I had the opportunity to watch the embattled Ruby Dhalla appear before a Commons committee for questions regarding some unflattering allegations made by former members of her household staff.
At some point during the questioning, I had to resist the urge to fling a coffee cup at the TV.
Committees such as this cost us thousands of dollars per hour, and politicos owe us the courtesy of working at a reasonable pace. That didn’t happen.
What did happen bordered on farce.
There were five MPs lined up to question Ms. Dhalla. Two were Tories, two were Liberals, and a lone New Democrat.
Of these five, three were interested in at least trying to determine if the fetching former actress may have mistreated the household help.
Here’s the problem, and it pains me when I see this kind of thing; the committee chair was allotted seven minutes of questioning. The other members were allotted a few minutes less.
The chairman took almost four minutes just to get around to asking his first question.
At least a minute of thanking Dhalla for showing up, a few more minutes of reminding everyone present that he and Dhalla have worked on various committees together in the past and were most definitely on good terms with each other, and even more time spent generally patting all present on the back for having the decency to show up.
He then asked a few questions, to which the aforementioned Dhalla managed to provide non-answers. In attempting to try and get past Dhalla’s evasiveness, he simply ran out of time.
A similar pattern emerged with the other Tory and one of the Liberals. Minutes were wasted in self-congratulatory pre-ambles, leaving no time whatsoever to get around or address Dhalla’s prevarications.
Even more maddening, the remaining two parliamentarians could only be bothered to ask if the embattled MP was committed to equality and immigration reform. Good job, people.
There are multiple issues here. First and foremost is the possibility that an MP, herself a visible minority and an immigrant, from the party that loudly proclaims itself the champion of visible minorities, has engaged in the mistreatment and exploitation of vulnerable female immigrants.
It’s a sad commentary on the quality of our government that Dhalla can so easily use a Commons Immigration Committee as a tool to help whitewash the accusations against her. This is a potentially criminal matter that should only be handled by the Ontario justice system.
Unfortunately, the Liberal Ontario government has been shown to be providing an unusual amount of courtesy towards Dhalla in this matter, for no other reason than she is a fellow Liberal.
It’s also a sad commentary that three MPs couldn’t manage to come up with a cogent line of questioning when given the opportunity to at least put some meat on the bones of the matter at hand.
But, the most serious matter here also happens to be one of those “Things We Do Not Speak Of” here in our multicultural utopia.
The accounts of the Filipina care workers show a common pattern, and it’s symptomatic of something that far too many Canadians don’t want to acknowledge even exists because it knocks the wheels off of a very tippy apple cart.
You see, if someone who looked a lot more like me, and a lot less like the very photogenic Ruby Dhalla were accused of overworking and mistreating the Filipina household help, there’d be quick accusations of racism.
But, because Dhalla happens to be a visible minority herself, there seems to be a concerted effort amongst those commenting on the entire affair to avoid an obvious possibility here, that being the fact that the Dhalla family might simply be a bunch of bigots.
That racism and bigotry aren’t solely a white man’s disease is a bitter pill for Canada’s intelligentsia, and wilful blindness to this fact is leading us to a very dangerous crossroads.
There are very vocal, organized, and quite frankly dangerous groups in this country whose very overt racism is given a stamp of approval by this country’s influential left, simply for reasons pertaining to political correctness.
The vilest racism in Canada is off limits for discussion, simply because those perpetrators happen to be visible minorities.
As for the garden variety bigotry that might be at work in the Dhalla household, well let’s just call it what it probably is and then maybe we can quit burying our heads in the sand about more dangerous racism in this country.
Bill Greenwood is a local freelance columnist.