Former PPC candidate ‘no longer confident’ in Bernier after being replaced

Of note (the riding profile can be found London North Centre).

A former candidate of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) says he’s lost confidence in the party’s leadership after being replaced by a Muslim candidate, who he claims Maxime Bernier told him would be better suited to address the “topic of radical Islam.”

Braeden Beller says he learned he was being replaced as the PPC candidate for the riding of London North Centre by political science professor Salim Mansur less than two weeks before the party held one of its largest events to date in downtown London.

Beller spoke with PPC Leader Maxime Bernier and PPC executive director Johanne Mennie about the party’s decision to substitute Mansur in as the candidate in the riding.

He says Bernier told him that “it was very valuable to have a Muslim giving the message that would speak more adequately to other Muslims on the topic of radical Islam.”

Bernier also said that Mansur would be a higher profile candidate with a larger local following in London than Beller, who said he had no political experience prior to being involved with the PPC.

Mennie said Bernier “absolutely (did) not” tell Beller that Mansur’s perspective on Islam as a Muslim would be valuable, instead pointing to Mansur’s local notoriety as the reason for the party’s choice.

“(Mansur) is well known through his work as a columnist, his work as a professor, in terms of his professional career, and that was the extent of (Bernier’s) discussion with Braeden,” Mennie said.

Mennie and Beller both said there was one conversation that he and Bernier had that she was not a part of.

When Bernier announced that the PPC had begun its cross-country candidate search, he said the party wouldn’t do “anything special” to attract a diverse range of candidates.

“I hope that our candidates will represent our country, but … we won’t do anything to attract people with different backgrounds. I think these people are coming right now,” Bernier told reporters in March.

On Wednesday, Bernier praised Mansur as a “star candidate” shortly after introducing him as “one of the main critics of Islamism in Canada,” in a speech about the PPC’s immigration platform.

Mennie says that all potential PPC candidates were told during the selection process that the party could replace them with someone else, under “exceptional circumstances.”

Mansur’s appointment has been the only case the party has invoked that policy, according to Mennie.

Mansur had first tried to run for the Conservatives. While Beller had been presented by the PPC as its candidate, both on Facebook and on the party’s website, Mansur had been vying for the candidacy of the Conservative party in London North Centre. In a statement on his website, Mansur says he was told on June 10 that he had been “disallowed” to run for the Conservatives for unspecified reasons. Five days later, he appealed the party’s decision but was rejected because he had waited too long. The Conservatives haven’t announced their candidate for the riding yet.

Beller said only running for the PPC after failing to run for the Conservatives means Mansur’s choice was “out of self-interest.”

Beller had been the lone applicant for the PPC candidacy in London North Centre and had been acclaimed before Mansur replaced him. When Beller was replaced in the riding he was offered the candidacy in the bordering riding of London Fanshawe, and according to Mennie, was told by Bernier that the leader would help his campaign by personally canvassing for him. Beller said he declined the offer because he was no longer confident in Bernier.

“What made me lose faith in Bernier is because he decided to ignore his principles when it benefited him,” Beller said.

“It’s disappointing but unsurprising,” Beller said about his short-lived experience as a federal candidate.

“I won’t be voting for the PPC, let’s put it that way,” Beller added.

Source: Former PPC candidate ‘no longer confident’ in Bernier after being replaced

Award-winning professor Salim Mansur disqualified from seeking Conservative nomination

A sign of who the vetting process of the CPC is catching (the right wing press, Rebel, Clarion, True North have been critical of this decision, will be interesting to see if Mansur is picked up by the PPC):

Professor, author and columnist Salim Mansur has been disqualified from seeking the Conservative nomination.

Mansur, a recently retired Western University professor, announced his candidacy last September in his home riding, London North Centre.

Despite being told by the Conservative Party of Canada’s regional organizer last November that he was allowed to launch his campaign and begin campaigning, Mansur received notice from the party’s executive director Monday morning that his nomination candidacy was “disallowed.”

“The (National Candidate Selection Committee of the Conservative Party of Canada) has disallowed your candidacy as a candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada,” said an email from Dustin Van Vugt.

