Letters to the editor, February 7, 2019

These are the letters and comments from the print edition.

White supremacy?

Recently I came across the article "White supremacy in Halifax" by Alex Macnab (Voice of the City, January 31). I want to thank you for the entertaining read, and wanted to let Mr. Macnab, in particular, know that supporters of Maxime Bernier and members of his People's Party of Canada (myself included) have stopped caring about his accusations (neo-nazi, alt-right, racist, white supremacist). We are not those things, nor do we endorse such ideas. —Sean Coleshill, via email

I have been an avid reader of your paper since its inception. However, to call Maxime Bernier supporters white supremacy supporters was way off base. I never heard hate or labelling at Bernier's event, but I sure read it in your paper. When we and/or our children and grandchildren can't say "Merry Christmas" without risking offending someone, but the same people we could possibly offend are allowed to wear scarves or turbans, something is very wrong. If we are all equal, why can some groups be free to be themselves while others are not being "politically correct" if they do the same? —A Canadian who just wants to be Canadian without worrying about offending everybody, via email

Bernier said, "Our party is not for 'mass immigration,' but it's not 'anti-immigration.'" Where he got enthusiastic applause was when he said, "It is a privilege to be Canadian." Apparently, it is unacceptable to the ideological left for Canadians to cheer when someone says it's a privilege to be a Canadian. —Cameron MacKay, via email

Can anyone explain "traditional Canadian values" to me? Do you mean kicking Indigenous people off of their land? Hockey? Double doubles? —posted at thecoast.ca by Bucca

I cannot believe The Coast is endorsing this opinion piece. I could write an entire article myself on how this is worthy of The Coast being sued. In no way shape or form is Maxime Bernier or his platform white supremacist, and unless you send a shred of tangible evidence my way don't bother to reply. —posted by Eric H (Silver)

The white supremacy I know from the US is a young man who salutes the confederate flag. What you have here is strong conservative politics, nothing close to a white supremacy movement. I do not support the PPC—I am a climate change scientist and supporter of diversity and inclusion—but I cannot judge the intent of the party and its supporters based on their race and sex. —posted by EeemHause

Wow, 300 people attending Bernier's event. I've seen more people at a corn boil in the valley. Bernier's a joke. —posted by Squidjigger

This is what Americans thought of Trump, that he would never get to where he is now. You've got to hit them down as soon as these idiots try to rise. —posted by Oshean Juneja

Don't dismiss 300 people as an insignificant turnout for a newly formed federal political party with only one elected member. This is indeed a big deal. —posted by M Mulrooney

They ALL seem to forget they are immigrants too. If you aren't Indigenous you aren't from here. —posted by Tonya Sam'Gwan Paris

Humble opinions

This week's Reply All section is devoted to last week's Voice of the City story "White supremacy in Halifax," by Alex Macnab. But the feedback you can read in the issue is just the iceberg's tip. Not long after the paper came out on Thursday, our phone started ringing, comments and emails poured in, one guy even showed up at The Coast office to yell at us about how much of a racist he isn't.

"White supremacy" is an opinion piece. Macnab went to see People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier speak in Halifax, then wrote his honest, albeit provocative, opinion of what was going on there: "Make no mistake, this event was a white supremacy rally."

You may not agree. Hell, The Coast doesn't even have to like the pieces in Voice of the City—the disclaimer at the bottom of Voices online states that "The Coast does not necessarily endorse the views of those published." And you're certainly encouraged to respond. But I think in this case the massive response is more than a good-faith debate.

Max Bernier is not being original in trying to build a political base out of hate. He is so desperate to cast himself in the Donald Trump mold that he actually uses "Make Canada great again" as a slogan. By being openly racist, Trump encouraged people on the alt-right fringes of American politics to come out into the mainstream. By treating his presidential campaign as a joke, the media enabled this movement until it was too late. With "White supremacy," Macnab sounded an alert that Bernier is trying to do the same thing in Canada. And through their rapid response, Bernier's supporters showed they are also learning from America's alt-right, whose rush to bluster is typically a tactic to hog bandwidth.

Several people we heard from threatened lawsuits, which Trump used to do a lot when he worked for his dad's company. I strongly encourage them to call a lawyer, not just to test the sincerity of their outrage but also because I like to imagine that conversation. Honest lawyers could only say The Coast is so far within its rights to publish Macnab's piece, that legal action would be a complete waste of time and money. Anyone who said otherwise would be like Trump or Bernier, a self-serving manipulator trying to profit off someone else's fear. —Kyle Shaw, editor

Connect with me at kyles@thecoast.ca

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