Bringing immigration into a provincial election – bad form

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Dalton MacGuilicutty is gone partisan. This campaign is off to a bad start. Polarizing immigrants and WASPs. Is this a good thing in the long or short run? Of course not.

Editorial – MacGuilicutty and WhoDat are treading on political hot potatoes

BY SEAMUS OBRADAIGH – EDITOR EMERITUS

MacGuilicutty and Who Dat building platforms of matchsticks and sand

By Seamus O’Bradaigh – Editor Emeritus

WhoDat? Dat’s MacGuilicutty. Dat’s who.

John DiefandDuker once opined from an old oak stump in another prairie whistle stop on a rummaging railroad ride crossCanada: “Polls? I don’t give a gosh darn donut about polls. Here’s what I know. I have a dog that knows exactly what to do with a pole.”

That, dear readers, is called artistic license. I am paraphrasing. Because the Right Honourable John DiefenDuker once told me:

“Seamus you go right ahead and quote me whichever way you please. No one reads a goddam’ word of that puissant drivel anyway.”

John DiefenDuker was not joking around. He despised me.

It was before Google apps. So I had to dash down to the House of Commons library to look up puissant. I was younger then.

Puissant? Ah good god, google it yourself.

Suffice to say that it was a pejorative attached to an insult. I still cried when the sunafabitch died. Because, like a lot of Canadians, I have a weakness for hard-noggined prairie populists.

So, once, in a third year political studies honors course, I diddle-dawdled a compare and contrast vis Wee TeeCee Douglas, John DiefenDuker and Mikey Pearson. Sheer brilliance. I got an A. But anyone could score large using those three harbingers as subjects.

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Timmy WhoDat on the hustings. Bad choice on the ads Timmy.

Now, Gavan has asked me to pen a screed on WhoDat and MacGuilicutty. I can say without a trace of rancor or dismay.

Tim WhoDat andDaltonMacGuilicutty? Like love and marriage. They run together like gorse and cabbage. Both greedy for tilled land, and rich soil. But both able to thrive in the milieu of a hardscrabble province textured out of partisan manure with a sweet insouciant hint of backdoor Angus plop.

We are now fully inclined into a campaign that thus far has sunk to maudlin debates over immigration and jobs.

Believe it or not good plebs. Every election in Canada for the next three decades is going to revolve in some way around these two topics.

The battles will be fierce and they will get fiercer. Why? Because immigration is a polarizing subject. Especially when cast in the gab-garbled garb of political debate. In Europe and Scandinavia immigration and jobs are fractious fulcrums upon which new political parties are borne. Anti-immigration parties arise out of the jingoist fervor of such political debate.

In Belgium we have VB Party or Flemish Block. VB is fiercely anti-immigrant, openly anti-semitic and advocates Flemish self-rule.

In Italy the Northern League supports policies such as authorizing coastguards to shoot human traffickers and the belief that the EU is run by pedophiles; the Northern League’s inclusion in Italian government prompted widespread concern across Europe.

Pim Fortuyn’s List (LPF), Liveable Netherlands wants no immigration and calls Islam “backward.”

The tea party in the states is virulently racist, anti-gay, anti-Islam and pro gun.

And our own PM the Right Dishonorable Stevie HardHair just stated two days ago that Canada’s biggest terrorist risk comes from “Islamicists.” Or Islamatics orIslamabad or Salami Pizzas? This is what we risk by supporting daft rhetoric in the milieu of a political campaign.

Political campaigns are not the place for debate vis-à-vis immigration and jobs policy. Good solid governments and would-be lawmakers meet that stuff head on, in provincial and federal assemblies. They bring a non-partisan discussion into the debate.

Responsible parties do not bring jobs and immigration policy together in a partisan and rancorous election campaign.

Listen to the rhetoric of both WhoDat and MacGuilicutty, playing the race card in the opening week of an election campaign.

MacGuilicutty’s Liberals promising jobs to immigrants by way of a wage subsidy and WhoDat’s conservatives going the other way and offering tax breaks to employers offering jobs to honest to gosh Ontario citizens. Yes, landed immigrants too.

Here’s the thing. The ideas are both laudable initiatives. It’s counterproductive to bring trained immigrants to Ontario and then asking a man with a doctorate in mining technology to drive a goddam blue and white cab around Yonge and Bloor Streets for three years, while he’s waiting for his degree to be recognized by some suit in a government cubicle.

At the same time it’s also a great idea to offer Ontario businesses subsidies to young workers entering the workforce, because pretty darn soon we’re going to have a large number of Ontario baby boomers packing it in for the cottage and points south. And we’ll need fresh faces. Preferably employed fresh faces.

But! Bringing these planks in during an election campaign and then publishing ads that anger immigrants and visible minorities in this province – as the PCs are doing with their “press one, if…” attack ads vis MacGuilicutty’s plans for immigrant worker employment – is just downright morbid. And yes, ugly politics. Fomenting anger at a very specific community.

Mr. WhoDat and his party hacks are using balkanizing tactics to win votes.

Does WhoDat think such thin gruel and jingoistic rhetoric is going to be forgotten once the campaign is done? Or will those anti-immigrant flames just going to expand?

And MacGuilicutty should never have stooped to use this as a plank in the first place.

Why? Because it’s a convenient and patronizing way to win over votes in ethnically entrenched swing ridings. Ridings that used to be owned by the Liberals and ridings that now are showing some tendencies to slide a little left or right.

Same deal there for MacGuilicutty and his hybrid hacks.

Why do ostensibly smart guys choose the low hanging fruit during elections? Well, maybe, just maybe they ain’t smart at all these backroom wizards. Maybe they’re just crass, limp-dicked, dumb frat boys with some computer skills, and a c-average, who grew up idolizing the Watergate burglars and Donald Segretti. Makes sense to me.

Jack Layton wanted some new winds to blow on the government floors all over this country.

This is Ontario’s first chance to run a considered and frank campaign.

And all I’m seeing is more scuttlebutt and cheap partisanship on behalf of MacGuilicutty and WhoDat.

Shame on youse!

Fellers!

Seamus has left the building for his contemplative nook on a Haliburton Highlands hilltop.

To ponder the present problems with pukkah partisanship.

And to squeeze some salubrious memories of better times.

With DiefenDuker, Mike Pearson and old Tommy C.

Seamus can be reached at seamus@haliburtonnews.ca.

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