Sunday, October 14, 2007

Still on the rehash (if Dalton can break promises, so can I)

Very thought-provoking column by Norman Webster in today's Montreal Gazette - Lessons from the Ontario election.

He discusses the results of the election from the point of view of how the MMP system might have altered the results. No doubt this is a hollow victory for Dalton McGuinty:

"Sweeping victory," said the headlines, and so it was - in seats, which are all that count in our system. McGuinty can now, if he wishes, slide into comfortable-dictator mode à la Jean Chrétien, based on the support of less than one-quarter of the voters. You don't have to be a political scientist to discern further questions about legitimacy...

He states that we still need to be looking at some kind of electoral reform that delivers results more in line with the voters' wishes. I agree.

This past effort was a sham. There was no time to properly educate the electorate and debate the issue in an effective way. Personally, I felt that MMP was too fraught with pitfalls, but I don't feel that we should therefore unquestioningly accept FPTP as the single, perfect system.

However, the second half of Webster's column is even more intriguing:
Finally, a bit worryingly, the whole election turned on Conservative leader John Tory's pledge to support faith-based separate schools with public funds. The promise turned out to be political suicide. McGuinty seized the issue and ran with it, summing things up in his victory speech Wednesday night: "We work and build and dream together ... always, always, always, together."
That's a fine sentiment, but to some those are code words for not accommodating the immigrant Others and their differences in the new Canada. And so we have an Ontario election lost on unspoken fears of Islamic madrassas in Toronto the Good - not to mention a Quebec election hijacked by a soccer player wearing a head covering, or wacky proposals to ban hijabs and yarmulkes on public employees.

Canada's largest, most important province has sent a message about integration and cultural differences; it wants more of the first and less of the second, at least when it means special treatment. Politics, religion, schooling, race are potentially volatile areas.

This of course, brings to mind all the current debate in Quebec about 'reasonable accommodation'.

Here is my theory: Canadians are indeed a tolerant and welcoming group of people. Other than the natives, we are all immigrants to some degree. However, the problem is that a culture of political correctness has taken away our right to voice our concerns publicly. We smile, but inside we're furious and fearful that so many immigrants prefer to cloister themselves rather than blend in.

When we see Muslim women walking behind their husbands with only their eyes visible, we are reminded again and again of the differences. Some of us find that disturbing. But we are told to be quiet.

What happened this past Wednesday, I believe, was the collective voice of Ontario voters saying that this is where they draw the line.


* * * *
Christiana Blizzard - Grits getting too comfortable?

Linda Leatherdale - Ready for more hikes? (H/T to reader Bluetech)

Randall Denley - Liberal Special the easy choice. This is priceless:

...Voters are busy and impatient. Our jobs and families occupy most of our time and there just aren't enough hours in the day to attend to the demands of both. We are more interested in entertainment and consumerism than public policy. We demand instant results and get frustrated if something doesn't download in five seconds.

We don't have the mental energy or time to really think through an election. Instead, we take the same approach as we do when ordering a pizza. We just pick what we had the last time. That's why the incumbent special was a big hit again.

Premier Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal strategists understood this new Ontario reality best, and that's why they won the election. It's not that we can't think, but we don't want to think, and the Liberals know that. That's why the religious schools issue was so perfect. It let us choose who to vote for based on emotion, not reason...

See also Education still a big issue by Moira Macdonald.

Ontario Tories pit centre against right - Star's Ian Urquhart.


30 comments:

Lord Omar said...

When we see Muslim women walking behind their husbands with only their eyes visible, we are reminded again and again of the differences. Some of us find that disturbing. But we are told to be quiet.

Following my reading of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book 'Infidel', I find my thoughts and feelings on our own multicultural policies have been somewhat turned on head. If by continuing to allow new ethnic immigrant groups to live in insular clusters steeped in religious dogma then are we not doing them a disservice by preventing them to fully integrate into our secular Canadian society? Are ethnic ghettos with separate societal rules really the path best taken?

