we have.

            The system of democracy is all we have.

            Name any other government function and characterize or rationalize as;

            “This is all we have”

            Defeatist outlook and mindset.

            Statistics are for losers.

            Poll questions are designed to elicit a certain response. Polls demonstrate one thing; favorable statistics for whoever paid for the poll.

            Polls should be made illegal during the election period.

            Polls are not all we have; you have a brain to use and the freedom to march down to the booth and mark an X all on your own without the imagined guidance of a nameless, faceless, statistics collectors who make continued and intentional attempts at election manipulation.

      1. I am really upset about a lot of things the Harper government is doing during this election – chief among my concerns are negotiating and signing the TPP, sale of CBC properties, revoking a person’s Citizenship (that’s someone who was born here!) and this whole ugly bigoted intolerant business about the niqab and cultural differences (what’s with calling things ‘barbaric’?). I’m having a hard time reconciling all this with my belief in a tolerant, multicultural Canada. (that’s my rant and I’m sticking to it)

    1. I agree Rafe, but I think that Harper if he gets reelected it will because of some deception or fraud, not because of the voters. I share your feelings about the horrors of having had Harper and his thugs running our government. Harper does not like level playing fields, it’s one of the reasons he is operating in his bubble by instituting invitation only attendance. Even watching Harpers pursuit of power, especially in the last 4 years and his dream of being Canadas first dictator, I still think in Oct. Canadians will throw him out. If I am wrong and of course that’s a possibility, then Harpers win will be Canada’s demise. I liked you post by the way.

  22. ***What has happened to this country under Stephen Harper, the instigator of this disgrace? What’s happened to a nation famous for tolerance, understanding, and I suppose most importantly of all, minding one’s own business?***

    A) Steve and his help from US Republicans to create a machine that made the old Liberal red machine look broke down.

    B) The Libs getting their hands caught in the cookie jar one too many times.

    ***As a longtime supporter of the rights of Quebec***

    They should only have the same rights as everyone else no more no less.

    ***When I read Jason Kenney saying, “If anything’s dangerous, it would be legitimizing a medieval tribal custom that treats women as property rather than people,***

    Exactly what is wrong with that statement? Islam does treat women like property and slaves and basically nothing but being “broodmares”. (To be fair if one took any monotheistic religions literally Christianity, Sikh, Muslim, Jewish they all view women as second rate) What I would like to know where are the feminists on this? Especially the rabid feminist crowd that think ‘all men are rapists’? Do not they want equality for their Muslim sisters? it is a fair question.

    ***Mr. Harper, the prime minister of the country, would raise a woman’s veil as a matter of public safety is so appalling that I, who has made his living with words for 60 years, am speechless. Somehow, I feel unclean.***

    A) In my opinion I could care less if they wear the veil or not but it needs to be removed when they get government id whether a drivers license, passport, citizenship or health care card and remove it when necessary to confirm id whether in a court or pulled over driving by the police. Sorry no other way to tell who is who.

    B) Yes harpers statement may sound appalling but he is entitled to his opinion as well, even if many disagree with it.

    ***I expect that Mr. Harper will win the election on this issue. In doing so, he will destroy our hard-earned reputation as a nation of tolerance, generosity of spirit, and fair play – sully the reputation of a country respected the world over for its ability to live and let live.***

    That already happened Rafe.

    Plus has multiculturalism really worked? here in Metro Vancouver people live in their own enclaves and do not really overly mix so to speak. Plus loads of people who are not and have never been happy with Canada’s immigration policy and lots of that right or wrong is geared towards PET.

    ***This election, too, will pass. When it does and the final words are written, Mr. Mulcair and Mr. Trudeau will stand high amongst their fellow citizens while Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe – and John Weston, my MP – will stand out as cheap politicos who would inflame the passions of the public and sacrifice the nation’s self respect in order to satisfy personal ambition.***

    Yup. People do not care about C-51, Dams, F-35, homelessness etc as they keep electing the same old time and time again for the most part. Most seem to like voting for those that hurt them the most for some reason, it is like we are a nation of masochists….Plus the Nijab gets the cons base revved up and the closet/borderline racists.

    I have said this since 2006 that the other parties do not know how to campaign against Harper or are scared of him and do not understand he will do or say anything to get re elected, no matter how low or dirty…But I guess it is easier for Libs and NDP to go after each other than the one person they should be going after. What a sad state of affairs Canada is…

    Rafe have you stopped writing for the Tyee? I have not seen you there for ages and your longer listed as a writer.

  23. Hi Rafe. I know you by reputation, going back an age ago while I was in the lower mainland radio market as a regular guest and sometime host on Charles Boylan’s morning news analysis program on CKDU Coop Radio.

    I am contacting you because Gary Keenan copied me his response to your reaction to the HarperCons’ racist demeaning of Muslims in general and muslim women in particular.

    Recently I stumbled on an illuminating quote from British PM William Gladstone about one of the central programs of the Raj for keeping Indian society split between Hindus and Moslems.

    Back in those days, no one occupying a responsible position of leadership would have dreamed of pumping toxic phrases about “reasonable accommodation” into the atmosphere in a brain-dead effort to insult their listeners’ intelligence while concealing true intentions.

    In 1894 in a speech delivered to the House of Commons, the venerable PM — who earned a considerable reputation as a religious scholar thanks in part to a prose style marked by a startling economy of expression — clarified decades of fanatical instigating of communal warfare by the Indian and Colonial Police thus:

    “The situation in the East will not be successful until we remove the hijab from the woman and use it to cover the Qur’an.”

    Regards
    Gary

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