You would think in this era of instant communications and extensive broadcast media coverage throughout rural Canada, there would be little excuse for rural politicians to have so little understanding of their country. And yet, Leamington, Ontario Mayor John Paterson has joined Conservative MP Kelly Leitch in demanding that newcomers to Canada conform to their version of Canadian culture.
Xenophobia must be rampant. (Our Oxford Concise tells us that xenophobia is a morbid fear of foreigners.) Promoted by Trump in the U.S. and shouted out throughout Europe, xenophobes have been less evident in Canada. They can be embarrassing—like the bad manners of that premier’s son who stood in line to greet the royals with his hands in his pockets.
But the small-town mayor further embarrasses Canadians by suggesting that Canada’s history is tied to Great Britain and the monarchy. He thinks those ties are more important than promoting multiculturalism. It makes one wonder about the quality of his education about Canada.
The first question for both of these Ontario rednecks is what the heck do they think Canadian values might be? They need to think long and hard before answering that question. It might also help if they can also think about the answer in French and some of the country’s aboriginal languages.
Mayor Paterson says “Come to Canada and be Canadian.” He thinks that means you have to be an Anglophone and a monarchist. We expect Kelly Leitch would echo that but we have never heard her say it.
But in the same way as the Republican candidate for the U.S. presidency uses this fear of foreigners to rail against Latino’s, Muslims, blacks and women, you begin to wonder if there is anyone he likes besides himself. These Ontario rednecks are certainly not doing their political careers much good. Leitch is hardly going to take her campaign for the Conservative leadership to Quebec. While her Canadian values might translate and have a certain appeal to the Parti Québécois, those people are not really in tune with your typical Conservative Party supporters.
Canada has every right to be proud of its reputation around the world for its tolerance and acceptance of multiculturalism. It is a wonderful country but it only takes a few dimwits with the wrong attitude to screw things up!
Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry
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