Bigotry is not “an American Problem”

News of bigotry or violence from south of the border often elicits the view that racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, xenophobia, heterosexism, or transphobia are somehow mostly “American problems”. It is certainly true that far-right, fundamentalist and neo-Nazi groups in the U.S. are feeling legitimized by the outpouring of hatred from the White House, and taking advantage to go on the offensive. Events in the USA have a definite impact in Canada; Trump wannabe forces are flexing their muscles here as well.

But nobody should be lulled into complacency by any mistaken thought that Canada is relatively free from these deadly ideologies. The “origin myth” that Canada is supposed to be a “white Christian” homeland remains alive, as seen by the anti-immigrant hatred erupting in provinces and cities from coast to coast. The latest threats directed against Masuma Khan in New Brunswick are typical of the dangerous level which fascist thuggery is reaching today. So too is the open involvement by the fascist Soldiers of Odin in the fundamentalist anti-SOGI (“sexual orientation and gender identity” school curricula) campaigns by city council and school trustee candidates in British Columbia this fall. In Quebec, the virulently anti-immigrant CAQ began threatening racialized communities within hours after winning a majority in the National Assembly, and of course Doug Ford’s majority Tory government in Ontario uses the same divisive politics which helped Donald Trump win in 2016. Far right pro-business groups which use anti-immigrant rhetoric are also escalating calls to block minimum wage gains and to push for so-called “right-to-work” laws.

Things are indeed scary in the US these days, but the tactics of hatred and fear are also being heavily promoted in Canada. Our response must be to push back, to unite and fight against the fascists before their momentum becomes hard to stop.

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