Jason Cherniak commented sometime ago, regarding his statements about Omar Alghabra, that Muslim Canadians are unlikely to vote Conservative because of vitriolic statements by some Tories. While this generalization has its flaws, one part of it is basically true. Let me get to the flaw first.
All Italian-Canadians do not vote one way, neither will all Muslim Canadians, many of whom come from various cultures and backgrounds. Indeed many South Asians vote for Liberal simply because they have more role models in the Liberal caucus (such as Ruby Dhalla) but that does not stop a lot of them for also voting for Conservatives in the West. Harper's strategy of focusing on same sex marriage in the GTA has not borne fruit, however his actions on jobs, credential recognition and tax cuts have.
The Liberals have always played a delicate balancing act (on their position on the Middle East) well. This meant both Jewish voters and Muslim voters simultaneously voted for the Liberals. However, Paul Martin lost a lot of support within the Muslim community when he declared "Israel's values are Canadian values". Looking at recent actions by Israel where they seem to be killing civilians for fun it is clear Canada's values are very different. Paul Martin was probably pandering to some vote bank. However, the second part of Jason's statement is true. The lost votes did not go to the Conservatives but to the NDP.
It is for this reason that I believe the Liberal's next leader must be more left-leaning than right. We must emphasize our social programs, our environmental policies and our progressive society to steal back those NDP Liberals that we lost.
Another thing that struck me recently is how rabid the right wing has become. In previous eras, to be right leaning you wanted less government, lower taxes, less involvement in foreign affairs, more spending at home, increasing personal freedoms and protecting rights. Today, the right subscribes to strict interpretations of a religious code that they seek to impose on others, restrict personal liberties, increase spending (military, GST cut), do not care about deficit, treat environment as a dirty word and so on. The Toronto Sun has recently called even for standing together with Israel, as if that is something Canadians should do, when we have no stake in that country and should NOT be involved. The way to fight the Conservatives is NOT to be more right (look where it got the Democrats) but by re-stating progressive Liberal values.
Tags: Canada Foreign Relations Liberal Party