by Tom Henihan
ate for the leadership of the Conservative Party, recently expressed regret for having fronted a proposed “barbaric cultural practices tip line,” during the last federal election.
In her disclaimer, the former minister for the status of women said she was thinking of the wellbeing of women and girls and not of race.
“As minister of status of women I was focused on making sure that we eliminated violence against women and girls, especially making sure we advocated for women’s rights,” she told Rosemary Barton on CBC’s Power and Politics.
I believe we already live in a society where it is incumbent on all Canadians to report the abuse of children, boys and girls, regardless of background. The rights and security of women and children in Canada is a universal concern outside any cultural context.
If Kellie Leitch’s objective was to protect women and girls, why use the term “barbaric cultural practices,” which sounds barbaric in itself.
Leitch’s expression of regret for fronting the “barbaric practices tip line” proposal does not ring true, especially since she recently surveyed those who visited her website asking if prospective immigrants should be vetted “for anti-Canadian values as part of its normal screening for refugees and landed immigrants.”
It is apparent that Leitch’s train of thought divides into racial and cultural hemispheres no matter how she tries to cloak the matter in more elevated concerns.
One has to wonder, if immigrants from Britain or northern Europe would be vetted as rigorously as immigrants from other parts of the world. It also gives rise to the question; who would sit on the Soviet style politburo to decide what constitutes official Canadian values.
I assume that when Kellie Leitch talks about Canadian values she is essentially talking about her own values, which she arrogantly assumes are truly representative of Canada. I know that my values and Kellie Leitch’s values are not in agreement, which means if I attempted to immigrate to Canada under Leitch’s proposed regimen I may not get the stamp of approval as one of her readymade Canadians.
The values of a society emanate from the people and cannot be decided upon and imposed by the government. We have laws that dictate the agreed limits of where the democratic rights of one person infringes on the rights of others. We do not need Kellie Leitch’s values police.
Kellie Leitch, who has only an outside chance in the Conservative leadership race, appears to be emulating the lowest impulses of present day British and American politics by recklessly trading in divisive identity politics in order to gain attention and establish a public profile.
The right to express dissent, conflicting and varying points of view is a fundamental facet of democracy and the notion of arbitrarily imposed values by the government looks more like totalitarianism.
A nation’s values tend to vary somewhat from region to region, through ethnicity, religion and across education, economic and social strata, but a broadly held sense of civility, respect and decency bring the disparate elements together to function as a dynamic social entity. That is how a healthy, modern society functions, how it grows and cultivates its identity and avoids the fear and resulting bigotry of casting shadows over people we have not yet taken the time to get to know.