Monday, August 07, 2006
Harper Shuns South Asians - Refuses to Apologize For Komagata Maru Incident
(Surrey - Aug 5, 2006) Stephen "Shrub" Harper spoke to a crowd of several thousand (mostly) Indo-Canadians today, in a callous attempt at buying urban votes. Mr. Harper happened to be in town for the annual BBQ of a Conservative Senator. The quest for a gainfully attained urban seat brought him to a Punjabi festival (Mela) in Surrey.
WesternGrit, and many in the South Asian Community felt that after the recent apology to Chinese Canadians (in another shameless attempt at urban votes), certainly an apology was due to Sikh Canadians and other South Asians who attempted to immigrate to Canada back in 1914. Certainly it was widely known that an apology (as in the case with the Chinese and Italian communities) was coming from the former Liberal gov't. True, the Liberal policy had been not to politicize such situations, but a multi-party committee had been working on a solution.
There are a lot of interesting facts surrounding Harper's sudden interest in the South Asian vote. The most significant being this: When asked about the Komagata Maru incident a few months back, Harper had NO IDEA WHAT THIS WAS, nor did he seem to care. He no doubt received strong urging from his scorned former MP - Gurmant Grewal - to attend this event.
Harper's visit set to work a veritible army of security, including tax-payer funder RCMP officers, and hired ruffians who wandered the crowd rudely asking people to sit down on the damp lawn, since our standing was somehow a "threat" to the PM. I must say that I never noticed such paranoia about security on any Cretien or Martin visit - anywhere in Canada.
Nina Grewal introduced Harper. She shocked many in the crowd by describing Harper's "uniting of the right". She actually stated: "In 2003 Mr. Harper did the unthinkable, when he brought together the two right wing parties of Canada..." Way to hit the nail on the head Nina! She went on to welcome Harper to HER riding. Actually, Newton North Delta (where Bear Creek Park is) is Sukh Dhaliwal's riding. This was one of the few times anyone has heard Nina speak, and now we know why. Hope she gets a few lines in Parliament! No wonder the crowd left the event to find their cars leafleted with info from someone wishing to seek the Conservative nomination against Nina...
Harper took the stage after - get this - Nina (in Punjabi) asked the crowd - no, actually begged us - to stand for Harper and give him a warm Surrey Welcome. Some of the crowd stood. Harper layed on the usual "we love to be here amongst this great group of Canadians" blather. He layed it on pretty thick when he praised Indian Canadians for our current contributions to Canada. He offered absolutely no apology, or even a hint of an apology. Instead, Harper stated, "we ACKNOWLEDGE the Komagata Maru incident... We will look into this further". Oh thank you Harpo! You agree that a documented historical event occurred! Big whoopee! The crowd was NOT happy. Many individuals in the crowd were openly laughing and waving off his comments.
WesternGrit and a group of fellow attendees did a rough poll after Harper's speech, and we were able to conclude that 7 out of 50 people we interviewed felt Harper had any concern for the Sikh community. That's not even 15%. Perhaps Harpo and his clown crew think we look too much like terrorists (that would certainly explain the security). At any rate, Harper did not come off "warm" to the crowd. He clearly looked uncomfortable. The crowd reacted in kind.
I'll have some more pictures posted in the next day or two...
Note to fellow Libs: Harpo and Laureen were presented some expensive gifts (WesternGrit will be posting pictures later). Let's check to see that they are claimed/noted.
Posted by WesternGrit at 11:26 pm