Political Discussion or Racism?
Two Conservative Leadership contestants recently made statements with a Chinese connection; one was quickly labelled as racist, the other . . . not yet. But what is the truth of the matter?
Erin O’Toole, though not a social conservative, has made some good points as an anti-globalist. A good example of this is his recent article on a possible “Cold War with China”. A war with China? Isn’t that racist? Mainstream media hasn’t screamed “racism” on this yet…
Derek Sloan, another leadership contestant, had called for Theresa Tam to be fired. Now he has been labelled as a racist because Dr. Tam is Chinese. The Prime Minister made the connection to racism in an answer to a journalist, but really, it was the journalist—Molly Thomas of CTV—who made the allegation. The Prime Minister brought racism into his answer, but Molly Thomas insinuated it in her question by throwing in Sloan’s call for Tam’s resignation with some completely unrelated incidents in BC.
Look at her question: “…we’ve seen a spike in anti-Asian violence in different parts of our country. In BC, an elderly man with dementia was shoved out of a store by an assailant that brought up remarks about COVID-19, we now have a conservative leadership candidates that is asking for Dr. Tam to be fired and is accusing her, the WHO, and China of being in cahoots. What is your message to Canadians as they see this?”
A politician with a strong sense of justice and fairness would have reproved the journalist for conflating an accusation of conflict-of-interest with racism. Prime Minister Trudeau did not. He used the question as an opportunity to lecture Canadians on intolerance and racism; he went so far as to say: “We need to continue in our resolve to be an open, welcoming, respectful country. And I think all Canadians expect that of every politician.” Every politician, eh? Including himself? His own foolish misdeeds make the exhortation ring hollow.
Mr. Sloan, like CHP and many others, have called for Dr. Tam to resign or be fired because of her advisory role with the World Health Organization (WHO), not because of her ethnicity. Trite accusations of racism devalue those who have experienced real racial injustice. Regardless of the victim, perpetrators of violence and racism must be brought to justice. That’s not the issue here. The government’s defence of Dr. Tam seems to be: “accuse the accusers of racism” rather than face the issues.
But back to Erin O’Toole; his article in the National Post is thoughtful and should be taken note of (whether you support his leadership aspirations or not). He is warning of China’s ambitions to increase its global control.
Criticizing China should be done with a caveat: is it criticism of the Chinese people (which could indeed be racist) or is it criticism of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which rules China as a dictatorship? Criticizing the CCP is not about being racist, it is about standing up against a dictatorship that does not respect the privacy or lives of Chinese citizens, nor of other nations’ citizens. Mr. O’Toole is clearly criticizing Communism and the CCP — but one might wonder if a mean-spirited journalist will soon try to paint him as racist.
Indeed, Mr. O’Toole makes the point in his article that the CCP uses its international influence to make criticism of itself seem “unreasonable” or “Sinophobic” (racist against Chinese).
What we can learn from our present situation with COVID-19 is that China is very concerned about its public image in the world and is using many tactics to try to improve its image — some harsh, and some soft.
Chinese citizens who tried to tell the world what was really happening with the virus in China disappeared very quickly. What has happened to them? They are (most likely) victims of a totalitarian government that did not want damaging information from inside its borders to leak out. That is one of China’s harsh measures.
In an attempt to portray themselves as generous and compassionate, China has donated masks and other personal protective equipment to help countries dealing with the virus (although this generosity ran low with Italy). The fact that some Chinese PPE have proven to be defective is not exactly a trust-builder either, but they are trying to portray a softer side.
If COVID-19 reawakens the world to the CCP’s violation of basic human rights in China and their careless treatment of the truth, then it should follow that Canada (and hopefully other nations) will demand that China respect basic human rights. There ought to be increasing pressure from the diplomatic and economic sides, at minimum. Canada should be challenging China over the detention of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig who have been held without cause for over 500 days. It should not be business as usual with China!
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Other Commentary by Peter Vogel:
- Imagine There’s No Uncles…
- Borrowing Prosperity, Postponing Austerity
- CBC, Ethics, and Redeemer University
- So-Cons and Faux-Cons Part Two
- Defund the Police? Why Not?
- Time to Sell Your Stocks in Lego?
- Political Discussion or Racism?
- Cognitive Dissonance on Life-Saving Measures
- Temporary Crisis, Permanent Power-Grab
- So-Cons and Faux-Cons
- A Licence For Your Thoughts?
- Oops, a Senior’s Moment… for Canada