LILLEY: Wang case not remarkable. All parties play race politics

Karen Wang’s foray into ethnic and race based politicking wasn’t the first time that’s happened in Canada and won’t be the last.


Wang is the now former Liberal candidate who resigned this week after it was reported she had posted on WeChat, a Chinese language social media site, effectively saying, vote for me I’m Chinese and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh isn’t.

“If we can increase the voting rate, as the only Chinese candidate in this riding, if I can garner 16,000 votes I will easily win the by-election, control the election race and make history! My opponent in this by-election is the NDP candidate Singh of Indian descent!” Wang posted.

At first she defended the comments, then said they were badly phrased and then apologized to Singh. Finally, she claimed a campaign volunteer has sent out the post.

All of it was a little weak.

The comments were clearly racist, to claim otherwise would be foolish but it exposed in a very public way how ethno-politics is played in Canada. All the parties do it to a degree, even Singh in his bid for the NDP leadership.

I’m not claiming Singh has made racist comments but a look at his campaign win shows he himself benefited from ethno-politics to become NDP leader.

Singh won the NDP leadership with strong support in the Greater Toronto Area, in particular his home riding of Brampton, an area with a large Indian-Canadian population and strong Sikh presence. His second strongest support came from Vancouver’s suburbs, an area with a similar profile.

There’s no doubt he drew on strong support from South Asian voters. In fact, many of the donations came from people with Punjabi and Sikh names according to a recent report in the Vancouver Sun.

“Elections Canada data shows Singh…

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