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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

The Folly of Pure Laine

Politics, if you haven't noticed yet, isn't about policy. 
There was a time where leaders had the stones to put forward visions and seek to inspire people to follow them, but that time isn't now.  Fearing the consequences of risking big ideas or simply lacking the creativity to devise them, Political Parties are focused on turning people against each other rather than unifying them behind a dream.
When the message is "only we can protect you from those who would harm you," people stop being introspective and start getting antsy about The Other.  Responsibility, collaborative solutions and positive actions slowly give way to bitterness, blame, recrimination and punishment.
That's what Jobbik is doing in Hungary.  It's what Golden Dawn is doing in Greece.  It is beyond disappointing that any Canadian politician would opt to play that game; yes, it works, but there are consequences to fostering divides along religious or cultural reasons.
If Sikhs are banned from wearing turbans and Muslim women are banned from wearing veils in government institutions, you have essentially banned those individuals from government institutions.  That means people who wear symbols of their faith cannot be doctors, judges, bureaucrats, politicians in Quebec.  It also means they can't use government services, either.
Well, there are Sikhs, Muslims Canadians of faith that do work for the government of Quebec - many of them would leave the province instead of giving up who they are, becoming religious refugees within Canada's very own borders.
Do you think less trained professionals in Quebec is suddenly going to empower non-religious Quebecers to fill those gaps?  Keep dreaming.  Service will decline, waiting lists will expand and the same people who are looking to take out frustrations on someone else will only get angrier.  Meanwhile, those folk in society who change will increasingly be stigmatized just as their lack of access to government services starts to take a toll on their well-being. 
If the same populist political track is kept up (or left unchallenged by other governments), the temptation to go one step further and flame the fires a bit more will consume other Parties.  The urge to force conformity upon those who hold fast to their beliefs will become stronger.
All in the name of creating a safe, secure society where everyone gets along because everyone is the same. 
There is very little I fear - difference is never a threat, always an opportunity.  The thing that does put a chill in my bones, though, is watching people blindly repeat mistakes of the past.
I hope we never see a time in Canadian history where an Orthodox Jewish man is forced to cut off his payot to fit in.  That would go against everything Canada is supposed to stand for. 
Especially at this volatile point in history where governments are persecuting citizens based on who they are, we have to be better than that.

We're Canada; if we don't lead by example - who will?


It's all over the place these days - have our leaders completely forgotten that power isn't an end, but a means?

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