|Burlington’s PC candidate Jane McKenna | Photo: Graham Paine - Metroland West Media Group|
In the furore following Dalton McGuinty’s affirmative action proposal to move new immigrants to the front of the job-seeking lines, possibly at the expense of many of the 550,000 Ontarians who are unemployed, PC candidate Jane McKenna flubbed her lines when she told the Burlington Post, “When did we become for immigrants?”
Of course, Ms. McKenna has since issued a statement, in which she explains, “In an Inside Halton article a quote was attributed to me that does not accurately reflect my views or those of my Party.”
But if the quote does not reflect her views or that of her party, why did she utter the words? Was she misquoted? It doesn’t seem so. Ms. McKenna’s statement concluded with, “I hope this clarifies my position and regret any confusion this may have caused.”
Sadly, her statement clarifies nothing for she does not explain what she meant by her words, though, she did seem to be correcting herself when she explained:
“The PC Party of Ontario and I welcome new Canadians to Ontario. We believe however that Dalton McGuinty’s affirmative action program is wrong. We have 550,000 Ontarians who are unemployed and yet the Liberals want to pay $10,000 each to hire foreign workers.”
I whole heartedly agree with her sentiments, i.e., that affirmative actions are wrongheaded and patently unfair for they discriminate against those they exclude. This is especially so when those who are excluded are hardworking Canadians, many of whom have paid taxes for decades.
But I cannot for the life of me get over McKenna’s original statement in which she asks, “When did we become for immigrants?” Hasn’t Canada and the PC party always been for immigrants? Are we not, in fact, a nation of immigrants? So, why ask such a provocative question?
As I have said before, an indispensible benefit of a riding nomination contest is the need for candidates to go through a mini-campaign, during which riding association members can assess, among other things, each candidate’s ability to communicate effectively. And, with luck, the candidate’s core values and beliefs may also be revealed.
Jane McKenna was acclaimed as the Burlington PC candidate. So just how much about her communications skills and core values and beliefs have we missed? Time, I suppose, will tell. In all conscience, however, as an immigrant myself there is no way I will display this candidate’s campaign sign on my lawn. And, sadly, this is the first time in some forty years I’ve not had a sign to support my local representative.
There’s still half an election to go, and time to win disaffected voters, especially since we’re not exactly blessed with much of an alternative and are faced with the unpleasant prospect of four more years of McGuinty, his lies and his broken promises.