Who voted for the People’s Party of Canada? Anti-vaxxers and those opposed to vaccine mandates

Preliminary analysis. Will be interesting to see what others come up with such as the Canada Election Study. As it is likely that COVID and vaccination will not be a top issue (we hope!) in the next election, likely the PPC will focus on immigration and other related issues, and their advocacy for more restrictive policies:

At first glance, the 2021 federal election appears to have changed very little. Each party was returned to the House of Commons with about as many seats as it had previously held. 

Beneath the surface, however, some shifts occurred. Most notably, while the People’s Party of Canada failed to win any seats, its share of the popular vote grew to five per cent — more than double what it earned two years earlier.

The PPC’s support is small yet not easily dismissed. The 841,000 votes it earned makes it the fifth most popular party in the country, well ahead of the Greens (who have appeared on the ballot, addressing the prominent issue of climate change, for decades). The People’s Party won three times more votes than the Reform Party did when it first fielded candidates in 1988, one election prior to its breakthrough in 1993.

Understanding exactly what to make of the PPC’s growing support is especially important for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. If PPC voters are former Conservative supporters disappointed with the party’s attempt to appeal to middle-of-the-road, suburban Canadians, it signals a serious dilemma — each voter the Conservatives gain by moving to the centre could be matched by a right-leaning voter lost to the PPC.

PPC voters bemoan ‘loss of freedom’

What, then, do we know about PPC voters? At first glance, our fall 2021 survey shows PPC voters have the profile many would expect. They’re dissatisfied with the way things are going in our country today, feel the economy is getting weaker, think there are too many immigrants coming to Canada who don’t adopt the country’s values and hold a favourable opinion of the United States.

Yet these opinions do not really set them apart. Most Conservative Party supporters also hold these views. What does distinguish current PPC voters is their views on the COVID-19 pandemic, and specifically on the issue of vaccination, vaccine mandates and vaccine passports. 

Our survey, conducted during the 2021 election campaign, asked Canadians to identify the most important problem facing the country today. 

Both Liberal and Conservative Party supporters were most likely to mention the COVID-19 pandemic in general. Climate change was most likely to be mentioned as the most important problem by NDP, Bloc Québécois and Green Party supporters. 

But for PPC supporters, the No. 1 issue was the loss of freedom stemming from vaccine mandates — a concern barely mentioned by anyone who supported other parties. 

A more rigorous analysis of the survey results, which tests the significance of different factors while holding others constant, confirms the importance of vaccination issues to current PPC voters. 

Someone who singled out “loss of freedom” during the pandemic as the most important issue facing the country had a 59 per cent chance of supporting the PPC, compared to only a five per cent chance for someone who mentioned any other issue. 

Similarly, someone who singled out “COVID-19 vaccination issues” as the most important issue facing the country had a 44 per cent chance of supporting the PPC, compared to a six per cent chance for someone who mentioned any other issue. 

Immigration not a decisive factor

This last example, furthermore, likely underestimates the impact of PPC voters’ irritation with vaccination requirements. It can be assumed that the very few number of Liberals who also singled out “COVID-19 vaccination issues” as the most important issue probably had something very different in mind — perhaps frustration with those who won’t get vaccinated — than their PPC counterparts. 

Nonetheless, the main point is clear: voters concerned about the push to be vaccinated and what they perceive as a loss of freedom during the pandemic were much more likely to vote PPC than voters concerned about anything else. 

Equally important is the finding that PPC voters stand out much less for their attitudes on immigration. The impact of immigration views on someone’s likelihood of supporting the PPC is barely significant, in stark contrast to their opinions on vaccination.

This does not mean that PPC voters are strong supporters of immigration; rather, it means simply that their views on the subject do not differentiate supporters of the PPC from supporters of some other parties — notably, the Conservatives. 

Incidentally, it should be noted these findings apply only to Canadians indicating they intended to vote for the PPC, not to the party’s leadership, organizers or funders who may regard closing our borders to newcomers as more of a priority.

A message for Conservatives

Nonetheless, the fact that the growth in PPC support is tied to the unusual issue of vaccination against COVID-19 is no guarantee that the party’s popularity will fade once the pandemic ends. Other issues may come along to take its place. 

But it does send a cautionary note to Conservatives who might be wondering what the party can do to bring PPC voters back into the fold. Rejecting new policies on climate change or social diversity is unlikely to help so long as PPC supporters continue to be motivated largely by a single issue — their opposition to vaccines. 

As the election outcome itself showed, showing flexibility on vaccine mandates in order to win back defectors to the PPC risks putting more distance between the Conservative Party and the mainstream of Canadian public opinion

In short, PPC voters were not simply typical Conservative supporters leaning furthest to the right on a range of issues that include government spending, taxation, climate change and immigration. They were, on average, a unique cluster of voters who have rejected the overwhelming public consensus on the need to be vaccinated to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The growth potential for the Conservative Party lies not in chasing the small number of voters angered by vaccine mandates, but in appealing to the much larger pool of voters whose top priorities include bringing the pandemic to an end and refocusing attention on the fight against climate change.

Source: https://theconversationcanada.cmail19.com/t/r-l-triyyhjl-kyldjlthkt-n/

Latif | Equity and diversity were shamefully ignored during the election

In the debates, yes, but the Liberal, NDP and Green parties all had substantial commitments whereas the Conservatives, inexplicably, had none:

While pandemic recovery, gun control, and even puppies took centre stage during the federal election, we failed to seize the opportunity to hold our leaders accountable on equity issues.

In the lead up to the election, we had unprecedented conversations about the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on racialized people; anti-Black racism in policing; Islamophobic violence; the unearthing of thousands of Indigenous children who died at Canadian residential schools; and a spike in hate crimes against members of the Asian community. Yet none of the political parties prioritized equity, diversity and inclusion issues in their platforms, tours or advertising.

As voters, we had the power to hold our leaders accountable by asking the hard questions, but we didn’t. Even when there was a moment on the national stage provided by debate moderator Shachi Kurl, we didn’t seize it. Instead, we allowed the conversation around bills 21 and 96 to turn into a conversation about the impact on the horse race and the polls in Quebec, rather than a conversation about values.

I spoke with Erin Tolley, Canada research chair in gender, race and inclusive politics at Carleton University, who suggests party leaders, the media and the public all play a role in sparking — and continuing — these conversations.

Tolley notes that “there is a long history in Canada of parties not seeing a focus on multiculturalism, immigration or diversity as a winning strategy. They see those issues as divisive. All parties know they need to discuss the economy because voters demand it, but these other issues are viewed as niche. If voters don’t put pressure on parties, then parties are going to ignore the issue. So when we’re thinking about who to blame, I don’t only blame parties.”

