Calgary Mayor Nenshi ‘shaken’ by racism in debate over refugee crisis

One of the best argued pieces on refugee and immigration fears:

“I don’t mind telling you that I have been shaken over the last four months by a tiny minority of the discourse,” the mayor said in an interview in his office.

“I haven’t heard stuff like that in a long time, and I think the really divisive rhetoric [around accommodating Syrian refugees] during the election gave people permission to say stuff that wasn’t polite to say in modern society. And that is absolutely different than it was six or seven months ago.”

Since becoming the country’s first Muslim mayor in 2010, Mr. Nenshi has been reluctant to wade into the often sensitive and difficult discussions that have taken place about followers of his religion. He says he is the mayor of a multicultural community of 1.2 million and not a religious authority who can speak on behalf of Muslims everywhere.

However, the current conversation in Canada and around the world seems to have stirred some genuine feelings of angst from within. He said he is “very concerned” when Muslims “are asked to apologize for Muslims everywhere.”

“Every one of the terrorists so far has been a man,” he said. “We don’t ask all men to apologize on behalf of all men when stuff like this happens. We certainly don’t ask Christians to apologize when there is a mass shooting involving someone who happens to be Christian.

“But, of course, it’s different, because these people [the terrorists] purport to be doing this work in the name of their faith. But the guy in Norway [mass murderer Anders Breivik] was also that way. But we didn’t ask every Lutheran to apologize for what he did.”

The mayor said Canada has a “tiny minority” of people who assume anyone who is a Muslim or an Arab “must be in cahoots with the terrorists that they are, in fact, actually fleeing from.” He also questioned some of the terrorists-will-come logic being used in an attempt to thwart the Syrian refugee plan in this country.

He said if he was organizing a plot to infiltrate Canada, he would consider the fact that terrorists were able to get people in France and Belgium to do horrible things inside their own countries. “If someone pulls out a French passport, they can be in Calgary in seven hours,” the mayor said, “without checks of any kind.

“So why would I want to embed bad guys, put them on leaky boats where they could die, have them sit in a refugee camp possibly for 18 months, in the hopes they might end up in a country where they might want to do bad stuff? It’s way easier to do bad stuff in other ways.”

The mayor said that when he hears about the racist behaviour that has taken place in recent days in this country, it hurts him as a Canadian.

Source: Calgary Mayor Nenshi ‘shaken’ by racism in debate over refugee crisis – The Globe and Mail

Nenshi and ‘people like him’ are the ones politicizing niqab issue, Jason Kenney says (with a straight face)

The back and forth between Calgary Mayor Nenshi and senior Minister Jason Kenney on the politicization of the niqab, starting with Nenshi (who I think has it nailed):

Stephen Harper is playing a “dangerous” political game with his position on the niqab and “dog whistle politics” when he speaks about the Syrian refugee crisis, said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

In an interview on SiriusXM’s Everything is Political, Nenshi told Evan Solomon that Harper’s decision to challenge the Federal Court of Appeal decision over the ability of a woman to wear a niqab during citizenship ceremonies is being done merely in the service of scoring political points.

“This is unbelievably dangerous stuff,” Nenshi said. “I spoke with a group of mayors and councillors from all over Alberta last week, and in my speech with all of these people from small town Alberta, I stood up and said this is disgusting and it is time for us to say stop it—to say this is enough,” Nenshi said.

He called out the Conservatives’ request for stay on the Federal Court of Appeal decision on the niqab. “They are spending millions of millions of dollars of yours and my money on what is an unwinable appeal in order to appeal to a certain political segment because they think the polls say that most people don’t want this,”  Nenshi said.

Nenshi was complimentary on the stances both Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau have taken on the issue.

Source: Nenshi’s harsh words for Harper –

Hard to imagine him saying this with a straight face as he knows better (no matter how seriously he believes in the substance of the Government’s position):

But Kenney, the Conservative cabinet minister from Calgary who introduced the niqab ban, denied the Tories are seeking to gain political advantage from the issue.

“If anything’s dangerous, it would be legitimizing a medieval tribal custom that treats women as property rather than people,” Kenney, currently running for re-election in Calgary Midnapore, said in an interview Thursday.

“It seems to me that it’s the mayor and people like him who are politicizing it. I don’t think this should be an issue of contention.”

The Conservatives point to surveys showing public support for banning the niqab in citizenship ceremonies and they have jumped in the polls since the issue became prominent during the campaign, which will see voters cast their ballots on Oct. 19.

Kenney, who is currently defence minister, said Nenshi’s comments would have no impact on the campaign, either nationally or in Calgary.

And he said it would have no affect on his working relationship with Calgary’s mayor moving forward.

“We’re all used to Naheed’s running social commentary on everything. That’s nothing new,” said Kenney.

Source: Nenshi and ‘people like him’ are the ones politicizing niqab issue, Jason Kenney says

Nenshi to Quebeckers: Come to Calgary, we don’t care how you worship – The Globe and Mail

Many of originally from Toronto have Mayor envy, and here is another illustration why Mayor Nenshi continues to show leadership on a wide range of issues, unlike the sadness of Toronto’s Rob Ford.

Nenshi to Quebeckers: Come to Calgary, we don’t care how you worship – The Globe and Mail.

And Konrad Yakabuski notes the masterful political, cynical and polarizing game of identity politics played by PQ Premier Marois as she tries to create winning conditions for the next election by uniting the “progressive” secularists” in the cities and the conservative traditionalists in the hinterland. Sad if it works.

 Marois plays a masterful game of identity politics