Monday, December 26, 2005

Liberal Party racism

Despite the odd silence from the corporate media over the sick slobber of hatred drooling from the mouth of one Mike Klander, a senior Liberal official in Ontario, the blogosphere has risen to the challenge: numerous references to his views have surfaced, with the appropriate pithy commentary. Let's keep it up.

Three things are immediately obvious. First, Klander should be prosecuted under Canada's hate speech legislation (Section 319 [2] of the Criminal Code of Canada). Secondly, he should be ousted from his job. Thirdly, the first two things aren't going to happen. Why? Because he’s a Liberal.

Liberals protect their own, from stamp-licking hopefuls in campaign offices to the Prime Minister of the country--whether we’re talking about the power-drunk Jean Chrétien or his creepy successor, Paul Martin. They can steal money from the public purse with impunity, they can utter hateful racist, homophobic, ableist comments on public blogs, they can (and do) threaten their opponents with court action for criticizing them during an election campaign, or even have them jailed. They hold the reins of power, and it's about as easy to pry them from their insidious grip as it is to get a gun away from Charlton Heston.

Various so-called "ethnic communities," including the Chinese community that Klander slurs, have traditionally been friendly to the Liberals, for a variety of reasons, all of them beginning to lose their lustre: a relatively enlightened immigration policy (tainted by the reintroduction of the head tax and patronage appointments of know-nothings to the Immigration and Refugee Board), inclusiveness in candidate selection (losing its shine after the Jean Augustine ouster in favour of the Americanized war-hawk Michael Ignatieff), and acres of idle rights talk. Compared to the Conservatives, whose copy-book is not only blotted but by now virtually illegible, the Liberals have looked reasonably enlightened on racial issues. But "looked" is clearly the operative word.

One simply has to examine the sorry history of the Lubicon and of other Indian bands, or the "none is too many" policy on Jewish immigration before and during the Second World War, or the more recent imperial excursion into Haitian affairs, to know that the Liberals have nothing to boast about and plenty to be ashamed of when it comes to these matters. It's been a long, sordid tale of power for its own sake, convenient public anti-racism promulgated for political effect, skin-deep anti-sexism (just ask the women who fought for pay equity in the federal public service about that), and Colgate smiles. In the backrooms, could we but lift up that rock, we would see the scurrying and scuttling that has been keeping this party alive for years: a teeming mass of maggots and cockroaches, frantically feeding on the body politic.

There is nothing unique about Klander or his views. Liberals can believe anything they want, and say and do anything they want, with one exception: they must remain loyal to the party, meaning the PMO. And they do: for such loyalty brings its rewards, sometimes of staggering value. Klander will stay where he is; the spin doctors will make his heinous views disappear into thin air; his vicious, racist attack on Olivia Chow will be turned into a "just kidding," or a "wuzn’t me," the Liberals will get another mandate, and the universe will continue unfolding as it should.

Where is the tipping point? Will Tony Ianno’s razor-thin margin over Olivia Chow last time hold after this? Maybe not. But will Canadians of all hues and abilities wake up to the damp and fetid reality that is the Natural Governing Party today? Maybe someday. But not, alas, on E-day, thanks to the first-past-the-post voting system that excludes an array of rational political choices, and a gigatonne of friendly media spin.

If I seem at various points in the foregoing to be channelling David Warren, tant pis. I’m a Canadian, and I'm disgusted. And I'll still be that way, I'm afraid, on January 24. For the record, I’m voting NDP. Maybe we have a shot, at least, of keeping the awful Martin crony Richard Mahoney at bay in Ottawa-Centre, and putting the gentle and decent Paul Dewar into the House. But, even if we're successful, it's one minor battle on the losing side of the war. Until the stubborn minority of Canadians who vote Liberal, perhaps because the choices are so limited, wake up and realize that what they’re smelling...isn’t coffee.

UPDATE: (December 26, 6:20 EST) This just in. Klander has stepped down from his position as Executive Vice-President of the Liberal Party (Ontario). The usual damage control spinmeistering is revving up: a Liberal spokesman says he spoke only for himself, his views don't represent those of the Liberal Party, he apologized to Olivia Chow, and he played no official role for the Liberals in this election campaign....


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