Friday, April 11, 2008

Jason Kenney, A Bigot? No! You're Kidding! Was He Trying To Hide NeoNazis?

As someone who lived in Calgary and Saskatchewan for many years, hearing things like this from the mouths of neo-Cons was all too common. That's why it doesn't surprise me that someone like Jason Kenney would be caught on tape bashing and stereotyping South Asians. His choice words for the Sikh community (stated pertaining to a handful of South Asians who happened to be on their board apparently) were angry, hateful, racist, and very condescending.

No matter how much the Conservatives try to curry favor with certain minority groups, and pretend they actually have a positive policy base for minorities and immigrants, their bigoted comments give away their true intentions all the time. They publicly state one thing, but then go behind closed doors and bash minorities, women, First Nations, Quebec, Ontario (well I guess that's pretty public now), the Atlantic, cities, etc. They also take part in "whisper campaigns" on the doorstep in every election.

What exactly did Kenney say? Specifically he said, "overheated Sikhs" would use "the race card" to win arguments. But it goes deeper. Much deeper. It appears that Kenney was looking to hide the fact that a candidate for the party may have been a member of the neo-Nazi Heritage Front. From

"Kenney and other participants on the conference call were told they must deal with a rumour that a member of the executive for the Canadian Alliance riding association in what was then known as Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale might be a member of the Heritage Front, a Canadian neo-Nazi white supremacist group. "The whole national campaign could go down on that alone," Kenney says, according to the transcript published by a magazine. Kenney then asks for more information: "Now, this notion that there's somebody tied to the Heritage Front on the executive. How do we know that and how do we know that this isn't overheated Sikhs using the race card, which they so often do when their credentials are being questioned?"

Now Kenney will claim - like all the good conservatives do - the typical bigot response - something like, "I got friends who are (insert minority here)", or "We have hundreds of (insert minority here) in our party". Well we know from his comments that the minorities are only in his party so they can be carted around to help win nominations and elections in ridings where the Conservatives otherwise wouldn't have a hope. They are manipulated with illusions of grandeur (although, for some - definitely for a few in my community - being a "big shot" is more important than the tactics or "anti-you" policies of some parties) and personal gain/notoriety, then see their members sit on the furthest back benches of power (yet often conveniently within camera shot of the Leader).

Yup, the Conservatives will trot out the "sellouts", just to try to "prove" that they're not all racists, or they're not anti-minority, etc. They'll also take a swipe at the odd Liberal or NDPer who may have made certain comments. Let them do that. If they want to go comment for comment, we could easily drag out about 95% of the anti-minority comments ever made by a politician in Canada - and attribute them all to people on the right of the political spectrum (Conservatives, Socreds, etc.).

There is a fundamental issue with the Conservative treatment of minorities. They do, however, do a pretty good job of convincing members of some minority groups that they're looking out for their best interests. They typically do this in a few ways: Assisting some key community leaders with immigration matters, then "taking back the favor" with the votes of all their kin and kith. Another common Conservative tactic is to take on "failed Liberals" (ie: members of a divided community who lost a bitter nomination battle, lost face, and now just MUST become an MP any way possible - meaning winning the Con nomination).

Regardless of how anti-minority, anti-immigrant, or anti-whatever the Cons' policies and ideology may be, they manage to get the "minority window-dressing" they need to legitimize their party. Sometimes they manage to appeal to a broader group of the minority - with focus on ideals dear to social conservatives - like draconian "law-and-order" measures, or same-sex marriage - where the Conservative take on the idea matches those of some ultra-orthodox (and extreme) members of some religious sects. While this may be one issue only - and other Conservative ideas could marginalize that community completely - they may still support the Cons to enough of an extent to win a riding.

Same old hateful Reform-Allia-Cons. So what should the Liberal response be? Well, sticking to our principles would be good, for one. If the party doesn't understand how much the immigration issue REALLY MATTERS to a core of supporters who are critical to win many urban and suburban ridings, then our "strategists" are a bunch of idiots. Here's to hoping that the "strategists" and "powers-that-be" grow some cajones and decide to vote down the ridiculous, and very frightening, Conservative changes to the immigration process.

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