Jamil Jivani: Canadian Politicians Importing American Culture Wars to Exploit Tragedy

No politician could honestly believe that gun policies in Ontario and Texas are even vaguely similar

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When tragedy occurs in the United States, such as the recent mass shootings in Uvalde, TX and Buffalo, NY, we tend to expect Canadian politicians to comment. But it is essential that we ask ourselves: when does a politician’s words turn from appropriate mourning to shameful politicization?

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In my opinion, a politician ends up exploiting a tragedy when his comments do not take into account the main differences between the two countries. Without such distinctions, we are simply importing American culture wars with no possibility of arriving at a solution.

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca went down that way. Reacting to news of the deaths of twenty-one Uvalde students in a single classroom, Del Duca claimed “The need for gun control has never been clearer.” As expected, but nonetheless correctly, Tracey Wilson of the Canadian Coalition for Gun Rights responded to Del Duca with the accusation that “he is using an American tragedy to call for more gun control in Canada”.

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Whatever your opinion on gun control, it should be hard for a Canadian to side with Del Duca on this. No politician could honestly believe that gun policies in Ontario and Texas are even vaguely similar. There are significant differences between Canadian and American gun control, including Canada requiring mandatory training to obtain a firearms license and the United States making gun ownership a constitutional right.

Del Duca inviting America’s culture wars to our side of the border borrows from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s playbook. The Trudeau Liberals have a lot to say about the looming U.S. Supreme Court ruling that should overturn Roe vs. Wade and changing access to abortion for American women. In response to a court ruling that will not affect Canadian law, Canada’s Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced $3.5 million to increase access to abortion in Canada .

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  1. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland receives a standing ovation from her own party in the House of Commons in Ottawa on April 7.

    Jesse Kline: Liberals defend abortion rights against threats that don’t exist

  2. Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca

    Matt Gurney: Ontario Liberals’ focus on gun control is a gift for Doug Ford

What is remarkable about the Trudeau Liberals behaving as if Canada does not have its own Supreme Court is that their solution unwittingly affirms how different the two countries are. If Trudeau really believed that access to abortion was under threat in Canada, would a measly $3.5 million be enough to make a difference? Trudeau’s crude exploitation of American news is even more off-putting when one considers, as World news reports, that this money is not even new dollars committed by the federal government. It’s part of a year-old commitment to “help organizations make sexual and reproductive information and services more available.”

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We have ample evidence that it helps no one when politicians use American news stories to create a false sense of urgency to change Canada. Trudeau and other politicians have welcomed Black Lives Matter’s narrative of white supremacy and black victimization in Canada. And what came out of it? A Washington Examiner investigation revealed that the BLM Global Foundation has transferred $8 million (USD) to BLM Canada, so that BLM Canada can buy a mansion in Toronto to live in dance parties and failed plots to defund our police services. Allowing an American political movement to influence race relations in Canada has done nothing for the masses of black families who are part of Canada’s working class.

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None of these points are intended to discourage politicians from reacting to American news, tragic or otherwise. There are obvious ways to connect the two countries. For example, some Canadian media helped defame comedian Dave Chappelle by portraying his nuanced views on gender ideology as hateful bigotry. When Chappelle was attacked on stage by a man who offered a version of this same media story to explain the attackit’s fair to wonder if some Canadian journalists should apologize for the way they treated Chappelle.

Even on the issue of gun control, it might make sense for Canadian and American politicians to work together. Certainly preventing American weapons from entering Canada illegally must be a priority. Organized crime networks transporting firearms and drugs across the border will need law enforcement to support each other in their investigations and arrests. And we should share best practices on how community-based programs can help reduce the gun violence that claims too many lives.

Yet there is a difference between working with Americans and pretending that we are Americans. Canadian politicians who blur meaningful lines between the two countries risk undermining our own problem-solving mechanisms. We don’t need more cynicism in our politics.

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