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Opinion: Classy Iggy, Real Classy

May 1, 2009

mia-in-ottawa

Photo credit: Blair Gable/Reuters

Dear Michael,

I have always voted Liberal, but events of the past few months have made me lose all faith in the Liberal Party.

33 000 Tamils – mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, grandparents, teenagers, infants – came to Ottawa and stood for hours in the rain. You stayed inside. There was no acknowledgment. Many had traveled for hours and taken time off work to come out to Ottawa for this. And yet, you didn’t budge from your inner chambers on Parliament Hill

They didn’t deserve this treatment at the hands of the Liberal Party. The flags were not in sight, and I don’t need to tell you that to label all Tamils as terrorists is blatant stereotyping and beneath someone of your academic and advocacy pedigree. I’ve read you wax eloquent about human rights abuses on almost every imaginable issue, but here there has been nothing but barely audible squeaks.

The LTTE aside (If you’re wondering why I don’t bring up the LTTE, it’s because for me they’re no longer really in the equation. How can you negotiate with a force that is at the end of its lifeline and has no hope? Unless, you offer them amnesty and the ability to surrender under the observation of 3rd parties. This whole thing has become about the LTTE and only the LTTE; we’re forgetting the most important part of all this — the civilians. ), there is much suffering in Sri Lanka right now and there is so much Canada could do short of armed intervention — i.e. economic sanctions, lobbying at the U.N., pushing for a ceasefire and war crimes trials, recalling the Canadian High Commissioner for Sri Lanka, pushing the U.S. to continue to delay the IMF loan, placing humanitarian preconditions on any aid, and pushing for journalists and NGOs to have full and independent access to the Boer-style concentration camps.

Instead, Canada and the Liberal Party have chosen to abandon the Tamils. I have never seen such blatant racism in the Canadian population. I saw it on the streets in Ottawa and in the streets in Toronto. Yet, everyone remains silent, or makes a bad situation worse (pardon me, Bob, you’re the exception. Too bad, you’re not the leader). It makes me question what it means to be Canadian. Am I to understand that immigrants are meant to be seen not heard? Is Canadian multiculturalism merely a boutique multiculturalism? Trot out the food, the ethnic dances and costumes a few times a year and live in your segregated spots, but the moment you speak out we will toss you aside like yesterday’s beans. Because that is the message I’m getting.

Come election time, if you would like my vote then you may rally the entirety of the Liberal party on my lawn. I then may decide to come out and speak with you. But don’t count on it. There’s a far greater likelihood that I will not come out at all especially if you are all white and all male. Perhaps, if you behave, I may invite a select few of your leaders to come and try to convince me to vote for you. But I wouldn’t count on that either.

Good day and good night.

A former Liberal.

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