Recently Canadian politics was rocked slightly over a politically incorrect social media post. In a WeChat post, Liberal candidate Karen Wang for Burnaby South byelection race innocently pointed out a fact that as the only Chinese candidate, she could beat Jagmeet Singh, who she noted is of “Indian descent.” White politicians feigned outrage, but this story simply didn’t resonate with South Asian-Canadian and Chinese-Canadians. I am willing to guess that more than a few must’ve been puzzled by the controversy. Wasn’t it a fact? Wasn’t Karen Wang picked because being Chinese made her more electable among voters in that riding?
So why did this story sink like a stone? Ms. Wang happens to be Chinese, not White.
Now perhaps if the Liberal candidate involved in the same ‘scandal’ happened to go by the name of Karen McPhearson, it would have been a scandal that would rock Canadian politics from Brampton to Surrey. South Asians in Peel and elsewhere would be demanding apologies and more apologies. They’d be holding placards outside Parliament Hill demanding that PM Trudeau apologize in the House of Commons. The story would dominate the headlines for weeks. Who knows, that candidate would probably even be hauled before the Human Rights Commission for hurting the feelings of South Asians. Children in schools would be made aware of this egregious comment.
But because it was a Chinese candidate who sent out the offending tweet it didn’t sting. The issue was settled with a bland statement: “Recent online comments by Karen Wang are not aligned with the values of the Liberal Party of Canada,” said a statement from the party. “The Liberal Party has a clear commitment to positive politics and support for Canadian diversity, and the same is always expected of our candidates.”
And that settled it.
PM Trudeau didn’t find the need to apologies to South Asians and Sikhs in particular although that thought might have crossed his mind several times after hearing about it.
In a few short days, the Liberal Party fielded Richard T. Lee, a long-time B.C. MLA, as their candidate for Burnaby South. He too happens to be Chinese. It is no coincidence that Chinese make up about 40 per cent of the population, while South Asians make up about 8.4 per cent. Given the current state of politics, it is very unlikely that any party could nominate an exceptional candidate who happened to be black or white.
This is a perfect example of Canada being a “vertical mosaic” a term which conveys the concept that Canada is a mosaic of different ethnic, language, regional and religious groupings unequal in status and power.
The current demographics is creating vote banks at an unprecedented rate. The two dominant ethnic groups are Chinese and South Asians. The Chinese population stands at about 1.76 million people as of 2016 with 80%–85% of them are foreign born.
There are well above a million South Asians represented 23% of the visible minority population and that number is exploding as well.
In the years to come Nigerians who are coming through another stream could be large enough for politicians to cultivate as a vote bank. For now, the number of Filipinos is rising and are being groomed. There is literally power in numbers.
To be fair, it is not just the Liberal party that should be singled out for playing race-based politics, the NDP and the Conservatives are equally guilty, however the Liberals have perfected the game to an art form.
Decades ago federal and provincial political parties could get away by nominating a seasoned white candidate in a ridings dominated by ethnic groups. Today, new immigrants who’ve been here three years are aspiring to run for political office! Instead of reforming the nomination process to allow genuinely talented individuals to enter politics, Canadian political parties are pandering to ethnic groups and facilitating the nomination of mediocre candidates just because they happen to belong to an ethnicity that happens to be a majority in the riding.
You would think that South Asians who’ve left India in disgust after seeing and experiencing third world politics would steer clear of similar politics here in Canada, but it isn’t the case. Progressive South Asian immigrants are often forced to vote for ethnic candidates with questionable qualifications who are foisted upon them by political parties.
Having leaders whose only credentials happen to be belonging to the right race is simply ensuring that this country wins the race to the bottom. Having a large population hailing from the third world countries earns Canada bragging rights, importing third world politics should be cause for alarm. Such politics created the conditions that prompted so many immigrants to pack up and move here. -CINEWS