PARKIN: How Trudeau’s identity politics is hijacking the left and empowering the right

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

We all have identities. We have occupations, ancestry, gender, religion — even hobbies and sport. Our identities are meaningful to us.

And what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s India trip and gender-based budget proved is that politicians who toy with our identities do so with destructive effect.

Trudeau toyed with women’s identity, offering a budget that claimed it’s central goal was their economic advancement. But the most significant policy to boost women’s economic participation — childcare — was nowhere in the budget.

Trudeau’s India trip toyed with Indo-Canadians’ identity, using clothing and symbols. His Liberal MPs even visited survivors of the 1984 anti-Sikh genocide. But there was no comment to Prime Minister Narenda Modi about human rights in India.

Now let’s not get this wrong. Canada should have a childcare plan that gives women choices about work and redistributes wealth to young working families. We should speak for human rights in India or wherever they are infringed.

But politicians like Trudeau who toy with identities play a dangerous game.

It’s true enough that the state has no role in telling citizens which identities are acceptable and which are not. But understand how that fact is politically abused.

For Liberals, identity politics is a distraction from economic policies that are very hard on many people. Trudeau won’t increase…

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