Amir Khadir: A One Man Socialist-Separatist Coalition
So who the hell is this Dr. Amir Khadir, you ask?
He is the immigrant-born, partly McGill-educated, leader of Québec’s newest sovereigntist party and now the first second Muslim ever elected to the National Assembly of Québec.
That’s quite a brainful for you, isn’t it, Canada?
Born in Teheran, Iran, Dr. Khadir immigrated to Québec with his parents at the age of 10. He is a practicing physician at Le Gardeur Hospital and the co-spokesperson of Québec Solidaire, a small progressive party born of the left wing of the Parti québécois, the lukewarm remains of the Québec NDP and the typical rainbow coalition of hippies, communists, university professors, vegans and failed artists who, in other countries, support Ralph Nader and Jack Layton.
Oh, and he might also be a slightly nutty conspiracy theorist and, according to columnist Pierre Foglia, the Northern Hemisphere’s most far left politician.
In other words, a protest vote, right? A freak disfunction of our British Parliamentary system, no doubt.
And yet… and yet…
Amir Khadir is all that, but he is also a genuinely well-liked man who’s been working very hard at the fringes of Québec’s political spectrum. In Québec, a province where all three leaders of the Liberals, the PQ and the ADQ are career politicians who have never had real jobs, someone like Dr. Khadir, who has lead Médecin du Monde missions in Iraq and the Palestinian occupied territories, and who went to work at his hospital on the morning after his election, commands sincere admiration and respect.
In fact, he just might be Québec’s most charismatic politician since René Lévesque. (Sorry, the Justin Trudeau thing isn’t working here…)
With Québec Solidaire’s co-leader Françoise David, Dr. Khadir has already performed a small miracle in uniting Québec’s far left into a coherent, if not plausible, progressive alternative.
A dream for sure, but a presentable dream. Something solid enough to receive the support of Claude Béland, the former president of Québec’s biggest financial institution, le Mouvement Desjardins, and of Julius Grey, the eminent lawyer who has punched more holes in Bill 101 than any other living person.
It takes quite a man to unite a banker and an Anglo-rights activist in a party dedicated to Québec’s political independence…
Such is the curious but exciting mix of Québec Solidaire, a scrappy coalition of dreamers, feminists and social activists, including a respectable share of Anglos and minorities, united behind the general idea of a progressive and independent Québec.
Kind of like the Party Québécois before it forgot WHY it wanted Québec to be an independent country.
Of course, with 4% of the province-wide vote and a single MNA, it doesn’t cost much to Support Québec Solidaire. Dr. Khadir might have convinced a dozen or so small left wing parties to temporarily put aside their differences over the interpretation of resolution 17.b of the IVth International Socialist Conference on proto-structural gender role-bias in a post-consumer society and unite under the single banner of Québec Solidaire for now, but we’ll see how long that coalition holds once he has to actually vote on legislation in the National Assembly.
Nor is he done explaining what he meant in 2006 when he said that he was not ready to ‘reject’ the various conspiracy theories claiming that the World Trade Center was an inside job.
Still, few people ever thought that Amir Khadir’s unlikely coalition would hold together as long as it it did in the first place. It will be interesting to see how well he will be able to use his increased visibility and credibility as an MNA.
One thing’s for sure, it’s been a while since anybody in Québec has been this enthousiastic about a politician. At least since Barack Obama…