I wish the person who posted this on social media had not felt the need to use a (probably dead, most WWII veterans are dead) grandfather to counter what he (I’m pretty sure it was a ‘he’) perceived to be an attack by Sheila Copps. He’s suggesting that Ms Copps is, perhaps, unpatriotic. I reject that notion; I don’t know her, at all, but I’m sure she is as patriotic as I am. What she is, also, is an old fashioned bare-knuckle political fighter who is using low, ugly, dirty tactics to try to smear Conservatives and their leader.
Now, to be very clear, I remind my readers, about twice a year, about the price my father and dozens of the sailors in his ship paid for the life we enjoy today … but my reminders are both general, a lot of men and women gave a lot in our wars, some of them gave everything, and because of the days I choose to make them, they are also very specific, and I hope they are apolitical, except, perhaps, in trying to remind us all that there is a very human price to be paid by a nation that is unprepared for war.
Now, however, some people feel threatened by what some moderate observers fear will be a very ugly campaign … “There is nothing uglier than playing the race card,” John Ibbitson wrote, “But the Liberals have little choice … [because recent polling] … has them trailing the Conservatives by 10 points, with the Liberals fighting the NDP for second place in Ontario and British Columbia … [and] … Mr. Trudeau is now viewed much more negatively than the other major party leaders … [and another poll shows that] … 47 per cent of voters now “strongly disapprove” of the performance of the Prime Minister. Only 9 per cent strongly approve.“
CBC News reported, on Friday evening, that “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau road tested his campaign strategy Friday, lumping Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and other right-of-centre politicians who deny climate change, vilify immigrants and tolerate white nationalists.” The report says that “The prime minister lumped Scheer in with the rising conservative populist movement globally that Trudeau says has successfully turned anger into political support that wins elections … [saying] … “Why worry about climate change, they say, when immigrants are taking your jobs” … [and] … “Andrew Scheer conveniently fails to call out alt-right conspiracy theories. Andrew Scheer fought against a non-binding motion to denounce Islamophobia. Andrew Scheer has proudly spoken at the same rallies as white nationalists. Is that someone who will govern for all Canadians? I don’t think so” … [the CBC report says that] … The comment about sharing a stage with white nationalists refers to Scheer’s appearance at the pro-pipeline rally United We Roll, on Parliament Hill in February. One of the speakers was a former Rebel Media and alt-right personality who has since been fired from Rebel Media and banned from Facebook for her extreme views.” To be clear, not everyone at that rally was there to promote a pipeline to get Alberta oil to tidewater; some people, perhaps many people had more than just that on their minds and I have no doubt, not a single shred of doubt that there were some people in that crowd who should be loudly and clearly denounced by every thinking Canadian. But I think Andrew Scheer understood that and decided that the main point of the rally ~ the Liberal Party of Canada’s absolute failure to support Canada’s energy sector* ~ made his appearance mandatory even though he risked being associated with people who seem to support the odious notion of racial supremacy.
I, personally, think it is both easy for and important to Andrew Scheer to be clearly, steadfastly and unequivocally opposed to any and all sorts of racial to religious bias. It has become fashionable, of late ~ after the success that Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney enjoyed in the run-up to the 2011 election, for political leaders to be seen in every sort of mosque, temple or synagogue as they all try to display their inclusivity … it’s probably enough to make a few insecure people, on the political fringes, wonder if our leaders care about he (dwindling) majority.
Is it white supremacy to be proud of one’s Irish, Scots or Ukranian heritage? Is one a racist because (s)he opposes unregulated, irregular
illegal border crossings and dishonest asylum shopping? Is it wrong for most Canadians to wonder why this government paid $10 Million to a convicted terrorist without a court battle but still requires wounded veterans to confirm, every few years, that their legs, which were blown off in battle haven’t, miraculously, grown back? Apparently, Team Trudeau thinks so and it wants to make us believe that Andrew Scheer and his team and his supporters are closet white supremacists.
That’s why a few people feel that they are being insulted, by Justin Trudeau and Sheila Copps and others, for the sin of not being ashamed of being born white.
But there’s another issue here: freedom of speech. Freedom of speech only really matters when it is controversial. If I say that the Conservatives, for example, need to pursue socially moderate policies no one is going to call me out for being anti-Christian, even if I am aiming my remarks at the so-called religious right. But when I say that we should “reward success” in our immigration policy by making it easier for Chinese, Indians and Philippines nationals to come to Canada, even if that means we make it harder for Africans and Arabs to come here, then someone might call me a racist who wants to keep Africans and Arabs out. I would deny that, of course, because, as I have said, one thing I have learned in a long life spent around the world is that people are pretty much all alike: we are, African, Asian or Northern European, almost exactly equally smart and stupid, brave and cowardly, industrious, and lazy and honest and venal. Neither skin colour nor creed makes any difference. I have also said that culture does matter. Does that make me racist or a white supremacist? Of course not … but Sheila Copps or Chrystia Freeland might say that I am because I insist that I have a right to hold and express such views, even if they make some people uncomfortable, so long as I do not incite anyone to violence or to break any laws.
I’m sad that someone felt the need to use the image of his grandfather to address what he perceived to be an insult by Sheila Copps; I’m sad that Shiela Copps and Justin Trudeau and others are playing the race card; I’m sad that Andrew Scheer has not been steadfastly enough opposed to any and all racially or religious biases which do exist amongst his supporters … and amongst Justin Trudeau’s supporters too, I assert; above all, I’m sad that I even feel compelled to comment on this.
* In fact, some would say that part of the Liberal Party actually wants to sabotage Alberta’s oil-based economy.