Canadian Politicians, members of the media, law enforcement, and ordinary citizens, are all responsible in some way for the killing and injuring of Canadian Muslims in Quebec. Make no mistake not one Canadian of voting age can claim to be innocent. All Canadians are guilty, because whatever they have done, or failed to do, did not stop the deaths of six innocent Muslim men, on their knees, praying in their place of worship.
- Since there has been a Canadian government, Canadian politicians have been creating immigration laws and policies that are discriminatory and racist towards one minority or another.
- It is also very Canadian for our politicians and press to blame the USA for what we do not want to take responsibility for, like why the six Muslim men were slain,
- Canadian politicians and press keep suggesting that perhaps Trump and his crazy policies had something to do with the dead and injured in these senseless acts of violence.
I say, not so fast. Let’s look at Canada’s past and how far Canadian governments have come in terms of improving immigration laws, policies and the treatment of immigrants and refugees, before absolving Canadians and Canadian politicians of guilt.
- The Chinese Immigration Act, 1885, 1900, 1903 combined with federal legislation and municipal ordinances that restricted employment opportunities even in industries to only those not desirable to white Canadians, such as laundries. As if this was not bad enough, the Canadian government topped all the other acts with the Chinese Immigration Act 1923, better known as the Chinese Exclusion Act. It, replaced prohibitive fees with a ban on Chinese immigration to Canada with the exceptions of merchants, diplomats, students, and “special circumstances” cases. The Chinese that entered Canada before 1924 had to register with the local authorities and could leave Canada only for two years or less.
- The Canadian government had an unofficial policy of restricting immigration by Black people until 1911. In 1911, Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier formalized this policy with these words, “His excellency in Council, in virtue of the provisions of Sub-section (c) of Section 38 of the Immigration Act, is pleased to Order and it is hereby Ordered as follows: For a period of one year from and after the date hereof the landing in Canada shall be and the same is prohibited of any immigrants belonging to the Negro race, which race is deemed unsuitable to the climate and requirements of Canada.”
- The forced relocation of the Africville residents occurred between 1964 and 1967.
- The turning away of the Komagata Maru from Hong Kong. It arrived off Vancouver in 1914, with 376 passengers on board. Most of them were Sikhs from India.
- In 1939, 907 Jewish refugees aboard the German transatlantic liner St. Louis, sought sanctuary from Nazi Germany in Canada.
- The internment of 22000 Japanese Canadians during the 2nd world war.
- In 2010 Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, had 492 Tamil refugees ( Muslim men, women and children) found aboard the ship, MV Sun Sea, who were seeking asylum in Canada, arrested and detained; rewrote Canadian immigration law so that the Tamil refugees could be held incommunicado, denying them fair and timely access to hearings and the court process;
- In 2012 The conservative Party of Canada under the leadership of Stephen Harper use their majority government status to force into law Bill C-31: An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Balanced Refugee Reform Act, the Marine Transportation Security Act, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act and Bill C-24, or Citizen Act.
- It is now 2017, six Muslim men are gunned while on their knees, heads down praying in a mosque in Quebec. The prime minister gives pretty speeches and condemns the senseless violence calling it an act of terrorism.
Sadly, the only things that have changed from the year 1885 years right up to today in the whole immigration issue are, what immigrants are being unfairly treated by the Canadian government, and what excuse is offered for the necessity of it.
The Conservative Party of Canada seems to believe that spreading anti Muslim rhetoric is okay if you are running for the leadership of their party. They did not block members of their party from running for their party’s leadership because certain candidates proposed policies were not in keeping with the values of the Conservative Party of Canada, like:
- Kellie Leitch, who would if she became Prime Minister of Canada, give immigrants a Canadian values test;
- Steven Blaney who would if he became Prime Minister of Canada, put a limitation on how many Muslims can immigrate to Canada.
The Liberal Party under the leadership of Justin Trudeau has done nothing to right the wrongs done to immigrants and refugees by Stephen Harper. Stephen Harper’s anti Muslim immigration laws have not been repealed. This despite the Liberal Party of Canada enjoying a majority government. Obviously in 2017 equality for all under Canadian immigration law is not a priority of the Liberal Party of Canada. Pretty speeches do however seem to be, as shown by the prime minister in Quebec after the horrid actions of a single gunman.