There have been many campaigns where a catalyzing moment captured media attention and turned equity issues into election issues. I recall the 2011 provincial election, when a $10,000 tax credit to hire an immigrant for their first job in Ontario got leaked before the Liberal platform launch, and became a lightning rod that almost derailed the campaign. Although it was sound policy, the Conservatives tried to make it a wedge issue. I worked with a Liberal team, behind the scenes, to ensure this did not sabotage our efforts.

Another example of an election flashpoint was the tragic death in 2015 of a three-year-old Syrian refugee, Alan Kurdi, which sparked immigration, refugee and asylum debates. The Conservative’s “barbaric cultural practice hotline” was anti-Muslim and ugly but meant to grab votes. Then, the 2019 election focused on gender inequality and systemic racism as pictures of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in blackface surfaced during the election.

But in this year’s campaign, we watched as the debate moment barely scratched the surface; as the racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism faced by Annamie Paul, former leader of the Green Party of Canada, didn’t raise eyebrows; and as NDP MP Don Davies was given a pass on his unacceptable comments against his opponent Virginia Bremner, a Filipino-Canadian woman.

Source: Opinion | Equity and diversity were shamefully ignored during the election

EDITORIAL: The question you can’t ask in Canada

Good editorial in the Toronto Sun:

It says a lot that the most talked about moment in the leaders’ debate since Brian Mulroney nailed John Turner in 1984 for not rescinding Pierre Trudeau’s patronage appointments, had nothing to do with anything the leaders said.

Instead, it was the controversy over a question asked by debate moderator Shachi Kurl, president of the Angus Reid Institute, to BQ leader Yves-Francois Blanchet about Quebec’s controversial language and secularism laws.

The essence of their exchange was this:

Kurl: “You deny that Quebec has problems with racism. Yet you defend legislation such as Bills 96 and 21, which marginalize religious minorities, anglophones, and allophones. For those outside the province, please help them understand why your party also supports these discriminatory laws.”

Blanchet: “The question seems to imply the answer you want. Those laws are not about discrimination, they are about the values of Quebec … we are saying that those are legitimate laws that apply on Quebec territory … which is again, by itself, for Quebec.”

So, asked and answered. Except in Canada.

The post debate reaction — the criticism being that by even asking the question Kurl was falsely suggesting Quebecers are racists — was a sight to behold.

Everybody was upset. Blanchet was upset. Quebec Premier François Legault was upset. Pundits were upset. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh were upset — albeit belatedly since they didn’t raise any concerns when the exchange occurred.

Never mind that a Quebec judge had previously ruled Bill 21 is discriminatory, cruel and dehumanizing to Muslim women and others, but constitutionally valid due to the province’s use of the Charter’s notwithstanding clause.

Recently in the Globe and Mail Kurl wrote a column sensibly refusing to apologize.

But the most interesting part was Kurl explaining that, “every question was reviewed by the debate’s editorial team, which included representatives from all the networks that organized and produced it — CBC, CTV, Global and APTN. More than a dozen senior journalists and news executives had seen and vetted the questions I asked …”

Knowing that makes the spectacle of everyone running for the hills after the question was asked downright hilarious.

Source: EDITORIAL: The question you can’t ask in Canada

Indo-Canadians tend to vote Liberal. But will they continue to do so?

Interesting discussion of the generational differences:

For nearly two weeks, pundits have scoured pre-election surveys and post-election exit polls to analyze the voting patterns of Canadians in granular detail. So it’s surprising that scant attention has been paid to how Canada’s burgeoning immigrant communities voted.

Among immigrant groups, Canada’s large and rapidly growing Indo-Canadian population deserves particular consideration. According to the 2016 census, there are nearly 1.4 million people of Indian origin residing in Canada, accounting for four per cent of the population. Those numbers have grown dramatically since then; today, Indians represent the largest group of new immigrants in the country. In 2019 alone, more than 80,000 Indians made their way to Canada from India — one-quarter of all immigrants arriving that year.

For years, the Indian community in Canada — much like other ethnic minorities — has been perceived as a strong votary of the Liberal party. But the community’s rising socio-economic profile and young demographic skew, combined with the emergence of the Indo-Canadian NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, have raised questions about its political leanings.

On the eve of the election, we collaborated with YouGov on a nationally representative survey of Indo-Canadians. Our survey of 724 citizens of Indian origin suggests that the Indo-Canadian community continues, in large measure, to support the Liberals, with 38 per cent of respondents indicating their support of the party — twice the number that planned to vote Conservative. One in five (21 per cent) backed the NDP.

Remarkably, this breakdown is nearly identical to the distribution of Indo-Canadian votes in both 2015 and 2019, according to our analysis of the Canadian Election Study. How do we explain the voting habits of Indo-Canadians?

For starters, on a standard left-right ideological spectrum, Indo-Canadians strongly skew left. Nearly three in four Indo-Canadians self-identify on the liberal half of the scale. When it comes to the issues topping their agenda this election season, respondents identify the same bread-and-butter issues that weigh on most Canadians’ minds: health care and COVID-19, the cost of living, the state of the economy. 

If the Indian diaspora exhibits a leftward tilt, why don’t more of them vote for the NDP? Indeed, for many Indo-Canadians, Singh’s allure is undeniable. Nearly half of respondents reported that Singh’s leadership of the NDP makes them more enthusiastic about the party, in large part due to his Indian and/or Sikh roots. Furthermore, when asked to rate their views of Canadian political leaders on a sliding scale from 0-100, Justin Trudeau and Singh are virtually deadlocked — Singh earns an average rating of 67, with Trudeau at 65 and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole lagging at 49.

However, Singh is handicapped by the one impediment that has arguably prevented many Canadians from voting NDP: the party is perceived to have little shot at forming the government. One in four Indians say the primary reason they do not vote NDP is because they do not want to waste their vote. 

On the other end of the spectrum, when asked why they do not identify with the Conservatives, survey respondents reported that the party is too influenced by big business and seeks to cut public services. On everyday economic issues, Conservatives appear out of step with the left-of-centre policies Indo-Canadians favour. Misaligned policies on the right and limited electability on the left seem to funnel Indo-Canadian voters to the Liberal camp. 

The seeming stability of the votes of the Indo-Canadian community, however, elides deeper changes underway. While older voters (above 30) favour the Liberals over the NDP by a two-to-one margin, younger Indo-Canadians split their vote almost evenly between the two. The divide between first-generation Indo-Canadians (who came as immigrants) and second-generation citizens (born and raised in Canada) is starker. While half of naturalized citizens support the Liberal party, just one in three born in the country do so. The NDP is the principal beneficiary of this shift: the party’s vote share among second-generation Canadians is twice as large as among their first-generation counterparts. Indeed, country of birth is the single most important predictor of whether Indo-Canadians are likely to vote Liberal, even after controlling for age, education, gender and religion. 

