POLTICS AND RACENovel THOMAS
There’s always a certain sense of excitement at election time as people—at least those with an interest in the recurring political exercise—contract the political fever.
So after the recent 40-day heated political exercise… or campaign of promises amounting to billions of dollars by the primary party leaders, which in the end was capped off with the re-election of Justin Trudeau to a second term as Prime Minister, everything is back to a semblance of normalcy.
But that’s passé. The question now is how did we do in the recent political exercise, whomever we individually or collectively voted for, were our votes pivotal in getting any particular candidate over the top, elected or re-elected?
More to the point, is there anyway of gauging how, let’s say, the Black vote, solicited if at all? Given the fact that there’s really no concentration of Black people in any political riding, because the community is so sparsely spread out in and around the city, politicians essentially take our votes for granted. I’ve come to that conclusion, so they see no need to spend any time courting Black people at election time.
I say this because I remember a time when come election time at the three levels one could see politicians pounding the pavement, even knocking on doors or ringing bells to solicit votes. I don’t see much of that anymore.
Actually, at the municipal level contenders are sometimes visible going up and down stairs.
If and when they visit me I engage them in conversation just to let them know that I’m glad to see them pounding the pavement… and climbing stairs, as well as to let them know that my vote is valuable and cannot be taken for granted. They have to work for it.
Going into the recent federal exercise, I had a choice of two parties, and as I traditionally do I voted for one, which I thought would be the winning one.
Thing is, as a community, like jam on toast we can’t afford to spread our votes too thinly. Furthermore, as the saying goes, and for whatever it’s worth, we’re not a monolith. Although sometimes, given the traditional low maintenance space and place we continue to occupy in this socio-political monolith it would be in our best interest to be. In fact, everyday we must be.
What better time than right now, [what] with the ongoing psychological (and sometimes physical) assault by SPVM officers on Black males. This is an historical behaviour among some police, who go beyond regular and normal practices in carrying out their duties. All who pay attention to the news know of decades-old complaints against the police [should] know of the multiple complaints lodged by Black men against the police without corrective action been taken by the political and/or judicial powers-that-be.
The Black Coalition of Quebec has been championing the move to reign in rogue police for decades, culminating in a recent multi-million$ class action case against the police.
But as a colleague mentioned to me last weekend the Police Brotherhood is the power broker in these anti-police cases for decades. Essentially, the Brotherhood got its members’ backs.
But right is right, and we’ve seen verifiable and undeniable video footage of police at work… They seem to be attracted to Black males. But the state is finally coming around, based on multiple complaints of victims. This issue of CONTACT speaks to more verifiable illegal police practices.
So when Montreal mayor Valerie Plante stated at a press conference last summer in the wake of another videotaped recording of another police interaction with a young Black man in another case of racial profiling along with a good roughing up that she would “unveil dozens of new measures to improve police relations” with the usual victims of bad police practices – policing… it probably got a big yawn from the usual target victims, along with a bag of salt…
When she was campaigning for the job she now has I said I’m going to give her my vote, especially because she was in position to make history. She did.
But saying that she wasn’t aware of police-Black racial profiling and other police issues surprised me. After all over the last two decades or so there have been multiple complaints about Montreal police interactions with so-called “racialized communities.” [I used that term for the first and hopefully last time, but I hate it.] As a young, progressive and involved social activist didn’t she have her ears to the ground and eyes open to know what’s going on in the city she aspired to lead into the 2020s?
Hope Mayor Plante will reign in the police and ensure that all Montrealers are treated respectfully by the SPVM.
Meanwhile, going forward, it’s the same old story, so finding reasons and ways [for us Black people] to coalesce would be in our best interest. Language, place of origin be damned, we are always being pushed up against the wall, and will continue to be if…