Skip to main content

British Columbia Former B.C. premier must understand identity does not equal skin colour

Stephen Harper dabbled with pandering to the baser view of the so-called "angry white male" in the last federal election, but it comes as a surprise, however, the next piper to try charming this cobra is Ujjal Dosanjh.

The former premier of B.C., protector of gay rights, health care, and multiculturalism, recently wrote a lengthy blog post bemoaning political correctness as having gagged white men from saying what they really think. White men who have framed Canada's political narrative since Confederation, have today become excluded from it.

According to Dosanjh, "politicians afraid of ethnic backlashes revel in silence policed by the so called multiculturalists who might be more appropriately called multicults". He added that, "under these circumstances when politicians do speak they utter non sequiturs, simply bromides".

Story continues below advertisement

Not surprisingly, Dosanjh's call found hearty praise from the closeted hordes who took to the comments sections of various online newspaper forums. The white male commenters vented their frustrations at "multiculturalism", Muslims, refugees, and basically anyone who didn't fit in with the world as seen by "old stock" Canadians. Their antidotes to Canada's woes were predictable: curtail immigration, seal the border to everyone except Europeans, and renew Judeo Christian liturgical practices.

They were unleashing how their lifetime membership to the exclusive club of white privilege had eroded in value.

While Dosanjh's intention may have been to stir dialogue on Canadian identity and culture, his approach is fundamentally divisive. He is pandering to one group's fanciful list of grievances. His apocalyptic vision of white men being overrun by political correctness is built on a number of glaring fallacies.

The first is the most obvious: The white man is not disenfranchised. To be voiceless is to be a First Nation's child growing up in a broken home on an isolated reserve without running water. To be the opposite is to be a white man.

At Apple, for example, the world's largest company, white men hold over 70 per cent of senior management positions When compared to other companies and across industry, this is likely not an anomaly. White men also hold a disproportionate amount of power on municipal councils and other political bodies.

When noteworthy decisions are made in Canada, on any number of issues from monetary policy to environmental regulation to First Nations relations, and so forth, they are made by government officials, the majority of whom tend to be white. These wider decisions indelibly impact our sense of national culture and identity which Dosanjh claims excludes input from white men.

The second flaw in Dosanjh's arguments is that white men disproportionately suffer from political correctness, its tight ribbing suffocating only them from speaking on many issues. What he fails to note is that this same corset of censorship applies equally to everyone, regardless of race and ironically, it just as often benefits white men as it harnesses them.

Story continues below advertisement

Contrary to Dosanjh's claim of white men being passive victims of the PC police, they are just as likely to be PC enforcers when it serves their vested interests.

A perfect case in point is one which Dosanjh mentions in his post – the stagnant discussion around Vancouver's skyrocketing property prices.

When UBC professor Andy Yan published his study on property prices in Vancouver and found that 70 per cent of sales in 2014 of detached homes over $3-million in Vancouver were purchased by Chinese buyers, the response from Vancouver's leaders was to question if the study was racist.

Mayor Gregor Robertson wasn't grateful, that? finally there was real data on the house market. Instead he resorted to political correctness to obfuscate the issue, "This can't be about race, it can't be about dividing people," said the mayor. "It needs to get to the core issue about addressing affordability and making sure it's fair."

The housing issue in Vancouver is a nightmare for young people of all backgrounds who actually live, work and earn in the Lower Mainland. Empty houses and unattainable prices do not a city make – and that affects everyone who lives in the city. It's a class issue, full stop.

Dosanjh argues that the chill of political correctness has stopped Vancouver's politicians from acting decisively in this matter. This could not be further from the truth.Vancouver's politicians have found a convenient scapegoat in political correctness as a means to avoid acting altogether.

Story continues below advertisement

Dosanjh's vision of this country being stacks of different coloured Lego blocks is regressive. Why? Because it's 2016 and the idea of defining your identity by the quantity of melanin in your skin is as knuckle-scraping as climate change denial.

As Canadians, we all have a stake in issues such the choice of language for strata council meetings, and the fine balance between providing sanctuary to refugees versus securing our borders. But an honest discussion of these issues is a colourless discussion.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter