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Multiculturalism and Canada- Building: The Challenge of Difference Living Together With Differences.

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Presentation on theme: "Multiculturalism and Canada- Building: The Challenge of Difference Living Together With Differences."— Presentation transcript:

1 Multiculturalism and Canada- Building: The Challenge of Difference Living Together With Differences

2 Multiculturalism A belief that a society of many cultures is possible as a basis for “living together with differences” under four typical scenarios 1.Differences are rejected 2.Differences are tolerated 3.Differences are taken into account 4.Differences are taken seriously Different levels of meaning of multiculturalism can be discerned, including multiculturalism as a statement of empirical fact, a set of ideals, an official policy, a set of practices, and a critique

3 Question Do You Believe Multiculturalism is a crucial part of Canada’s identity?


5 Multicultural Society Is One that minimally subscribes to the following attributes: Multicultural Society Is One that minimally subscribes to the following attributes: Differences are defined as an asset and opportunity Minorities are seen as contributing to society-building Policies and programs supporting the inclusion of difference are in place at institutional level Governments endorses differences as national identity Governments take an active role in facilitating the integration of migrants and minorities into society Sufficient resources are available for putting difference ideals into daily practice

6 Different Levels of Meaning can be discerned including how multiculturalism is defined Empirical Fact (of what is) An ideology (what ought to be) An explicit government policy and programs (What is proposed) A set of practices for promoting political and minority interests (What really is) Critical Discourse with a commitment to challenge and change (what must be)

7 Failure to separate these analytically different levels of meaning can create confusion

8 As Fact Multiculturalism makes an empirical statement about “what is.” Most countries are ethnically diverse Members of these minority groups often wish to retain aspects of their culture, yet are equally anxious to reap the benefits of full societal involvement

9 As Fact Given the description, few will dispute the fact of Canada as a multicultural society The existence of Aboriginal peoples, French and English character group members, and multicultural minorities attests to this empirical fact of reality Canadians have been drawn from 170 different countries and speak over 200 different languages


11 Multiculturalism as an Ideology Multiculturalism as an ideology refers to a perspective statement of “what ought to be”. It prescribes a set of beliefs about creating a society of many cultures in which people cooperatively coexist without the acceptance of a chaos. There are numerous national polls demonstrating consistent public support for Canada’s multicultural mosaic.

12 Assumptions Underlying a Multicultural Ideology 1. A belief that people are social beings whose well being depends on a shared cultural identity. Identifying with one’s cultural kind does not imply a lack of patriotism The differences are important and benefit both individuals and society at large (if properly managed) 2. Multiculturalism does not ignore difference as contrary to the goals of national identity or societal progress Cultural differences are seen as a crucial make up of Canada’s national mosaic and reflect Canada’s ideal.

13 Assumptions Underlying a Multicultural Ideology 3. A multicultural ideal builds upon principles of cultural relativism. Cultural relativism approaches diversity as if it were an equally valid expression of the human experience. 4. A commitment to multicultural is predicated on the premise that those confident in their cultural background will have a similar tolerance to others. Multiculturalism is based on a shared understanding and respect for everyone’s culture. The right to practice one’s own cultural beliefs will result in one’s respect for another’s culture.

14 Assumptions Underlying a Multicultural Ideology Another ideological view of multiculturalism is a discourse in the defence of dominant ideology, of “ruling elites controlling unruly ethnics”. There is the problem that multiculturalism is a mask to hide the problematic side of mixing cultures with a false sense of security by conveying the impression of improvement.

15 Multiculturalism as Practice Multiculturalism as practice refers to its application for advancing a broad range of goals, agendas, and priorities. Canada's official Multiculturalism originated as a political program to achieve political goals. The commercial potential Multiculturalism carries is used as an economic strategy. Multiculturalism is a form of networking in an ever increasing global economy.

16 As Practice Continued Multicultural needs include: Becoming established, expand economic opportunities for themselves, eliminate discrimination and exploitation, and retain access to their cultural heritage without loss of citizenship rights. Multiculturalism is employed as a tool for meeting the above needs through elimination of discriminatory barriers in employment, education, housing, and criminal justice.

