When we created the Indian Act, there was a denial of right to vote, purchase land, and engage in traditional ceremonies. Canada's first peoples were forced to relocate, pushed aside to reserves and were restricted from civil and political rights.
When runaway slaves were migrating from America to Canada with great promises of better land, education and rights, they were again segregated in their schools and communities and had limited property rights.
When Chinese labourers came to Canada, they were paid ¼ the wages of ‘white’ workers. Once again, their civil and polical rights were restricted. They were barred from public office and professional occupations.
Let us not forget Komagata Maru. I bet they didn't teach you this gem of Canadian History in grade 10! In 1914 South Asians were detained on a steamer boat for 2 months on the coast of Vancouver before they were eventually denied entry into Canada. During this time, exclusion laws in Canada were designed to keep Asian immigrants out.
During World War II, a number of Japanese Canadians (75% of which had Canadian citizenship) were incarcerated, forced to work and had their property taken from them. If they did not enter incarceration, they would be deported. After 2 years, they were released and had no compensation until the late 80s. The reason for the government’s action? Security reasons; the Japanese-Canadians may have been a National Threat. Believe it or not, Canadian Parliamentarian Ian Mackenzie said in 1944, "It is the government’s plan to get these people out of B.C. as fast as possible. It is my personal intention, as long as I remain in public life, to see they never come back here. Let our slogan be for British Columbia: ‘No Japs from the Rockies to the seas".
( http://www.crr.ca/divers-files/en/pub/faSh/ePubFaShLegRac.pdf )
The security certificate is our latest instalment of institutionalized discrimination and racism which allows the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to have anyone thrown in jail who might be deemed a national threat, even if the evidence is weak (as we’ve seen in the previous posts). Such institutionalized discrimination leads to racial profiling. When we see our authority figures doing this, it sets an example of ‘what to be aware of’, or what to ‘beware’ of.
We see this institutionalized discrimination at it’s finest in the airport. You will find the lines for ‘random’ checks of suitcases long and populated by Arabs, Muslims, individuals with Muslim sounding names and even Sikhs (from a different part of the world, and of a different religion but
indistinguishable by the untrained security personnel eye).
Family Guy highlighted this issue: http://www.humorscore.com/videos/Family_Guy_Videos/Family_Guy_-_Johnny_Quest
It’s interesting. In this clip, the writers imply that you should not even be yourself, just to avoid security personnel from jumping to conclusions. It’s true. There are many Muslims out there who feel the need to dress in a traditionally non-Islamic manner to avoid the hassle.
Consider the news media. These terrorists organizations are sometimes called ‘Islamists’. Now what in the world is an ‘Islamist’?! It’s not a word that these groups have used, because it’s not even proper grammar. It’s like saying ‘Christanity’ist’ or ‘Hinduism’ist’. These were terms conjured by either the government or the media. These people are not categorized as terrorists anymore, they’re being defined by their religion, which now applies 1.5 billion people or one-fifth of the world’s population. Their label for the enemy has suddenly expanded from ‘terrorists’ to a term that will be associated with adherents of a religion.
If our authority figures show us that these people cannot be trusted, we will also develop distrust for these groups. As a result these groups feel alienated and will tend to segregate themselves, only widening the gap between what is being created as ‘us’ and ‘the other’. We no longer think of ourselves as ‘black’, ‘white’, ‘Asian’, ‘Spanish’ etc. We’re now Canadian and Arab.
It has happened in the past and it is currently being perpetuated against Muslims and Arabs in Canada. Security certificates are no longer just a security measure, they’ve become a justification for discrimination and racism.