2 min read
Let's recap. A few weeks ago, the consensus was that Stephen Harper's campaign was in trouble. There was news of a campaign shake-up, most noticeably the introduction of a strategist who had employed race-baiting strategies with success in Australia and the UK. Almost immediately, we started to hear the phrase "dog whistle" a lot. There was some ambiguity around odd phrases like "old stock Canadians", some slim grounds for benefit of doubt.
Since then, a steady stream of statements and manuevers that are clearly intended to mobilize sentiment against Muslims. Obfuscation on Syrian refugees. The "controversy" over the niqab is bullshit. Pure and simple. It has nothing to do with the identity of citizenship seekers, and has no impact on any of our lives. A "Barbaric Cultural Practices" hotline... well, I could think of a few barbaric practices I would like to report. But honestly, just reading those words gives me cold fearful chills.
If the Harper government is so concerned about Islamic human rights abuses, and Islamic women, why is it selling $15 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia, a country where women's rights are an oxymoron? Right now Saudi Arabia is bombing Yemen, and killing civilians. How does injecting $15 billion dollars worth of death into the region help anything?
More disturbing to me than the racist strategy is its apparent success. Harper has been steadily climbing in the polls, is now poised to win a majority. A few voices have spoken out in protest, but it's clear that this shit resonates with Canadians.
Thing is, racism is not an easy thing to contain once it is unleashed.
Tomorrow I leave the country for a couple weeks. I come back just before the election. I am grateful to get out. This campaign has been unbearable.