tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Canada Votes October 14, 2008!

The Tuque Souq makes no endorsements, save those of great democracy and great freedom toward which endlessly we strive and idealize. May our election day be a great day for those ideals.

But let it not be ignored that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has an unabashedly one-sided approach to Middle East politics and diplomacy, which stands in contravention of the ideals of most Canadians. His immigration policy, which aims to put undue power in the hands of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, is rooted in Harper's long-held xenophobic belief that immigration should "not radically or suddenly alter the ethnic makeup of Canada."

Why should you not vote for Harper and his Tories? Check here, and here, and here, and here, and then take a journey back to 2005 with this article from The Tyee about Harper's neo-con connections, Dubya-like political philosophy, and see just how many of these musings and prognostications are actually true today about Harper and the direction he's taken Canada.

As for the other parties, the Tuque Souq posted earlier excerpts from their platforms regarding Middle East policy.

You might also want to have a look at the Liberal Party response to a questionnaire put to all the parties by the Canadian Arab Federation - and note the only part of the letter that is underlined.

(The Liberals were the only party to respond to CAF's query - that's a plus; but the Liberals are in hot water with CAF over Ken Dryden's comments on Gaza - that's a minus.)

In more Tuque Souq news, the following are candidates with Middle East backgrounds standing for election to parliament tomorrow.

New Democratic Party parliament hopefuls include Rachid Arab, a Lebanese-Canadian who is running in the riding of Surrey North (B.C.). Nourredine Seddiki, born in Algeria, is running on the NDP ballot in the riding of Bas-Richelieu-Nicolet-Becancour (Quebec).

One of the most talked-about candidates in Quebec is Moroccan-born Samira Laouni, running in the riding of Bourassa. Ms. Laouni [pictured] proudly wears a hijab, which has made her the subject of swelling media attention and controversy during this election.

Palestinian Zahia El-Masri, a single mother, is an NDP candidate in Laval-Les Isles, Quebec.

Omar Alghabra, the Liberal incumbent in Mississauga-Erindale, is originally from Syria. Also on the Liberal ticket is Samir Sleiman, a Lebanese-Canadian running in Edmonton-St. Albert.

Dr. Qais Ghanem, a Yemeni-born Canadian, is running on the Green Party ticket in Ottawa-South. Dr. Ghanem is running against another Arab-Canadian, Elie Salibi of the Conservative Party who is originally from Lebanon. The Ottawa-South race figures to be very interesting. The NDP candidate is Hijal De Sarkar, a 24-year-old poli-sci student at Carleton University. The two-term incumbent in Ottawa-South is the Liberals' David McGuinty.

Other Green Party candidates include Akbar Manoussi, an Iranian-born Canadian, running in Ottawa-Vanier, and Tony Hajj, a Lebanese-Canadian, running in Calgary-Nose Hill.

And then there's everyone's favourite petit parti souverainiste, le Bloc, which has on its candidate list Farid Salem, an Algerian-Canadian, in the riding of Saint Leonard-Saint Michel. Lebanese-born Maria Moulani is the incumbent on the Bloc ticket in the Ahuntsic riding.

For more on Arab Canadians, their candidates and how they made vote, check out this article from Al Jazeera [ENGLISH].

As for predictions, the Tuque Souq has high hopes for a dismal fourth-place showing by the Tories in our home riding of Parkdale-High Park, but will stop short of predicting a 1-2-3 finish (in some order) for the NPD, Greens and Grits.

When it comes to knowledge of Middle East issues, we have some confidence in NDP candidate Peggy Nash [pictured], who's been on official visits to the Middle East several times and participated in the opposition parties' fact-finding mission to Lebanon after the '06 Israel-Hezbollah war, which was sharply critical of the Harper government. (Ms. Mourani, the aforementioned Bloc MP, also went on this trip.)

Liberal candidate Gerard Kennedy, who was at the time running for the party leadership, had a more measured critique of the war and Canada's involvement.

Rob Rishchynski of the Green Party, running in Parkdale-High Park, like his party has nothing much to say about the Middle East.

Prediction for Parkdale-High Park:
1. Peggy Nash, NDP (in a squeaker)
2. Gerard Kennedy, Liberal Party
3. Jilian Saweczko, Conservative Party
4. Rob Rishchynski, Green Party
5. Terry Parker, Marijuana Party
6. Lorne Gershuny, Marxist-Leninist Party
7. Andrew Borkowski, Christian Heritage Party

At the federal level, like most others we're predicting a lazy Tory victory and subsequent minority government (again), something that looks like:

1. Conservatives: 129 seats
2. Liberals: 78 seats
3. Bloc Quebecois: 54 seats
4. NDP: 42 seats
5. Greens/Independents/Others: 5 seats

Don't like it? Well, get out the good vote and change it!

"There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies as against despots. What is it? Distrust." - Demosthenes

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