Last night as the world was transfixed by the horrific mosque attacks in New Zealand, the Ontario public television network broadcast an insightful program on multiculturalism and immigration in Canada.
TVO's Political Blind Date pairs politicians from different parties on a platonic get-together to talk about shared issues of interest.
In the latest episode, Vancouver East NDP MP Jenny Kwan was sent on a "date" with Toronto-area Liberal MP Gary Anandasangaree.
He's the the parliamentary secretary to the minister of heritage and multiculturalism; she's the NDP's critic for immigration, refugees, and citizenship.
Here's one thing they have in common: both their parents made tremendous sacrifices immigrating to Canada to give them and their siblings a better life.
TVO posted a portion of the program on YouTube (see below).
During the filming, Kwan introduced Anandasangaree to two caregivers from the Philippines to illustrate her long-standing argument that the Liberal government's rules around domestic workers have been inhumane.
In particular, Kwan objected to the government's policy of not granting permanent-residency status until the caregivers had spent two years in the program.
After the episode was promoted the government promised major changes.
"Clearly the strong advocacy from the caregivers, migrant groups, and the opposition have paid off," Kwan, the MP for Vancouver East, said earlier this month.
In an interview with the Toronto Star, Kwan said she worried at one point that she might be "stood up" in the middle of the date because Anandasangaree was late returning from lunch. She wondered if he might have had enough.
For his part, Anandasangaree said that he didn't realize how emotional the filming would be.
"The discussion was real, and we both understood the intricacies of the issues at hand," the Scarborough–Rouge Park MP told the Star.
You can watch the full episode here.