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Undecided voters’ panel on the ethnic-vote scandal

Adrian Mohareb says he dislikes that taxpayer dollars were used to fund the B.C. Liberal’s multiculturalism strategy, when it should have been paid for out of the party’s war chest. Mohareb is pictured near downtown Vancouver on March 7, 2013.

Ben Nelms/The Globe and Mail

We asked members of our panel to discuss the controversy over the B.C. Liberal Party's multicultural outreach strategy, specifically: What are your thoughts about the strategy and does the governing party deserve the criticism it is receiving for it?

What follows is part of that discussion:

"From a purely strategic point of view, I don't think 'the multicultural plan' is a bad strategy. I believe it does work for the older generation [of] ethnic voters (people like my grandparents), or ethnic voters who vote but don't follow news/politics closely. However, I don't think it is ethical and respectful.

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"In fact, I believe most major Canadian political parties that compete in cities/provinces with large ethnic communities have a similar plan. They just may not spell it out like this in a document. The B.C. Liberals had bad luck with this leak, and it will seriously damage their brand. Do the B.C. Liberals deserve criticism? Yes, but I don't think they are the only party guilty of this.

"But I think the ethnic community groups are part of the issue too. I found most of them to be too focused on just issues related to their own ethnic group. Political parties would, of course, take advantage of this."

– Stephen Fung, Vancouver

"It seems to be a proven strategy. Most of the ethnic groups reside in the Lower Mainland area and there are a lot of key ridings [there] which can be life or death for the Liberal party.

"With the leak, it just makes them look dumber. … Doing something that everybody is doing, using taxpayer-funded resources to do it, and getting it leaked; I don't think it can get dumber than this.

"Does the governing party deserve the criticism? I don't think so. I think this thing is a bit overblown until the facts actually come out. Think about all the partisan mail you get from your MP."

– Kevin Fung, Vancouver

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"I agree with Stephen and Kevin – this really seems like a logical strategy document.

"What I dislike about it is the use of my taxpayer dollars for it; this should come out of the B.C. Liberals' war chest, and should only include B.C. Liberal staff, and not civil servants."

– Adrian Mohareb, Vancouver

"I'm not a member of an ethnic group. I am a woman, and something that drives me nuts is when political parties have goals or strategies that are aimed at 'women.'

"I hate the idea that my gender somehow puts me in a neat, tidy category. I would assume that other individuals who happen to have a different background, or originate from a different country, hate being categorized too."

– Elizabeth Williams, Kelowna

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"I think it's despicable. Regardless of whether taxpayer money was put into the campaign, I think any apology should only be done when it's actually meant as an apology."

– Chris Tooley, Victoria

– Compiled by Mason Wright

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About the Author
Digital Content Editor

Mason is part of the multimedia team responsible for the editing and presentation of The Globe and Mail’s best journalism on mobile and other digital platforms. Mason has also been the B.C. Online Editor and a homepage editor for The Globe and Mail, and he started as a Page One editor for the Globe’s print edition in 2008. More


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