Nanos: Liberals, Conservatives playing in politically ‘dangerous field’ by using racism as tool to mobilize their support bases, says Nanos

More commentary encouraging the parties to cool the language:

The governing Liberals and opposition Conservatives are playing in a politically dangerous field by using the divisive issue of racism as a tool to mobilize their support bases for the next election, which could backfire resulting in “mutually assured destruction” for both federal parties, says a leading political analyst.

“We’re seeing an increase in weaponization of racism as a political tool to mobilize voters in Canada,” said Nik Nanos, chief data scientist and founder of Nanos Research in an interview with The Hill Times.

“If we stick with our analogy, if they weaponize this, like in the old Cold War, basically, it’s mutually-assured destruction, where if either or both of those parties go too far, not only could they destroy their enemy but they could destroy themselves in the process. So, it’s a very dangerous field to play in.”

Mr. Nanos said both political parties are using this issue as a “dog whistle” where, by implication, Liberals are saying that anyone who disagrees with their stance of open immigration, including “irregular” immigration, is a “racist.” And the Conservatives are using this to tap into Canadians’ anxiety about the impact of new immigrants on their economic security, jobs, and personal security. The “subtle implication” from the Conservatives, he said, is that anyone who disagrees with them doesn’t care about Canadians and Canadian jobs. He said social media platforms have made the politically-polarized situation even worse, where now people have numerous outlets where they can express their frustrations by using racist language, openly or by remaining anonymous.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been blasting Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer, not pictured, accusing him of not being tough enough on racism issues. But, pollster Nik Nanos says, both the Liberals and the Conservatives should be careful not to play politics with racism. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Mr. Nanos said the best way to address the issue of racism is by making a case to Canadians that more immigrants are good for the future strength of the economy. Also, he said, the political leadership needs to create an environment where hard-working Canadians can earn a decent living to take care of their families.

“The reality is that probably the best policy is somewhere in the middle, where we can balance Canadian economic interests and anxiety with our needs of the country,” he said.

Source: Liberals, Conservatives playing in politically ‘dangerous field’ by using racism as tool to mobilize their support bases, says Nanos

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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