The relative absence of a religious divide is worth emphasizing, as it stands in contrast with the voting attitudes of Indians in another large, English-speaking country — the United Kingdom. There, Hindus have abandoned the left-of-centre Labour Party in droves and embraced the Conservatives, which has given British Indians prominent cabinet berths and adopted pro-India policies. In Canada, partisan polarization on religious lines is not so evident in the Indian community. But differing views over how Canada should engage with India’s government and concerns that the Liberal party favours Sikhs over the Indo-Canadian community at large could trigger a realignment.

Looking forward, the voting behaviour of the community will be shaped by two competing demographic trends. As the size of the diaspora increases, so will the number of young, Canadian-born Indians who are eligible to vote — increasing popular support for the NDP. At the same time, the sharp increase in recent Indian immigration will boost the numbers of naturalized citizens, who are more likely to support the Liberal party. The net effect of these trends, and how the Conservatives respond, will determine if the stability in the voting preferences of the Indo-Canadian community continues.

Caroline Duckworth and Milan Vaishnav are with the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Devesh Kapur is Starr Foundation Professor of South Asian Studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Source: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/10/01/indo-canadians-tend-to-vote-liberal-but-will-they-continue-to-do-so.html

Shachi Kurl on the question [Quebec discrimination in Bills 21 and 96]

Good rebuttal to the unfair criticism and cravenness of Canadian federal leaders:

The question to Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet created a controversy in Quebec, taking on a narrative and a legend of its own. It led the National Assembly to censure me, cartoonists to ridicule me and party leaders to demand an apology.

So here was the question: “You deny that Quebec has problems with racism. Yet you defend legislation such as Bills 96 and 21, which marginalize religious minorities, anglophones, and allophones. For those outside the province, please help them understand why your party also supports these discriminatory laws.”

To those asking me to take it all back: I stand by the question. Unequivocally.

I stand by it because the question gave Mr. Blanchet the opportunity to talk to people outside Quebec, about secularism, about laïcité. He could have shared the Quebec perspective with the rest of Canada. He chose not to.

I stand by it because the Quebec government has or signalled it will override the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to protect Bills 21 and 96 from legal challenges over discrimination. And because the National Assembly included provisions in Bill 21 and 96 to override the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, leaving many Quebeckers feeling vulnerable and as Quebec Superior Court Justice Marc-André Blanchard put it in regard to Bill 21, dehumanized.

I stand by it because what does it say about the state of our democracy that a question is deemed unaskable? Who gets to decide which issues are appropriate to discuss during a federal election campaign? What does it really say about the convictions of our political leaders when they choose to make me a target to divert from their own position on a critical issue of personal freedom?

What does it say about journalism when seasoned reporters and political commentators were shocked that I dared to “go there?” Is the state of our federation so weak that we cannot even raise questions about it?

Alexander Tytler, the 17th-century Scottish philosopher, wrote democracy lasts only about 200 years. A quote commonly attributed to him says that part of the cycle moves from courage to liberty, then to abundance, to selfishness, to complacency, then apathy, and eventually back to bondage. I hope we are not on the downslope of this cycle.

During my silence – appropriate during the election campaign – people encouraged me to educate myself about Quebec. I don’t live there, but I have spent time in places like the Saguenay-Lac Saint Jean and La Malbaie. Operating entirely in French, I experienced a lasting immersion in Québécois pride and history, and in Quebeckers’ outlook on secularism, survival and the strong desire to maintain culture and language. Learning is never finished.

I have heard and listened to what people have said about the question, and the hurt it caused in Quebec. Could it have been phrased differently? Yes. Do I ultimately believe a change in wording would have prevented Mr. Blanchet, Quebec Premier François Legault, and party leaders Justin Trudeau, Erin O’Toole and Jagmeet Singh from exploiting it all for their own purposes? No.

Becoming the story was not a life goal. Yet what happened was just craven politics. What else would Mr. Blanchet have done in the midst of a sagging campaign? Politically, it made sense that Mr. O’Toole, Mr. Trudeau, and Mr. Singh piled on in order to protect their Quebec campaigns rather than stand on principle.

Other things were a little harder to take. Columnists wrote that I was “aggressive,” or “shrill,” likening my tone to that of a “mom,” using “chains” to keep order. The only square they didn’t blot on that particular bingo card appears to be “nasty woman.”

But this isn’t about them. It’s about Canadians. I did the debate as a public service, not to earn gold stars. Some people didn’t like it or didn’t like my style. That’s okay. Polling from our own organization found that 53 per cent of older men found the debate engaging, I’ll take that split. It is notable that number rose to 65 per cent among women 18 to 34. Past, meet the future.

For all the disagreement, and there has been a lot, I’ve had thousands of messages of appreciation from across the country, including Quebec. Notes of thanks for not taking the leaders talking points at face value. People who wrote saying they don’t usually watch the whole debate, but did that night with their children. Teenagers who talked about the debate in class and concluded I was “badass.” Women thanking me for being prepared, fierce, professional and strong.

On the way out of Ottawa, I stopped in Toronto, where I was met at the hotel door by a bellman.

“I think I saw you the other night.” Here we go, I thought to myself.

“And what did you think?”

“It was great!” I could tell he had more to say. He was holding back.

“Look, it’s okay. I can take it.”

“I just want to tell you … I just … I’m really glad you asked that question.”

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-i-was-asked-to-apologize-for-my-question-in-the-leaders-debate-i-stand/?utm_campaign=David%20Akin%27s%20🇨🇦%20Roundup&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

Adams and Parkin: Having an election that changes nothing is not such a bad outcome after all; Ibbitson: A divided country? Actually, the federal election revealed Canada has never been more united in purpose

Contrary narrative, two versions:

What, if anything, has changed?

Immediate media reaction to the federal election result is divided. Those who count the seats won and lost see the status quo. Those concerned with the tone and tenor of our politics fear the election has left the country more divided than ever. Is it possible that the election changed nothing and everything at the same time?

We can hardly be shocked that there are strong differences of opinion among Canadians—we wouldn’t need elections if there weren’t. Can we address climate change and increase oil and gas exports at the same time? Should we make child care more affordable by giving money to care providers or to consumers? Will subsidizing the cost of a mortgage make housing more or less affordable? Arguing over issues like these is not a threat to democracy; it is the point of democracy.

Canadians are divided, then, in the sense that we take different sides in these debates. But in another sense, we are not nearly as divided as many assume. Differences in opinion are scattered throughout the population, and do not separate us dramatically by region, or age, or gender, or race. There are oil-enthusiasts in Quebec and radical ecologists in Alberta. There are men who want $10-a-day national day care and women who would prefer to pocket a tax credit. There are new Canadians who trust the police and “old stock” Canadians who do not. We are not a country that is fracturing into increasingly hostile groups defined by geography or identity.

