The scurrilous and racist attack by Conservative MP Derek Sloan, who suggested in a video on Tuesday that Dr. Theresa Tam “work(s) for China” and should be fired from her job as Canada’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, is hate speech that should be followed up with charges under Canada’s hate speech laws.
The hate-filled statements by Sloan, who also attacked the World Health Organization claiming it too was controlled by China, are not unique, but part of a pattern of racist attacks emanating from the Conservative Party leadership and others on the far-right.
Dr. Tam has been racially targeted by Sloan and other prominent Conservatives because she is a Chinese-Canadian, and because the leadership of the Conservative Party is infected with racism, anti-communism and hatred for China. The evidence is in the refusal of current Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to condemn Sloan’s attack on Dr. Tam. The evidence is in the statements of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney who has launched a campaign attacking Dr. Tam, the World Health Organization, and the government of China for the pandemic. These are the same attacks being launched from the Trump White House on a daily basis. And from Ezra Levant’s far-right Rebel News network in Canada, and Steve Bannon and Breitbart News in the US. These are the links that make Sloan’s statements and video so dangerous to Chinese-Canadians, to immigrants and minorities, and to democracy in Canada.
Public denunciation of these comments and others like them is important, but it’s not enough to stop the hate campaigners behind the hate speech. Canada has laws against hate speech that must be utilized to stop these attacks on prominent medical leaders like Dr. Tam, and others less prominent and likely more vulnerable. Hate speech generates acts of hate, many of them violent, all of them dangerous: to individuals, to identifiable groups, to democracy, and equality.
Inaction spurs the growth of racism, misogyny, reaction, and far-right organizations and movements.
This is a wake-up call for Canada. The labour and democratic movements, and all those who care for equality and democracy, must speak up and demand action to stop this dangerous turn to the right.
The Communist Party demands:
- Legal action be taken against Derek Sloan, Jason Kenney, Rebel News under Canada’s hate speech laws
- Andrew Scheer, Derek Sloan and Jason Kenney be stripped of their federal and provincial Parliamentary seats and privilege
- Parliament and the government of Canada speak out forcefully against the attack on Dr. Tam, the Chinese Canadian community and all racialized peoples in Canada
Central Executive Committee
Communist Party of Canada
April 24, 2020