– 17 –


White women, those below the socio-economic line, were also dying off. The circumstances were a bit different, in Toronto usually involving gunshots or severe beatings. Their bodies kept turning up in dumpsters or sometimes the middle of the streets, often around the Regent Park area. Police were still looking for the white guys responsible.

Regent Park was another of those old Toronto neighbourhoods that had been saved by black immigration. Back at J-school Mackenzie had read My Struggle: Tales from the Trenches of the Frontlines of the Fight Against the Dark Days of White Canada, a memoir of legendary Toronto social worker Deborah McDonaldson. Her book described Regent Park and its white people as rougher than Parkdale. At some point all the rundown little white people’s homes were demolished and a brand-new American-style housing project was built, Toronto’s first. It was a good start, McDonaldson wrote, but it still housed whites.

On attending social worker conventions in the United States, McDonaldson and her colleagues were ashamed to admit that their city didn’t have a single black ghetto. There just weren’t enough blacks. Consequently social work in Toronto lacked the drama that characterized it in the States. Then came the first influx of Caribbeans and Toronto social workers rejoiced.

Now, in Mackenzie’s time, Regent Park was one of Toronto’s quieter districts, in the sense that the ruckus never took place there. Of course, high-spirited sounds blared out of His Magnificence’s complex day and night. But, with the occasional woman’s corpse awaiting the twice-daily pickup, a foreboding mood prevailed as one ventured fairly close to the home of His Magnificence, according to those who had ventured fairly close.

A set of luxury highrises built on the site of the original housing project, New Rotherham was said to be one of the most sumptuous residential estates outside the United Arab Emirates. It was a showpiece of black Torontonian achievement.

A well-deserved honour, too. His Magnificence had faced so many trials and tribulations in his efforts to create jobs and enrich our culture. For this modest, soft-spoken victim of oppression to even come to Canada was an almost ineffable act of benevolence. Yet he had actually been ordered back to Jamaica countless times. Once he faced eight separate deportation orders the same week. He had been accused of all sorts of simply impossible allegations. Once he might even have been imprisoned, had not Toronto’s news and entertainment glitterati rallied around him. The campaign’s highlight was the hit single They Crucify Me, with His Magnificence himself on lead vocals backed up by Toronto’s undeniably talented singer/songwriter/guitar-player community and a hundred-voice girls’ choir put at his disposal by the Toronto School Board.

That was way back when there were still a few white guys on the police force. So, considering the source, the allegations weren’t surprising. They said he led a gang of heavily armed robbers that raided small businesses staffed by white women and then, after getting the money, stuck around long afterward to sexually humiliate the women. They claimed that he got involved in drugs and, as if they were reciting some really hoary racist myth, that he moved into prostitution. They said he rose to become Toronto’s most powerful drug dealer and pimp after exterminating his rivals.

Anyone with an iota of sophistication knew that it was all too stereotypically racist to be true. In fact His Magnificence stopped the gang wars, an appalling period in Toronto history that tragically included black-on-black violence. Through grit and determination he created jobs and enriched our culture, chiefly through a cross-racial outreach project for white women and girls below the socio-economic line, with an especially active program in junior high schools.

When Tracy at the Oakville Human Rights Commission ruled that His Magnificence and his lieutenants must have accommodation suiting their stature, the government spared no expense to build New Rotherham. Everyone agreed it was Toronto’s greatest black success story and a brilliant rebuttal of racist mythology.

There, in the splendour of a true monarch, resided His Magnificence, his lieutenants, his women and his girls. And their children.

There were so many of them that the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services had to open a separate department, the Ministry of His Magnificence’s Affairs, to process their social assistance cheques and provide essentials like food, electricity, heat and limos.

And yes, the limos were essential. Blacks looked up to His Magnificence. He was their role model. Could, under the racistly disingenuous guise of fiscal responsibility, a government expect him to ride around in anything less than a fleet of gleaming white super-stretch limos? Anything else would be an insult to black self-esteem. Moral responsibility obliged the government to show how His Magnificence proved the success of black immigration.

That undeniable success, in turn, justified the first 25,000 Syrians, the following 25,000s and all the rest of the Airlifts.

And to think that His Magnificence, of all people, had to suffer Smith’s hate crime.

Mackenzie sat up in the jacuzzi and pulled over the swivel stand holding her laptop. The monitor showed today’s coverage of The Trial. Another disturbing episode in the sordid story of Smith, the headline read. The story quoted evidence from one of Canada’s top intelligence agents. “Smith’s cancerous web of hate spreads its tentacles all over society,” she said. “We only see the surface. It’s like an iceberg, two-thirds subterranean.”

Mackenzie looked over the other top stories. A photo feature of the Prime Minister’s Wife with Ashanti teens in Marsh Lake, Yukon, a chilling exposé about how Nazis wrote memos on paper from British Columbia forests, Canada’s formal apology to MS-13, a gripping story about a girl who defied the almost insuperable barriers of sexism to ride a motorcycle, a survey of some of the most prevalent hate crimes in Canada and, of course, the lead story about The Trial.

Mackenzie complimented herself again on keeping the Star focused on the most urgent issues of our time. That was hard to do when she was bombarded with so much trivia.

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