One Canada vs. the multicultural mosaic – Local – The Prince Albert Daily Herald

Commentary by Salim Mansur, one of the critics of Canadian multiculturalism, building upon former Prime Minister Diefenbaker’s vision of “unhyphenated” Canadian identity.

Mansur mischaracterizes Canadian multiculturalism as being anything goes, all cultures equal etc. He fails to acknowledge that recognizing other cultural identities within common Canadian legal and other frameworks, integration can be enhanced as it is not an absolute either/or requirement. Again, while cultural expressions like food and folklore, or a general tolerance for religious symbols (save the niqab), these all take place within a Canadian context. Yes, there are excesses, some individuals and groups push for more, but major deepening of multiculturalism to allow religious based family courts or funding for faith-based schools were rejected). The Canadian model works better than any of the European models with range from unitary (France) to deep multiculturalism (Holland at one time).

He is right, of course, that today’s world – free communications, specialty TV channels, cheap travel – make it easier for people to maintain their identity of origin. And he is right to flag the risks of excessive accommodation to overall integration.

Not a balanced article but one view.

One Canada vs. the multicultural mosaic – Local – The Prince Albert Daily Herald.

The freedom to discriminate

An interesting and thoughtful piece, questioning the general principle that taxpayer funds should not support organizations that discriminate in their hiring practices.

The challenge with allowing such discrimination is that while the author and others may be comfortable with their particular charity and religion, would they be comfortable with other charities and religions imposing their beliefs on their staff while using taxpayer funds (e.g., not allowing gays, unequal treatment for women, only hiring within your own community)?

The secular, human rights-based approach, is more appropriate for government funding of services; it does not mean that faith-baith organizations cannot contribute, as many do, but that they do so in a context of an open, non-discriminatory society.

But a useful raising of a different perspective.

The freedom to discriminate.

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks: Multiculturalism ‘Has Had Its Day’

Although it starts off with the usual mischaracterization of multiculturalism (or the European interpretation to be charitable) as separate and parallel communities, Lord Sacks fundamental messages are strong and positive ones about the balance between one’s personal identity and participation in broader society:

  • Don’t impose your views on the majority population;
  • Be ‘bilingual’ – be able to negotiate your civic and faith or other identities: “you know you are Jewish and you’re English and you have to negotiate that, which I think is actually good for the soul, because it forces you to realise that actually society and life is complicated. It mustn’t and can’t be simplified.”
  • Recognize that being a minority will at times be uncomfortable (e.g., antisemitism, other forms of discrimination).

Could have been more about the role of the majority in accommodation, as all groups play a role in making diverse, multicultural societies find that balance between  particular and  general identities.

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks: Multiculturalism ‘Has Had Its Day’.

The truth of multicultural Britain | World news | The Observer

Balanced overview of multiculturalism and diversity in Britain, with some encouraging information regarding comparable income levels and other indicators. And, as always, some data gaps.

The truth of multicultural Britain | World news | The Observer.

Marketers are missing the multicultural opportunity | Marketing magazine

Multiculturalism as mainstream marketing in Australia.

Marketers are missing the multicultural opportunity | Marketing magazine.

Pico Iyer on Citizenship, Identity, Movement and Place

A very good, reflective TED talk, by Pico Ayer (thanks to The Franco-American Flophouse), on where one comes from and our increasingly fluid identities. For the many of us who draw our identity from a variety of different places, cultures and experiences, it captures how our notion of time and space has changed, and how we have to build our own sense of who we are, and the stillness to appreciate it.

A contrast to the citizenship ‘boxes’ that governments, for understandable reasons, have to put us into.