Meanwhile in Canada … Things Are Just as Bad
TORONTO — When Justin Trudeau was elected prime minister of Canada — with a majority Liberal government, no less — it marked the hopeful end of nearly a decade of Conservative rule. “Sunny ways,” Mr. Trudeau said in his acceptance speech. “This is what positive politics can do.”
His victory received fawning international coverage: The son of another popular prime minister, and conventionally good-looking, he managed to say all the right things about climate change and feminism. Remember when he achieved gender parity with his cabinet appointments? Swoon.
The stereotype, inside and outside of Canada, is that Canadians are so polite and accepting that nothing like the bitter populism of Donald J. Trump could ever flourish here. Canadians say “sorry” all the time, but we say it “soary,” and we are happy to pay for our neighbor’s health insurance through higher taxes. We even add an extra “u” in neighbor. Canadians just are that generous.
在加拿大内外都存在一种刻板印象：加拿大人彬彬有礼，认为唐纳德·J·特朗普(Donald J. Trump)那种激烈的民粹主义之类的东西绝不可能在这片土地上发扬光大。加拿大人总是在说“抱歉”，但我们会把“sorry”说成“soary”，而且我们愿意通过多交税来为邻居的医保买单。我们甚至给“neighbor”（邻居）一词多加了一个“u”。加拿大人就是慷慨。
This impression is so widely accepted that the Canadian immigration website crashed in the hours after America’s presidential election, thanks to a fivefold spike in the number of visitors. But the belief that Canada is a liberal utopia holds only if you have no concept of Canadian history and little knowledge of current events, and only if you walk through its cities and towns without speaking to anyone who isn’t white, middle class or male.
On Jan. 29, six people were killed in a Quebec City mosque by a gunman. The suspect’s social media use suggests support for white supremacist ideas and the Trump movement. That event, though jarring and terrifying, was neither new nor unpredictable, especially for Canada’s Muslim citizens. The idea that Canada is a safe space is a lie — and an easy one to catch for anyone who has actually lived here as part of a minority group and watched how the country chooses to forget about you.
At least Mr. Trump’s presidency will rip that falsehood open. Canada has two Trump-like candidates running for the federal Conservative leadership on platforms very similar to those that have nudged the United States and parts of Europe into the embrace of white nationalism.
After the American election, a member of Parliament named Kellie Leitch sent out an email blast calling Mr. Trump’s win “an exciting message and one that we need delivered in Canada as well.” Before this, she attempted to establish a tip line for “barbaric cultural practices,” a blatant attempt to curry favor with racists and Islamophobes under the guise of protecting women and children. Ads for Ms. Leitch run on our version of Breitbart, the adorably named The Rebel, a site that traffics in hate speech. Earlier this week, The Rebel wondered if the Quebec City shooter was actually a Muslim extremist rather than a white nationalist.
美国大选结束后，加拿大国会议员凯莉·里奇(Kellie Leitch)群发了一封电子邮件，说特朗普的胜利是“一个振奋人心的讯息，我们也应该在加拿大传递这样的讯息”。此前，她曾尝试开设一条让民众举报“野蛮文化行为”的热线，公然企图以保护妇女儿童为幌子讨好种族主义者和恐伊斯兰者。刊登里奇竞选广告的网站有一个讨人喜欢的名字——“反叛”(The Rebel)，是加拿大版的布莱巴特新闻(Breitbart)，上面充斥着煽动仇恨的言论。本周早些时候，反叛网站怀疑魁北克城的枪手其实是一名穆斯林极端主义者，而非白人民族主义者。
Meanwhile, Kevin O’Leary, a fame-hungry “Shark Tank” judge who has been living in Boston and refers to himself as “Mr. Wonderful,” is the latest to announce he’s running for the Conservative leadership. He has also argued that the 85 wealthiest people in the world having as much money as the 3.5 billion poorest is a good thing.
与此同时，极度渴望出名的《创智赢家》(Shark Tank)评委凯文·奥利里(Kevin O’Leary)成为最新一个宣布竞选保守党党魁的人。奥利里长期居住在波士顿，自称“奇妙先生”(Mr. Wonderful)。他还表示，世界上85个最富有的人的身家与35亿最贫穷的人相当是一件好事。
“It inspires everybody to get some motivation,” he said. “Of course I applaud it.”