No reason was provided in the email, but Mansur told me in a brief interview that Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s campaign manager, Hamish Marshall, advised him last week of the party’s concerns with Mansur’s past writing and public speaking on Islamism and the politics of radical Muslims, which Marshall said will likely be portrayed by Liberals and others as Islamophobic, and become disruptive to the party’s national campaign.

It’s Mansur’s academic career that has held him in such high esteem by the Conservatives in the past, however. Mansur has testified before parliament on numerous occasions at the invitation of the Conservatives. In 2017, he was awarded the Canadian Senate’s 150th Anniversary Medal for his work promoting interfaith understanding, presented by Conservative senator Linda Frum.

Mansur, a devout Muslim, has been a stalwart opponent of radical Islamism and the groups advancing it within Canada. He’s chronicled this fight as a Muslim and as an academic in his bestselling book Islam’s Predicament: Perspectives of a dissident Muslim.

The retired professor said in an open letter on his website that his mission is to “elect a Conservative government in Ottawa with Andrew Scheer as our next Prime Minister.” On his platform page, Mansur cites economic growth, strengthening Canada’s security, and vigorously protecting individual freedoms as his priorities.

In the interests of disclosure, I have introduced Mansur to a number of political activists in London as a personal favour, and have served as a sounding board for some ideas he had about his campaign. I have received no compensation for these or any other efforts related to his candidacy.


Niqab Politics Commentary – Various

Starting with Margaret Wente:

I loathe the niqab. I agree with Prime Minister Stephen Harper that niqabs are “not how we do things here.” A cloth that covers the face is a symbolic rebuke to Western values – especially when the covered woman is walking three steps behind her jeans-and-sneakers-clad husband.

But I also think a woman has the right to choose – even when her choice is offensive to a lot of people. I believe that religious freedom is a cornerstone of Western values. People should have wide latitude to exercise that freedom as they wish, and we shouldn’t constrain them without very good reasons.

So if Zunera Ishaq, a devout Sunni Muslim from Pakistan, wants to wear a veil while she swears the oath of citizenship, let her. Our democracy has survived greater threats than that.

…I despise niqabs. I really, really do. But I despise attacks on people’s freedom even more. There’s a difference between a woman in a veil and a jihadi sawing off a head. We need to remember that.

Why Stephen Harper is playing niqab politics – The Globe and Mail.

Stephen Maher focusses more on the politics:

The best way to counter the online recruiters who prey on those weak-minded souls is not to set up a mosque inquisition, as Mr. Legault proposed, but to build good relations with the imams who are on the front lines of anti-radicalization efforts.

We need these guys to drop a dime when they’re worried that Ahmed has gone off his meds, and they’re less likely to do that if they feel their community is under attack.

This is a good time to lower the temperature and remind Canadians of what draws us together, not constantly point to the things that divide us.

But Mr. Legault, like Mr. Harper, risks bitter defeat in the next election. So both men are playing with fire, trying to capitalize on fear, the most powerful emotion in politics.

And it is working. Recent polls show the Tories’ tough-on-terror message connecting in Ontario and, especially, Quebec, opening a ray of hope for a government that until recently looked doomed.

That’s fair play, but I’m worried that Mr. Harper will add fuel to the fire, linking terrorism to mosques — as he did when he introduced C-51 — inveighing against niqabs in fundraising emails and scaring everyone by warning about “jihadist monsters” at every opportunity.

Mr. Harper’s back is to the wall. If he loses the next election, or even fails to win it convincingly, his career is likely over.

Since oil prices collapsed, the economy is not the political winner it once was, leaving fear as his best issue.

Things could get ugly between now and the election.

  Stephen Maher: Tough talk about Muslims by Canadian politicians is unnecessary  

And Andrew Coyne issues a further warning:

On the surface, the insistence of Obama and other leaders that “this has nothing to do with Islam,” would seem as odd as that of their critics, that it has everything to do with Islam. As David Frum writes on the Atlantic website, “it seems a strange use of authority for an American president to take it upon himself to determine which interpretations of Islam are orthodox and which are heretical.” But there is a strong case for saying such things, even if you don’t believe them — especially if you don’t believe them — precisely in the service of fighting terrorism.