17 As Practice Continued For minorities, the driving force behind multiculturalism is equality not diversity, integration not isolation, and inclusion not separation. Aspirations for multiculturalism focus on acceptance as equals, with a corresponding demand to be respected as different without sacrificing the right to full and equal participation.

18 Policy Policy considerations are central to any official Multiculturalism Governments Official Strategies focus on: Controlling immigration Managing ethnic relations Accommodating differences Integrating ethnocultural minorities into the mainstream

19 Inadequate Policy Frameworks for Addressing Contemporary Demands Assimilation (Example: problems created = residential schools) Segregation (Example: problems created = Blacks VS White mentality) Multiculturalism can also be interpreted within a broader normative framework that justifies the promotion of diversity programs without the fear of inciting public concern over yet more government intrusion

20 Policy Policies are not openly part of the normative framework and may not be openly articulated Nevertheless, it supplies the “underlying agenda” that legitimizes policy initiatives under the multiculturalism umbrella 40 years of official Multiculturalism have been instrumental in orchestrating a national consensus around majority acceptance of minority participation The goal of multiculturalism of accommodating differences never changed, they way goals were approached changed: 3 Overlapping Policy Stages- Ethnicity, Equity, and Civic

21 Ethnicity Multiculturalism Canada’s official Multiculturalism arose after the publication of the Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism in 1969 Findings concluded that Canada comprised a multicultural commonwealth of “other ethnics”, within the bicultural framework of two founding peoples

22 Ethnicity Multiculturalism (continued) Commitment to multiculturalism strengthened by the liberal Prime Minister Trudeau, promoted 4 major principles Equality of Status: Canada does not have an official culture; all cultures are equal Canadian identity: diversity lies at the heart of Canadian identity Personal Choice: the right to identify with the cultural tradition of their choice Protection of individual rights: individual right to be free from discrimination

23 Civic Multiculturalism Civic Multiculturalism is oriented towards Canada-building by way of shared citizenship Emphasis on fostering a sense of belonging A civic engagement An active involvement in community life Shared awareness of Canadian identity against the broader backdrop of Canada’s national interests

24 EQUITY MULTICULTURALISM Early 1980s - focus of multiculturalism shifts from centrality of identity and ethnicity towards equity driven concerns of racialized immigrants. There was a different requirement for visible minorities versus European “ethnics”. Visibility complicated the process of integration and there became a need for the removal of racial barriers to opportunity. This became more important than the celebration of cultural differences. Funds were rearranged to organize events to equity goals related to anti-racism, race relations and removal of discriminatory barriers at institutional levels.

25 Developments in advancing official Multiculturalism Official Languages Act, 1969 - Establishes English and French as equal in status and the official languages of Canada Statement on Multiculturalism, 1971 - Given by Pierre Eliot Trudeau The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1985 - constitutionally entrenched Multiculturalism as a distinguishing feature of Canadian life.

26 Developments in advancing official Multiculturalism Multiculturalism Act, 1988 - Canada becomes the world’s first and only official Multicultural country. The Act aspired to promote cultures, reduce discrimination, and accelerate institutional inclusiveness through the “preservation and enhancement of Canadian multiculturalism”. Together, these pieces of legislation brought about a change to the idea of multiculturalism in Canada and worked together to redefine Canada as a multicultural nation.

27 Public Perception Views of multiculturalism in Canada are extremely varied Views on official Multiculturalism are difficult to gauge because of the misconceptions the public associate with it. The majority of Canadians are caught somewhere in the middle on the issue of multiculturalism, depending on their reading of multiculturalism and its contribution to Canadian society. 1. Mistakenly conflate multiculturalism with unpopular government programs like employment equity 2. Support is often confused with enthusiasm. 3. Support or rejection is selective and inconsistent. 4. Support is often conditional. If costs are low and demands are reasonable for assistance, support will follow. Support is withdrawn when endorsement is seen as eroding Canada's national unity, or challenging core values.

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