Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Not Immune to 'Hate Wave,' Former White House Adviser Says

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Not Immune to 'Hate Wave,' Former White House Adviser Says

Article excerpt

Canada not immune to 'hate wave': Van Jones

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TORONTO - A high-profile political commentator and former White House policy adviser warned Tuesday that the same class tensions and divisive forces that swept Donald Trump to power could easily take root in Canada, adding it would be "irresponsible" to pretend otherwise.

Van Jones, a CNN political contributor, said the "hate wave" that has stirred vigilante behaviour and prompted gatherings of apparent Nazi-affiliated groups is playing out in all Western democracies, and anyone who thinks Canada will be spared is wrong.

"The working classes, especially the white working classes, feeling rightfully thrown under the bus and left behind, are reacting in ways that are shocking, in ways that I think are unfair, in ways that are unfortunate and sometimes that are xenophobic and racist," he said.

"It is happening all across the Western democracies and it can happen in Canada, too."

Jones, who emerged as a strong voice during the U.S. election campaign that ended earlier this month with Trump's stunning victory, was in Toronto to discuss what a Trump presidency will mean for the U.S. and its northern neighbour. He delivered a keynote address in the city at an event organized by the Broadbent Institute.

Speaking before the event, Jones said everyone, no matter where they fall on the political spectrum, must remain vigilant to keep class and racial tensions from turning into violence.

"Every single part of civil society in Canada, the United States and around the world needs to get very vocal right now, needs to stand up right now," he said.

"If anybody thinks they can just stand back and hope for the best ... if you think that standing back and giving this guy a chance means giving him a pass on stuff you wouldn't let your kids do, stuff you wouldn't let your next door neighbour's kids do, then you're not paying attention," he said.

"We are so far now past left versus right, this is no longer a left-right issue. ... It is wrong for any political party to get ahead by picking on defenceless groups and small groups and minority groups, and then to turn your head when the violence comes," he said. …

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