Saturday, 14 March 2015

Multiculturalism in Canada is Out of Control

Nearly five decades ago, Pierre Elliott Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada.  During his tenure in office, his ideas were to change the face of the country.  Amongst those ideas: Multiculturalism.  A new national ideology that the late Prime Minister created in order to make Canada a more inclusive society.  Trudeau spent the better part of his time in office trying to drill the theme of multiculturalism into the minds of Canadians.  He also sought to change facts on the ground, opening Canada's borders to immigrants from around the world and ending Canada's long tradition of sometimes relentless and humiliating discrimination against non-European newcomers.  Fast forward to today and Canada is now a cultural mosaic unlike any other.  And even fifteen years after Trudeau's death, his idea of multiculturalism is still effectively the country's national ideology.  In my humble opinion, Trudeau's success in imprinting multiculturalism on Canada was the greatest feat of social engineering in this country's history.  I fear, however, that multiculturalism may ultimately destroy Canada because it has simply gone too far.

What I mean by this is that the original multiculturalist ideology that Trudeau envisioned is being interpreted by a growing multitude of Canadians as a carte blanche to tolerate and accept cultural traditions that run counter to Canada's fundamental democratic values.  Trudeau's greatest mistake when he conjured up the idea of multiculturalism and sought to impose it on Canada was not setting limits.  What limits am I referring to?  Basically, the kind where we do not sanction cultural practices that contravene those of a democratic society.  For example, a lot of folks are now talking about current Prime Minister Stephen Harper's comments about the niqab, the face veil worn by some Muslim women.  He has been criticized for saying that the niqab itself is rooted in a culture that is fundamentally anti-women.  My feeling is that the people who are condemning the Prime Minister for his remarks and slamming his government for trying to make women who wear niqabs remove them when swearing the oath of citizenship are people who believe that multiculturalism should have no limits.

I personally believe that multiculturalism should and MUST have limits, particularly in regards to Canada's fundamental democratic values.  In other words, we need to draw a line in the sand whenever our democratic values are under threat.  So I agree with Prime Minister Harper's assertion that the niqab is rooted in a culture that is anti-women and I believe that although we shouldn't ban it, as has been done in some European jurisdictions, we should insist that a person wearing it remove it while taking the oath of citizenship, testifying in court, voting or any other instance where a person is normally required to identify him or herself in a free and democratic society.

If we continue down the slippery slope of unhindered multiculturalism, we run the risk of losing our democratic values.  Before you know it, the multicultists will insist that Canada tolerate things like polygamy or female genital mutilation, which are two other traditional practices rooted in a culture that is fundamentally anti-women.  Where will it end?  If anything, Prime Minister Harper is just trying to bring some sanity to the whole multiculturalism debate.  He's trying to do what his late predecessor, Pierre Trudeau, failed to do: set limits to the ideology of multiculturalism so that it does not put Canada's democratic values in jeopardy.  I just hope that Harper stays the course and does not give in to pressure from the folks who want to push multiculturalism to the point where our democratic principles are eroded and Canada is no longer Canada.     

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