Christina Blizzard, Toronto Sun, Jun. 2
ETOBICOKE NORTH — Liberal MPP Dr. Shafiq Qaadri thinks there are “too many white people,” on the province’s 3,000 agencies, boards and commissions.
In a bizarre conversation that was accidentally recorded on the voice mail of Etobicoke North federal Conservative candidate Rupinder Nannar, Qaadri is heard urging a woman constituent, a member of a visible minority, to submit her resume so he can pass it on for consideration for a position on one of the province’s boards and commissions.
“It’s up to you, but what I would suggest to you is that . . . and all these boards and agencies, there’s just too many white people,” Qaadri says. “And it’s totally a non-reflection of Ontario and certainly Toronto and bloody well Etobicoke North.”
He adds that, “I personally would like to see that remedied.”
Qaadri confirmed yesterday he did have that conversation with the woman on May 27. He says she seemed confused when he suggested putting forward her name. That’s why he spelled out to her what he perceives to be an issue of under-representation of minorities on provincial bodies that include everything from the film review board to the LCBO.
“First of all, the government of Ontario is going to be making a number of appointments — 3,000 — and I think that it would be fair to say that certain community groups are under-represented,” Qaadri said yesterday.
He said the constituent he was speaking to is “very knowledgeable,” about education and had come to talk to him about her son. On the tape, he can be heard asking when she plans to run for school trustee.
Qaadri said he’d phoned Nannar’s office because his constituent had indicated she wanted to know more about politics and an Etobicoke newspaper had listed phone numbers for local candidates. Qaadri says he also contacted John Capobianco, the federal Conservative candidate in Etobicoke Lakeshore, who is a friend, and had wished him well.
When I asked whether he would support the application of a white person from Etobicoke North who might want to be on a government body, Qaadri had this to say:
“These decisions are, of course, not made by me, but I can forward the names of those who are willing to serve. I would like to see, in general, a greater representation of visible minorities to echo the Canadian mosaic.”
That doesn’t sit too well with Nannar’s campaign manager, Sandra Pavan, who says all people, regardless of race, should have the opportunity to sit on government agencies.
“Everyone should be given a chance of filling those positions,” said Pavan. “It seems he just wants to remove all the white people.”
With egg from the provincial Liberal budget still splattering over Prime Minister Paul Martin’s face, the joke around Queen’s Park is that Premier Dalton McGuinty’s election machinery is so powerful, it’s brought down two majority governments in seven months.
Indeed, today’s Sun poll by Leger Marketing suggests the provincial budget has dealt a death blow to Martin’s hopes for a majority government.
In the wake of McGuinty’s many broken promises, voter cynicism is soaring. We just don’t trust our leaders any more. In this province, 32% of voters most trusted Martin, 16% had confidence in Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and 11% supported New Democrat Jack Layton. A whopping 21% trusted none of the leaders, while 18% either didn’t know or wouldn’t say whom they trusted.
So if your name is None of the Above, you should be a shoo-in for PM.
McGuinty was trying to put on a brave face yesterday.
“We have got 28 days left in this campaign. That’s an entire provincial campaign. That’s a lifetime in politics,” he said.
And he praised Martin’s “stellar record as a financial manager,” and slammed Harper.
“You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t have dramatic tax cuts and the necessary dollars available for the improvement of health care,” he said.
Well, let’s see. It was Martin who, as finance minister, slashed health and social transfers to the provinces. And you could have had your cake if a bunch of politicians and ad execs hadn’t wolfed it down in a sponsorship scandal.