I just don't know anymore...

Calgary Junkie said...

Some general thoughts on Tory's bungling of the campaign ...

Whenever I hear a Conservative politician use the word "fair", I cringe. Leave that "messaging" where it belongs--with the Dippers, the Liberals, the unions, school children, NFLD, Nova Scotia, Sask, etc etc. Premier Stelmach is making the same mistake here, talking about the "fairness" of the royalties received from the Oil Companies. We are talking about adults negotiating with adults for the best deal each side can get.

Second, Tory needed to feed his social conservative base with something more substantial,like say hihglighting a tough on crime agenda. And throw a bone to the democratic reformers (like me) with talk about bringing in Senate elections. This also helps Harper. For the fiscal conservatives, how about something like reducing costs, starting with reducing the number of Ontario MPPs by 20 or so ?

Third, as Ted Morton said, "we should listen to our Conservative friends, not out Liberal enemies". I got the sense that Tory was pandering way too much to the "progressives". Why bother ?
In fact, the Ontario PCs should take the word "Progressive" out of their name, like we did at the federal level.

And fourth, if Tory (or any Conservative politician) needs guidance as to effective electoral strategy, look to Harper for guidance. Harper has succeeded in so many ways, he must be doing somthing right. So watch and learn from the guy. Tory could have tried a campaign with a promise in the morning, sound bytes and visuals for the media, stump speeches in the afternoon and night. And try a five priority messaging too, what the heck.

bluetech said...

Part of the problem remains with the education system itself.McGuinty and the teachers union want to keep the status quo.FBF was 'misused' by both parties.
cj is right..what was Tory offering really?
BBH!!

Swift said...

Being from Kitchener you shouldn't be falling for the line that those opposing faith based funding or accommodating every whim of some immigrant group as outright bigots or even intolerant. the German population of the Waterloo area have kept their culture and even their language alive for over one hundred and fifty years. Other than the Old Order Mennonites in the rural areas, they have not done this by rejecting the mainstream culture, but by embracing both. French Canadian culture and language have been kept alive in northern Ontario for even longer by the same method. While the Old Order Mennonites don't participate in our culture, they do not insist we change to accommodate them.

The real solution is to tell immigrants that if there is something in our society or culture or laws that you cannot tolerate and insist must be changed then don't come here.

This is the attitude of nine provinces. It is not the attitude of Quebec. Perhaps Webster and the Gazette should be looking at the attitude of Quebecers to cultures other than French Canadian.

If voters have a huge objection to parties with less than fifty percent of the vote forming a majority government, there is no need for voting reform to change that. All the voters need to do is vote for only two parties. Then each winning candidate will have over fifty percent of the vote in their riding. And only rarely would a party form the government without fifty percent of the popular vote. However the voters choose not to do that. Just because you don't like the results of an election is not a legitimate reason to call it undemocratic. Nor is it a reason to change the system.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Lots of great responses here. I cut my finger, so I can't type for a while. Interesting reading though. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

“When we see Muslim women walking behind their husbands with only their eyes visible, we are reminded again and again of the differences. Some of us find that disturbing. But we are told to be quiet.

What happened this past Wednesday, I believe, was the collective voice of Ontario voters saying that this is where they draw the line.”

Don’t be fooled by the pretexts being put forth by that anti-FBF crowd ie. we don’t have the money to do this or that separate schools will create a divisive society. Sure let’s keep state and church separate BUT who said the children of others belong to the state and are to be propagandized for the purses of the state, ie. Al Gores’ Inconvenient truth. Let people choose what they want their kids to learn and let everyone support the schools of their own choice.

The divisiveness exists on account of different belief systems. The core debate is between white secularists and white religionists. One side accuses the other side of being intolerant. The bushite faithful xenophobes jump in and drag in Islam to suit another agenda but they are in fact aiding the atheist secularists.

