Harper could ignore region
A comfortable Conservative party majority in Canada’s House of Commons may not be good news for Barbados and its Caribbean neighbours.
As two prominent Barbadians in Toronto, Austin “Tom” Clarke, a leading award-winning novelist who has lived in Canada for about half-century, and Dr Renaldo Walcott, an associate professor and chairman of the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies at the University of Toronto, see it, the Tory victory in Monday’s election can result in a decline in Canada’s interest in the economic and social development of the Caribbean.
In addition, both Clarke, the winner of Canada’s and the Commonwealth’s top literary prizes, and Walcott, believe that Blacks in Canada stood to be ignored by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government, which now has 167 seats in the 308 member Commons.
“The result of the election and the majority by Harper are going to be very important for the Caribbean because the Prime Minister has his attention focused on China and the countries in the East, including India,” said Clarke.
“It was pointed out after the results were known that the rising ethnic group in Ontario is now the Chinese and the Indians.
“We saw quite a few, relatively speaking, Indians who were elected on Monday and I was a bit shocked to see that there were no Black candidates and if they were they were very few in Ontario. That is a very fundamental change and it means we will be left out of the more serious discussion in parliament.”
In Monday’s election, the Conservatives got the majority the pollsters and commentators didn’t expect, while the New Democratic Party (NDP) captured 102 seats, replacing the Liberals as the official opposition in parliament.
The Liberals won a mere 34, and its leader Michael Ignatieff lost a safe Liberal seat in Toronto and has decided to step down from the helm of a party that for decades dominated Canada’s political scene.
For his part, Walcott described the Harper majority as a “scary thing for Black immigrants in Canada”, while the Caribbean nations should expect a combination of arrogance and indifference.
“Harper is not interested in the Caribbean,” Walcott told the MIDWEEK NATION. “His thrust is going to be India and China, countries with large populations, and a large and growing immigrant presence in Canada.
“Even if the Liberals or the NDP had manage to capture the government, Walcott added, the Caribbean would have had the same kind of indifference as well.” (TB)