Thursday, March 25, 2010

Foreign Issues in Canadian Elections?

On March 24, 2010, the
Toronto Star reported that Harbans Jandali, president of the Ontario Sikh and Gurdwara Council as stating, "Unless they make amends quickly, the Liberals will definitely lose this community's votes." He was reacting to Premier Dalton McGuinty's 30-minute meeting with Indian transport minister Kamal Nath, in Toronto to give a talk to the Canada-India Business Council.

Jandali alleges that Nath abetted riots in which more than 3,000 Sikhs were killed. The riots were in reaction to the 1984 assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. 

The Star did not publish this letter. 

Re Sikh leaders promise to make McGuinty pay, Mar. 24:

I hope the president of the Ontario Sikh and Gurdwara Council was misquoted when he threatened to make an event in India an issue in an Ontario election. Otherwise, it means that when I cast my ballot over such matters as education, health care, the environment, and social welfare, my vote will be cancelled because of an incident in a foreign land with no relevance to Ontario.

My parents came to Toronto in the 1920s. Not once did they talk of the politics of their native Austria. They did not force me to learn German, or wear the costumes of their homeland. They never spoke of the glories of the homeland, because Canada had become their homeland. They always voted for what they thought best for Toronto, for Ontario, for Canada, not for Austria. All they wanted was to blend into their chosen culture.

Dare we hope that later immigrants do likewise, and not threaten Canadian politicians with issues beyond our borders?

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