Thursday, 5 February 2009

Peter Kent and the JDL

Dr. Dawg's Blawg has the rather disturbing story today of Junior Cabinet minister Peter Kent's association with Meir Weinstein, leader of the Canadian branch of the Jewish Defence League hate group. Weinstein, who used to use the nom de guerre of Meir Halevi, made a spectacle of himself following the Caves of the Patriarchs Massacre by his comrade, Baruch Goldstein. Goldstein and Weinstein/Halevi were both members of the JDL. Weinstein, who was also the North American spokesperson for the extremist and now banned Kach Party, said the following about Goldstein's murder of 29 Palestinians and wounding of a further 129 ""[o]ur organization does not condemn the attack. It condemns the Israeli government for not providing adequate protection for settlers."(Canadian Press, "Mosque attack threatens talks Arafat blames Rabin for massacre", February 26, 1994)

It's not surprising that Weinstein belongs to a Facebook group called מוות לערבים (pronounced Mavet le'aravim which means "Death to the Arabs").

Weinstein apparently lives in Kent's Thornhill riding. Did he and his fellow hate group members volunteer on Kent's campaign? Did any of them make a donation to his campaign? Will Kent denounce Weinstein and the JDL?
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Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Bisson bags the north

An update to my earlier look at endorsements of the NDP leadership candidates: an additional four northern Ontario MPs have endorsed Gilles Bisson meaning he has the unanimous support of the NDP's 7 federal Members of Parliament from northern Ontario.
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Iggy gives $0 to Liberal Party in 2008

This shouldn't be much of a surprise since it's not legal for foreigners to make donations to Canadian political parties.
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Monday, 2 February 2009

Where's Warren's backup?

If you're here it's because a post I actually wrote a year ago on Warren Kinsella's kitty comments has inadvertently been reposted with today's date as if it were new. It's not. Unfortunately, blogger doesn't seem to have any way for me to fix the date stamp, - at least none that I can find. If you know how to fix the date on this thing please feel free to lend your advice:)

Warren Kinsella has gotten himself in hot water for some rather dumb comments about a Chinese restaurant in Ottawa. The pathetic part of it is that Kinsella, who received a lot of prominence earlier in his career for his anti-racism would invoke really stupid, 1950s style, bigoted humour that should have died with Buddy Hackett's "Chinese waiter sketch". The "barbecue cat and rice" joke was so out of it's time I would have assumed that Kinsella was actually being deeply ironic if I thought he had the intelligence for irony or if irony hadn't died in 2001. It was the same patheticness that the writers of the Simpsons created for Krusty the Clown when they had him do Chinese restaurant gags in order to make the point that the only a fossil would think that stuff's funny.

If Kinsella were even the most rudimentary anti-racist he would have filtered those jokes out of his repetoire a long time ago. Heck, most racists don't engage in that sort of humour because they're too aware that they'll "out" themselves by doing so. The only way I can explain Kinsella's lapse is that in his arrogance he assumes that he's truly some sort of anti-racist icon and therefore is incapable of bigotry and so he is incapable of the sort of self-awareness and self-scrutiny most people use when they're tempted to blurt out something offensive.

Of course, the Tories and the right wing of the blogosphere is exploiting Kinsella's faux pas to the hilt. So much so that you would have thought he'd called for the reintroduction of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Of course, most of the Tories are being hypocritical considering the comments many of them have tolerated or even defended far worse from people like Herb Grubel, Monte Solberg, Lee Richardson, or the party's own ad team. And let's not forget that one of the founding issues of the Reform Party was opposition to Sikh RCMP officers wearing turbans. That many of the right wing blog netizens now chomping at Kinsella have no hesitation to mock and make abusive comments about Muslims only underscores the hypocricy around this issue. And, frankly, given Kinsella's eagerness to smear others based on half-truths and distortions it's hard to feel sympathy for the guy.

Kinsella should issue a real apology, ie one that expresses actual contrition and self-awareness, rather than the minimization he's been engaging in.

On a political plane, what's been interesting about this whole affair is the failure of any Liberals that I'm aware of to back Kinsella up and defend him. Perhaps the rehabilitation which seemed in the offing under Iggy will prove to be short lived?
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