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Barbaric cultural practices

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Good to know our caring government under feminist Stephen Harper is keeping tabs on barbaric cultural practices, by turning us (by which I guess I mean "old stock Canadians," so, alas, I am not in their number after all, although being born in the U.K., may carry honourary status) into a nation of informers.

Let me put in parentheses my previous comments on this bone-headed, nugatory notion. Let us focus instead upon the drift of this election campaign, and Stephen Harper's increasingly racist overtures to the unwashed.

There's the bizarre niqab issue, that appears to involve all of two women in a four year span. There's the stripping of citizenship, with no judicial appeal, of a person born in Canada. And now we're promised a snitch line, which will no doubt be clogged with calls about the offensive smell of curries, tajines and kibbeh and that stupid kerchief worn by Muslim women (you'd be hard-put to find an actual niqabi in your neighbourhood -- hijab will have to do).

Don't give me Orwell, by the way. He, like those yokels who are already queueing up to avail themselves of a direct line to the RCMP, was also a "policeman's friend." But there's a lot here of a certain racist Australian.

What kind of society do we want for ourselves? A democracy? Or a totalitarian one, where the Other is under continual scrutiny, not only by the police but by neighbours? A nation where we are encouraged to inform on each other? One in which conformity is the only value that counts? Where a slow pogrom, tacitly encouraged by the state, is already taking shape?

The champions of small government are in trouble now. What lies before us is dictatorship, in fact if not formally. And for the Harper Conservatives to get another majority, as they may well, by using the time-dishonoured technique of scapegoating a minority, is sick-making, to say the least.

This is not my Canada. Perhaps it never has been.

With thanks to co-blogger Balbulican for some ideas.

Photo/Corey Hogan

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