Let's look at the race cards politicians have played so far in this interminable federal election campaign.
The Conservatives have been fairly blatant about what's in their hand, using the niqab as an Ace to poke xenophobic flames, then following up with a call-to-arms King that spouts rude phrases like "old stock Canadians." Justin Trudeau threw down a random Jack at a totally weird moment: in the same week a white man murdered three women in Wilno, Ont., the Liberal party leader made insulting links between violence against women, "certain types of music" and mom-led families without having the guts to say "black." The threat of terrorists and terrorism are in play, as always; we try to be thankful that two of the leading parties are promising to repeal an ominous bill that allows Canada to strip people accused of such of their citizenship.
Now, let's take note of the race cards that are nowhere near the table.
Most notable is anything significant about Canada's debts to its Indigenous populations. There hasn't been any real talk about communities without clean water, the crisis of violence facing Indigenous women, or discussion of how our insatiable appetite for energy keeps clashing with treaty law. Not much has been said about the foreign workers we need to grow our food, care for our babies and nurse our elderly, and how their path to permanency keeps getting more winding and uncertain.
For this issue, the Ethnic Aisle is broadening our borders beyond Toronto to examine how race, racialization and racism look from different parts of the country. As always, the picture is bigger, more vibrant and more complicated than is generally acknowledged. And, as always, we'd like to know what you think of how we've framed it.
Illustration by Sarah Gonzales