"Why was he picking on people that wear turbans, that look different?"
The context, Kennedy was responding to the "extremist elements" accusations made by the Prime Minister and his penchant for "drive by smears":
Harper again noted the Liberals who want the special powers extended and accused Dion of "being led by extremist elements in his own caucus."
"For the first time in history we have a leader of the opposition who is soft on terrorism," the PM alleged.
"The Liberal Party opposes the change we made, which is to give the police a voice in this process," Harper said.
"I'm not surprised, given what I'm reading in the Vancouver Sun today, when I read this is how the Liberal Party makes decisions."
His MP's use the same attack lines:
"We know there is an extremist element in the Liberal party generally that has been very vocal in opposing measures that are designed to combat terrorism," Ottawa Tory MP Pierre Poilievre told a radio interviewer last week.
In the radio interview, Poilievre was asked whether he thought Bains was an extremist. Poilievre would only say that he doesn't comment on individuals.
"A lot of them are in Stéphane Dion's caucus."
Navdeep Bains (Mississauga-Brampton South) and Omar Alghabra (Mississauga-Erindale) called a press conference today to denounce Poilievre and the dubious undercurrent to his references about "extremist elements."
If there is anyone who is sensitive to this issue, it's Gerard Kennedy, who is currently dealing with his own smear by a Conservative hack, masquerading as a journalist. Everyone knows the inference in Harper's comments, and everyone knows the ethnic group he points too with "extremist elements". After all, it was within the Air India debate that Harper decided to make the comments and read from the Vancouver Sun. Isn't Kennedy just doing away with the inference and asking the direct question?
Kennedy should have chosen different words, but I have no problem with the context of the comments. The Conservatives have raised the ethnic question, hurled innuendo and suggested "extremist elements". Within the realm of Harper's divisive tactics, it would appear that he is generalizing about an ethnic group, making Kennedy's comment less inflammatory than first blush might suggest. For all the Conservatives who will cry foul, you don't have a leg to stand on, with the Right Dis Honorable at the helm. Maybe the blunt talk is something Harper can understand.