Day of decision
I’ve been wavering about Justin Trudeau for prime minister. When I first heard him speak in March 2013, I was a fan and said so in a blog post. (Justin Time.) He was articulate, well-informed and worked the room well. When I next heard him in May 2015, his speech was lacking in passion and his performance was poor. I was less impressed and said that, too. (Flatlining on Front Street.)
During the election campaign, his presentation has improved and his economic policies seem appropriate. The Nanos poll has the Liberals in the lead by six points while Ekos says the Conservatives are ahead by more than two points so the outcome is still anybody’s guess.
But opposition parties rarely win on their own steam, governments get thrown out, that’s usually how regime change happens. And I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the Conservatives deserve to be thrown out. Never mind Mike Duffy, a weak Conservative cabinet, a poor record on climate change or a bombing policy in Syria with which I disagree. Those are all relevant, but what pushed me over the edge was the niqab .
The Conservatives want Muslim women to have their faces uncovered during citizenship ceremonies, to my mind an unnecessary slight because their identity is verified privately before they take the oath. Stephen Harper is also threatening to enact a law that would mean such religious garments could not be worn by members of the civil service. All this despite the fact that the courts have twice ruled his approach is not appropriate.
This divisive fear-mongering is not my Canada. I don’t want political staff in the prime minister’s office overseeing who is and who is not allowed into this country. Or what they can wear once they’re here. No one was expecting my father when he showed up in 1910 on a ship at Quebec City as a three-year-old with his family. Nor did anyone legislate against the kilts worn by his Scottish ancestors – the soldiers known as the “Ladies from Hell.” On any given subway ride I can see African tribal dress, Sikh turbans, Rasta hats and dreadlocks, tattoos galore, and all that’s just fine with me.
When the Quebec Assembly earlier this year began debating a law against specific religious garb, the first federal leader to speak out against such legislated intolerance was Justin Trudeau. For that reason alone, I’m voting Liberal on October 19.