The one thing that could be predicted to cause more Muslims, here and abroad, to believe that violence against the West was justified would be if they were to become convinced that, indeed, there is “a clash of civilizations,” that Islam was under attack, and that they themselves, as practitioners of the religion, were objects of suspicion and hostility. The phenomenon is often observed in other social groups that, rightly or wrongly, feel themselves besieged: they will close ranks, even with those with whom they might otherwise have no sympathy.

That would be a calamitous setback to efforts, largely successful, to win the cooperation of the Muslim community in rooting out the few radicals in their midst. Which takes us to the rhetoric of the Harper government. Merely referring to “Islamic extremism” or “jihadism” would be unobjectionable in itself. But when coupled with recent, needless interventions in such volatile debates as whether the niqab may be worn at citizenship ceremonies, it suggests at best a troubling indifference to the importance of symbols and the need for those in power to go out of their way to reassure those in minority groups that they have not been targeted.

It may be good politics. But they are playing with fire.

Violent extremism or jihadism: The case for watching our language on terror

Lastly, Salim Mansur’s efforts to compare Indian religious and cultural practice restrictions doesn’t work: there is a difference between bigamy, child marriage, concubinage, FGM, which directly impact upon the rights of others or impact on the health of the person, unlike the wearing of a niqab.

The only valid comparison is that with other religious closing and headgear accommodations  (which the niqab is) and other dress code conventions (i.e., one cannot demand government services or attend a citizenship ceremony full or partially naked).

But we need to compare apples with apples, not oranges:

The same week the Federal Court ruled the niqab ban unlawful, India’s Supreme Court ruled that bigamy and polygamy is not protected under Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, which refers to freedom of conscience and religion. The justices of the Indian Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that the appellant, Khursheed Ahmad Khan, in taking a second wife while remaining married to his first wife, violated the civil service regulations that do not permit bigamy and polygamy as part of religious belief. The justices agreed a “bigamous marriage amongst Muslims is neither a religious practice nor a religious belief and certainly not a religious injunction or mandate.”

The relevant point here is that certain practices — such as bigamy or child marriage, concubinage, female genital mutilation, etc. — even when permitted by a religion, need to be distinguished from religious belief as customary practices. In making this appropriate distinction, the Indian courts have ruled, with the Supreme Court in agreement, that what is protected under Article 25 is religious belief, not practices that may run counter to public order, health or morality.

This ruling of the Indian Supreme Court is instructive. India shares with Canada the system of government and democratic traditions handed down from Britain. India is also the world’s third-largest Muslim country after Indonesia and Pakistan. In ruling that bigamy and polygamy are in violation of India’s laws, the courts have defended the rights of women, especially Muslim women, in terms of equality rights, and against Muslim Shariah-based laws that discriminate against them in favour of men.

Canadian courts would be well advised to make a similar and appropriate distinction between religious beliefs and customary practices, and whether any or all customs should be protected under the Charter provision of religious freedom.

Salim Mansur: Defending the niqab ban

One Canada vs. the multicultural mosaic – Local – The Prince Albert Daily Herald

Commentary by Salim Mansur, one of the critics of Canadian multiculturalism, building upon former Prime Minister Diefenbaker’s vision of “unhyphenated” Canadian identity.

Mansur mischaracterizes Canadian multiculturalism as being anything goes, all cultures equal etc. He fails to acknowledge that recognizing other cultural identities within common Canadian legal and other frameworks, integration can be enhanced as it is not an absolute either/or requirement. Again, while cultural expressions like food and folklore, or a general tolerance for religious symbols (save the niqab), these all take place within a Canadian context. Yes, there are excesses, some individuals and groups push for more, but major deepening of multiculturalism to allow religious based family courts or funding for faith-based schools were rejected). The Canadian model works better than any of the European models with range from unitary (France) to deep multiculturalism (Holland at one time).

He is right, of course, that today’s world – free communications, specialty TV channels, cheap travel – make it easier for people to maintain their identity of origin. And he is right to flag the risks of excessive accommodation to overall integration.

Not a balanced article but one view.

One Canada vs. the multicultural mosaic – Local – The Prince Albert Daily Herald.

Muslim immigration weakens Canada’s liberalism: political scientist | Ottawa Citizen

Muslim immigration weakens Canada’s liberalism: political scientist | Ottawa Citizen.