Separated at Birth: Name calling “joke” about Olivia Chow, sinks Ontario Liberal excecutive.

Separated at Birth: Name calling “joke” about Olivia Chow, sinks Ontario Liberal excecutive.

Separated at birth: That is the headline for a picture of Chinese
Canadian MP candidate Olivia Chow, contrasted with a Chow Chow dog.
This was posted on a personal blog site (since removed) by Mike
Klander, vice-president for the Ontario Liberal Party.

This type of attitude is unfit for somebody who wants to lead
public office or to be associated with the political backrooms, and is
an unforgivable example of where such kinds of thinking leads to in
ill-conceieved sponsorship scandals, head tax redress bungling, and
consistent perpetuation of Asian stereotypes. Personal name calling, is
also one of the lowest forms of insults, usually only used when
somebody has run out of or is incapable of constructive criticism.

I grew up in “multicultural Vancouver”, subject to occasional
racial insults and references. Some were playful amongst “friends.” But
many were hurtful, and meant to be demeaning. Did it make me stronger
as an indivdual or did it make me want to run away and cry, as WW2
veteran Gim Wong recalled a child hood incident in the movie “Shadow of
Gold Mountain.” Probably both. But more importantly, it ingrained a
sense of the importance to fight racial discrimination and intolerance.

It is exactly that type of “silly” plays on words that probably
made Conservative MP's Inky Mark or NDP candidate Mary-Woo Sims, the
butts of “word play insults” as children, or why I was the constant
butt of “Wing the Wong number” jokes. Name calling hurts. period. It
doesn't matter if it is school yard bullying or political posturing.

But especially in the middle of a federal election campaign, where
the Liberals are being criticized for their ill-conceived attempt at
head tax redress, it demonstrates an insensitivity to complex issues
where thousands of head tax payers and descendants are being purposely
ignored over the decision to only “consult” with hand-picked “community
leaders” sympathetic to following the “rules” set out by legal
advisors, when the Supreme court of Ontario and the Unitied Nations
have both already stated that Canada must address these issues on a
political level.

Below are the articles of the issue currently being printed in our major newspapers across Canada.


Calgary Herald
27 December 2005
Calgary Herald
Copyright © 2005 Calgary Herald
Separated at Birth: Name calling “joke” about Olivia Chow, sinks Ontario Liberal excecutive.

When Prime Minister Paul Martin's chief of staff Scott Reid made his
infamous beer-and-popcorn comment, he was rightly pilloried for arrogance.
 Separated at Birth: Name calling “joke” about Olivia Chow, sinks Ontario Liberal excecutive.

Now, Mike Klander, vice-president of the Liberals' Ontario wing, has posted
pictures to his blog, comparing Toronto NDP candidate and wife of Jack
Layton, Olivia Chow, with a dog — a chow chow. He's since quit.

Reid could perhaps have claimed it was his sincerely held opinion parents
would not make good use of money given them to use for their children. Thin
as such excuses would have been, Klander cannot even offer that. The only
possible purpose of his comment was to mock, and hurt.

The Liberals must be accustomed to charges of corruption, and arrogance. To
them must now be added random stupidity; racially based insults are not
merely wrong, but also widely known to be electoral suicide.

What was Klander thinking?



Derogatory web posting sparks Grit resignation: Senior organizer apologizes
to NDP candidate

Janice Tibbetts, with a file from Daryl Slade, Calgary Herald CanWest News Service
27 December 2005 Calgary Herald Final A4 English Copyright © 2005 Calgary Herald OTTAWA

A senior Liberal organizer has quit the party executive after comparing an
Asian-Canadian election candidate to a Chinese chow chow dog.

Mike Klander, executive vice-president of the Liberal Party of Canada in
Ontario, resigned suddenly Monday for posting photos of Toronto NDP
contender Olivia Chow and a chow chow on his weblog, under the caption
“Separated at Birth.”

The NDP described the blog as “bordering on racist” and the Liberals, moving
quickly into damage control on the Boxing Day holiday, asserted that the
posting was “tasteless” and did not reflect party values.

“It's certainly our view as a party that there are lines that should not be
crossed and unfortunately this was a tasteless posting and Mike recognizes
that and has therefore submitted his resignation,” said spokesman Stephen

“If anyone was offended by it, we certainly apologize as a party.”

A chow chow is a mid-size dog of Chinese origin that resembles the Pekingese
 Separated at Birth: Name calling “joke” about Olivia Chow, sinks Ontario Liberal excecutive.

Klander said he has also apologized informally to Chow, the wife of NDP
Leader Jack Layton. She is running a tight race in the downtown Toronto
riding of Trinity-Spadina.

“It was a play on words and I didn't intend it to be anything other than
that,” Klander said in a telephone interview.

“It was intended for a small group of friends, naively on my part.”

Klander took down his blog three days ago after getting wind of complaints.

Klander also asserted on his webpage that Conservative Leader Stephen Harper
“creeps people out,” and that cowboy hats make politicians “look gay.”

The Toronto consultant has been has been active in the Liberal party since
the late 1980s.

Harper, who is in Calgary for the holidays, said Monday that Klander's
postings seem to be par for the Liberal course.

“Well, you know, there's kind of been a stream of this — you know, beer and
popcorn, cars and coats, unfit for office, the use of Holocaust memorial
pictures,” Harper said after helping light a menorah for Hanukkah at the
home of Calgary Rabbi Menachem Matus on Monday night.

“There's quite a campaign of slur and personal attack going on here, and one
can only hope that the Liberal party will get a bit of a public backlash
over it,” added Harper, who is home in his Calgary Southwest riding for the

As a party executive, Klander was a key organizer for Prime Minister Paul
Martin's leadership in Ontario and he also managed the 2000 election
campaign in the province.

In this campaign, he played only a minor role as a volunteer, said Heckbert,
stressing that Klander's blog was a personal one, appearing on his own
webpage rather than the Liberal website.

Heckbert also praised Klander for having “a history of being a strong
Liberal and someone who has worked for diversity.”

Heckbert said Klander resigned on his own initiative and was not pushed.
However, in an interview with CanWest News Service just before he submitted
his resignation, Klander said his only plan was to apologize to Chow.

He also has pulled his blog for the remainder of the campaign leading to the
Jan. 23 vote.

NDP spokesman Ian Capstick said it is appropriate that Klander has resigned.

“He realizes what he has done is offensive,” said Capstick.

“Ms. Chow is looking forward to his direct apology.”

In light of the name-calling and slurs on the webpage, Capstick said Klander
has a lot of amends to make beyond apologizing to Chow.

“I think Mr. Klander touched a variety of different nerves,” said Capstick.

“I think the Liberal party, the party that wraps itself in the Charter so
often, needs to stand up and take responsibility for Mr. Klander's words and
needs to ensure that Mr. Klander takes the appropriate action to make

Chow could not be reached for comment Monday, but she told the Toronto Star
that she was “saddened” by the web posting.

“I'll debate policy anytime, but to descend to this level is quite
disappointing,” she said.

NDP spokesman Brad Lavigne said the blog “borders on racism, there's no
question about it.”

Members of the Chinese Canadian National Council, which has been an active
interest group in the current election campaign, could not be reached for

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