The niqab has become ‘dog-whistle’ politics — maybe not the kind you think

Posted: October 9, 2015 in Canadian Politics, Democracy, Elections, Racism, Religion, Secularism

By | Oct 8, 2015 8:58 pm

…Many observers have accused Harper of blowing a “dog whistle” to white or “old stock” Canadians (to use a recent Harper expression), fanning the flames of anti-Muslim sentiment. That may not be what’s happening here. Unfortunately, all groups, ethnicities and cultures harbour their own prejudices. When immigrants come to Canada, they don’t behind leave their struggles — or the racism that can accompany these experiences. And there is a very important Canadian diaspora currently caught in the cross-hairs of anti-Muslim sentiment: Hindu Canadians of South Asian descent…

Source: The niqab has become ‘dog-whistle’ politics — maybe not the kind you think

Comment: [edited 11:56 10/09/2015]

New Canadians (and misinformed “Old Stock” Canadians too) should be told in no uncertain words, by all politicians and the media, that their tribal prejudices are not acceptable in political discourse. Discrimination based on religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. is against the law. We have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms that is supposed to guarantee it. It protects individuals and minorities from each other as well as from the general public. Instead we have politicians exploiting ethnic prejudices, using them as a political football. It muddies the water. It makes basic rights seem wishy-washy instead of foundational.

Everyone coming to Canada is coming here to start a new, better life. They often come here to escape oppression and intolerance. Until Harper, I believed Canada was one of the few places on the planet where people could come and be treated as equals, especially before the law. Unlike America, we were proud to integrate New Canadians, not assimilate them, into our communities. We allowed for differences so long as they did not break any Canadian laws, including discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc..

Harper does not believe in the Charter. He rankles at the limits to power the Supreme Court enforces on him. It is not hard to see that he has been working hard, for years, to discredit both in the public Zeitgeist. I fear for both institutions if Harper ever achieves another majority government.

Back in Harper’s National Citizen’s Coalition days he was quite clear about what he thought of Charter Rights. They represent “Big Bad Evil” government intrusion into personal (mainly business) affairs. They are socialist institutions enforcing socialist policies. (which we used to call the Common Good).

In Harper’s mind, government Health Care is the worst case of government infringing on the rights of business. You would never know it by his rhetoric though. Look at the Conservative platform so far. Not a single mention of health care or of a National approach to health care. Harper wants a powerless hodgepodge of public health services across the country, all the easier to destroy by pitting them against each other.

Conspiratorial? Not if you look at Harper’s record instead of his meaningless words. Sure, Harper will say he believes in basic human rights, as he promotes taking them away. He pretends there is no cognitive dissonance in his position. But Harper, we know, via the PMO, from the Duffy Trial testimony, is an unconscionable fabricator of lies, deceptions and self-serving misinformation. Harper will say anything he thinks will get him votes, I mean ANYTHING. He truly believes his ends justify any means, including fabricating a Niqab controversy to stir up the tribes.


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