And only those with short historical memories can claim that our political divisions are greater than ever. Elections in the 1970s and 1980s featured heated exchanges over which party was going to save the country and which was going to put an end to it—whether by handing it over to the separatists or to the Americans. The National Energy Program was hardly less divisive than the carbon tax; Bill 101 was no less controversial than Bill 21. Canadians did not exactly rally together to embrace the introduction of the GST. Keith Spicer told us in June 1991 that the nation was riven by rage.

But all this is besides the point, if the real problem is the emergence of the People’s Party, and the associated rabble-rousers who yelled obscenities and threw rocks at the prime minister, surely this is an indication of a society that is increasingly polarized?

Here, we need to be precise about the meaning of the words we use. Politics becomes polarized when more people move to opposing extremes, with far fewer remaining in the middle. This is what we see happening between Republicans and Democrats in the U.S., or between Leavers and Remainers in the U.K. There is no evidence that this is happening in Canada. Most Canadians remain firmly in the political centre, embracing the politics of pragmatic compromise and incremental progress.

Some Canadians do hold extreme views, but the proportion who do so is not on the rise. Yes, it is sobering to consider that one in 10 Canadians agree that, under some circumstances, an authoritarian government may be preferable to a democratic one. But this proportion has hardly changed over the past decade—if anything, it is slightly lower in 2021 than it was in 2010. Meanwhile, the number of Canadians comfortable with the country’s diversity, and uncomfortable with racism and discrimination, is higher than ever.

While Canadians, as a whole, are not becoming more extremist, the extremists among us might be becoming more organized, and more empowered by social media. They may also be targets for further radicalization by those with the most sinister of political aims. This, and not widespread division or polarization, is the concern. The threat to our democracy does not come from the heated, even acrimonious debates between left and right, or East and West. But it may come from the small, but vocal minority that seeks to undermine the norms of democracy.

This threat should not be dismissed, but rather addressed swiftly by those knowledgeable in how to counter those seeking to infiltrate and radicalize. But this does not need to be accompanied by a generalized lament for the soul of a nation. The election may have been unnecessary; it may have been tedious and uninspired; it may have changed little as far as the composition of the House of Commons is concerned. But it did not leave us more polarized or divided than ever before. In that sense, having an election that changes nothing is not such a bad outcome after all.

Source: https://www.hilltimes.com/2021/09/23/having-an-election-that-changes-nothing-is-not-such-a-bad-outcome-after-all/318706?utm_source=Subscriber+-++Hill+Times+Publishing&utm_campaign=da8d94bfbb-Todays-Headlines-Subscribers&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8edecd9364-da8d94bfbb-90755301&mc_cid=da8d94bfbb&mc_eid=685e94e554

And in a similar vein, John Ibbitson:

Many believe that Monday’s election exposed deep divisions within Canada. Ontario Premier Doug Ford called it “difficult and divisive.”

This is not so. The election revealed that Canada has rarely had fewer divides either between regions or political parties.

There are discontents, yes, and warning signs that should not be ignored. But although this election left many frustrated and annoyed at the status quo anteresult, the level of consensus on national priorities is really quite remarkable.

Consider relations between Canada and Quebec, which have been fraught since before Confederation. The English-language debate confirmed that no national party is willing to challenge the government of Quebec in its relentless push for autonomy.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh all chastised a moderator who asked Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet how he could possibly defend “discriminatory laws” that restrict the outward display of religious symbols and entrench French as the province’s sole official language.

In fact, no national political party is prepared to challenge legislation that most Quebeckers consider necessary to protect their distinct language and culture, but which would be considered by many to be discriminatory elsewhere.

The Conservatives, had they been elected, would have agreed to give Quebec greater control over immigration in the province. Sooner or later, Quebec will get that power. The social contract between French and English Canada appears to be sealed: The province can go its own way, so long as separation is off the table.

Ardent federalists of past generations, especially Pierre Trudeau, would have fought such devolution. But “Justin Trudeau is not his father,” Daniel Béland, a political scientist at McGill University, said in an interview.

This generation of federalists is inclined to respect the near universal will of Quebeckers for something approaching self-government. “We are still part of Canada,” Prof. Béland explained. “But we have growing policy autonomy to do our thing.”

At least one Western premier believes the election was a divisive waste of time. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe called Monday’s vote “the most pointless election in Canadian history.”

“The Prime Minister spent $600-million of taxpayers’ dollars and five weeks further dividing the country to arrive at almost the same result as where we started.”

But Mr. Moe’s government recently signed on to the Liberal $10-a-day child-care plan. Alberta and Ontario are expected to likely join as well, at which point Canada will have enacted a major new national social program.

Though Conservatives continue to dominate in the West, the Maverick Party, which hoped to generate a wave of populist protest in the same way Reform did in the 1980s and 90s, made little impression. Western alienation played less of a role in this campaign than in the election of 2019.

On policy, the political parties in this election were more aligned than at any time in recent memory. The Conservatives offered a more progressive agenda; the Liberals were already seriously progressive, and the NDP was the NDP.

How aligned were they? Had Mr. O’Toole won government, he would have scrapped the Liberal child-care program, replacing it with one of his own. He would have scrapped the carbon tax, replacing it with one of his own. He would also have increased funding for health care, with a particular emphasis on mental health, introduced portable pensions for gig workers and banned puppy mills.

Any Liberal government could – and probably will – adopt a large chunk of the Conservative platform.

Yes, the People’s’ Party of Canada increased its share of the popular vote, to 5 per cent. In many countries that use proportional representation, that would entitle Maxime Bernier and other candidates to sit in the House of Commons. And though their views on vaccination, immigration and global warming are anathema to most, including this writer, they deserve a voice. Nonetheless, they remain a fringe within the Canadian political spectrum, one that needs to be confronted with logic, facts and an appeal to common sense.

This country has never been more united in purpose. Federal and provincial governments acted in unison to fight the pandemic, protect workers and businesses and procure and deliver vaccines. Almost every province has or will soon have some form of vaccine passport that residents must show to enter many businesses or entertainment venues. A large majority of Canadians support these passports and other mandates, such as employers requiring workers to be vaccinated before returning to the workplace.

On immigration, Canada is on track to accept more permanent residents this year than at any time in its history, despite travel restrictions. The population becomes more diverse every year. Yet no major national party is calling for cuts to immigration levels.

The Conservatives went from opposing to supporting a price on carbon because polls show most Canadians consider global warming a major issue and want Canada to lower emissions.

While the Supreme Court in the United States appears to be headed toward striking down Roe v. Wade, which protects a woman’s right to have an abortion, every major federal party leader in Canada declared they were pro-choice in this election, which reflects the views of a large majority of Canadians.

When the Conservatives mooted the possibility of removing restrictions on some semi-automatic weapons, on the grounds that the rules were capricious and contradictory, the backlash was so swift that Mr. O’Toole reversed himself within days.

The Conservatives also took heat for proposing greater involvement by the private sector in the delivery of publicly funded health care. Lost in the noise is the truth that every major political party supports medicare, and has now for decades.

