Skip to comments.National security vs. Liberal ethno-politics (e.g. racist pandering, anti-Semitism)
Posted on 02/27/2007 10:10:54 AM PST by GMMAC
National security vs. Liberal ethno-politics
Jonathan Kay, National Post
Published: Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Last week's Parliamentary dust-up between Stephen Harper and Sikh- Canadian Liberal MP Navdeep Bains should have reminded Canadians of a similar melodrama that took place seven years ago.
In May, 2000, Liberal Cabinet ministers Paul Martin and Maria Minna attended a fund raising gala for the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils (FACT), a group the U.S. State Department and officials within CSIS have identified as a front for the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist militia waging civil war in Sri Lanka.
When Reform politicians challenged Martin and Minna on their attendance, Martin insisted the event was nothing more than a "celebration of dance." When that didn't fly, Liberals accused the Reform party of bigotry. Martin said his critics were a "lynch mob." Minna claimed that suspicions of FACT were motivated by anti-Tamil "racism." With more than 200,000 Tamil-Canadians to be courted, it looked as if the Liberals couldn't be bothered with the fine points of a foreign conflict that had claimed 60,000 lives and was being funded by millions of dollars collected annually by Tamil bagmen here in Canada.
In one important sense, it is unfair to lump Bains in with Martin and Minna: Bains isn't accused of consorting with anybody who's been linked to terrorism -- except at his own wedding. Last week's controversy erupted when Kim Bolan of the Vancouver Sun revealed that not only has Bains' father-in-law acted as a spokesmen for a Sikh terrorist group, he is also allegedly one of the people whom officials seek to question as part of the ongoing Air India investigation. Nevertheless, the underlying themes are the same as in 2000. Now, as then, the Liberals are accusing the Conservatives of racism. More credibly, the Conservatives are casting a light on the Liberals' addiction to ethno-politics, an addiction that could potentially threaten national security.
The majority view is that Harper overplayed his hand last Wednesday. Speaking during Question Period, he implied that Stephane Dion was forcing his caucus to oppose the extension of two provisions of the 2001 Anti-Terrorism Act -- one of which permits officials to compel witnesses to appear before the Air India investigation -- in order to protect the family of an MP whose support was critical to Dion's victory at December's Liberal leadership convention in Montreal. Bains looked wounded, and the Liberals made a great show of comforting him for the press gallery.
But Harper may prove the long-run winner. Even if Bains' father-in-law has nothing to do with Dion's decision to oppose national security legislation that his own party drafted just five years ago, there is little doubt that certain ethnopolitical special interests are calling the shots here. Among veteran Liberal insiders, it is believed that the several hundred Sikh convention delegates Bains and his allies led into the Dion camp (via Gerard Kennedy) came with a price: an end to the investigative powers contained in the Anti-Terrorism Act, which was opposed for predictable reasons by various Sikh, Tamil and Muslim organizations.
Indeed, I am informed by a well-informed source that the critical deals were cut months in advance, and were driven by Bains -- and, in the case of Muslim delegates, by Arab-Canadian MP Omar Alghabra -- through Kennedy, who'd been staked out early by ethno-politicians as an empty vessel into which they could pour their parochial agendas.
These machinations should not be confined to history's footnotes: The Montreal Liberal convention was a close-fought thing, and the mass migration of hundreds of well-herded delegates along ethnic lines was likely the deciding factor. If more information comes out about unsavoury deals, Dion's image as a squeaky-clean enviro-wonk will erode, and traditional voter suspicion about sleazy Liberal ethno-politics will bubble to the surface. Given the high stakes -- we are, after all, talking about a law that could help us learn the truth about the greatest terrorist attack in Canadian history, as well as prevent even greater carnage in the future-- the issue could prove explosive.
No reasonable person opposes the participation of ethnic minorities in Canadian politics. What we should oppose, however, is ethnic delegates being manoeuvred en masse from one political camp to another by community leaders or their proxies.
Despite the brouhaha surrounding Bains, it is important to note that this is not just a Sikh issue. Various Muslim delegates to the Montreal convention, I am reliably informed, made it quite plain that their support was available to the candidate who said the nastiest things about Israel. (I cannot know what Michael Ignatieff 's frame of mind was when, one month earlier, he accused Israel of "war crimes" during a media interview. But for a man who'd previously declared that he wasn't "losing sleep" over Israel's response to Hezbollah's aggression, the tenor of his comments was odd to say the least.)
The 45 Tamil delegates, too, made their price plain. According to Muslim Canadian Congress founder Tarek Fatah, an early critic of the ethno-politics he witnessed in Montreal, Tamil delegates shunned Bob Rae when he properly told their leader -- a notorious Tiger apologist named Rev. Francis Xavier -- that, if elected prime minister, he wouldn't reverse Stephen Harper's principled decision to put the Tamil Tigers on Canada's list of officially banned terrorist groups.
Thanks to Rae's official recommendation in favour of an investigation into the 1985 Air India bombing, the former Ontario premier was shunned by Sikhs, as well. (A prominent organizer working for Bains circled the convention floor in Montreal, telling Sikhs that Rae was "bad for Sikhs.") To his great credit, Rae never backtracked in order to play the ethno-political game. And to this day, he remains one of the few high profile Liberals in favour of the expiring Anti-Terrorism Act provisions -- a fact that I believe will work in his favour at the next Liberal leadership convention.
(Muslims, too, vilified Rae in Montreal. As Tarek Fatah reported, the president of the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) circulated an e-mail to Muslim delegates warning them that Rae's wife is a member of a Jewish advocacy group, and that they shouldn't "elect a leader who supports apartheid." Alghabra, a former CAF president, stood by mute while these events unfolded.)
Today, Parliament is expected to vote on the expiring Anti-Terrorism Act provisions. And if everything goes to script, a whipped Liberal caucus will stand with the peacenik extremists in the Bloc and NDP to water down our national security -- all to cement dubious intra-Liberal alliances. It will be interesting to see how many Liberals (if any) have the guts to stand up to Dion, who's declared that he won't sign the nomination papers of any dissenters.
Being shunned by your own is a steep price to pay for a politician. But by paying it, principled Liberals will not only be striking a blow against terrorism, but also the corrosive scourge of ethno-politics eating away at their party.
© National Post 2007
I don't get it either but in talking with others it comes down to the Liberal and NDP party promise to give you things. The CPC on the other hand promises you less red tape and the ability to get something yourself if you work for it.
It appears we are a lazy bunch in this country that would rather have the goodies without the work and that's how the Liberals win. Of course the fact that the Liberals never seem to fulfill any of these promises never enters their minds.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.