For many Canadians, racial discrimination is a ghost they've only seen in movies or sporadic outbursts inevitably baptized "isolated incidents". While this has become a part of everyday life for most Aboriginals and Canadians of colour, there is a persistent incredulous strain that refuses to acknowledge a problem exists.
It was revealed by confused Liberal party members that Ontario's premier-designate Kathleen Wynne's campaign sent letters in foreign languages to would-be supporters. In a gauche effort to connect with the ethnic vote, the Wynne campaign combed through membership lists and divvied them up based on perceived cultural origin. The Ontario Liberal Party's federal cousins have progressively lost their grip on traditional liberal-leaning communities by ignoring them or taking them for granted. History could repeat itself if the Wynne team fails to take corrective measures.
This week marks seven years since Stephen Harper was first elected Prime Minister of Canada. The Harper Administration has been described as a dark cloud, but it does boast a silver lining. A thin one. Perhaps the Prime Minister should reassess his criteria and/or consider these seven success stories as feathers in his conservative cap.
As a Liberal and second generation Canadian from a "visible minority" group, I think the time has come to drop "ethnic outreach" from our strategy. Instead, we should embrace multiculturalism 2.0 which requires moving beyond what frequently amounts to earnest but ham-handed attempts to "engage cultural communities" (think cliched photo-ops, broken sentences in Hindi or Mandarin, and worst of all, the regular reminders that it was Trudeau's policies that let immigrants in to Canada). For all Mayor Rob Ford's cringeworthy gaffes and offensive comments, he was the one mayoral candidate who didn't pander to "ethnic" communities about their "issues." He treated the issues of "new" and "diverse" Canadians as being the same as all other Torontonians. And it worked.