A statement on opinions

When the Vancouver Sun spoke, we listened. Now, we’re talking back. Pixabay

On Sept. 6 the Vancouver Sun published an opinion piece with the hook, “Canada should say goodbye to diversity, tolerance and inclusion to rebuild trust in one another and start accepting a new norm for immigration policy — compatibility, cohesion and social trust.” In response, our staff messaged each other with various versions of, “what the actual fuck.” This statement is an attempt to take our rage and make it productive.

First of all, and this should go without saying, the Carillon unapologetically refutes Dr. Mark Hecht’s white nationalist perspective as nothing other than the heinous, fear-mongering, horror show that it so clearly is. The fact that the Sun’s newsroom posted an apology to its readers does nothing to dissuade us that Canada’s outlets – especially those owned by the ever farther right leaning Postmedia – need to interrogate any editorial process that allowed for this racist nightmare to appear in its pages. If a staff of seventeen students can parse what is and isn’t fit for consumption in the media landscape, then we should expect larger outlets to be able to do so. Because this particular form of the strain that is Postmedia seems incapable of doing any serious fact checking in this case, we, your lowly student media, shall do it for you.

Let’s start with the false equivalency of deciding to compare a Danish society with free tuition and a nation that is a gold standard (in most areas) for socialist standards and attempting to haphazardly juxtapose it with a Canada that is dangerously close to electing a dog-whistling Saskatchewanian. Does Denmark appear to have a strong anti-immigration bent (unique among its neighbors)? According to many, yes – see the Time piece tackling the issue, “An Island for ‘Unwanted’ Migrants Is Denmark’s Latest Aggressive Anti-Immigrant Policy” (Jan. 16, 2019). Is this a reason to inherit those biases? Hell no.

Second, using the Gatestone Institute’s date is akin to waving a big flag over your piece proclaiming, “I’m incapable of my own independent thought and I sure am glad I got a PhD out of it.” For those wondering, the institute’s most recent headlines include such riveting (read: revolting) titles as: “How Despots Interpret Deals with the West,” “The Dangerous Stalinism of the ‘Woke’ Hard-Left,” or “Christians Massacred, Media Look the Other Way.” In short, we say: no thanks.

This disaster of a line comes shortly after:

“At least half of all Muslims polled across various western European countries believe today that their Shariah law is more important than national law, according to the Gatestone Institute. In other words, a not insignificant proportion of Muslim immigrants have no intention of assimilating into any western society, including Denmark.” One problem here is that Dr. Hecht seems to have forgotten that Google exists. According to Pew Institute research, in the European countries they studied, the number was closer to 18 per cent (albeit with a small sample size). Shall we continue? Here’s another shuddering section:

“Yet, instead of diversity being a blessing, many found that they’ve ended up with a lot of arrogant people living in their countries with no intention of letting go of their previous cultures, animosities, preferences, and pretensions.”
Tell that to cultural groups on campus, tell that to events that celebrate diversity year-round. Tell that to folks doing difficult anti-racist work in conservative and anti-immigrant spaces. This garbage pile is as harmful as it is astoundingly tone deficient. He goes on to say, “So is it possible for a country to have diversity and social trust at the same time?” How exactly does Hecht propose these countries came to be in the first place? I [EIC here] imagine he goes to sleep at night dreaming of white ethno-states and moaning about macroeconomics until he climaxes.

Here’s his ending jab, a fitting beginning to a fascist manifesto if ever there was one.

“Can Canada learn from Denmark? The jury is out. But the minimum requirement is that we say goodbye to diversity, tolerance and inclusion if we wish to be a society that can rebuild the trust we used to have in one another and start accepting a new norm for immigration policy — compatibility, cohesion and social trust.” How exactly this piece made it to print is indicative of our media’s current headline chasing mantra. In a tweet, The Sun’s editor admitted that he hadn’t actually read the piece.

“I agree and apologize to everyone that this was published before I had a chance to read it. We’ve taken it offline.”

The piece still ran in the paper because there was no time to take it out. Certain people at Postmedia seem to have forgotten that they have a responsibility to the public not to publish racist drivel.

To end on a positive-ish note, the Carillon reaffirms its commitment to opinions taken from all on campus. We do, however, reserve the right to not publish work that we find to be tangibly harmful, to put as long an editorial note as needed in order to fully inform our readers, and to review our op-ed section guidelines on a piece-by-piece basis. To do so is to be responsible journalists rather than uncaring money-grubbing blowhards. This is not to say that all of those who work at Postmedia believe in the Sun’s editorial direction – the vast majority quite obviously do not. We just hope that those who started their careers in this paper will continue to be the people’s friend and the tyrant’s foe, rather than the tyrant’s hype machine.

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