Multiculturalism and the Canadian identity

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Multiculturalism and the Canadian identity. Introduction What is Canada? What is a Canadian? Canada, to employ Voltaire's analogy, is nothing but “a few acres of snow.”. Of course, the philosopher spoke of New France, when he made that analogy. More recently, a former Prime Minister, Joe Clark, said that the country was nothing but a “community of communities”. Both these images have helped us, in one way or another, try to interpret what could define this country. On the other hand, a Canadian could be a beer, a hockey-playing beaver or even a canoe floating in a summer day's sunset. A Canadian could also be a “sovereigntyphobe”, refusing to see the liquefaction, albeit political, of the second largest country in the world. However, in this era of multiculturalism, could the current immigration flow help us determine what is a Canadian and, to an extent, what is Canada? Is multiculturalism a Cerberus of Canadian identity? In the 1970s, Pierre Elliott Trudeau decided to use multiculturalism as a “way of dealing with discontent over the report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism1.”. According to some groups, this report dealt primarily with French and English linguistic issues and did not pay enough attention to issues referring to other groups within the Canadian population. In a more general extent, “multiculturalism policies in Canada have attempted to assist cultural group in overcoming barriers so as to allow them to integrate more fully in society.2”. However, the notion of multiculturalism itself was criticized by the Spicer Commission on National Unity. This commission was put forward by the Mulroney government, as a response to the popular perception that the country's unity was vuln... ... middle of paper ... ...ronto Press, 2004, 364 pages. Shirley A. Fedorak, Anthropology Matters, University of Toronto Press, 2012, 236 pages. Joseph H. Carens, Culture, Citizenship and Community: A Contextual Exploration of Justice as Evenhandedness, Oxford University Press, 2000, 284 pages. M.O Dickerson, Thomas Flanagan, Brenda O'Neil, An Introduction to Government and Politics: A Conceptual Approach, Cengage Learning, 2009, 565 pages. Ramesh Chandra, Minority: Social and Political Conflict, Volume 3, Gyan Publishing House, 2004, 308 pages. Richard Moon (editor), Law and Religious Pluralism in Canada, UBC Press, 2008, 309 pages. Frances Abele, How Ottawa Spends 1991-92: The Politics of Fragmentation, McGill-Queen's Press-MQUP, 1991, 381 pages. William Kaplan (editor), Belonging : The meaning and Future of Canadian Citizenship, McGill-Queen's Press-MQUP, 1993, 387 pages.
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