Douglas Todd: We must stand on guard for Canada

Douglas Todd captures the ongoing debate on new Canadians and Canadian values.

I tend to favour Tung Chan’s more pragmatic approach but with a bit more teeth with respect to public and private institutions in terms of setting accommodation limits when they conflict with fundamental equality rights:

Rohani, a businessman who has sat on RCMP diversity committees, and Dosanjh, a lawyer whose biography will be released on Aug. 5, want prospective immigrants to Canada to be taught the essentials of liberal democracy and equality.

“Speaking as an immigrant, if we choose Canada as the best place to come and live, then why aren’t we following its values?” Dosanjh says. “If we want to recreate the society we left behind, why don’t we just stay there? It’s incumbent upon us newcomers to embrace the whole of society, not just its dollars.”

Tung Chan, former head of the government-financed immigrant services society, SUCCESS, is a friend of Rohani’s. But he’s more sanguine about the religion-rooted hazards facing liberal democracy.

Chan would prefer not to highlight the difficulties associated with what he claims in Canada is only the “one per cent who are mal-adapted” and don’t embrace free choice and equality.

Although Chan agrees with Rohani and Dosanjh that new immigrants and all Canadians should be taught about the country’s laws, Constitution, and Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Chan takes a hands-off approach beyond that.

“After the teaching is done,” Chan says, “whether they choose to accept or reject our value system is entirely up to them as long as they do not break the law.”

Dosanjh strongly disagrees, maintaining Canadians shouldn’t be so shy about upholding democratic principles. “Society is not just governed by laws. We have our values, our ethics, our integrity. It’s not a written law, for example, that we should allow people to marry whoever they want to marry.”

Douglas Todd: We must stand on guard for Canada.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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