Novel NewSometimes the tongue is quicker than the mind. That was evident in the federal political leaders debate the night of Thursday, September 17, in Calgary, AB. In keeping with the current federal election campaign, the debate surrounded the ongoing Syrian (and other nationals) refugee crisis in Europe and what the Canadian government’s role should be in helping the hundreds of thousands of refugees looking for a safe haven.
Canadians are asking how many refugees should Canada welcome (in addition to the approximately 2,374 it has apparently already taken in) and the government’s seeming reluctance to show some humanity by admitting a few more thousands to set down roots in various parts of this vast, under-populated spacious place.
According to reports, the government has promised to accept 11,300 by the end of the year; but many Canadians are calling on the government to accept up to 50,000.
Those who favour welcoming more refugees are looking at the practical side of immigration—the inevitable economic boost once the refugees get settled. The benefits will include job creation (the result of entrepreneurs setting up small… medium-sized) businesses), which would ultimately boost Canada’s sluggish economy. A larger population translates into more goods and services, needed produced and consumed, and more people hired and paying taxes… Immigrants are good for any country’s economy.
Why would Germany (despite growing, right wing, anti-immigration sentiment) be taking in so many refugees if it didn’t make economic sense? Immigrants have contributed to what today is Europe’s largest economy.
One of the questions raised in the debate was that of health-care benefits for immigrants/refugees, a subject with which the Harper government has been preoccupied for some time. During the leaders’ debate, the prime minister denied his government had taken away those […] benefits from immigrants and legitimate refugees, saying that those who had been refused were “bogus refugee claimants.”
“We do not offer them a better health care plan than the ordinary Canadian can receive,” Harper said. “I think that’s something that both new and existing and old-stock Canadians can agree with.”
“Old stock Canadians…?”
Well, that remark rankled many Canadians (some of whom are “Old stock”, but not of a Conservative persuasion, and set off a firestorm of criticism and questions… many accusing the Prime Minister of playing divisive politics…
Some stated outright that the prime minister’s remark was quote, “stoked with racist overtones… and part of an overall Conservative campaign to engage in identity politics or stoke fears against other groups…”
While the prime minister’s handlers, no doubt “old stock Canadians,” viewed the statement as innocuous, it is nevertheless open to all kinds of interpretation. And people are still reacting.
During a CBC radio interview on the magazine show, The Current, a former Liberal MP denounced the Prime Minister’s use of the term, calling it “code.” And, to illustrate that she belongs, she took the host and listeners on a journey of her eclectic pedigree, a sort of affirmation that she is “old stock” (not in a racial and condescending sense, but generational), albeit of a different persuasion.
That said, given his Conservativeness, I believe in the heat of the debate the prime minister’s innermost feelings… beliefs bubbled to the surface; he was simply unable to contain them. That’s what happens to people in the public eye, who commit a faux pas, when their innermost beliefs… feelings are revealed and they’re forced to apologize publicly and/or resign. [As far as his “old stock” remark goes, no one can really say what motivated him to say what he did. But…]
But his opponents were quick to attack, accusing him of  “[…] using security concerns as an excuse to keep Canada’s doors shut to the plight of thousands of Syrian refugees.”
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said the PM is “[…] choosing to divide Canadians and to use fear in his politics simply isn’t worthy of a prime minister of Canada.”
For his part, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair commented, “I think we’re all Canadians and I don’t like dividing…”
Someone wondered if “old stock Canadians” is similar to “pur laine Quebecois.”
Listening to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s remark made me think of renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson, contender for the U.S. Republican presidential nomination, and his conservative spin on some of the social issues afflicting America.
In a recent TV interview, he demonized the Black Lives Matter movement by referring to those associated with it as “bullies.”
Was it an example of [his Republican/Conservative] steeping getting the better of him, political expediency, or does he truly believe that the movement has no merit, that its founding is not a legitimate and practical response/solution to a legitimate cause — the epidemic of killings of Black males by white police in the U.S?
Instead of pounding the pavement or engaging in other legitimate (and legal) forms of protest, Carson, quote, “called on the social justice movement to take on new targets: school boards, the entertainment industry, city halls, crack houses and both the Democratic and Republican parties in Washington.”
This, in his view, would be a legitimate response to police bullets.
On a recent visit to Ferguson, Mo., still dealing with the aftermath of the tragic police shooting of Michael Brown, Carson told a CBS News reporter that the BLM movement is “foisting itself on people, rather than engaging in dialogue, and bullying people. I never liked the idea of bullying on behalf of anybody.”
Given the context for the founding of the BLM movement (“that’s sickening to me,” he said), Carson would prefer the vague and innocuous “All lives matter.”
He also told the reporter during his Ferguson visit and whatever transpired in the wake of Browns shooting, “For me it conjured up an image of the people feeling that they have been unjustly treated by the police and that justifies civil disturbance. It also conjures up an image of the people being unwilling to actually face the facts. I think the community is unwilling to face the fact that Michael Brown was a bad actor.”
Which is why he was killed by Darren Wilson, because of his acting skills?
Conservatives thinking…
Yes, he intimidated that shopkeeper, stole a box of cigars… whatever, a misdemeanor; but no reason for his killing.
And more, Carson said that race needs to be de-emphasized, and respect emphasized. “I would prefer [that ‘black’] be taken out…”
In keeping with Dr. Carson’s Republican-Conservative ideology and agenda, such was his liberal criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The more I listen to Conservative talk, the more I realize that given my world view and thinking the proverbial “trains” will never meet.
Meanwhile, I know a young man who is a staunch Conservative, in love with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whom he met once. [Wonder if he knows he will never be viewed and embraced as “old stock.”]
That fellow talks of “dope smoking hippies,” etc. You know that kind of Republican-Conservative talk that was popular among Conservative types in the 60s, 70s?
The paradox here is that that young man comes out of a home where the thinking is left of his. But his father is trying hard to convince him that his thinking is wrong, with hopes of (re-) indoctrinating him.
Hopefully, he’ll get to him before October 19.