Sun, August 15, 2004
Grit showdown on social issues imminent
By Ted Byfield -- Calgary Sun
Sometimes the most significant news stories appear deep inside the newspapers.
Sometimes they don't appear in the newspapers at all.
Take, for instance, a press release issued last week by the Canadian Islamic Congress.
One national newspaper buried it at the bottom of page A8, and the other ignored it altogether.
This is what it said:
1. That the Muslim vote in the June election helped "save Canada from a Conservative government."
2. That Canada's 700,000 Muslims now hold "a significant swing vote" in at least 100 ridings, varying from 1.8% of the electorate in the lowest to 12.5% in Toronto's Don Valley East and 13.5% in Don Valley West.
3. That 80% of Muslims voted, and CIC exit polls showed 71% of them voted Liberal, 23% NDP, 3% Bloc and 3% Conservative, Green and Independent.
4. That more Muslim women voted than men. That 88% of Muslims under 25 cast ballots, most favouring the NDP.
All of which raises two questions.
First: Why did the newspapers downplay the press release, and second, what are its implications for the Liberal government?
The first is easily answered.
They downplayed it because they didn't believe it.
That the Muslim vote is significant in several Toronto constituencies is no doubt true.
That it is significant in 100 constituencies is sheer nonsense.
Unless the vote is extremely close, electoral blocs in the range of 1% to 3% mean almost nothing, and that will include most of the 100.
So why is the Canadian Islamic Congress making this preposterous claim?
Because, of course, it wants to exert the maximum influence on Liberal policy, especially as it regards Israel.
The CIC believes that Israel's occupation of parts of southern Lebanon, the Golan Heights, Gaza and the West Bank including Jerusalem is "a violation of international law and is seriously undermining world peace."
In short, it wants Canada to favour the virtual elimination of the state of Israel, and to vigorously oppose American intervention in totalitarian Muslim countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.
But there's another area of Liberal policy that the CIC doesn't mention, though Islamic spokesmen certainly do, notably the Liberal commitment to the legalization of same-sex marriage.
It didn't raise this issue, one assumes, because it wants to keep the focus on Israel and it knows that the party most opposed to same-sex marriage is the Conservative, which the CIC has effectually declared an enemy.
A pre-election "report card" made by the CIC on individual MPs gave "A" ratings to 42 Liberals, 14 NDPers and 23 BQs, and "F" ratings to 69 Conservatives.
But what the CIC says in its press releases and what it says when it talks privately to the Liberal cabinet and Liberal MPs will not be the same, and the direction of past Liberal policy on "social questions" is as repulsive to Muslims as it is to most practicing Christians.
How then will the CIC explain things to its members if this Liberal government, which (according to the CIC, anyway) Muslims kept in office, continues to be champions of do-your-own-thing morality?
Plainly, the CIC won't want that to happen, and will not shrink from saying so.
However, there is another lobby with very different views on these "social questions" that can also claim with considerable legitimacy to have worked hard to keep the Liberals in office.
I mean, of course, the gays.
What we are perhaps about to see, therefore, is a showdown among the federal Grits.
Who's got the most clout at the policy-making level, the gays or the Muslims?
It will be interesting to see.
In the meantime, where are the supporters of Israel in all this?
Don't they have any influence on Liberal policy?
In other words, will the Liberal Party of Canada become the voice of Islam in international affairs because the Muslims keep them in power?
That's certainly the implication of the CIC press release.
That's what they're after.
And in that case, will the Conservatives now become the voice of Israel?
This would mean quite a switch, not for the Conservatives but for the Liberals.
So there will undoubtedly be another policy struggle behind the scenes at Ottawa.
Is Liberaldom for or against Israel?
Again, it will be interesting to see.
It will also be interesting to see how all this impacts upon the already stated Muslim desire to establish (impose?) their own Sharia law Courts in Canada, the possibility of conflict between Sharia and existing family law (and other laws?) and the fact that the Liberals' past thrust in family law has been decidedly anti (at least "conventional") family.While the author touches upon only the Liberals' pro same-sex marriage and (supposed) pro Israel policies as "repulsive" to devout Muslims, presumably so is it's support for virtually the entire radical homosexual and militant gender feminist agendas. Interesting indeed! - G.
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