So I’ma go ahead and criticize Rick Mercer here in his rant on national vision, or lack thereof, from our current leaders.
“Is he the kind of guy who would’ve said ‘let’s build a national railway?'” Mercer asks of Harper. “Nation building is for everyone.”
But was it? Take a look at the historical record on the national railway.
Macdonald largely-ahem- railroaded the building of a national railway which led to massive debt, political scandal, and his eventual resignation.
And that controversy was just among the dominant class (white, male, land-owning voters) of the time. What of everyone else?
Well, there were the Chinese, who were paid $1 for every $1.50 white workers earned, and were assigned the most dangerous + often fatal jobs. And there were the First Nations people, forced off their land, in some cases starved into submission, to make room for the railway. There’s even a whole book on this.
So I think it’s pretty disingenuous to try and criticize ANY politician of today for not having more of Macdonald’s vision, because there was a pretty dark side to this so-called “big tent nation-building,” one that is still left out of our official historic narratives.
It’s not that there’s nothing to the rant, but it loses a lot of power when you simultaneously decry the debate over the niqab as small-minded whilst at the same time pining for a time when leaders steamrolled over First Nations rights while building an unpopular project on the backs of straight-up structural racism.
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