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Good proposal for ethnic outreach by Liberals

The Young Liberals of Canada (YLC) are holding elections this year for various positions in their organization. One of those folks happens to be a fellow by the name of John Lennard, who has been a very active Liberal in his young life. I first knew John from his blogsite, and have also met him in person a couple of times at a couple of Liberal Party and blogging functions. He happens to be running for YLC President, and I found in particular this policy position he made on multiculturalism to be very interesting:

As Young Liberals, we need to fight to re-establish the multiculturalism committee within the Liberal Party of Canada. The multicultural committee was, and should be, an important liaison between the Party apparatus and cultural communities all over the country. This committee needs to focus not only on engaging more new Canadians into the political process, but making sure their voices are well-represented throughout the Party. In particular, the Multiculturalism Committee must seek out and encourage qualified visible minorities to run for local nominations.

John goes on to advocate the formation of a multicultural committee for the YLC. I like this particular position that he’s taking, because Liberals have often been accused lately of being very complacent and lax when it comes to fighting for votes from our multicultural ethnic communities. We’ve presumed that block of votes has been in our pocket, and taken it for granted. In the meantime, the Conservatives have been working hard to try and undermine that support for the Liberals.

Liberals may snort at the message or the messenger (in this case, Jason Kenny, who is a rather odd choice to be pursuing their outreach), but I believe it’s dangerous to brush that aside or underestimate the Conservative’s attempts to get that vote. Even switching a small portion of multicultural votes or voters may be the difference in certain ridings that could potentially keep the Conservatives in power. Therefore, I think the re-establishing of such a multicultural committee would be the first step in showing to the cultural communities across Canada that we’re back to re-engaging with them, as well as an important tool for countering the Conservatives attempted outreach and showing those communities that Conservatives are interested in their votes, but not much else.

This isn’t a formal endorsement of John for the YLC Presidency, by the way, but I wanted to highlight that idea out of his platform as an idea I support for the Liberal Party as a whole to bring back. If anyone in Liberal land (young Liberals or otherwise) would like to tell me why re-establishing this multiculturalism committee isn’t a good idea, and/or why it was stopped in the first place, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section.


6 comments to Good proposal for ethnic outreach by Liberals

  • Scott: I’m with you on bringing it back. If Mr. Lennard needs help approaching youth in the Lower Mainland, I can certainly help…

  • anon

    No nothing wrong with that, and I didn’t refer to a YLC multiculturalism committee that’s a good idea and it totally achievable and I agree with restoring the LPC Multiculturalism committee.

    I’m just saying you have to be realistic – the chances of the LPC formally re-instating the multi-culturalism committee are slimmer than Ignatieff running on Dion’s Green Shift in the next election (another policy I really wish they didn’t discard). 2/3 of delegates voted to dissolve the committee, an amendment to restore it may not even make it to the floor let alone get 2/3 support. So if you have to mobilize resources towards a cause may as well be one that has an at least decent prospect of success.

  • Sal

    Thanks for positing this scott, lets hope it atleast starts the conversation. Anything to get Liberals to consider real outreach (multicultural or otherwise) is a plus.

  • @anon – I normally don’t keep anonymous comments.. but I’ll make an exception.

    John’s proposal is calling on the YLC to fight for its reinstatement – nothing wrong with that. As well, establishing a similar committee at the YLC level.. which I presume doesnt take a 2/3 majority. So, I disagree that this proposal is “completely moot”.

  • anon

    Re-instating the Multiculturalism committee requires a constitutional amendment passed by 2/3 of delegates at the convention in Vancouver. The National executive must first approve such an amendment to go to floor and THEN it must receive 2/3 delegate support.

    The odds of this happenning are SLIM TO NONE!

    I agree with the idea but the prospects of LPC bringing back the committee are so daunting it’s just not gonna happen. Therefore, this proposal is completely moot. (not to sound defeatist, but one should understand just how difficult it would be to bring back a committee that 2/3 of delegates voted out of existence last time)

  • john

    Why the hell are you using language like “ethnic outreach” and “cultural communities” — you sound just like Jason Kenney.

    You obviously don’t understand the implicit race thinking behind those terms. You are saying that non-white people are species of culture, ethnicity, and particularity, and that white people are non-cultural, non-ethnic, and universal in outlook and thinking.

    It’s a standard and insulting form of race thinking in North America,

    The same applies for “multiculturalism” — another liberal buzzword for disguising and covering up structural racism in Canadian society, and for reducing the issue of systematic racism to a difference of culture and taste. In this silly conception, all we need to do is “appreciate” different cultures and everything will be fine. Anti-racism is eating Indian food and wearning moccasins. Give me a break.

    Canada is racist country by virtue of being a settler state on colonized land; by the very nature of its exploitative economic relation to the Third World; by its violent and racist military wars of conquest; and by its unequal class structure that is racialized in significant ways.

    For these reasons, your idea on ‘cultural committees’ is dumb, tokenistic, opportunistic, laughable and complicit with race thinking.

    Read Himani Bannerji’s, Dark Side of the Nation or Thinking Through, or anything by Sherene Razack.

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