On the provincial level, Quebec has been rightly singled out as being one of the most racist places on the planet.
- The Party Quebecois under the leadership of Pauline Marois tried to pass the Quebec Charter of Values, which for the most part targeted Muslims.
- Philippe Couillard gave a very passionate and touching speech to show sympathy and to assure Muslims that they were equal under the law and safe and at home in Quebec. Unfortunately, this is the same Philippe Couillard, who introduced Bill 62, the Liberals’ version of the Party Quebecois’ controversial secularism charter, which was introduced in 2013 but not implemented after the party lost the 2014 election.
On the federal and provincial level Canadian politicians are willing to promote anti Muslim sentiment for political gain. Muslims have become a political football for provincial and federal politicians. Both sets of politicians are guilty of creating an environment for Islamophobia to flourish for a very long time. An environment that made possible what happened in Quebec.
have done their part to spread the fear of certain immigrants throughout the history of Canada. Far too often they choose to report political rhetoric and bold-faced lies told by politicians, that make immigrants and refugees guilty for everything that is going wrong in Canada. Canadian media is guilty of maintaining the environment required for mistrust, fear and hatred of Muslims and other minorities, in order maintain and grow their market share. No longer can the press claim to be uncorrupted and the true voice of the common man.
Reporting the news is big business. As profit and market share became the focus of news agencies, journalistic integrity and being the voice of the common man flew out the window. We now have right-wing news and left-wing news agencies espousing their opinion on the news events. What we no longer have is anyone just reporting the news. What is passing for legitimate news coverage now are shows like CBC’s, Power and Politics and CFCF’s, Power Play.
This bunch has done its part to enforce racist, unfair laws without protest. All too often they do their job with unnecessary brutality and cruelty…seeming to relish the chance to hurt and lord over those who have been targeted by the government for special treatment.
The mosque in Quebec had been vandalized, threatened, had a bleeding pig’s head left on its entrance way and yet the police failed to do anything to secure the premises. Muslim women were punched in the face, spit on, assaulted verbally on busses, a turban wearing man was viciously beaten on a public street by white youths and police refused to consider the incidents as hate crimes, or terrorist acts. On the other hand, if anybody vandalizes a synagogue, beats up a Jewish person for wearing a Yakama, the police are quick to call it a hate crime. I think that consistently not finding the evidence needed to proceed with the right charges is a statement that speaks volumes in terms of how fair and equal the justice system and law enforcement treat all citizens of Quebec.
Unfortunately, in Quebec hate crimes and terrorist acts are charges used strictly for deaths caused by Muslims, or those considered to be sympathetic to Muslims.
Some Canadian citizens are guilty of promoting mistrust, fear, and hatred of Muslims. Some are guilty of acting on the mistrust, fear, and hatred. Some are guilty of ignoring the racist behavior that they witness, and then gathering in solidarity only after people are killed. Some believe despite what history proves, that there is nothing wrong with Canada’s immigration laws, either past or present, leaving nothing to change. Some, like Stephen Harper believe what makes a Canadian citizen a “real Canadian” is a person’s origin of birth, religion, language, and culture, and not the oath of allegiance that every immigrant and refugee must swear before becoming a Canadian citizen.
Canada will keep on selling out its minorities as long as new reporters, political pundits, and politician insist that:
- it is crucial that Prime Minister Trudeau does not directly challenge, or denounce Trump’s, racist and discriminatory immigration law for fear that such a criticism could mean a loss of trade between the two countries, doing harm to Canada’s economy; Canada has always been and will continue to be a country where immigrants regardless of their ethnicity are welcomed and can feel safe from persecution and find equality under the law;
- that it is more important to continue the trading relationship the United States of America than it is to adhere to and stick up for what Canadian politicians claim are Canada’s core principles and values.
More importantly though nothing will change for immigrants, refugees and minorities in Canada as long as Canadian citizens buy into it and mistreat and even put to death other Canadians, because they are different.
Making pretty speeches like our politicians showed after the six innocent, praying Muslim men were slain and others were critically injured while praying in a mosque in Quebec, is just not doing enough.
Until the oath taken by immigrants makes them as Canadian as someone born in Canada, nothing will change.