As a proud South Asian Canadian I am shocked by Stephen Harper's attack on Sikh Canadians today. Now Canadians are well aware of racist statements made by conservatives Reformers, and Alliance MPs and candidates in the past. We are also pretty aware of Harper's now classic:
“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.”- Rt.Hon. Stephen Harper, PM of Canada”.
The very definition of Conservative is "resistant to change" - like the change new immigrants and cultural change bring to a country. Harper's neo-Cons have repeatedly shown their anti-immigrant bias - whether in policy constructed to leave out the disadvantaged in society, or in glad-handing immigration policy which really amounts to a hill of beans in the real world.
Harper's comments today are all the more shocking (for average Canadians - not for those of us who lived in his riding and know this man) when you consider this is what he says in public - just imagine what Stephen Harper thinks of certain minorities in his private life. Just imagine what he thinks behind closed doors in his (very non-multi-cultural) cabinet meetings when he formulates policy.
Harpo's attack today was an attempt to (very inappropriately) attack an MP of resounding integrity based on the mere questioning of a (non-blood) relative in a terrorism case. Forget the fact that this man may have been nothing more than a mere witness, or a community leader in the know, and had no link in any way to the events. Forget that we have a justice system in this country (we all know what the Conservatives think of the Canadian Justice System).
Harper did a very ugly thing today: the deliberate and blatantly racist attack on an entire minority group based on a racist stereotype. This is not new for Reformers. Remember when a turbaned Sikh wished to join the RCMP, and Harper's (then Reform) now Western Conservative compatriots helped attack the Sikh community by opposing Sikhs in the RCMP, and lauding the creators of a very racist button being distributed at rallies in Western Canada?
Stephen Harper singled out a turban-wearing Sikh MP, and the entire Sikh community today. In speaking to many Sikhs in Surrey today we can confidently say that he has also angered this community. More importantly he has shown his true colors today (and those of his right-wing party), and any feeble attempt by him to curry favor in this community (as we know are bound to happen come election time) will fall on very aware ears. I urge all Liberals to carry this message forward when speaking with people from my community. I know this will be my main focus during the next few months. We have to ensure the large Sikh communities in Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal are aware of Harper's public feelings towards us, and the callous way in which he will try anything to paint us all with the same brush.