Which belief system is best for society? Do you outlaw others? Where do you start? Stop? How do you draw the line without stepping on the freedoms of any group? Is Canada’s security being threatened? Are our democratic institutions being undermined? Is our personal safety being threatened? The beef is that religionists are telling their kids that homosexuality is not normal. Are these Xian kids then going out gay bashing? You have a dozen young boys charged for assaulting females in TO schools. In one case they intentionally targeted a Muslim female. What garbage was pumped into these kids heads?
How does the state stop it? Number 1-let’s stop making these sweeping generalizations about other people.

Swift said...

Calgary junkie suggests Ontario should have twenty fewer ridings. I don't think he realizes how large some of the northern ridings are already. He can drive from Calgary to Fort McMurray in less time than I can drive from the west end of Manitoulin Island to one of the northern towns in the same riding. The problems of a representative of any of the large area ridings are enormous when it comes to staying in touch with their constituents and staying on top of problems and opportunities in their far flung ridings. Any enlargement of these ridings to lower the number of seats will make a bad situation even worse.

bluetech said...

Joanne, I don't often disagree with you, but what we saw last Wednesday was not the 'collective voices of Ontario' unless you are referring to the apathetic voice. When we do the numbers the Lib so-called majority does not represent 'collective voices'

Saline soaks, and REST will help your finger heal. Does it take an injury for you to take a break from this stuff? ...lol...

Don't read Linda Leatherdale today.Like I said you need a REST. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey Swift,

do the Mennonites have their own schools

have you heard of Rockway Mennonite collegiate

http://news.therecord.com/Opinions/article/244431

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Don't read Linda Leatherdale today

Oh boy....

Saline soaks? Wouldn't that sting? Oh, well. I'm already hurtin'.

Anonymous said...

“When we see Muslim women walking behind their husbands with only their eyes visible, we are reminded again and again of the differences. Some of us find that disturbing. But we are told to be quiet.

What happened this past Wednesday, I believe, was the collective voice of Ontario voters saying that this is where they draw the line.”

Don’t be fooled by the pretexts being put forth by that anti-FBF crowd ie. we don’t have the money to do this or that separate schools will create a divisive society. Sure let’s keep state and church separate BUT who said the children of others belong to the state and are to be propagandized for the purses of the state, ie. Al Gores’ Inconvenient truth. Let people choose what they want their kids to learn and let everyone support the schools of their own choice.

The divisiveness exists on account of different belief systems. The core debate is between white secularists and white religionists. One side accuses the other side of being intolerant. The bushite faithful xenophobes jump in and drag in Islam to suit another agenda but they are in fact aiding the atheist secularists.

Which belief system is best for society? Do you outlaw others? Where do you start? Stop? How do you draw the line without stepping on the freedoms of any group? Is Canada’s security being threatened? Are our democratic institutions being undermined? Is our personal safety being threatened? The beef is that religionists are telling their kids that homosexuality is not normal. Are these Xian kids then going out gay bashing? You have a dozen young boys charged for assaulting females in TO schools. In one case they intentionally targeted a Muslim female. What garbage was pumped into these kids heads?
How does the state stop it? Number 1-let’s stop making these sweeping generalizations about other people.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Bluetech, now at least I understand why Miller was so damn quiet during this election, and clapping wildly during any McGuinty speeches. Oh, how we have been used...

Swift said...

Does a cut finger stop Super Girl, Batwoman or Wonder Woman? Of course not. So if your super powers don't include rapid healing, then you will just have to learn a more advanced form of typing so your crusade against evil can continue unabated. It is called hunt and peck.

Anonymous said...

Time for the Province of Tranna to stand on it's own.

bluetech

liberal supporter said...

You said "damn"! And on Sunday!! Would that mean the cut finger was a preemptive punishment?

liberal supporter said...

If by continuing to allow new ethnic immigrant groups to live in insular clusters steeped in religious dogma then are we not doing them a disservice by preventing them to fully integrate into our secular Canadian society?

I never noticed that kind of "enclaving" lasting beyond the actual immigrant generation. The kids all know the traditions and are usually bilingual so they can talk to their elderly. Otherwise they are the same as everyone else.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

You said "damn"! And on Sunday!!.

