by John Cartwright
Originally published: June 20, 2017
Two years ago I wrote an article condemning Stephen Harper's attempt to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment for political advantage. Harper has since been defeated, but the election of Donald Trump and the murders in the Quebec mosque show that bigotry is becoming a more potent force in our society. Unfortunately, the politics of division and right-wing populism has led to a dramatic increase in incidents of hatred aimed at Muslim Canadians. It's up to all of us to figure out how we step up and respond, but those who hold political office or are recognized as leaders in business, labour or civil society have a special responsibility to challenge racism and discrimination.
I remember clearly how Dominic D'Alessandro, CEO of Manulife, took up the issue at the founding meeting of the Toronto Region Immigration Employment Council in early 2002. He spoke passionately about rejecting the xenophobia that was sweeping across the United States after the tragedy of 9/11. While he talked about his experience in an immigrant family, he also referred to the backlash against Muslims. I wish other corporate executives were as courageous in speaking out over the last two years.