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Is Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney Playing Dirty Politics With Hindus And Sikhs?

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
source: http://www.voiceonline.com/voice/thisweek/headline2.php


By Rattan Mall – Editor: Indo-Canadian Voice – May 1, 2010

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney is being accused of playing dirty politics with Hindu and Sikhs.

The South Asian Focus newspaper of Brampton in an article titled, “Kenney lauds 'peaceful' Hindu community,” wrote: “The Hindu community's role in a maintaining a peaceful Canada was praised by Minister of Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney over the weekend.

“Rather than causing any problems, it comes to us with solutions, Kenney noted at a meeting with members of the Hindu Federation at Mississauga's Ram Mandir.

“He praised the Hindu diaspora's peaceful and constructive role in Canada, while noting the community in Canada, from whichever part of the world it came, had its roots in India's secularism and tolerance of all religions and communities.

“Kenney reiterated Canada's multicultural values, but added this did not mean immigrants could import their bad habits as well.

“His comment was a veiled reference to the violence being witnessed in sections of the Sikh community in recent weeks.”

I forwarded Kenney the article and asked him for his comments, but he did not respond.

The article has caused resentment in the Sikh community. The Toronto metro area has a substantial Hindu population, especially as compared to Vancouver. Hindus in Ontario are prominent businessmen and recently played the leading role as members of the Canada-India Business Council in hosting India’s Road Transport and Highways Minister Kamal Nath who’s been accused of involvement in the 1984 massacre of Sikhs in Delhi.

It’s likely that the newspaper gave its own twist to what Kenney told the members of the Hindu Federation.

I know the underlying tensions between the Hindus and the Sikhs in Toronto because I was assistant producer of South Asian programs in 1999-2000 for Roger’s multicultural TV network that was then known as CFMT.

These tensions are further complicated by tensions between the Indo-Canadians and the Pakistani-Canadians because Toronto has a very large number of Canadians of Pakistani origin.

That’s why I would advise Kenney to be careful of what he says to any group.

Another factor that has complicated matters in Canada is that some Hindus write anti-Sikh letters to newspapers or make anti-Sikh comments on radio talk shows posing as Sikhs.

Canadians in general do not know the difference between Hindus and Sikhs or the difference in names.

For them a brown guy is a brown guy and this causes more confusion and resentment against Sikhs. Some Hindus do not realize that these tactics harm ALL South Asians, including themselves.
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