My interest in politics was a slow fire. As Christians, my family fled an increasingly militant Islamic Pakistan for Canada during the civil war in 1971. My father, who had always followed politics in his home country, embraced the political climate of his adopted one. He revered Pierre Trudeau, not only for the Multiculturalism Policy that brought him here, but he also admired the Prime Minister‘s legendary panache, and emulated his courage and grit.
I remember an incident during the 1979 election that pitted Trudeau against Joe Clark of the Progressive Conservatives. Our lawn held the only Trudeau sign in the predominantly white suburban community where we lived; a possible backlash to the immigration waves that comprised the Trudeau years. After two weeks of destructive vandalism on the succession of lawn signs on our yard, the final straw came when racial epithets were spray-painted across the latest incarnation. In a rage, my father phoned the Liberal party and had them erect a highway sign that threatened to eclipse the front of the house. Panic-stricken at the inevitable retaliation, my mother begged my father to remove it. My father channeling his idol, Pierre, said, “Fuck the bastards. Let’s see them pull this down.” A brick was thrown through our front bay window, but the sign never fell.
It wasn’t just Canadian politics that my father followed, but American, too. He loved Kennedy and Clinton, men with personas larger than life, who also espoused the democratic values he believed in. Equality, Fairness, Social Justice, Tolerance. Values that weren’t a part of the home he left. Political elections and the privilege and responsibility of voting were teaching opportunities for his children.
My own foray into the political milieu did not start early. The late, great Jack Layton, my Politics teacher during my stint in Journalism studies at Ryerson, would bemoan my lack of attendance in his class. “But politics is boring.” I would tell him when he would mockingly herald my rare appearance. “Politics is life,” he’d retort. Little did I know then, how right he was.
It was the Clinton years when politics drew my interest, and the Gore-Bush election controversy which drew out my indignation. On this side of the pond, it was my disgust at the Harper attack ad strategy that drew out my activism. So, after much insistence, from friends and family, to take my political passion off Facebook and Twitter and towards a wider, more politically-interested audience, and if I consider myself a “writer”, I should “put my money where my mouth is” and start a blog. So here it is.
Welcome to PolitikElle – all politics, all the time. Here you will find links and commentaries on political issues I’m passionate about, on both sides of the border. There will be some on world issues, but let’s face it – between Rob Ford, Senate scandals, and the GOP, North America is a great place for a political snark-fest. Some of the places I get my info are: Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, Slate, CBC, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, and a host of other online newspapers and sites. If you come across articles, cartoons, photos, or videos you think would be an interesting addition to my blog, drop me a line. Thanks for coming by.