Canadians have once again good reason to hang their heads in shame. A whole caucus of politicians has failed to support a motion in Parliament aimed at roundly condemning an act of blatantly racist violence.
The motion in question was motivated by the recent violent attack at a mosque in Quebec, in which a White extremist shot and killed six Muslims.
Liberal MP Ms.Iqra Khalid had laid before the House of Commons her private member’s motion that sought to obtain condemnation of Canada’s increasing public climate of hate and fear, including Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination. The motion also sought a mandate for a study aimed at reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination, including Islamophobia in the country.
The failure of the Conservative members of parliament to support the motion contrasts sharply with their caucus’ passionate condemnation of two incidents in October 2014 when Canadian converts to the Muslim faith shot and killed two Canadian soldiers.
Apparently, terrorism is not really worthy of unanimous and unreserved condemnation as terrorism if the perpetrators are White, non-Muslim extremists.
We cannot escape the fact that hate speech and hate attacks in Canada have increased suddenly and sharply. Clearly the closet racists on our side of the border have been venturing out into the open, emboldened by the success of the race-baiting, anti-immigrant electoral campaign in the USA that led to the installation of President Donald Trump and his newly announced anti- Muslim policies.
For the umpteenth time, it is worth repeating that racism is a matter of seeking to establish and maintain control and power over the minds, bodies and lives of persons of another ethnic, racial and cultural group by deeming those persons inferior and unworthy of respect in their own right.
Believe it or not, Canada is possibly the only industrialized country that still has the capacity to significantly limit the growth of White racism perpetrated against those of its inhabitants who are categorized as visible minorities.
That is the good news.
The bad news is that the country’s three major political parties, the Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP’ers, are not motivated to get the job done.
The Liberals, who should be the ones most disposed to take up the challenge, have not yet realized the full gravity of the problem and the enormous benefits to be reaped in overcoming the challenge.
In that regard, the Liberals have not yet reached the intellectual maturity that accepts racism as a social disease that also reduces our society’s capacity to make full use of its human resources in the production of goods and services. Racism makes our economy less competitive in more ways than one.
That is why the Liberals do not recognize that White Canadians’ racism against visible minorities deserves a level of priority that is at least equal to the policy and program attention that we assign to battling slow economic growth, unemployment among our youth, poverty, inequality, and the shortage of stable middle income jobs.
Even when the Liberals get an inkling of the negative effects of racism, they remain inhibited, not quite convinced. They are yet to grasp the enormous boost to the whole society that can be derived from a strategy that defeats racism in the day-to-day implementation of policies and programs that simultaneously promote education and innovation; the arts and the sciences; social sciences and natural sciences; economic development and social development.
The Conservatives, on the other hand, have a set of values that leaves them politically and emotionally incapable of seeing that those economic and social problems are the direct consequences of the defects in our economic system and in the way in which the world economy functions.
Accordingly, racism, in the Conservative mindset, is a not a priority for government’s policy attention. So-called social issues like racism, poverty and inequality do not deserve the same level or type of priority as productivity, competitivity, supply-chain efficiency, “free trade” and the globalization of goods, financing and other services.
The NDP’ers, unlike the Liberals and the Conservatives are too divided and marginalized to develop and maintain a stable position on any policy issue, whether it be racism, the merits of balancing the budget, or poverty reduction.
Racism against visible minorities inside Canada goes hand-in-hand with the negative thinking that sees immigrants and refugees wishing to enter Canada as less worthy of Canada and less worthy of respectful treatment.
Racism seeks to exercise control and power over visible minorities. It is not at all a new phenomenon in Canada .
The racists seek to extend that control and power by consolidating in the minds of the victims the centuries-old indoctrination according to which visible minorities are only worthy of admission into Canadian society as inferior and as subordinate to the members of the reigning white culture.
We welcome the growing awareness that we need to strengthen our monitoring and accountability systems, for example through, for example, the establishment of an Anti-Racism Directorate in each province.