The defeat of Stephen Harper’s government is a triumph for the people of Canada — the triumph of democracy over autocratic rule. After 10 years of that rule, the great majority of Canadians can now rejoice an autocrat will be replaced by a man of the people as leader of our country — a new leader whose first name means “just, upright and righteous.”Oh, brother. Dude's obviously intoxicated.
John Sbragia, Bowen Island, B.C.
Update: Someone else who's "rejoicing" over Harper's defeat--Amira Elghawaby, who works for the entity formerly known as CAIR-CAN. A few days after Trudeau's victory, Ms. E. told Globe and Mail readers that Muslims are breathing a sigh of relief now that Islam-friendly Justin's in power:
The previous frame had been imposed on [Canadian Muslims], without their consent and despite their protests. Throughout the election, Canadian Muslims watched as they were vilified as “other,” practitioners of “barbaric cultural practices,” and making choices alien from “Canadian values.”
This othering led to a documented spike in anti-Muslim incidents, including verbal and physical attacks on visibly Muslim women in both hijab and niqab, along with increased Islamophobic online postings and comments.
Yet this deliberate framing throughout the election period was nothing new. Canadian Muslim communities have endured years of it. Whether it was making sweeping generalizations about an entire faith – claiming that “Islamicism” was the greatest threat facing Canada – or suggesting that Canadian mosques could be harbouring radical extremists – a decade of Stephen Harper changed perceptions about Canadian Muslims in deeper and perhaps more hurtful ways than even the aftermath of 9/11.
Back then, Prime Minister Jean Chretien made it a point to visit Ottawa’s main mosque soon after those horrific attacks, memorably doffing his shoes and joining the congregants in a public show of solidarity.
He didn't? What's wrong with the man? Didn't he realize, a la shoe-doffer Jean, that Islam's a religion of peace, and that its doctrines are entirely benign? Why, you wouldn't, for instance, see Harper go out of his way to spring an Islamic charity worker from a Pakistan jail, as Chretien did when he went to bat for Omar Khadr's dad. And so what if he turned out to be on a first name basis with Osama bin Laden? The crucial thing, as Amira underscores, is not to harp on all that negative "jihad" stuff, as Harper always seemed to do:Little of that was on show during the Harper years. After the deadly attack at Parliament Hill by a deranged individual pledging allegiance to violent extremist ideology a year ago, the Prime Minister went nowhere near a mosque.
Yes, because in Amira's world, sticks and stones and "such terminology" will break your bones, but "jihad" will never hurt you.Many Canadian Muslims grew accustomed to the negativity. Every terrorist plot or act, in Canada or abroad, was attributed to “jihadi terrorism,” even though Canadian intelligence services advised against using such terms as they “succeed only in conflating terrorism with mainstream Islam, thereby casting all Muslims as terrorists or potential terrorists,” as noted by the authors of a 2010 RCMP report titled Words Make Worlds. Even government advisors tried (but failed) to do away with such terminology.
Something tells me our new prime minister (a compulsive mosque-visitor; in fact, a real mosqueteer) won't have any trouble getting on board with that one.
Update: The difference between Harper and Chretien/Trudeau: unlike the two Liberals, Harper declined to play the dhimmi. That's what bothers Amira most of all.