The presentation said crafting an "inclusive Canadian identity" is a core government priority because it "lays the foundation for harmony, prosperity and stability at home and abroad."
"Multiculturalism has really served us well. I think it conveys the right message to Canadians."
Presentation similar to Liberal values: JedwabJack Jedwab, executive vice-president of the Association for Canadian Studies, said the presentation suggested that crafting a Canadian identity at a bureaucratic level fell less in line with the view of the then-Conservative government. He added that it echoed the kind of talk now being heard from the current Liberal government about multiculturalism. "There's been a fair bit of criticism about multiculturalism and what I like about this particular paper is it's bang on on multiculturalism," Jedwab said. "Multiculturalism has really served us well. I think it conveys the right message to Canadians." Defining the parameters of the Canadian identity is tricky. The presentation says that our collective identity as a nation has three historical pillars, or what the documents call the "interconnected axes of identity."
They include the split between aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples, British and French histories as well as bilingualism, and multiculturalism, which includes the country's history of immigration. "From this complex history, there exists no single, definitive story of 'the Canadian identity,' " the document says. "Through their overlapping multiple identities, people express different ways of being Canadian." The presentation also says that aboriginals, on average, "express positive feelings of belonging to Canada" and are proud to be Canadian. Those were among the positive indicators when it came to having an inclusive Canadian identity. The remaining challenges were all blacked out from the documents because they were deemed sensitive advice to top officials.
"From this complex history, there exists no single, definitive story of 'the Canadian identity."
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