For over 50 years, I have believed I was living in a democracy. Lately, I’m not so sure.
In a democracy, the people of the country get to decide who governs them. Everybody gets an equal say; nobody gets to appoint themselves above the others and dictate to the rest of us who we are allowed to listen to, or who we should be allowed to vote for.
Recently, local activist Hasan Hai and St. John’s realtor John Riche attempted to disrupt a political fundraiser for the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) by spreading misinformation via Twitter and other social and mainstream media. In your June 8 edition article by David Maher, “Controversial start for People’s Party in Newfoundland and Labrador,” Hai says his intent was purely to make the Woodstock Colonial Inn aware of some of the comments made by PPC Candidate Darryl Kenney.
No, Hai did much more. In a Twitter thread, he accused Kenney of “seething bigotry and hate,” even as he and Riche discussed ways to prevent the PPC from sharing their message with ordinary Newfoundlanders and Labradorians by “(expediting) the process” of shutting down our fundraiser.
I’m tired of people like Hai and Riche yelling “neo-Nazi” and “fascist” every time they encounter speech they disagree with. I’m sick of people like that appointing themselves as the ultimate authority on what constitutes racism and bigotry, and dictating to ordinary Newfoundlanders and Labradorians what they’re allowed to listen to, as if they think we are somehow too stupid to make up our own minds and must be led, like sheep, to the “correct” decisions.
Both my parents served in the Canadian military. My father was a combat engineer who fought in the Korean War, crawling through minefields, clearing the way for others. I don’t like being lectured on my commitment to democracy by some come-from-away from Ottawa whose idea of democracy is dictating to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who we should be allowed to support in a free election.
In a democracy, good people who step forward to run shouldn’t be threatened, just because they don’t hold “politically correct” views. In a democracy, candidates shouldn’t feel they have to withdraw from the race because their family members feel threatened, as Kenney has just done. In a democracy, a local restaurant that has been in business for almost a century shouldn’t have to worry about losing customers just because some social media mob decides to dictate which registered political parties they should be “allowed” to do business with.
As evidence of “bigotry and hate,” Maher quoted one of Kenney’s posts calling for “no more immigration from countries who refuse to assimilate; no more putting illegals before war veterans, homeless and seniors; no more taxpayer money going to support terrorists.”
These may be strong and disturbing words, but we, the people, have the right to decide for ourselves whether they are racist.
On the first point, even the CBC acknowledges that there are immigrants who refuse to assimilate. Just watch CBC’s “The Fifth Estate” “Polygamy in Canada: An Open Secret,” Jan. 13, 2019) on how Muslim women in Canada are betrayed and abandoned by men who think Canadian laws against polygamy are optional.
To paraphrase comedian Ken Davis: we love immigrants; we’re proud that you chose our country; but if you’re offended by our flag, our laws, or our traditions, then maybe you came to the wrong country.
On the second and third points, didn’t Justin Trudeau tell a disabled veteran “You’re asking for more than we can give,” even as he gave $10.5 million to terrorist Omar Khadr, who took up arms against his own country in wartime? Not Trudeau’s own money, mind you – our money. Taxpayer money.
How is it racist to condemn a government that rewards traitors for committing treason?
Playing the race card is insulting to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, the most welcoming people in the world. Playing the race card is old, it’s tired and it’s a lazy tactic to avoid real debate.