The email invitation sent out by Ted Optiz (the Conservative candidate for Etobicoke North), seeking people in “ethnic costume” to serve as props at an event with Stephen Harper on April 14, is an insult to the intelligence of any person. No lame apology and laying the blame on a staffer can remedy this affront to ethnic communities.
The email is an extension of the Conservatives shallow and hypocritical “very ethnic” ridings strategy.
Back in March 2011, Jason Kenney’s office sent out a funding request seeking $200,000 in donations to target “very ethnic” ridings. When the letter was made public, Jason Kenney apologized and a staffer was fired.
The fact that Ted Optiz served as the senior regional advisor for Jason Kenney, who was assigned by the Conservative party to attract the ethnic vote in the GTA, only confirms that the Conservative party’s ethnic strategy is based on patronizing and belittling the contribution of new Canadians.
The Conservative party views new Canadians as some exotic attraction that can be paraded at photo op events to serve their interests and not as full-fledged Canadians who can be invited to meetings to develop serious policies that address the challenges facing Canadians.
Ironically, this same party that claims to care about ethnic communities recently cut 20 percent of the funding to dozens of settlement services serving newcomers in Ontario, a province that receives most of the newcomers to Canada, and redistributed that money to Western Canada where its support base resides.