Deficits used to be a divisive issue, but they have become less so. Jean Chrétien’s Liberals accepted in the 1990s the conservative arguments that Ottawa had to balance its books. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, with Liberal support, incurred deficits to fight the 2008-09 financial emergency. Deficits were an issue in the 2019 campaign, but this time out the only distinction was that the Liberals have no plan to return to balance, while the Conservatives proposed returning to balance in a decade.

Unfortunately, while both governing parties continue to promise reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples, neither has succeeded in achieving it, though both are gradually moving toward an implicit recognition of an Indigenous right to a deciding say over major resources projects on lands they claim.

There are differences, of course. Conservatives seek a more confrontational approach toward China. Conservatives are more likely to favour the private sector, though Mr. O’Toole sounded like an editorialist for the Daily Worker when he declared, “too much power is in the hands of corporate and financial elites who have been only too happy to outsource jobs abroad.”

Some within the Conservative Party believe Mr. O’Toole went too far left on some social and environmental issues. But he only went as far as any party must go to line up with public opinion. Once the pandemic ends, Grits and Tories may disagree more sharply on taxation and spending. But that’s down the road.

The United States has become so polarized it threatens to tear itself apart. Parties of the far right have become increasingly powerful in Europe. Canada is nothing like that, as the election proved. Our politicians howl over picayune differences. Elections are fought over the best way to deliver a new government program, rather than on whether such programs should exist. The consensus on everything that matters is deep and profound.

It’s been a very long time since we were this united, if ever.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-a-divided-country-actually-the-federal-election-revealed-canada-has/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Morning%20Update&utm_content=2021-9-24_7&utm_term=Morning%20Update:%20‘Nobody%20knows%20what%20to%20do’:%20Haitian%20migrants%20running%20out%20of%20options%20along%20U.S.-Mexico%20border%20&utm_campaign=newsletter&cu_id=%2BTx9qGuxCF9REU6kNldjGJtpVUGIVB3Y

Muslim Canadians Who Won in the 2021 Federal Election 

Of note:

The 2021 Canadian Federal Election took place on Monday, September 20, 2021. 

The following is a list of newly elected and re-elected Members of Parliament who identify as Muslim Canadian.

Why does Muslim Link compile lists of Muslim Canadian Members of Parliament? Well, it’s interesting. It is a great way to showcase the diversity of Muslims in Canada. 

As the Editor in Chief, I always enjoy compiling these lists as I get to know more about quite interesting people and I get to learn more about what is happening in Canadian cities other than my own, which is the Nation’s Capital, Ottawa.

I have included information from DiversityVotes.ca about the immigrant and visible minority populations living in each riding the Members of Parliament won in.

Also, based on the research of Pakistani Canadian Daood Hamdani in “Canadian Muslims: A Statistical Review“, I have noted if a particular federal riding has a population where over 10% of people identify as Muslim.

Feel free to send me suggestions for other Members of Parliament to add to the list at info@muslimlink.ca if I have missed any.

Ziad Aboultaif, Conservative Member of Parliament for Edmonton Manning

Lebanese Canadian Ziad Aboultaif served as the Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Manning since 2015. He was appointed Official Opposition Critic for National Revenue (2015-2017), Shadow Minister for International Development (2017-2019) and Shadow Minister for Digital Government from 2019-2020. Ziad is a strong advocate for live organ donations.

About Edmonton Manning: According to DiversityVotes.ca, the population of Edmonton Manning is 121,048. Immigrants make up 31% of the population and visible minorities 40%. The top four visible minority communities in the riding identify as Black, South Asian, Chinese, and Arab. The top four languages spoken in the riding after English and French are Cantonese, Punjabi, Arabic, and Spanish. The countries of origin of immigrants in this federal riding include the Philippines, India, Vietnam, and China.

Ali Ehsassi, Liberal Member of Parliament for Willowdale

Iranian Canadian Ali Ehsassi is a lawyer who has served as the Member of Parliament Willowdale since 2015. He graduated from the University of Toronto (B.A.), attended the London School of Economics (M.Sc.) and received degrees from Osgoode Hall Law School (LL.B) and Georgetown University in Washington, DC (LL.M).

About Willowdale: According to DiversityVotes.ca, the population of the federal riding of Willowdale in Toronto is 118,801. Immigrants make up 61% of the population and visible minorities 67%. The top four visible minority communities in the riding identify as Chinese, West Asian (Iranian), Korean, and South Asian. The top four languages spoken in the riding after English and French are Mandarin, Persian, Korean, and Cantonese. The countries of origin of immigrants in this federal riding include Iran,

According to the research of Pakistani Canadian Daood Hamdani in “Canadian Muslims: A Statistical Review“, the federal riding of Willowdale has a population where over 10% of people identify as Muslim.

Omar Alghabra, Liberal Member of Parliament for Mississauga Centre

Syrian Canadian Omar Alghabra was first elected as a Member of Parliament in 2006 and again in 2015 and 2019. He served as Minister of Transport, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, as well as to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs (Consular Affairs) and International Trade Diversification.

About Mississauga Centre: According to DiversityVotes.ca, the population of Mississauga Centre is 124,849. Immigrants make up 62% of the population and visible minorities 71%. The top four visible minority communities in the riding identify as South Asian, Chinese, Arab, and Black. The top four languages spoken in the riding after English and French are Mandarin, Arabic, Urdu, and Cantonese. The countries of origin of immigrants in this federal riding include India, Pakistan, China, and the Philippines.

According to the research of Pakistani Canadian Daood Hamdani in “Canadian Muslims: A Statistical Review“, the federal riding of Mississauga Centre has a population where over 10% of people identify as Muslim.

Shafqat Ali, Liberal Member of Parliament for Brampton Centre

Shafqat Ali is an entrepreneur who has volunteered with youth, including forming a youth sports club, organizing festivals and fundraising for the local hospital, and food bank. He was a leading voice in successfully advocating for the cricket pitch on White Clover Way in Mississauga.

About Brampton Centre: According to DiversityVotes.ca, the population of Brampton Centre is  102,270. Immigrants make up 47%  of the population and visible minorities 60%. The top four visible minority communities in the riding identify as South Asian, Black, Filipino, and Latin American. The top four languages spoken in the riding after English and French are Punjabi, Urdu, Spanish, and Gujarati.  The countries of origin of recent immigrants in this federal riding include India, Jamaica, the Philippines, and Pakistan.

Ahmed Hussen, Liberal Member of Parliament for York South-Weston

Somali Canadian Ahmed Hussen, a lawyer, has served as Member of Parliament for the riding of York South-Weston since 2015. From 2017, Ahmed served as the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship. In 2019, he was appointed as Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

About York South Weston: According to DiversityVotes.ca, the population of the federal riding of York South Weston is 116,686. Immigrants make up 52% of the population and visible minorities 55%. The top four visible minority communities in the riding identify as Black, Latin American, Filipino, and South Asian. The top four languages spoken in the riding after English and French are Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and Vietnamese. The countries of origin of immigrants in this federal riding include Portugal, Jamaica, Italy, and the Philippines.

