Politicians Shouldn’t Use Racism To Cover Up Personal Criticism

Dear Editor:

Recently, in our House of Commons Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General faced a motion to apologize for a $500-per-person fundraiser at a Toronto law firm and to return the funds she raised. However, the minister answered the call to apologize by saying that she was at the law firm event in her “private capacity” as MP of the Vancouver Granville riding, not as Minister of Justice. In other words, she ignored the call to apologize for being in any conflict of interest.
However, another one of her freshly minted Cabinet colleagues, Hon. Maryam Monsef, the Minister of Democratic Institutions appeared to think that Minister Wilson-Raybould’s response was inadequate, and that she required her spirited defence.  Subsequently, Minister Monsef stood up in her colleague’s’ defence and turned the simple motion for an apology into something it absolutely never was or meant to be i.e., a racist attack on the Minister of Justice. This is what Minister Monsef said:

“The motion is a vicious and unfounded attack on an indigenous leader, a woman who has and continues to serve her nation honourably” and reinforced her learned parsing of the simple demand for an apology by adding, “I have said this before and I will say it again. Today’s motion is a vicious and unfounded attack on an indigenous leader, an accomplished woman.”
I found her assumptions rather shocking. First, the Justice Minister was incapable of defending herself. Second, as a woman and as a member of a racially depressed and abused Aboriginal community she needed to be supported. Third, she was incapable of standing up for herself on her own two feet.

Well I have news for Minister Monsef. If so many of us were sexist and racist we would not have voted for her and put her in a position she is in today. Nor would we have voted for Minister Monsef.

Madam, your comment felt like a slap in the face of all the democratically elected Members of Parliament and in the face of all those voters who elected them; ethnics or not. I wonder what were you trying to do; shut the business of democracy down?

I am not the first person who feels so outraged about Minister Monsef’s attempt to twist a simple motion to seek an apologize into an out right racist attack. A very seasoned CBC political commentator Rex Murphy felt the same way.  Those who watch ‘At Issue’ panel every Thursday would know what I am talking about.

I have lived racism. I have suffered racism, and so have many individuals I know of – of all colours and genders. If Minister Monsef believes that to ask for an apology by the Members of Parliament representing the people of Canada was a vicious orchestrated attempt to demean Minister Wilson-Raybould, then I would say Minister Monsef has a lot of growing up to do.

Suresh Kurl

Richmond, BC

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