CNN interviews Notisha Massaquoi on ‘wedge’ issues and Canadian conservatismCategories: Faculty in the News, Notisha Massaquoi
Notisha Massaquoi, an assistant professor at U of T Scarborough’s Department of Health and Society, with a graduate appointment at FIFSW, was interviewed by CNN about the US-style political polarization that some fear is rising in Canada.
As much as candidates have tried to engage meaningfully on issues, a ripple of polarization among voters — one that seems to mirror the US experience — is emerging, especially on cultural or so-called “wedge” issues like abortion rights, gun control and climate change.
The pandemic in particular has ignited fury among a small but fierce minority that oppose some Covid protocols, especially vaccine and mask mandates. Earlier this month a protester threw gravel at Trudeau at a campaign event in Ontario, after the Canadian leader had been stalked by demonstrators angry with his pandemic policies.
The heated and visceral character of this campaign has some activists and educators worried that Canada’s increasingly polarized politics are following in the path of the United States.
“We like to the look at the US and say ‘not us,’ and I think we are now at a time where we have to say, ‘Yes, and us too,'” says Notisha Massaquoi, an assistant professor of health and society at the University of Toronto and a Black community activist.
“We’ve seen it, we know it can happen, we know that that a population can be ignited and can become powerful and can become leaders,” Massaquoi said, explaining she fears a future Canadian government could use wedge issues, like race, to mobilize its voter base in harmful ways.
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