Teachable Moment: Ethnic Cleansing vs. Taxes

By Denise Balkissoon

Yesterday, CTV hosted a six-minute debate on the Ontario NDP's proposed tax increase for people making $500,000 or more a year. The guests were Jim Doak of Megantic Asset Management and Armine Yalnizyan of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

During the discussion, Jim Doak twice referred to the proposed tax as a form of "ethnic cleansing." This bit of hyperbole rather distracted me from the issue at hand - how best to deal with the economic challenges facing Ontario in 2012. It's surprising that someone as accomplished as Jim Doak, a graduate of U of T and McGill, would confuse two things so inherently different. One is deciding what portion of one's salary is required for good governance. The other is terror, war and systematic murder.

Dear Jim Doak,

Here's a visual guide on how to tell the difference between ethnic cleansing and doing your taxes.

(Warning: graphic images. Not you, Jim, your presence is required.)

Ethnic Cleansing:

Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) civilians in the notorious Serb-run Manjaca concentration camp in north-west Bosnia, near Prijedor, in August of 1992. From https://genocideinbosnia.wordpress.com.


courtesy Edmonton Journal

Ethnic cleansing:

Baby burnt in Darfur bombing raid, 2003. From http://www.worldhunger.org


courtesy Genutax.ca

Ethnic cleansing:

Aftermath of the Halabja poison gas attack, a genocidal massacre against the Kurdish people that took place on March 16, 1988, during the closing days of the Iran–Iraq War. From Wikipedia.


courtesy Huntsvillelibrary.net

Ethnic cleansing:

German soldiers of the Waffen-SS and the Reich Labor Service look on as a member of Einsatzgruppe D prepares to shoot a Ukrainian Jew kneeling on the edge of a mass grave filled with corpses. From http://israelipalestinian.procon.org


Courtesy Mrsjanuary.com

Ethnic cleansing:

The bodies of Tamil women lay smouldering on the ground in northern Sri Lanka. From http://www.terencebunch.co.uk


Courtesy Tkshare.com

You see, Jim Doak,

A sound and valuable argument doesn't require disrespectfully diminishing the horrors faced by people whose problems go far beyond paying taxes in Canada in 2012. You failed to make an economic point because you chose instead to rely on irrelevant rhetoric.

Try again.