The phenomenon that is Donald Trump’s successful presidential candidacy is hardly likely to come to egalitarian Canada, but he has already had an influence on our politics.
Unlike the United States, Canada does not, I believe, have such a large portion of our residents who feel left behind and disenfranchised that it could put a man like Trump in the highest office in the land. Canada does, though, have a core of voters who believe Canada is on the wrong track in its social development and evolving national identity.
This group probably represents at lest 30 per cent of voters in any federal election. And members of the group are usually open to voting for the Conservative Party of Canada. Given this core support, the Conservative party only has to attract another 10–15 per cent of voters to win a majority government. Hardly an insurmountable goal and especially one that might be easily reached if only the party had a charismatic leader who appealed to a cross-section of voters.
Where though would that additional 10–15 per cent likely come from? In my opinion, it would most likely be found among the growing immigrant communities where social conservatism is quite common. Stephen Harper seemed to have realized this since his former MP and cabinet minister, Jason Kenny, spent so much of his time wooing votes in these communities, and they, in turn, helped deliver to him a majority government in 2011.
Considering the foregoing, I wonder why a prominent Conservative would intentionally seek to antagonize these very voters by embracing policies that are known to be unpopular among immigrants. And here, of course, I’m referring to Dr. Kellie Leitch, the Conservative MP for Simcoe–Grey who is seeking the leadership of her party and who has described Trump’s election win as an “exciting message and one that we need delivered in Canada as well.”
Notwithstanding her apparent admiration for the president-elect, I have a great deal of respect for Ms. Leitch and for her many life accomplishments. I also have sympathy for her policy on Canadian values. After all, conservatives are supposed to conserve and protect our traditions and values, that’s a major part of our raison d’être, isn’t it? And hardly a day goes by without some prominent Liberal or New Democrat reminding us of how much he or she believes in our values. And aren’t these the values that made Canada the terrific country it is?
I must say, however, that I was not at all pleased with the “barbaric cultural practices” tip-line announced by Ms. Leitch during the 2015 campaign, and am happy to hear she has since expressed regret over it. As I see it, a system that depends on Canadians snitching on one another is itself an anti-Canadian value and should not be encouraged.
And I wonder how effective simple screening would be in weeding out those who hold “anti-Canadian values.” Not very, I believe. Those who wish us harm would simply lie, wouldn’t they?
I will say, though, that while I might disagree with Dr. Leitch’s emphasis on certain of her priorities, I do not believe her policies can, in any sense, be construed a “dog whistle” code as suggested by several progressive sources.
The Canadian comedian Rick Mercer, to name one, said in a published rant that, “She [Leitch] speaks English, French and a secret language that only really angry white people can understand.” I think this is what the left/progressives call “dog whistle” code. And, apparently, only progressives know the key to translate this code for I’m a “white person” who is sometimes angry, but I can’t see a secret meaning in Dr. Leitch’s statements. So what the hell is he talking about?
Progressives often claim they know what conservatives really mean whenever conservatives criticize or even comment in passing on any policy, institution or position progressives claim as their own.
Mercer also claimed that the barbaric cultural practices tip-line proposed by Dr. Leitch during the election is, “[s]ort of like a toll free number you could call if brown people moved into your neighbourhood.” In fact, race and skin colour had nothing to do with the Conservatives’ proposal and there is no real evidence that they ever did.
The intent of man’s rant seemed to be to slander Dr. Leitch. It dripped with vitriol and scorn and seemed full of hate for someone he almost certainly does not know—or does not know well. And perhaps more to the point, he did not try to offer a coherent argument to refute Dr. Leitch’s words, or even attempt to poke fun at or satirize her proposal. Instead he chose to make a senseless attack on some “secret language” he claimed “only really angry white people can understand,” and to paint Dr. Leitch as a bigot. Shameful!
Mercer should get with the program. According to a September 2016 Forum Research Inc. poll, 67 per cent of Canadians want prospective immigrants to be screened for “anti-Canadian” values. My source for this is the Toronto Star website, hardly a bastion of secret code understood only by angry white people. Or perhaps Mercer believes 67 per cent of Canadians are “angry white people” and their views don’t count.
The mainstream media seems to have already written off Dr. Leitch’s chances and some of them paint her as little more than a bigot and hard-right looney. But what of the 67 per cent of Canadians who share her views on screening immigrants and refugees? Don’t their views count?
Maybe we are about to find out that Canada’s silent majority have realized they don’t always have to defer to those in the media and entertainment business who seem to believe they know best and only they can be counted on to do the right thing and think the right way.
That, it seems to me, was one of the “take-aways” from the U.S. presidential election.