Kellie Leitch and her dog whistle politics have no place in my Canada.
As we pivot to a world of greater justice and dignity, we need to beware of politicians peddling solutions to vague or non-existent problems. For it is in those solutions that politicians can reframe our society by stealth, smoke, innuendo and false resolute bluster.
After the Quebec mosque shooting a week ago, someone accused Leitch of contributing to the culture of racism, bigotry and terrorism by unfurling a banner, above, on her constituency office.
Leitch responded, in reference to her Canadian values test for new people: “Many Canadians don’t believe that they are racist because they agree with the policy.” Frankly, racists rarely admit to being racists. That being said…
Fellow leadership candidate Michael Chong framed this situation well: “This mosque attack is no accident: It’s a direct result of demagogues and wannabe demagogues playing to fears and prejudices. …Proposals to add an additional screen for immigrants based on anti-Canadian values is not a practical solution, and frankly, is playing to fears and prejudices.”
But Chong didn’t go far enough. He’s right that Leitch’s dog whistle screen is not a practical solution. But we need to have a national, public debate about what problem Leitch is trying to solve:
- Barbaric cultural practices? Leitch got verklempt trying to disown her involvement with that. So, no?
- White supremacists immigrating here? No. What if Leitch is one herself, attracting racist/racist group supporters from all over our beautiful land?
- Terrorists who are intolerant of other religions, as opposed to “homegrown terrorists” who we can’t screen? If there is a spate of immigrants who are authentic terror risks, or who are just making Old Stock Canadians worried about losing their white entitlement, let Leitch make her case. No, not “let” her, but demand that she make the case that Canada is vulnerable to…whatever she thinks we are.
In the meantime, let’s put Leitch on notice that until she defines the risk, explicitly, we will continue framing her as a fear-mongering racist.