The storming of Capital Hill in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 came as a shock. The storming of the Capitol Building seemed inconceivable in the United States and to many Canadians it seems even less likely that it could happen here. “Not so,” says Yasir Naqvi, the CEO of Inclusion Canada and the former Attorney General of Ontario.
Naqvi points out, “Canadians are often smug when it comes to American politics. We like to believe that we are more progressive than our southern neighbours, that we could never elect our own Trump, that we are somehow better, less corrupt, nicer.” He believes “that thinking is more than ignorant – it’s dangerous.”
It’s dangerous because we can be blind to the threats that give rise to an insurrection such as was witnessed in the United States. The key elements to be aware of, according to Naqvi, are “a rise in alt-right media, the undermining of science and facts, violence against others and the chipping away of trust in public institutions.” All of these elements are present and active in Canada.
The responsibility of citizenship in a democracy is to debate in a civil manner, to endeavour to enhance society with courage, to seek justice and compassion. We all have that responsibility, which is to challenge misinformation, to defend the rights of all and to work through challenges in pursuit of better communities.
We invited Yasi Naqvi to join us for a Conversation That Matters about the state of democracy in Canada, the ever-present threats and our responsibilities as citizens.