The Politics of Bread and Circuses
The Politics of Bread and Circuses
TORONTO – It was always thus: when you have nothing to oer or to say, create a diversion. A political truism premised on the cynical – negative – view of humanity. That is, we can’t distinguish fact from fiction.
In Ontario, provincially, this “theory” is being tested by “the Beer and Casinos government for the people”, otherwise known as Ford Nation. Mercifully, the Premier has shut down Queen’s Park before some good people in his own ranks risk terminal association with his poorly thought out, destructive, agenda on education, health and social services.
Doug Ford’s “popularity” is sinking faster and deeper than that of the “Vaffa” Party – Five Star Movement – in Italy. The only people happy about it are in the federal PMO [subconsciously] busily working to destroy the Liberal legacy in Ottawa.
Part of that Legacy has been to level discriminatory obstacles, based on religious grounds, to integration and community building. Strangely, in a country that parades its religious tolerance for all the world to see and emulate, it seems there are always those who feel the need to emphasize that value …at someone else’s expense.
It should never be a zero-sum game. But no one pushes back: let no one dare address inanity for fear of offending a religious group.
Catholics excluded, of course. They are fair game and a live target for everyone to abuse. I digress, in part.
The truth of the matter is that in a politically-charged environment, there is always an element that seeks to create “identity through grievance”. The tactic allows the perpetrators to galvanize voters and attach them to a representation that has only peripheral association to larger national development issues.
For instance, a Canadian Press article, four days ago, reported on an initiative by the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) candidate in Eglinton-Lawrence to have the date of the election Changed because it falls on a Jewish holy day.
Never mind that the election date is “fixed in law” and that she was aware of it prior to seeking and obtaining the nomination. Besides, voters can still exercise the franchise in the offices of the deputy returning officer on any day after the issuing of the writs (the call of the election).
That Conservative candidate is already ahead of the incumbent, Marco Mendicino, in the polls, but she must want to remind her Jewish constituents that she alone “understands their issues”.
The CP article suggests that she is referring primarily to the [ultra] Orthodox group in her community; the one that has been captured in the “Likud-ization” of the Diaspora strategy authored by Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s most ethically challenged PM, now facing multiple fraud and corruption related charges in the Courts.
Maybe she is afraid to lose stragglers on voting day. That, or she is part of a co-ordinated campaign to discredit, by allusion or association, the politics of having an Imam from the Muslim community selected by the Liberal Party, in a Montreal riding where the largest ethno-religious group is Italian-Catholic.
Local Italian language press “allege a gaming of the system” against its community to favour an outsider for the purpose of furthering some unrelated agenda. Canada’s political system does not permit “party lists” so every candidate has to gain a “right”, locally, to represent the party and the constituency. But the Party’s executive has many levers at its disposal.
A religion-based battle royal is about to erupt in the 905 area code ridings of Brampton, Mississauga and beyond. Canadians of the Sikh faith (in particular those associated with the Bains and Grewal families) have such an airtight grip on Liberal nominations that other religious denominations – Hindu, for example – are turning en masse to the CPC for political engagement.
Political observers and activists from the areas allege that this increased interest was prompted by two “events”: the inclusion of the words Sikh extremists (terrorists) in Canada’s Security Report and the alleged oense taken by India’s Prime Minister (a Hindu) that the Trudeau India trip ill-advisedly included some of those extremists.
Whether one believes them or not, there are now so many Hindu candidates with money and people behind them that the CPC has to place them in ridings where they may not succeed, but, may end up tipping the scales for a non-government candidate.
What will the “communities” without ethno-religious grievances do?