Majid Jowhari, Liberal Member of Parliament for Richmond Hill

Iranian Canadian Majid Jowhari was elected as the Member of Parliament for Richmond Hill in 2015.

About Richmond Hill: According to DiversityVotes.ca, the population of the federal riding of Richmond Hill in Toronto is 110,177. Immigrants make up 60% of the population and visible minorities 62%. The top four visible minority communities in the riding identify as Chinese, West Asian (Iranian), South Asian and Korean. The top four languages spoken in the riding after English and French are Cantonese, Mandarin, Persian and Russian. The countries of origin of immigrants in this federal riding include China & Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, and South Korea.

According to the research of Pakistani Canadian Daood Hamdani in “Canadian Muslims: A Statistical Review“, the federal riding of Richmond Hill has a population where over 10% of people identify as Muslim.

Iqra Khalid, Liberal Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Erin Mills

Pakistani Canadian Iqra Khalid served as Member of Parliament for Mississauga—Erin Mills since 2015. She chairs the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and as a member of the International Human Rights Subcommittee. She serves as Chair of the Liberal Women’s Caucus and the All-Party Women’s Caucus.

About Mississauga Erin Mills: According to DiversityVotes.ca, the population of the federal riding of Mississauga Erin Mills in Toronto is 122,560. Immigrants make up 55% of the population and visible minorities 64%. The top four visible minority communities in the riding identify as South Asian, Chinese, Arab and Black. The top four languages spoken in the riding after English and French are Urdu, Mandarin, Arabic, and Cantonese. The countries of origin of immigrants in this federal riding include Pakistan, India, China, and the Philippines.

According to the research of Pakistani Canadian Daood Hamdani in “Canadian Muslims: A Statistical Review“, the federal riding of Mississauga Erin Mills has a population where over 10% of people identify as Muslim.

Yasir Naqvi, Liberal Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre

Pakistani Canadian Yasir Naqvi was elected as Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa Centre in October 2007. He was re-elected in 2011 and 2014. He served as the Attorney General of Ontario, Government House Leader, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and Minister of Labour. 

According to DiversityVotes.ca, the population of the federal riding of Ottawa Centre is 118,038. Immigrants make up 20% of the population and visible minorities 20%. The top four visible minority communities in the riding identify as Chinese, Black, South Asian, and Arab. The top four languages spoken in the riding after English and French are Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, and Spanish. The countries of origin of immigrants in this federal riding include China, India, the United States, and the Philippines. 

Taleb Noormohamed, Liberal Member of Parliament for Vancouver-Granville

Taleeb was a senior official in the federal government (2002 to 2007), which included establishing the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security. He served as Director of the Air India Review Secretariat and Special Advisor to the Hon. Bob Rae. He is CEO at an online marketplace for apparel and home goods.

About Vancouver-Granville: According to DiversityVotes.ca, the population of Vancouver-Granville is 103,456. Immigrants make up 41% of the population and visible minorities 48%. The top four visible minority communities in the riding identify as Chinese, Filipino, South Asian, and Japanese. The top four languages spoken in the riding after English and French are Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, and Japanese. The countries of origin of immigrants in this federal riding include China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and South Korea.

Arif Virani, Liberal Member of Parliament for Parkdale–High Park

Ugandan Asian Canadian Arif Virani served as Member of Parliament for Parkdale–High Park since 2015. He was an analyst with the Canadian Human Rights Commission and as an assistant trial attorney at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He founded the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO).

About Parkdale-High Park: According to DiversityVotes.ca, the population of the federal riding of Parkdale-High Park in Toronto is 108,805. Immigrants make up 32% of the population and visible minorities 26%. The top four visible minority communities in the riding identify as Black, South Asian, Chinese, and Filipino. The top four languages spoken in the riding after English and French are Polish, Spanish, Russian, and Ukrainian. The countries of origin of immigrants in this federal riding include Poland, the United Kingdom, India, and the Philippines.

Salma Zahid, Liberal Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre

Pakistani Canadian Salma Zahid served as Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre since 2015. She chairs the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, and is a member of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. She presented a successful private member’s motion designating June as Filipino Heritage Month.

About Scarborough Centre: According to DiversityVotes.ca, the population of Scarborough Centre is 112,603. Immigrants make up 56% of the population and visible minorities 70%. The top four visible minority communities in the riding identify as South Asian, Filipino, Black, and Chinese. The top four languages spoken in the riding after English and French are Tamil, Tagalog, Mandarin, and Cantonese. The countries of origin of immigrants in this federal riding include the Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, and China.

According to the research of Pakistani Canadian Daood Hamdani in “Canadian Muslims: A Statistical Review“, the federal riding of Scarborough Centre has a population where over 10% of people identify as Muslim.

Sameer Zuberi, Liberal Member of Parliament for Pierrefonds-Dollard

Sameer Zuberi, who is of South Asian and Scottish-Italian heritage, served as Member of Parliament for Pierrefonds–Dollard since 2019. He holds degrees in law from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and in mathematics from Concordia University. He served in the Black Watch, a Canadian Forces Reserves unit.

About Pierrefonds-Dollard: According to DiversityVotes.ca the population of Pierrefonds-Dollard is 108,587. Immigrants make up 38% of the population and visible minorities 38%. The top four visible minority communities in the riding identify as South Asian, Black, Arab, Filipino. The top four languages spoken in the riding after English and French are Arabic, Spanish, Tamil, and Romanian. The countries of origin of immigrants in this federal riding include the India, Philippines, Egypt, and Lebanon.

Source: https://muslimlink.ca/news/muslim-canadians-who-won-in-the-2021-federal-election

Canada, meet your new LGBTQ2S+ MPs

Of note:

After a gruelling 36-day campaign, Canada’s 44th federal election has officially come to an end, and a new Liberal minority government is at the helm. 

Throughout the campaign, Xtra identified 61 openly LGBTQ2S+ candidates running for the major federal parties. We also surveyed each of those candidates about the issues that mattered most to them. Of those 61 candidates, seven have won their seats and now serve as MPs across the country—a record number in Canadian federal history.

That number is up from the last federal election in 2019, when four openly LGBTQ2S+ MPs were elected. Many of those elected this time around were incumbents re-elected to serve another term. And of those, only one MP is a woman and one is Indigenous.

Here are Canada’s new LGBTQ2S+ MPs.

Blake Desjarlais, NDP, Edmonton Griesbach

Blake Desjarlais made history this election, becoming Canada’s first Two-Spirit MP elected to Parliament. A Métis/Cree man raised in the Fishing Lake Métis Settlement northeast of Edmonton, Desjarlais is one of just two LGBTQ2S+ first-time candidates to win their seat. Before entering federal politics, he served as director of public and national affairs for the Métis Settlements General Council. 

