«On ne doit jamais tenir pour acquise notre cohésion sociale», dit Joly

True.

And good to see that the Liberal government has maintained and strengthened the program introduced by the Conservatives to provide funding for security equipment for faith centres:

Les appels à manifester lancés la semaine dernière par des groupes d’extrême droite avant qu’ils ne se ravisent sont un rappel qu’on «ne doit jamais tenir pour acquise notre cohésion sociale».

C’est ce qu’a déclaré la ministre du Patrimoine canadien, Mélanie Joly, qui était de passage mercredi au Centre communautaire Laurentien situé dans l’arrondissement montréalais d’Ahuntsic-Cartierville.

Mme Joly y annonçait l’octroi d’une subvention de 29 000 $ visant à améliorer la sécurité de ce centre communautaire musulman, qui abrite également une mosquée.

Ottawa épongera la moitié de la facture de ce projet frôlant les 60 000 $. Des pellicules de protection empêchant de fracasser les fenêtres seront apposées. Le centre se dotera également d’un système d’alarme, d’un système de télévision en circuit fermé et d’un système de contrôle des entrées.

Cet investissement du fédéral provient d’un programme mis en place il y a quelques années pour protéger les communautés à risque contre les crimes haineux.

Lors du dernier budget, Ottawa avait doublé le financement de ce programme, appelé Programme de financement des projets d’infrastructure de sécurité pour les collectivités à risque et chapeauté par le ministère de la Sécurité publique, pour le porter à 10 millions de dollars sur une période de cinq ans.

Interrogée en point de presse sur la présence plus visible de groupes d’extrême droite dans le paysage politique québécois, Mme Joly, qui est responsable des dossiers de l’inclusion et de la diversité au sein du gouvernement fédéral, a souligné qu’il est de notre responsabilité à tous de ne jamais baisser la garde.

«À chaque fois qu’il y a des discours haineux qui sont prononcés, on doit toujours les dénoncer», a-t-elle souligné.

«On a un rôle de leadership moral à jouer», a-t-elle rappelé à la classe politique.

Bien qu’aucun incident majeur ne soit à déplorer au Centre communautaire Laurentien, un sentiment d’insécurité avait fleuri chez ses membres dans la foulée de l’attentat perpétré à la mosquée de Québec le 29 janvier dernier.

Quelques semaines plus tard, Mme Joly participait à une rencontre avec des représentants de la communauté musulmane d’Ahuntsic-Cartierville pour discuter de ce qui pouvait être fait pour «accroître la tranquillité d’esprit» de ses membres.

C’est alors que le Centre communautaire Laurentien a décidé de déposer un projet auprès du gouvernement fédéral pour renforcer la sécurité des lieux.

Quelques incidents isolés étaient venus ternir la quiétude des lieux au cours des dernières années, dont notamment des messages haineux laissés sur la boîte vocale du centre et des vitres brisées, se rappelle le directeur du centre, Samer Elniz.

Il ajoute toutefois que pour ces quelques gestes odieux commis à l’encontre du centre, il répertorie un nombre incommensurablement supérieur de paroles chaleureuses et de mains tendues.

«C’est une minorité qui veut jouer avec le sentiment de la majorité», dénonce-t-il, se disant convaincu que le climat social continuera à s’améliorer au Québec.

Source: «On ne doit jamais tenir pour acquise notre cohésion sociale», dit Joly

Contrasting Liberal and Conservative Themes for 150th Anniversary of Confederation in 2017

Quite a change – close to 180 degrees –  from the previous government:

Canadians throughout the country, as well as those living abroad, will proudly take part in the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of Confederation. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all that it means to be Canadian. The Government of Canada is proud to be part of this anniversary of national and historic importance. It plans to:

  • promote and celebrate our Canadian identity; our ethnic, linguistic, cultural and regional diversity; and our rich history and heritage;
  • encourage Canadians to invest in our country’s future by bringing about significant changes and leaving a lasting legacy for coming generations;
  • create opportunities for Canadians to participate and celebrate together our shared values, our Canadian identity, our achievements, our majestic environment and our place in the world; and
  • maximize government investments and generate economic benefits for the country’s communities.

