When I first heard that Stephen Harper had appointed Liberal MP Wajid Khan as his Middle Eastern advisor, I had profound reservations. Not only was Wajid a member of the Liberals, our enemy, but he was also a member of Islam, our enemy. What could Mr. Harper be thinking?
Now, after several days of watching the Liberals further self-destruct over this issue, I once again have to consider that maybe the federal Conservatives are more savvy than they appear to be. And the Liberals? Well, let’s just say that they are as predictable as ever.
John A. MacDonald, Canada’s first prime minister, was the leader of a now defunct party known as the Liberal-Conservatives. We now, of course, have two diametrically opposed parties to represent those two facets, but the people in both parties are still Canadians and have ideas that should be considered. Not all of their ideas, surely, but some of them.
Over the last couple of years, we have heard Canadians say one thing loud and clear. We want results. We want the bullying and name calling to stop, and we want our government to get down to work. Enough shenanigans and immaturity. After all, there are smart people in all of the parties, (well, almost), and we should use their talents regardless of political affiliation.
We haven’t seen anything like this in a long time. We now have a sitting prime minister reaching out to an opposing party in a non-partisan gesture. Stephen Harper is turning out to be one of our better prime ministers. His cabinet has not wavered on many issues, and has been decisive in a great deal of areas, quite unlike the last two federal cabinets.
He has found ways to bring Canadians together. He has made amends with Canadians of Chinese descent. He has begun working with Canada’s muslim community, a move that has already been fruitful for both Muslims and Canadians in the form of a thwarted terrorist conspiracy. He has outlawed several terrorist front organizations, helping our Tamil and Arab communities. He has supported Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, in no uncertain terms.
I don’t know what kind of person Wajid is. I do know that he adheres to a faith that is absolutely in conflict with my own. I also know that I am somewhat prejudiced against him because of that fact, and I believe that history would support my fears. However, he can be a voice for Canada’s muslims, and this fact should not be lost on the Liberal Party or on Canadians in general.
For a long time now, Liberals have been saying that the world’s muslims are misunderstood and feel ignored. I don’t buy that for one second, but that has been the Liberal rhetoric. The Liberals have said time and again that the reason we are at war with Islam is because we don’t understand their politics or social structures. We have been told time and again that we should have an ongoing dialogue with them.
Now the Conservatives have pulled a muslim MP into the fold to ask for his opinion and advice. The result is nothing less than should be expected from across the floor. Instead of lauding the decision as perhaps a new era of working together, charges of conspiracy and political gamesmanship are being bandied about. From leadership hopefuls like Hedy Fry to ordinary MP’s, there have been calls to have Mr. Wajid expelled from caucus.
Those calling for his expulsion cite a fear that he will be in a conflict of interest, and that the Conservatives may use the opportunity to glean information from him or that perhaps his statements may be construed as official Liberal policy. Conservatives may also make the charge that Wajid may be able to transfer information back to the Liberal Party. It kind of sounds like the suspicions that permeate agreements between warring factions. The suspicions, the doubts. The only way anything is ever gained is by extending an olive branch and by wisely placing one’s faith in someone or something.
The Liberal caucus chair, Raymond Bonin, has been a different voice. In fact, he has relinquished the opportunity to score political points and has said what he ultimately believes. He stated yesterday that “Mr. Khan has so far been open and transparent about his dealings with the Prime Minister and these sensitive issues go far beyond party politics. Human lives are at stake.” What a concept. Human lives. Mr. Bonin almost makes the Liberals sound mature and distinguished.
As for the charges that the Prime Minister is simply using Wajid for political gain in an attempt to soften criticism against his firm stand against Hezbollah, I say rubbish. Prime Minister Harper could care less about what the Liberals or anyone else thinks on his stand on the ongoing conflict. This is because he knows that he is taking the right position on it, and so do most Canadians, regardless to what we are shown on the 6:00 news.
As for the suspicions of the Liberals and their charges of political conspiracies, those are to be expected. If the Liberals were running the show right now, that is what they would be doing. They simply cannot bring themselves to believe that the Conservatives are that much more worthy or upright than they are.
But they are.