In response to Xtra’s survey to LGBTQ2S+ candidates, Desjarlais emphasized the importance of supporting and creating space for queer, trans and Two-Spirit folks, especially LGBTQ2S+ people of colour. 

Desjarlais also spoke to the significance of Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQ+ representation: “Being Two-Spirit is an honour and it’s important to ensure other Two-Spirit folks see representation in Canada,” he wrote. Desjarlais currently stands as the only openly LGBTQ2S+ Indigenous MP in Parliament.

Randall Garrison, NDP, Esquimalt–Saanich–Sooke

Randall Garrison will be serving his fourth term as MP in the B.C. riding he first won back in 2011. Garrison has a long history serving LGBTQ2S+ Canadians; notably, in 2013, he tabled private member’s bill C-279, which would have added gender identity and expression as protected grounds against discrimination to the Criminal Code. He has also served as the NDP’s official LGBTQ+ SOGIE (sexual orientation and gender identity and expression) spokesperson. 

Garrison told Xtra via our candidate survey that his first priority would be banning conversion therapy on a national scale. (Bill C-6, which would ban the discriminatory practice, did not pass through the Senate before the election call.) “Calling an election was clearly a bigger priority for the Liberals than ending the torture and mental health challenges caused by this fraudulent idea that members of our community are broken and need to be fixed,” he wrote.

Garrison also pointed to the continued harassment and discrimination LGBTQ2S+ communities face in Canada. “Discrimination persists in government policies and programs and in the community at large, especially against transgender and non-binary Canadians,” he wrote. “While some progress has been made, we still have a lot more work to do in order to make sure that everyone in the community is treated fairly.”

Rob Oliphant, Liberal, Don Valley West

Rob Oliphant will be serving his fourth term as MP in the Toronto riding of Don Valley West. Oliphant was first elected in 2008 and served a term as MP before leaving office for the private sector; he returned to federal politics in 2015. In 2019, he served as the parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs.

Oliphant did not respond to Xtra’s candidate survey.

Seamus O’Regan, Liberal, St. John’s South–Mount Pearl

This marks Seamus O’Regan’s third term as a Liberal MP in Newfoundland and Labrador. First elected in 2015, O’Regan served a number of roles in the Liberal cabinet, including minister of veterans affairs and minister of Indigenous services. Before the election call, O’Regan was minister of natural resources.

O’Regan did not respond to Xtra’s candidate survey.

Randy Boissonnault, Liberal, Edmonton Centre

Randy Boissonnault returns to Parliament after losing his seat in 2019. First elected in 2015, Boissonnault was appointed Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 Issues one year into his term as MP. In the role, he helped usher through Bill C-16, legislation that enshrined protections for trans and gender nonconforming Canadians in the Criminal Code and Human Rights Act. He also played a role in issuing an apology to former government workers affected by the gay purge.

In response to Xtra’s candidate survey, Boissonnault emphasized the need to pass legislation to ban conversion therapy. “This horrendous practice must be ended and I will fight every single day to see that improved and expanded legislation to ban it is tabled, debated and passed as quickly as possible,” he wrote.

Though he is one of five white, cis queer men elected to Parliament, Boissonnault also noted importance of recognizing intersections within the LGBTQ2S+ community. “As a white, cisgender member of the community I understand that my experiences are different than other members of the community. I understood this when I was first appointed as Special Adviser on LGBTQ2 issues,” he wrote. “We knew how important it was to ensure that voices of trans, non-binary, BIPOC members of the community were heard as we were consulting on the formation of the role and its mandate. I will always listen and be an ally to all parts of our community.”

Eric Duncan, Conservative, Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry

First elected in 2019, Eric Duncan will be returning to his Ontario riding as MP for a second term. Duncan became the unofficial LGBTQ2S+ spokesperson for the Conservative Party after his win in 2019 as the only openly-gay Tory in caucus. He’s best known for his calls to end the blood ban against queer men and trans women; in November 2020, he made headlines when he asked Minister of Health Patty Hajdu if she would accept a donation of his blood as an openly gay man. That fight, he told Xtra in April, is a personal one—he couldn’t donate blood as a closeted gay teen without outing himself. 

Duncan did not respond to Xtra’s candidate survey.

Melissa Lantsman, Conservative, Thornhill

Melissa Lantsman has become the only openly queer woman in Parliament with her election in the Greater Toronto Area. She’s long been associated with Conservative politics, working as a communications advisor to former prime minister Stephen Harper and a spokesperson for the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party in 2018. In 2020, Lantsman infamously tweeted that it was more difficult for her to come out as Conservative than it was to come out as a lesbian.

Lantsman did not respond to Xtra’s candidate survey.

Source: https://xtramagazine.com/power/lgbtq2s-federal-election-queer-mps-209072

After Monday’s vote, the federal Conservative caucus will be 95 per cent white

Waiting for the final results and the breakdowns for all parties for women, Indigenous peoples, visible minorities and LGBTQ. In the meantime, am posting some of the group specific articles to date, starting with the CPC:

Only seven of the Conservative candidates leading or elected in 119 ridings across the country are Black, Indigenous or a person of colour (BIPOC) — a share of the total that’s even lower now than it was before the election because some Conservative incumbents lost their seats.

A CBC News analysis of the preliminary results shows the vast majority of the MPs making up the new Conservative caucus — nearly 95 per cent — are white, even as the country’s racial makeup is diversifying. Before this election, nine per cent of Tory MPs were BIPOC.

The Conservatives retained seats in rural areas and picked up some support in Atlantic Canada — parts of the country that are, generally speaking, whiter than others. But the party struggled in Canada’s urban and suburban areas, regions where racial demographics have changed dramatically over the last 40 years due to waves of non-white immigration.

The Tory caucus will be less diverse than the class of 2019 because at least five Conservative MPs — Kenny Chiu, Nelly Shin and Alice Wong from Vancouver-area ridings, Bob Saroya from the riding of Markham-Unionville (a suburb of Toronto) and Calgary’s Jag Sahota — are on track to lose to Liberal or NDP candidates.

A Liberal spokesperson said the party is still awaiting final results, with special ballots still left to be counted in some ridings. The spokesperson said that, based on preliminary results, more than 30 per cent of the Liberal caucus will be MPs who identify as Black, Indigenous or a person of colour.

A spokesperson for the NDP said of the four new NDP MPs elected in Monday’s vote, two are Indigenous.

Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Liberal Party has had a lock on many of the country’s urban and suburban ridings and there’s some NDP representation in cities like Edmonton, Hamilton, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Over the past three election cycles, the Conservatives have struggled to reach the high-water mark set in 2011 when former prime minister Stephen Harper cruised to victory thanks in part to strong suburban support in the Toronto and Vancouver areas.

