Liberal White Prejudice: Grit leadership candidate Harinder Takhar is the target of The Toronto Star
Liberal white prejudice
Grit leadership candidate Takhar is the target
The Toronto SUN
The seven Liberals vying for the job to be Ontario’s premier, had barely left the starter’s block when the inevitable question of ethnicity was thrown into the race.
Unlike past Liberal Party races when “ethnic” brokers elbow each other in attempts to leverage vote bank pledges to white, mainstream leadership hopefuls, this time an “ethnic” is himself in the race — a Sikh of Indo-Canadian heritage, former minister of government services Harinder Takhar.
And the race-card bomb did not come from another leadership hopeful, or one of the backroom boys, it came from none other than the liberal Toronto Star’s Queen’s Park columnist Martin Regg Cohn.
The race had barely started and Cohn had written a column accusing Takhar of “playing the ethnic politics card.” “Harinder Takhar is the last (and least worthy) of the candidates to replace Dalton McGuinty … his penchant for bending the rules and playing the ethnic politics card — showcasing his South Asian roots and power base — makes Takhar a poster child for old style politics. He is a throwback to another era at a time when the party must throw off the yoke of opacity and opprobrium he personifies.”
This was rich coming from a columnist whose newspaper claims to be liberal, but has made an industry out of promoting the most orthodox and conservative stereotypical images of various ethnic communities.
Cohn’s argument went something like this: White candidates are free to court the ethnic vote, but when ethnics dare to run for leadership, they should stay away from their own community.
Would Cohn judge contenders like Gerrard Kennedy with the same barometer?
Not only has Kennedy sought the support of his own ethnic community, i.e., WASPs, but has built a reputation of being the most adept at wheeling and dealing with us racial minority types.
Cohn should be reminded of Kennedy’s shenanigans at the 2006 federal Liberal leadership convention in Montreal —I was there and slammed his actions a national newspaper.
In 2006, Kennedy had cultivated the same group that Cohn says Takhar will rely on for support in 2012. Six years ago, two rookie MP allies of Kennedy, Omar Alghabra, a Muslim, and, Navdeep Bains, a Sikh (both defeated in previous elections), held the strings of as many as 400 “ethnic” delegates in the Kennedy camp.
Had Cohn also slammed Kennedy or Kathleen Wynne (who has cultivated a Muslim vote bank in Thorncliffe Park) or Charles Sousa (who courted a Pakistani vote bank recently in Mississauga), one could have given him the benefit of doubt. However, because he sought out Takhar’s jugular for the kill, he cannot say he does not have a dog in this fight. (For the record, as a Liberal, I am not supporting Takhar).
Had Cohn done his homework, he would’ve discovered Takhar is hardly the ethnocentric fella he has made him out to be. Takhar, a Sikh Indo-Canadian, has a Muslim Pakistani-Canadian chief of staff. That’s equivalent to a Jewish- Canadian hiring a Palestinian-Canadian as his confidante.
Cohn may find some solace in knowing that he is not alone. Other journalists have also succumbed to their pre-conceived ethnic view of the world. TVO’s Steve Paikin tweeted a picture of Takhar’s supporters with the caption:
“For what it’s worth, not a single non-Indian face among @HarinderTakhar’s backdrop.”
An astonishing claim, because I saw the picture and did not see a single Indian face — just Canadians.