Mr. Howard McCurdy (Windsor-St. Clair):
Madam Speaker, the musical Showboat is a period piece which depicts blacks in the minstrel show tradition.
A new, supposedly updated, production in North York has evoked heated controversy and division among black and Jewish communities in spite of claims that Afro-Ca-nadians' sensitivities are being addressed.
In Toronto to deliver a lecture named after Garth Drabinsky, the show's producer, William F. Buckley entered the dispute. He said that Jews have a right to be sensitive because of the Holocaust, and he is right. But according to him blacks who suffered over 200 years of
slavery, 25 million dead in the Atlantic crossing, 100 years of second class citizenship, lynchings and showboat stereotypes are described as preposterous to express their sensitivity.
What could be more destructive to an historic alliance between two communities, both of which have suffered, than this racist trivialization of the sufferings of one by comparison to the other?
If the voices of the Buckleys are the price for Showboat, Mr. Drabinsky, it is not worth it.