The Sikh connection and Trudeau’s India embarrassment

Why did I need to hear this first from an American newspaper? From J.J. McCullough at Washington Post,

Those accustomed to seeing Canada sit atop international rankings of best-governed nations may be surprised to learn that a significant portion of Canadian democracy still has a decidedly crooked, 19th-century vibe. Since Canadian political parties operate on a “pay-to-play” basis — in which any voter who wishes to help nominate a politician for office must first sign a form and pay a membership fee — one of the most essential skills for any ambitious Canadian politico is an ability to sell large, but carefully targeted, numbers of party memberships to groups whose loyalty can be assured. This ordinarily includes friends, family members, employees, and coworkers. But, more controversially, it often includes religious congregations and immigrant or minority enclaves as well.

Though Canadians of Indian heritage are estimated to comprise no more than 4% of the Canadian population, and Indo-Canadians of Sikh heritage about half that, Sikhs are extraordinarily well-represented in Canadian government, a fact easily attributable to the outsize role they play in Canadian party politics — even in communities where their numbers are not extraordinarily high. Trudeau’s current cabinet includes four Sikh ministers, more, he once boasted, than could be found at the cabinet level in India. More.

Reality check: Could that have played a role in what happened? If so, some saw an opportunity and that’s their privilege. But now that the world is laughing at our drama coach PM, what changes do the rest of us need to make to stop the humiliation?

See also: Trudeau mocked openly now, internationally?

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