The main themes of the Government of Canada’s vision for the 150th anniversary of Confederation are:

Diversity and inclusion – We want to continue building a welcoming Canada where there is a place for everyone, a Canada where everyone can reach his or her full potential.

 

Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples – We want to support the vital work of reconciliation ‎with Indigenous peoples as outlined in the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Reconciliation is a journey for all Canadians as we move forward into Canada’s next 150 years.

 

Youth – We want to continue to engage young people and give them the means to contribute to our society, because they are the ones who will shape tomorrow’s Canada.

 

Environment – We want to be the custodians of our environment, because it is a source of our country’s wealth and pride. We want to bring Canadians closer to nature in order to strengthen their environmental awareness.

The previous Conservative government’s theme and vision

The Government of Canada will bring Canadians together with a common purpose. The Canada 150 overarching theme is “Strong. Proud. Free.”—words that define and characterize present-day Canada. A Canada that is a strong leader in the world, with one of the most robust economies. A Canada that is proud of its identity and achievements, as well as its natural beauty and resources. A Canada that is free with an open, diverse and pluralistic society. This theme connects us with our past, embraces the present, and builds towards the future.

The Canada 150 vision includes three elements:

Giving Back to Canada: Canadians will be challenged to dream about what the future holds for the next 150 years, and to give back to our country, providing meaningful change and lasting legacies for future generations.

Honouring the Exceptional: Exceptional Canadian people, places, achievements and events will be showcased to help shape Canada’s leaders of tomorrow.

Celebrating and Bringing Canadians Together: Canadians and their communities will have opportunities to celebrate together and build a deeper understanding of Canada, its people and what it means to be Canadian.

Canada 150 programming will support and promote activities that align with this vision.

Source: Backgrounder: The 150th Anniversary of Confederation in 2017 – Canada News Centre

Archived – Backgrounder – Strong. Proud. Free.: Get Ready to Celebrate Canada 150! – 2015

Annual Report on the operation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act: Building a diverse and inclusive society

The 2014-15 report was released discretely (no press release, no announcement), given that it covers the period of the previous government. The only changes that could be made were largely cosmetic in nature.

The sub-title changes to Building a diverse and inclusive society, and Minister Joly picks up on the now standard language:

In Canada, we are recognized worldwide for our successful approach to multiculturalism, which focuses on building a diverse and inclusive society by promoting and encouraging awareness, understanding and respect for the many different cultures that contribute to the economic and social wealth of our country. While the Government of Canada sets the stage through the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, it is thanks to the full participation of our provincial and territorial partners, stakeholders and the Canadian public that we are able to find unity in our diversity and to learn from one another.

…As Canadians, we know that our country is made stronger because of our diversity, not in spite of it. By working together, we are advancing respect and appreciation for multiculturalism across the country while fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging in all Canadians.

In contrast, the previous report, consigned to Former Minister Kenney, reflects a different tone:

Our government is committed to promoting integration, intercultural understanding, peaceful pluralism as well as religious freedom—in Canada and abroad. I have been pleased to meet with many community organizations and international partners over the past year to advance our values and goals.

…By working together, we are making strides in celebrating our multicultural heritage, strengthening the value of citizenship and ensuring the successful integration of newcomers to Canada.

One of the disconnects or ironies is of course that the period under question, and thus the report, reflects the language, approach and activities for that period, with only really the Minister’s message reflecting the change. I was in a similar position when Minister Kenney had to sign-off on a report that largely reflected the priorities and language of the previous government.

No where is this more apparent than in the report’s vaunting of the changes to citizenship, both legislative and administration, many of which are being undone by the current government.

The other striking aspect is what appears to be under-spending in multiculturalism grants and contributions, $3.9 million, compared to the $8.5 million indicated in the DPR. This may reflect ongoing financial commitments in multi-year projects (which next year’s DPR will indicate).

Annual Report on the operation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act: Building a diverse and inclusive society