This is part of an email I received earlier this week.
Let’s take a stand!!!
McGuinty: Gone! Borders: Closed unless you pay your own way! Language: English or French only official languages! Culture: Charter of Rights and the prevailing laws! Drug Free: Mandatory Drug Screening before Welfare! NO freebies to: Non-Citizens!
We the people are coming
Only 86% will send this on. Should be 100%. What will you do?
“The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money”. — Margaret Thatcher
My mother, who is a very open-hearted and generous individual, is also very open when it comes to my contact info. So from time to time, my email address joins the mailing list of the odd person she may brush shoulders with at any of the charitable events she volunteers at. Charity isn’t beholden to any political stripe, so it may come as no surprise that my dear mother may cross paths with a person with such beliefs evoked in the above email, dolling out food to the needy at a local soup kitchen.
I immediately and jokingly responded by stating that I agree, and that my mother, who has never given up her British passport – or her accent, for that matter – since she arrived in Canada at seven years old, should be cut off from whatever “freebies” are implied in the list of demands. I guess my point was to demonstrate the short-sightedness of such a knee-jerk stipulation; that those you feel are undeserving, are often those standing beside you, contributing just as much to the social well-being as you are.
In regards to our current premier, I can kind of understand her frustration, although I may be voting for him, as journalist Dan Arnold puts it, “even as I hold my nose”. I doubt though, from the emailer’s sentiment towards borders and welfare recipients that they’ll be voting NDP in today’s election [Note to reader: At this point I hadn’t yet voted]. In regards to the Borders demand, the future Ontario premier, be him/her rabidly anti-immigrant, would have very little control as to who arrives in the province. Even if they did have that kind of power, I would wager that they would quickly change their tune once they learn that “real” Canadians have standards as to what kind of work they “lower” themselves to do, and for how much.
Borders: Closed unless you pay your own way!
Speaking of borders, it’s amazing how some people have come to believe that the Canadian government (or perhaps the Ontario?) has become so generous as to pay the travel costs for refugee immigrants to Canada. I have no idea where this comes from.(Or perhaps they mean pay they own way while living in Canada. I’m a bit confused here) As an ESL instructor, I know first-hand the stories of families pooling their savings to send a member to our doorstep. I’ve heard stories from Iranians who paid smugglers to get them either through the desert or over the mountains to the safety of the next transit point. I’ve heard of Sri Lankan families having spent as much as $25,000.00 US – an enormous amount for that country – to get their kids to the border at Buffalo, New York. In my experience, all immigrants and refugees pay their own way, so perhaps in this instant, the emailer is getting exactly what they want.
Language: English or French only official languages!
Well, at least they’ve accepted French as one of the official Canadian languages. This stipulation is also irrelevant, unless the emailer is concerned about the Italian signage in Woodbridge, or the Polish language that adorns some of the shop windows along Roncesvalles Avenue in Toronto. I jest. No, my guess this is more to do with the strange symbols one finds at Spadina and Dundas, or along rather non-Greek stretches of the Danforth, where men with beards and “exotic” dress walk with their children. I’m curious to know how and where the line is drawn between what the emailer considers as acceptable, and what they consider an affront to their visual sense. How does one language instil in him/her a sense of history (Italian/Polish) while the others trigger the sense being encroached upon (especially when Asians have been around in Canada longer than most Poles and Italians).
Drug Free: Mandatory Drug Screening before Welfare!
The most puzzling demand of all these is this one. That they think they can make Canada (or Ontario?) drug-free by preventing welfare recipients from using drugs must mean that, from their perspective, only welfare recipients are on the pot. It’s difficult to imagine the constraints one must use to maintain this reality. Even if I had spent my entire life watch only SunTV and Fox News at home, and blasting Rush Limbaugh through my headphones whenever I venture outside, I doubt I would be able to shake the notion that some people who have jobs and pay taxes occasionally smoke pot and perhaps snort a little of the Devil’s Dandruff. Besides, do they really think that a welfare recipient in Canada can afford an eightball?
All in all, those of us left of centre should be heartened by this email, simply because it screams one word: No. It is a word often used by those on the cultural and political defensive. If this is the case, then perhaps this is the first sign that things are turning; that although we have a Conservative government in power and a conservative Mayor in Toronto, the public is losing its taste for their values and blind ideology. And those on the right, like the emailer above, are feeling this chill before we do.
Update: I voted NDP
Second Update: I may have been right. In light of the new Liberal Majority, a writer from Maclean’s Magazine from MacLean’s magazine was forced to admit on a radio conservative radio station that the anticipated “Tory Wave”, that had all the conservatives giggling like school girls, isn’t going to happen.