Conservative "Accountability" In Action:
- Stephen "Shrub" Harper and Wajid Khan openly solicited South Asians to "join the Conservative Party".
- Khan had plans to cross the floor PRIOR to the cabinet shuffle (according to Stockwell Day's Riding newsletter) - showing he lied about Dion pushing him from the party. We all know that Khan was a Con fifth columnist all along. His numerous conservative friends were more than likely getting Liberal insider info for years. Anything for a buck eh Wajid?
- Conservatives lambasted Belinda for crossing the floor - going as far as uttering sexist slurs, and making very stinging public comments. Mr. Harper claimed the "ethics" of floor crossing was one of the big reasons he felt the government needs more accountability (prior to the 2006 election). How the tables turn when you run a minority government yourself.
- Khan promised a report would be made public when he returned from his Middle East and Asian vacation. We now know how much it cost, but Khan and Harper have indicated they will not release the report. Were they blatantly lying to taxpayers? Shrub? What happened to "ethics".
The popular rap group NWA once did a short rap titled "Here's what they think of you..." Here's what Harper thinks of "Asians": "You have to remember that west of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from Eastern Canada; people who live in ghettos and are not integrated into Western Canadian society."
- Conservative leader Stephen Harper, in Report Newsmagazine, 2001. (Thanks to a fellow Blogger - Jeff Davidson - for posting this old Harper comment)
As one of the "WesternGrit" columnists, I'm a descendant of immigrants living in the West. I don't recall living in any ghettos when I grew up in the West. I actually most recently resided right in Calgary SW - Stephen Harper's own riding. I have personally experienced many a far right conservative in my life in the rural West, and believe me - while it might be different in urban metro Canada - much of the Conservative "base" is very strongly anti-immigrant.
Wajid Khan is joining the Cons simply as an opportunist. Like many collaborators in history he is perfectly willing to sell out his own interests - at the expense of ethics - simply to increase his own importance. Good riddance. As Liberals it is our duty to ensure these breaches of Harper's "accountability" principles are tossed right back in his face during the next election. Mr. Dion needs clear talking points outlining all of the Conservative's accountability lies. We should be publishing a list in national newspapers. We need to ensure he can't ever play "holier than thou".
Mr. Dion also needs to engage the immigrant community, but also all minorities in general. Some of the defectors to the Conservatives are saying we took minorities for-granted - that we thought we had their votes as a "given". While we may have banked on these votes, we need to begin a "Multiculturalism Engagement Campaign" to ensure we explain to minority groups across the country that our party ideals, policy, and ideology are the most supportive of minorities in this great land. I propose that the Liberal Party have a statement/booklet showing the views and activities of our Multiculturalism Committee available to cultural groups across the country. We HAVE a Multiculturalism Chair - the Conservatives don't and don't care to. We need to use this fact to help highlight how much we are in tune with cultural issues, and how the Conservatives could care less about multiculturalism. As a matter of fact it was Reform/Conservative policy to oppose Canada being a multicultural nation. They would rather we were a "melting pot" like the US.
The Conservatives will do anything to try to get minority votes - and trust me, the VOTES is all they're after. They could care less about creating any long-term policy changes to help minority groups, new immigrants, and the underpriveleged. Platitudes and tokens - that's all they'll put forward. Unfortunately this may be enough to win over some cultural minority votes. We need to remember that politics works differently in other lands - and typically the person is voted for, not one of the dozens of parties they stand for. Indian sub-continent politics is a good example of this. To maintain these votes we need to:
1) Continue to engage community leaders "on the ground"
2) Educate new Canadians and other minorities about what we have done and continue to do for them on a daily basis