By Danny C. | DCPeriodical | 12/12/19 |
Ex-federal employee Manjot Bains was a senior program adviser in Community Support, Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Initiatives in the Department of Canadian Heritage; but after she criticized Justin Trudeau over the multiplicity of leaked photos of him in black (and brown) face during the 2019 election, she was reprimanded and then pushed out of her job due to tyrannical ultimatums.
I was shocked and disgusted when I saw the pictures of the prime minister in brownface and blackface when he was a high school student, when he worked for a whitewater rafting company, and when he was a teacher at a Vancouver private school gala.
A week later, my father and I were interviewed separately by HuffPost Canada on generational reactions to Trudeau’s blackface scandal. My critique of the PM was mild and if anything, echoed his own acceptance of blame and acknowledgment that his actions were racist.–Huffington Post.
As Bains goes on to point out in a newly released Huffington Post op-ed, the prior interview she did — when she gave her opinion of Trudeau’s behavior in the photos — said nothing about the fact that she was a federal employee.
No matter, she was heavily reprimanded by her federal bosses.
I was told repeatedly by senior leadership that I had broken the trust of my bosses, that I couldn’t be trusted as a public servant, and that I would have to earn it back. I could not critique the prime minister publicly, even though I didn’t disclose my job with the department in the article.
One high-up manager then told Bains that so long as she continued to keep producing her podcasts and the articles she writes in her personal time ‘on issues of race, arts and culture,’ she wouldn’t be able to continue her work as a federal worker, stating those activities were conflicts of interest.
When Bains asked why this hadn’t been brought up when she was hired — and went through a conflict of interest background process in regards to these very issues and passed — she was told that pass was an oversight.
Completely silenced, she remained for a short time in her federal position, but soon realized she couldn’t win the inner battle against her own conscience.
By mid-October she was walking into her boss’s office and resigning, choosing to stay true to herself and release an episode on her podcast highlighting racism within the election that day.
My managers had many opportunities to engage in dialogue with me, but instead, I was told there was “confusion” with my recollection of the meetings, facts twisted, and outright omissions.
The ultimatum put on Manjot Bains shows the bureaucratic hypocrisy in Ottawa in its true colors (pun intended). To silence a senior program advisor paid by the government to address issues of multiculturalism and racism for doing just that is nothing less than insanity.
It also strongly demonstrates that the department itself is smoke and mirrors. It exists as a pandering tool to attract decent-minded voters into thinking the government cares about these issues. Bains’ story shows us they either don’t actually care about them at all, or at the very least, only care to certain point — up until it exposes the bigotry of one of their own.
While I truly haven’t heard one of her podcasts and have only read one piece by Bains, her courage to stand up to censorship and oppression, to speak her opinion no matter how unpopular or what consequences it brings, and to speak out about her mistreatment in the aftermath earn her a gold star in my books.
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