I love it when the Canadian media and establishment rushes to reassure us—despite the fact that the United States is about to elect its first African-American president—that cross-cultural tolerance and diversity are actually Canadian hallmarks, and we’re so much more open to these things than our southern neighbour. The condescension and soft-headedness in this CP article is stunning.
Here is the Honorable Lincoln Alexander—Canada’s first black MP, and Ontario’s first black Lieutenant-Governor—exuding petulance and faux ignorance:
On Canada’s multicultural stage, however, where visible minorities already occupy some of the highest offices in the land, the prospect of a minority prime minister might well feel like old news.
“It’s possible – damn possible,” said Lincoln Alexander, Canada’s first black member of Parliament and Ontario’s first black lieutenant governor.
“Did you ever think you’d have a black lieutenant governor? Did you think you’d have a black governor general? What are we talking about – what’s so great about being the prime minister, anyway?”
— “Electing a visible minority PM would be in line with Canadian values, experts“, Canadian Press, November 3rd, 2008.
What’s so great about being Prime Minister versus GG or LG? Well for starters, the Prime Minister has to win the confidence of his or her party, via ballot box. Then they have to win the confidence of the voting populace, via ballot box. The Governor General and Lieutenant-Governors, in contrast, are appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of one man—the Prime Minister. The vice-regal representatives never face the populace at the ballot box in order to win appointment.
That’s a distinct and qualitative difference. It is a shame the Honorable Mr. Alexander is obtusely pretending otherwise.
But onwards with the condescension. Next up is a professor of political sudies from Queen’s University:
Canada’s already seen a female prime minister, albeit briefly – Kim Campbell in 1993 – but no visible minority has ever held the keys to 24 Sussex. [CT: Nevermind 24 Sussex; no visible minority leadership candidate has ever got within hailing distance of Stornoway. And wherever they stow the NDP guy.]
Other milestones include former B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh as the first Indo-Canadian to become premier, as well as a host of MPs of myriad ethnic backgrounds, including Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, African-American and Lebanese.
“It would be more like one more step on a path along which we’ve been walking,” said Keith Banting, a political studies professor at Queen’s University, of the prospect of a minority PM.
“It would be a serious step, but I think the history in the U.S. is a bigger hurdle to overcome.“
Yes, America is such a racist shithole that it is inconceivable that they are about to elect a black man as President. They have never made any steps toward racial reconciliation, ever. And it’s common knowledge that non-white voters are routinely beaten and forced to recite showtunes from Song of the South by poll officials as part of the voting process. Up here in Canada, of course, we don’t do that sort of thing. But despite the fact that we have never, ever selected anything but Caucasian men and women to serve as leaders of the three major federal parties, just keep reminding yourself that we’re further along the path to racial equality.
But wait, the best is yet to come.
No single ethnic group in Canada makes up a coveted block of voters like African-Americans or Hispanics do in the U.S., which means no one group of Canadians has the same ability to move a candidate through the ranks.
Obama’s success may, however, be a special case altogether.
With his inclusive, inspirational message of change, the senator isn’t strongly perceived as a racial minority, said Jeffrey Reitz, professor of ethnic and immigration studies at the University of Toronto.
I hate to break it to you but not everyone with darker skin pigmentation votes for other guys with elevated melanin levels. I am pretty sure we sometimes read different newspapers, watch different shows, and, occasionally, have different opinions, too. Shocking, I know.
Great Caesar’s Ghost. Obama is succeeding only because black folks vote for him? Well, that and the “Hope and Change” mantra has distracted white people from the fact that he’s actually a black man! What the hell are you saying, exactly, Professor Jeffrey Reitz? Stop and think about it for a moment. Jesus.
Thankfully the article closes off with some actual wisdom from another Poli Sci professor at UofT, pointing out that if a gifted minority politician rose to similar heights in Canada, we would not be surprised if they won, indeed, we’d expect it.
Other than that, though, what a mess of lazy thinking and casual bigotry.