“Regardless of the committees you’re on, the roles you have, regardless of party demands; and the partisanship that will continue to exist in this House … your one job that you cannot forget is to be a strong voice in service of the people who sent you here from your constituencies.”
Methinks that sentiment from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may be the foundation for the next election. Dearly beloved Eyesers, let’s continue to be “a strong voice in service of the people.”
Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” while Nelson Mandela asks “How will you serve?”
“I was tremendously honoured to be part of the celebrations organized by the Islamic Society of Ajax. Liberal victory!” newly minted Grenada-born MP for Whitby Celina Caesar-Chavannes said on Facebook.
In another post, Caesar-Chavannes added, “Ok, so to say that I had fun today would be an understatement” as she listed some of her activities, including “Attended a fundraising gala, praised the Scouts for their cleaning campaign, helping to decorate Children’s Safety Village, at the Seniors’ Activity Centre and attended the Black veterans event at Ryerson University.”
Pre-election, Caesar-Chavannes was honoured at the JCA recently and was the MC during Trudeau’s visit to the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) Centre of Excellence with several Liberal candidates, so Black and Caribbean people were being included.
But there is the absence of a Caribbean / Black cabinet minister.
Cecil Foster, Barbadian-born policy adviser under former Ontario Conservative premier Mike Harris, added his two-cents to the discussion: “Canada’s blacks: Still waiting for their moment of ‘real change’.” (Foster used a lower case ‘b’ on Blacks.)
“Unfortunately, there is a sense that the blacks in Canada have been slighted,” Foster wrote.
For my part, I think Caribbean / Black / African Canadians who question the cabinet’s racial makeup are looking at a half-empty glass – consider the ministers of East Indian and First Nations heritage, not to mention the gender parity of the ministers.
But let’s consider what we are doing as a Caribbean / Black / African-Canadian community.
We have a Black Toronto police chief in Mark Saunders. We got what we prayed for but we also got a proponent of carding or racial profiling who considers it a worthwhile tool to catch bad guys.
Also, every year, we beg for money to jump and wave, wine on something, as the white peeps smile all da way to da bank with some $400 million in Carnival cash. And we’ve fussed and fought from day one about who has the Carnival power, perqs, etc. Shame!
As for the Black Business and Professional Association, thanks to the banks for the money and the city for free property! Circulating ‘Black’ money in the community? Yuh kidding me, right?
Then there is the fixation with carding while our young people shoot each other with alarming frequency.
And so on and so forth.
How many cabinet positions will satisfy us?
In the words of Trinidad and Tobago-born MPP Bas Balkissoon, our community makes a tremendous contribution but we fail to deliver cash and numbers to election campaigns.
But that is what other ethnic communities are doing – bringing hard cash and voter numbers and thus helping to pave the path to the cabinet table.
Eyes agrees with Foster, a professor and author, when he says “It is said values make societies. They are the cement that binds people together. And at the same time these values are produced by society, for it is society that instills values in us.”
Yes, there are no Black faces in the federal cabinet but in this glorious Canada of freedom and democracy, it’s up to our community to make its presence felt and become ”a strong voice in service of the people.”
As ye sow, so shall ye reap. Amen!