Editorials - May 26, 2022
Backlash over backlash
Muslim leaders in London, Ontario found themselves on the receiving end of pushback after expressing their frustration at the image of two women in hijabs about to kiss on a University of Western Ontario poster promoting gay rights. The university ended up deleting the image from its social media only hours after putting it up as part of its promotion of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, which included depictions of several couples, all illustrations.
By removing the image that offended the imams, critics immediately voiced their concerns that the university was capitulating to homophobia at a time when LGBTQ+ Muslims need to be represented and respected.
On Thursday, the London Council of Imams tried to calm the situation by issuing a statement trying to clarify their position, saying that they were offended only by the inclusion of the hijab, which has religious and spiritual significance. Despite the imams’ statement that, “We want to do our part to promote understanding and harmony among the diverse people who live on these lands and who share many common goals and values, even as we differ on many issues,” their demand to remove the offensive image appeared to many to accomplish the opposite of promoting understanding.
One has to wonder if their only objection is really to the hijab being included in the poster, and where that leaves Muslim women who identify as LGBTQ+ in their society. – DS
Stuck in the middle
While he narrowly avoided losing the support of the United Conservative Party in Alberta, earning the votes of just 51.4 per cent of the membership, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney then promptly stepped down from the position. When it comes to leadership confidence votes, many view between 75 and 80 per cent as the bare minimum to stay in a leadership role. Kenney received 17,638 of the 34,298 votes cast.
Political pundits have said that Kenney found himself in a middle ground in one of the country’s most conservative provinces; not going far enough with COVID-19 measures for left-leaning Albertans and going too far for those on the far right wing (a statement that would stun readers back in 2019 when Kenney was elected premier as one of the most right-wing premiers in the country).
Kenney’s grim fate and the meteoric rise of Pierre Poilievre, who is seeking to be the leader of the federal Conservatives, signal what could possibly be the end of unifying politics that work to meet in the middle of conservative- and liberal-leaning voters. The death of the centrist.
While people have called Jean Charest a dinosaur for other reasons, and have criticized Patrick Brown’s return, saying his time has come and gone, it could be true that their aims of unifying a deeply divided Canada could be goals of a political world that is dead and buried.
This type of political extremism has already taken hold in the U.S. and in many other countries, creating a situation in which talking politics with your neighbour who may draw his X in a different box than you is more difficult than it used to be; perhaps even impossible.
Canadians are a very divided people right now, much of it fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated control measures. Some politicians say they want to help unite the country, but perhaps the country is telling those politicians they don’t want to be united. – SL
Get out and vote
Ontarians (and most people) have had a rough go of it since the last Ontario general election in 2018. Between the lockdowns, the protests and the slow road to recovery, everyone has been faced with difficult times over the past four years and most people blame politicians.
Fortunately, strife like what everyone has weathered does provide one thing: a breeding ground for new political candidates and parties.
With the plethora of new politicians and parties, even in the Huron-Bruce riding, it becomes more important than ever to become an active participant in the election process. Whether you think one of these new parties has all the answers, or believe that these new candidates are an unwelcome symptom of the COVID-19 recovery, there has never been a more important time to vote. New parties may find success, or they may split the votes that made the difference in the previous election.
So, whether you think we should hold the course with Premier Doug Ford and his Conservative Party, represented locally by incumbent MPP Lisa Thompson, or whether you think that it’s time for a change, the important thing here is that you get out and vote.
Huron-Bruce, as a riding, had a 63.5 per cent turnout during the 2018 election, which was called impressive because it was higher than 56 per cent the province boasted. In reality, a 63.5 per cent is barely a passing grade in Ontario schools, so Huron-Bruce needs to do better and everyone needs to get out and vote and make sure that the person who represents Huron-Bruce, and every other riding, really has the majority of people that live there behind them. – JDS