– consensus opinion in the House on Thursday June 11, 2015
Few things bring politicians together like allegations of racism. You’d be hard-pressed to find another issue on which Conservatives and Liberals agree word-for-word. On June 11th, each party
convincingly argued baselessly claimed that the other is racist and that various MPs and party leaders should apologize for wrongdoings. It was nice to see such unity amongst our elected officials.
At some point during what we must assume was another pointless round of Question Period, Liberal MP John McCallum accused the Conservatives of equating Muslims and terrorists. Speaking over hecklers, he directed his comment at Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander- also known as the man who (for no good reason) can revoke your passport- wasted no time responding.
Alexander demanded satisfaction, claiming that McCallum was distorting the truth. Then, visibly uncomfortable, he changed the subject and drew attention to what he called the Liberal Party’s “sorry record” on immigration. He then chided the Liberals for their “inability/ unwillingness” to do anything to combat terrorism. It was as if Alexander was determined to exceed McCallum’s ability to distort the truth. The Liberals, after all, voted for the completely unnecessary so-called anti-terrorism Bill C-51. Alexander’s party (poorly) crafted the bill to combat terrorism, so his claim that he Liberals have done nothing to combat terrorism is completely indefensible.
Not one to worry about the merits of the debate at hand, for that would require that he deviate form the script that he so intently read through this exchange, McCallum replied “it is obvious… that [the Minister] equated terrorism with niqabs.” He added that Alexander’s government’s “toxic anti-Muslim rhetoric” is partly responsible for increasing incidence of anti-Muslim hate crime. He demanded an apology to Muslim-Canadians.
Proving he is a fan of hyperbole, Alexander said that McCallum’s comments are some of the most “outrageous untruths” he has heard. He repeated his easily refutable claim that his is the only party combating terrorism and then changed the subject again, demanding that the Liberal Party apologize for “decades of racism” under Mackenzie king, Trudeau, and Chretien. With several points of his finger, he concluded “it is [the Liberal Party] that has been the racist part in this Parliament.” Just like that, this vibrant debate ended.
Had McCallum been given an opportunity to respond, we can imagine he might have followed the trend and demanded an apology from Alexander- whose first name is Christopher, which comes from Greek and Christian roots– for everything from European instability to forced conversions of indigenous people. Why stop there? McCallum could also blame Alexander for European colonialism and the Spanish Inquisition. There’s no reason to hold back in Question Period because no on is listening.