What came out of my mouth when I did it was much worse - and that was right after church.

Lord Omar said...

The kids all know the traditions and are usually bilingual so they can talk to their elderly. Otherwise they are the same as everyone else.

Would that include those young homegrown Muslims rounded up in Ontario last year? You know the ones musing about chopping Harper's head off.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Lord Omar - I must pick up that book. Thanks for the tip.

Lord Omar said...

The first half of the book is about as comfortable as a beating to read. Her childhood of constant relocation, religious indoctrination, endless beatings (at the hands of her mother and grandmother) and female circumcision are simply horrific. That her sister finally succumbed to suicide is hardly surprising. But the second half of the book chronicling her arrival in Europe and subsequent rise through education leading to the Dutch Parliament are awe inspiring. Her veiws on Islam and multicultarlism are what had me reflecting on our own immigrant situation here at home. Yeah, I would call this book a definite 'must read'.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Yeah, I would call this book a definite 'must read'.

It sounds very profound. Thanks. I will add it to my reading list for sure.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Just put it on hold from the local library. :)

Joanne (True Blue) said...

To the Anonymous person who left the comment about Holland - I'm leery of letting that one through, but if you can supply some backup, I'll consider it. Thanks.

Möbius said...

Let's avoid commenting about the Dutch, if possible.

Anonymous said...

Hirsi Ali is right up there with Brigit Gabrrielle and Wafa Sultan.
Ironic that a culture that has tried to supress women has produced these three.

bluetech

SouthernOntarioan said...

Ethnic ghettos exist in Canada and always have. Its ironic that we're having the same arguments now that we've always been having. In the 1930s immigrants were routinely bashed for stealing Canadian jobs and putting a stress on our society with their different culture.

So they formed enclaves to get by. German enclaves near Kitchener (once called Berlin), Czech enclaves near Chatham, French communities all over the place. Two generations pass and these enclaves are almost completely obliterated. Their children are now Canadians through and through.

The difference probably is on the scale and the vast cultural gulf between the immigrant communities and Canadian general community. Most of this has to do with racism, not of white people against immigrants but often the other way around and between each other.

Many Chinese families still frown upon mixed couples in many parts of Ontario, and often have a particular dislike for Africans, Middle Easterners and South Asians. Many parts of the Cambodian community seriously hate Vietnamese. Etc..

Point being, ethnic enclaves often dissipate within a generation or two as their children integrate though our education system. Which is why I opposed Tory's plan. It allows children to fail to integrate entirely until they are too old to change their ways. I'm not saying, force immigrant children into public schools, but that it will happen naturally with a free public system.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

...but what we saw last Wednesday was not the 'collective voices of Ontario' unless you are referring to the apathetic voice. When we do the numbers the Lib so-called majority does not represent 'collective voices'

Good point, Bluetech.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Point being, ethnic enclaves often dissipate within a generation or two as their children integrate though our education system.

It would be interesting to see some studies on that regarding fundamentalist Muslims. I hope you are right though, S.O.

liberal supporter said...


"The kids all know the traditions and are usually bilingual so they can talk to their elderly. Otherwise they are the same as everyone else."

Would that include those young homegrown Muslims rounded up in Ontario last year? You know the ones musing about chopping Harper's head off.


Yes it would include them. Timothy McVeigh was "the same as the rest of us" too. Obviously the 17 are not the norm. Out of the 12 not underage, 5 are not born in Canada so they should not be included as "homegrown". Only one is stated explicitly to be born in Canada in the article here.

SouthernOntarioan said...

The problem comes Joanne when these kids start having idealized visions of what life in the 'old country' is like, without ever experiencing it. Things aren't as great as they imagine them to be in the 'old country' and so their nationalistic pride is misplaced.

I don't buy into the idea that 'racism by evil white people' causes these kids to become murderous sociopaths. Its their nationalistic pride.