Maxime Bernier – he too just doesn’t get it

A work in progress, started on August 25, 2018

As of August 2018 Maxime Bernier was very nearly elected the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.  That’s the head guy of what is essentially a two party system in Canada, operating in the federal (nation wide) sphere.   He lost, and over time posted a number of comments, and in late august of 2018 purported to leave the conservative party to start his own party, entitled the Mad Max party.   Are you kidding me??/  Maxime Berniere is frightening.   His comments are everything about Canada that Canada is not.  What is astounding is that he was very nearly “guy number one or guy number two”.   It’s essentially a two party system in Canada, and he almost made it to the top spot.   What the heck happened???????????   I’d like to talk about some of his recent posts:

In August of 2018 he “tweeted”:

“3/ The vast majority of Canadians rightly expect immigrants to learn about our history and culture, master one of our official languages, and adopt widely shared Canadian values. Instead of spending M$ on multiculturalism programs, we should focus on integration.”

Why would the majority of Canadians “rightly” expect immigrants to “master” one of our official languages?    With the greatest of respect the writing and spoken language skills of many persons that I meet that have been born and raised in Canada are quite poor.  Mastery?  Not a chance.  What if a new immigrant learns enough to get by day to day?  Is that okay?  That’s what my grandparents on my fathers side did.  They certainly didn’t master the english language, or the french language either.They lived here for roughly 40 years after they came over.   They worked hard, paid their taxes and committed no crimes that I’m aware of.       That’s a great member of the community.   If we accept Maxime’s view, they didn’t do it right.

How about learning about our history and our culture?  What is our culture?   It’s a pretty diversified thing that is not easily defined.    How many of those of us who were born here can readily explain the process by which laws are passed in Canada.   The current premier of Ontario Doug Ford was not able to when he was asked.  How many are able to explain what the division of powers is?  Or how the Constitution came to be?   These are things that are pretty fundamental to our history, but frankly I say that the majority of Canadian’s don’t have much of an understanding of.  Is that pretty awful?  NO!  It’s just fine.  I don’t care, and I hope that others don’t care, about how detailed someone’s knowledge of Canadian history is when I assess whether they are a good citizen.   It doesn’t matter at all.   I think about whether they contribute to our community and refrain from causing harm to others.

What are “widely shared Canadian Values”?  Let us be careful here, I’ve recently seen a number of internet videos where Canadian’s are yelling things like “why don’t you just go home”! to slights like not being served in the language they like, or being commented on when they park ridiculously.  I’m not entirely clear what those values are, since those most likely to offer comment on them seem to be the most obnoxious amongst us.  Canadian Values are, in my respectful view, respectful of most values, provided that they lead to no harm of others.

Also in August of 2018 he tweeted:

“1/ Our immigration policy should not aim to forcibly change the cultural character and social fabric of Canada, as radical proponents of multiculturalism want. Of course, society is transformed by immigration. But this has to be done organically and gradually.”

As I understand it, Maxime resides in a community with very little diversity indeed.   Is he really suggesting that the goal of someone’s immigration policy is to forcibly change the cultural character and social fabric of Canada?  Who?  Who is doing this dastardly thing?   I think Maxime is propping up a straw man here.   Where’s the master plan or who’s the master planner that’s trying to forcibly change this character?

As part of the same string of tweets in August of 2018:

“Successful immigration depends on social acceptability and the maintenance of social harmony. Many people have asked how do I know that there is “too much diversity.” When I see that half of Canadians believe immigration levels are too high, I know we’ve reached that point.”

What the heck is “too much diversity”??   Who defined that one when they asked the question?   Is this sort of saying there’s too many people around who don’t look like me?   Or that don’t sound like me?  Or maybe that don’t share my particular faith in whatever deity makes me feel secure?  Actually, that’s apparently not the question they were asked at all.  Maxime says that half of Canadians believe that immigration levels are too high, and then concludes “there’s too much diversity”.    What if all the immigrants looked and sounded like Maxime, but there were a huge number of them?  Would he conclude that there’s too much diversity?

Then he tweeted, also in August of 2018:

4/ Having people live among us who reject basic Western values such as freedom, equality, tolerance and openness doesn’t make us strong. People who refuse to integrate into our society and want to live apart in their ghetto don’t make our society strong.

Still is August of 2018, and tweeting some more:

“3/ But why should we promote ever more diversity? If anything and everything is Canadian, does being Canadian mean something? Shouldn’t we emphasize our cultural traditions, what we have built and have in common, what makes us different from other cultures and societies?”

Here’s where Maxime goes astray again.  He’s seeing Canada as a static thing.   He’s suggesting that we’ve reached a point of “being” Canada, or “being” Canadian.   No society is a static thing.  No person is a  static thing.  We are all continually being informed and developed by our experiences.  He’s trying to hunker down and make everything stay the same, everyone stay the same, and he’s promoting hatred against others to do it.

Maxime Bernier left the conservative party in August of 2018.   He’s now started his own party.    It’s absolutely frightening that he was very nearly elected as the leader of a major political party.  I would hope that very few indeed would be prompted to follow this obvious racist xenophobe.