The seven racially diverse Conservative candidates who were elected on Monday are Leslyn Lewis in Haldimand—Norfolk and Michael Chong in Wellington—Halton Hills (two more rural parts of Ontario), Jasraj Singh Hallan in Calgary Forest Lawn, Ziad Aboultaif and Tim Uppal in Edmonton-area seats, Alain Rayes from Richmond—Arthabaska in Quebec and Marc Dalton, who identifies as Métis, in the B.C. riding of Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge.

It’s a disappointing result for Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, who sought to bring more BIPOC Canadians into the Conservative fold as part of a push to unseat the governing Liberals.

O’Toole stressed the importance of diversity in his Monday concession speech after it became clear that the party was poised to lose some of the diversity in its caucus.

“We will continue to put in the time showing more Canadians that they are welcome in the Conservative Party of Canada,” O’Toole said at his event in Oshawa, Ont.

“Above all, we must continue to show Canadians, whether you’re black, white, brown or from any race or creed, whether you’re LGBTQ or straight, whether you are an Indigenous Canadian or came to Canada five weeks ago or five generations ago … you have a place in the Conservative Party.”

Some racialized voters ‘nervous’ about voting Conservative: activist

Sukhi Sandhu is a former Liberal voter from Surrey, B.C. who backed the Conservatives in this campaign. He’s also co-founder of Wake Up Surrey, a grassroots anti-gang violence group.

He said he has soured on what he calls Liberal “lip-service” and “performative politics” on issues that matter to his South Asian community, such as crime and gang violence, immigration fraud and international student exploitation.

Sandhu said many racialized Canadians are frustrated with the Liberal government’s record in office — and O’Toole and his team failed to capitalize on their disillusionment.

He said that, based on conversations with his neighbours, some Canadians from diverse backgrounds are still skeptical of the Conservatives.

The party’s platform made no mention of racism or systemic discrimination — a red flag for some would-be Conservative voters, Sandhu said. During the campaign, O’Toole faced pointed questions about why “Canada’s recovery plan” had more to say about dogs and animal welfare than marginalized communities.

“People were still nervous about what the Conservative brand stood for. They were asking, ‘Do they actually value inclusion and equity?’ I’m sure many second- and third-generation immigrants were looking for a political home and the Conservative approach wasn’t compelling enough,” Sandhu told CBC News.

“The issues of systemic racism, inequity and social justice — those issues have to be paramount in every party. There’s a responsibility for the Conservative Party to engage with these issues. It’s not just about star candidates from an immigrant background. It’s not about tokenism. You’ve got to understand what your potential voter pool really cares about.

“If you’re out to lunch on this or if you have your head in the sand, then you’re going to lose at the ballot box. On systemic racism, the Conservatives need to wrap their heads around it. It’s about setting the foundation and building trusting relationships, not hollow words.”

Sandhu said he’s not surprised to hear the Conservative caucus in the Commons will be 95 per cent white. He said the party hasn’t built strong relationships with racial and ethnic community leaders in the swing ridings that often decide which party will be in power in Ottawa.

“It tells me the Conservative Party is struggling. You need to develop a pipeline of activists from marginalized communities — and there’s still some concern that this party does not respect or understand our unique identity as racialized Canadians,” he said.

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/conserative-caucus-95-per-cent-white-1.6185707

Palmater: The PPC got more than 800,000 votes, and that should worry all of us

Not to dismiss the increase, but may be premature to make a definitive assessment given the uniqueness of the various factors involved. But we always knew that a percentage of voters had more extreme views or felt disconnected, with the PPC providing a vehicle for that discontent:

The Liberals held a snap election in the middle of a pandemic, rolling the dice to gain a majority government, and they lost. Although the votes are still being counted, 320 of the 338 seats have been confirmed, and while the Liberals held on to their minority government status, they look to only gain one additional seat. At an approximate cost of $610 million dollars—which does not include the costs borne by Canadians to travel to their voting station or arrange child care while they stood in line for hours—this election, by any measure, cost far more than it was worth. However, the results did reveal a growing threat to public safety that has been largely unaddressed—the rise of far-right groups who have used the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic to gain support.

While most political analysts were focused on whether the Liberals would hold on to their minority government, something else was happening throughout election night: the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) popular vote count continued to rise. In fact, they more than doubled the votes for the Green Party. In 2019, the PPC had almost 300,000 votes. But this election, at last count, the current total is more than 800,000—more than double that of two years ago. While none of the candidates in the PPC—not even leader Maxime Bernier—has won a seat, the party has been able rally the angry anti-maskers and those opposed to pandemic health measures under their far-right umbrella. A closer look at some of those who’ve joined the party include those who were rejected by the Conservative party or gained some degree of notoriety from racist rhetoric, or are opposed to pandemic health protections. And almost a million Canadians support them.

Although the rise of far-right populist rhetoric and groups is not unique to Canada, the federal government has been largely silent about the public safety risk it poses to Canadians—especially Black, Indigenous, and racialized people and women. Hate crimes have increased by 37 per cent in the last year and the proliferation of online hate groups in Canada is of particular concern. According to recent international studies, Canadians are among the most active in online right-wing extremism, which includes spreading racist, white supremacist and misogynistic views, and plotting acts of violence. While the United States has received the bulk of media attention for the rise in far-right ideology and violence in their country, the disturbing fact is, that Canada produces more far-right online content per web user than any other country. The violent inclinations, and ability to wield social media to recruit and radicalize younger Canadians, must be understood more broadly than the current lens of trying to address individual hate crimes: this is a group mentality

The PPC platform contained just the right combination of commitments to speak to those with far-right ideologies, anti-Indigenous views, pandemic gripes and pro-gun attitudes, including their promises to maximize freedom of expression (allow more hate speech); cut funding to universities if they silence those espousing hateful views; cut funding for CBC; cut funding for foreign aide; and lower the number of immigrants and stop the flow of refugees into Canada.

Beneath the surface of these promises are deeply embedded racist views against non-white people which would be bolstered by their plan to repeal multiculturalism laws and cut funding for multiculturalism with a view to forcing integration into Canadian society and culture. This together with the party’s promise to end the ban on military style weapons, is a recipe for disaster that appears to be gaining traction in Canada. While some may see individual incidents of Proud Boys and other white supremacist groups as one-off incidents, we know they are part of a larger phenomenon that is loosely rallying around the PPC. This Liberal minority government must look beyond the politics of the vote count and the fact that neither Bernier nor any of his candidates won any seats and consider carefully at what 800,000 votes for the PPC means in terms of far-right organizing and to public safety in the future.

Pamela Palmater is a Mi’kmaw lawyer and the chair in Indigenous governance at Ryerson University. 

Source: The PPC got more than 800,000 votes, and that should worry all of us