Ethnic profiling has no place in the Ontario Liberal Party

If you’re a member of the Ontario Liberal Party, you have been bombarded in recent weeks with emails, campaign literature and phone calls. It’s a part of every campaign, however, and it’s here to stay. But some campaigns have been more mindful of not cluttering up your inbox or not subjecting you to nonstop robocalls. But others have gone way too far.

Like Kathleen Wynne.

This week, some Liberal party members received one letter in particular that has some people very upset. This letter was translated into different languages based on a kind of assumed ethnicity based on the member’s name. Yes, name.

Remember back when the Harper Cons sent Rosh Hashanah messages to Jewish Canadians? People were outraged.  What the Wynne campaign has done this week is similar, and it has offended a number of Liberal party members.

Young Liberal, Tahiya Bakht received a letter in Punjabi.  She is Bangledeshi but an assumption was made that she was Indian or Pakistani based on her name. She wrote about how she felt about it on Facebook last night:


Another Ontario Liberal Party member got something similar.  Hani El Masry received a letter from the Wynne campaign identifying him as Muslim and was then added to an email list serv for “Muslim delegates for Wynne”.  Hani is Arab, but not Muslim. You can read about it here.

On many levels, this is a big mistake. Huge. I come from a diverse ethnic background and could not imagine receiving political literature based on a guess as to what that background is. A candidate who preaches social justice and tolerance should never, ever be as insensitive as this.

5 Comments on “Ethnic profiling has no place in the Ontario Liberal Party”

  1. annie says:

    This is absolutely disgusting, I will never vote for Wynne or a Liberal team led by her.

  2. Agreed. And, moreover, astonishing from Kathleen. I expected better of her.

  3. Sam Gurthrie says:

    “Remember back when the Harper Cons sent Rosh Hashanah messages to Jewish Canadians? People were outraged.” Remember how Harper sent that message out in 2007 while Prime Minister in a minority government? Remember when Harper went on to win another minority and then a majority government years after he sent out his Holiday greeting? Notice how Harper’s Conservatives are polling at 52% with Jewish voters versus 24% for the Liberals?
    It’s not “racial profiling” it is “voter identification” and it is something the Conservatives are much better at than Liberals and why Harper is sitting at 24 Sussex Dr and the last three Liberal leaders are not.
    Democracy can be messy and sometimes (for a fee weeks) your phone is going to ring and maybe you are going to wake up to a few extra emails in your inbox. If you don’t like, hang up, unsubscribe, delete.
    Sometimes a campaign is even going to make a mistake and send you something that doesn’t apply to you. Sometimes people will take it upon themselves to promote a candidate or agenda but, like in the case of the “Muslim Delegates for Wynne,” doesn’t mean it’s an official campaign cummunication.
    Is the white guy with the surname “Lee” crying because he received a message in Chinese? Probably not. Is the Chinese guy with the surname “Lee” crying because he received a message in English? Probably not.
    When we as Liberals, are outraged by everything, people will stop listening to us.

    Full Disclosure, I’m not a delegate but if I was it would be for Wynne!

  4. Oh my! These politicians thought I was Muslim or Indian or Jewish or Christian or white or black. So? What’s the big deal. It is not an insult! Maybe it is a compliment. Who cares. It is an innocent mistake. Only liberals in a multicultural society would complain that they were mistaken for a person of another culture or race. That complaint is racism – not the original letter.

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