As we were deciding how to layout the election coverage in the News section of our paper, we were faced with a decision: do we or do we not include Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada alongside the other contenders?
We debated for a while, but settled on a unanimous opinion: we, as NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said during the English debate on Oct. 7, do not believe Bernier deserves a place on the stage.
In a tweet back in September, Bernier called 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg “clearly mentally unstable.” In fact, he went on to say Thunberg is “Not only autistic, but obsessive-compulsive, eating disorder, depression and lethargy, and she lives in a constant state of fear.”
Objectively, these are shitty things to say. These aren’t words anyone would expect from a potential leader of the country. What’s more, is he was saying these things in the context of climate change denial. He said efforts to address the climate crisis, like those undertaken by Thunberg, are “a movement that is a threat to our prosperity and civilisation. If [Thunberg] wants to play that role, she should be denounced and attacked.”
Denounced. And. Attacked.
Sorry, w h a t ?
It appears as though Bernier is a) not super into science and b) super into publicly insulting (and inciting violence towards?) children.
Furthermore, the People’s Party platform states on its website that “In a free society, immigrants have the right to cherish and maintain their cultural heritage, however, that doesn’t mean we have any obligation to help them preserve it.” It also says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has created “cult of diversity.”
Outside of the fact that a “cult of diversity” is, very obviously, an oxymoron, we at The Concordian firmly believe multiculturalism is something that should be encouraged and celebrated, not reduced to anti-Canadianism.
Everyone in this country, save for Indigenous people, is an immigrant. Let’s not pretend otherwise. The People’s Party wants to cut the annual amount of immigrants and refugees accepted into Canada in half, from 350,000 to between 100,000 and 150,000. They also want to interview every candidate for immigration to “assess the extent to which they align with Canadian values and societal norms,” according to the party’s website.
We at The Concordian believe that denying people the right to seek refuge or to create a better life for themselves is what does not align with Canadian values.
Lastly, the People’s Party website constantly uses the term “aboriginal,” which many Indigenous people have labelled problematic as the “ab” may carry the connotation of meaning “other” or “non” (think “abnormal”). When referring to Indigenous people, it’s important to ask them on an individual basis how they identify.
Despite the fact that some may be okay with the term “aboriginal,” others aren’t; so why not use a term that has not been flagged as problematic or insensitive? No other political party used “aboriginal” in their platform. It doesn’t take much to pay attention to these details, and the People’s Party’s inability to do so is concerning.
Obviously, as a newspaper, we know freedom of speech is important. But that doesn’t give a person the right to spew whatever hateful thoughts travel through their brain; especially not someone who is leading the country. The line is drawn when your opinions are inherently hateful or when they disrespect and invalidate other people’s existences.
So, “People’s Party,” but only if you don’t believe in the climate crisis, think bullying children is okay, and see diversity as a problem. Not our party. Not in our newspaper.
The Concordian would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to participate in democracy and cast their vote on Oct. 21. This year, millennials make up the largest portion of the voting population.
Feature photo by Alex Hutchins