Finally, a reality show narcissist with too much money and zero government experience of our very own!
And then there’s Mr. Trudeau himself, a colossal disappointment for liberals and conservatives alike, despite his Superman-style coiffure. He has made no attempt to publicly condemn Mr. Trump’s race-baiting and politics of fear, presumably because he’d worry that calling your largest trade partner a racist would hurt the aforementioned trade. In November, our eco-friendly prime minister approved the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain pipeline, a big step backward for the environment. Worse, last month he shouted down activists who were protesting the pipeline development. He was upset that they were interrupting him; they were upset that indigenous people across Canada continue to live in third-world conditions.
再说说特鲁多本人，尽管有着超人式的发型，但他却让自由派和保守派都大失所望。他无意公开谴责特朗普煽动种族主义、搞恐惧政治之举，或许是因为担心把最大的贸易伙伴斥为种族主义者，会损害两国的贸易关系。去年11月，我们这位生态友好型总理批准了金德摩根跨山输油管道(Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain pipeline)扩建计划，这是环保领域的一大退步。更糟糕的是，上个月，他朝着抗议输油管道开发项目的活动人士大呼小叫。他很生气，因为他们打扰了他；他们也很生气，因为加拿大各地的土著依然像是生活在第三世界。
As Toronto’s crack-smoking former mayor Rob Ford once said, “Everything is fine.”
This wave of political reaction is nothing new. Toronto has a history of police performing street-checks on black men at far higher rates than they do on white men. Quebec in particular has a lamentable record of anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies. In 2013, the province proposed banning the wearing of religious symbols — namely, hijabs, turbans, kippas and niqabs — by people who work in the public sector. In September, the University of Alberta was plastered with posters that read “[Expletive] Your Turban.”
政坛的这波反应没什么新鲜之处。多伦多警方对黑人男性进行街头临检的比例向来远高于白人男性。魁北克尤其有着关于反穆斯林言论和政策可悲记录。2013年，该省提议禁止公共部门工作人员的穿戴中出现宗教符号，比如希贾布头巾、特本头巾、犹太小圆帽和尼卡布面纱。去年9月，有人在阿尔伯塔大学(University of Alberta)贴出了写有“［脏话］你的特本头巾”的海报。
On criminal justice, as well, Canada is hardly a progressive champion. In Ontario, Adam Capay, a 24-year-old First Nations man, has been kept in solitary confinement for the last four years. Charged with killing a fellow inmate in a prison altercation, he has still not gone to trial.
加拿大在刑事司法领域也算不上什么进步的正义捍卫者。在安大略省，现年24岁的第一民族(First Nations)男子亚当·卡佩(Adam Capay)过去四年间一直被单独监禁着。他被控在一次监狱打斗中杀死了另一名囚犯，至今仍未接受审判。
Comparing Canada with the United States is reasonable — we’re close enough, and share a similar history and geography — but suggesting that Canada has figured something out that other nations haven’t is not. True, everything the United States does is louder than in Canada: America’s food is radioactive, its television is more aggressive (and, well, objectively better), so it makes sense that America’s politics are more overtly noxious. But that hardly makes Canada a refuge.
There’s a meme circulating on Twitter and Facebook that you see more than ever now that people are arguing that Canada’s politics are such a stark contrast to America’s. It involves posting a link to a goofy Canadian story — often involving a moose, why not? — with accompanying text that reads, “Meanwhile in Canada.” While America burns, Canadians calmly shovel their driveways and buy bagged milk for their kids.
It’s like being considered the gentler, kinder sibling. In reality, we’re just more passive-aggressive, too frightened to acknowledge how we fail our citizens day after day.
There is no Canadian exceptionalism. What’s happening here now has been happening for decades: Bias and discrimination are rooted in our history and government. All that’s true about America’s broken system is true, too, of Canada’s. The only real difference is the illusion that Canada is intrinsically better.
America has elected a dangerous demagogue to its highest office. In Canada, we’re just one election away from falling into the same trap.