Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney speaks in Calgary, Alta.
Credits: (QMI Agency/ Jim Wells)
The list of things which the minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism detests is long. For example, the corpulent Calgary Conservative detests multiculturalism, quite a few immigrants, and an impressive number of his fellow citizens, too. In fact, Kenney may be the first federal cabinet minister to preside over a department he would like to eliminate.
Born in 1968 in Oakville, Ont., Kenney has never really worked in the private sector. He was one of the mouthpieces of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation for a while, but that's essentially a branch of the Conservative Party. Since 1997, he's had his snout firmly planted in the public trough, and he likes it there. For example, when he was (ironically) the Canadian Alliance finance critic, Kenney spent more than $120,000 in taxpayer money on trips in a single year. That made him one of Parliament's biggest big-spenders.
He also attacked fellow conservative-minded MPs - calling them "dishonest and hypocritical" - for opting into the MP pension plan. Wasn't he already a member of said plan?
Therefore, we know that's something he likes: Kenney likes to blow taxpayer dough on himself. In this regard, he's a lot like his competitor in the hush-hush campaign to succeed Stephen Harper, Peter MacKay. The two of them can spend taxpayers' dollars like it's water.
But there are things that Jason Kenney really, really dislikes - such as Muslim women who make a personal choice to wear a veil. So, he recently decided to make that illegal at citizenship ceremonies, without any debate in Parliament or even a consultation with citizens. He's going to get his ass kicked in a Charter challenge on that one, but Kenney doesn't care. He isn't fussy about Muslim women, and that's that. (He isn't enthusiastic about Muslims either, possibly: in 2003, he shrugged off the Serbian campaign of genocide against Muslims in the former Yugoslavia, saying the Serbs' "program of ethnic cleansing was modest.")
Evidence of Kenney's antipathy to other folks isn't hard to locate. It's all there in Google, if you have the stomach for it.
- Women who favour reproductive choice bug him, a lot. Once, Kenney likened therapeutic abortions to "child abuse" and "slavery." And: "there is not a medical need for the procedure." Those are quotes.
- Sikhs aren't among his favourites either, apparently. During the 2000 election campaign, which he and his Reform/Alliance pals lost to the Liberals, Kenney called Sikhs "overheated" and fond of "using the race card" - because, well, actual neo-Nazis had joined the Reform/Alliance movement. Imagine! Who could get upset about neo-Nazis joining a mainstream political party? Really - what's the big deal?
- Gays and lesbians have long been people whom Kenney dislikes, too. Kenney has consistently opposed every single measure designed to give gays equal rights. "There are forms of just discrimination," Kenney once famously remarked, and he meant it.
And so on and so on.
You may be surprised to hear that this partisan Liberal prays fervently for Jason Kenney's good health every night. I don't want anything to happen to him, and I want him to win his party's leadership.
If he does, you see, the Liberal Party will win one of its biggest victories in a long time.
Jason will hate that, but that's okay. Jason hates a lot of other stuff already.