Why is it that in 2013, Canadians and foreigners alike still believe we are the Great White-(Only) North? Canada is boxed into a stereotype of snow, lumberjacks and igloos. No wonder foreigners think we're so boring! When I travel abroad, no one ever guesses I am as Canadian as poutine and beavertails.
According to the latest Statistics Canada report on household demographics, the nuclear family is no longer the norm. But are Italians, one of the country's largest ethnic groups, rethinking family composition in step with other Canadians? If so, how do these changes interplay with cultural identity?
For many Canadians, racial discrimination is a ghost they've only seen in movies or sporadic outbursts inevitably baptized "isolated incidents". While this has become a part of everyday life for most Aboriginals and Canadians of colour, there is a persistent incredulous strain that refuses to acknowledge a problem exists.
As the fog around black Canadian history dissipates, a clearer picture emerges: there is no need to revert to African-American historical heroes because we have our own crusaders. Black Canadians pioneered B.C.'s very foundation, and they still contribute to the cultural fabric of the province to this day.
Don Cherry's regressive rhetoric betrays Canada's reputation as a nation of inclusiveness and cultural tolerance. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has tolerated this treatment for too long. Don Cherry's distasteful diatribes belong in hockey's past, not in the Canadian national pastime's present or future.
While the Catholic Church adapts to the sudden news that their pontiff will resign at the end of the month after only eight years at the supreme seat of power at the Vatican, predictions and aspirations abound. But has anyone considered demographics? According to a 2004 Boston College Magazine study, fully 50 per cent of the world's Catholics are Latino.
Today, it was revealed that not only were Asian features deemed unworthy of appearing on bank notes, but also Black, Aboriginal, South-Asian and Gay ones, as well. A pattern of institutionalized xenophobia is emerging, and it ain't pretty. The Bank of Canada fiasco is only the latest incident in a long chain of slights.
As recently as 2009, Canadian Tourism Commission spokesperson conceded that "Canada has had a kind of vanilla pudding image -- safe and nice, like the girl next door -- not the hot chick you'd want to go on vacation with." In other words, we're perceived as "uninteresting." Will the Museum of Canadian History change that? The Americans think they have the monopoly on those adjectives when it comes to their country's history. They don't. A Canadian History Museum can showcase the contribution of people who fall outside the dreary stereotypes and repetitive platitudes.
It was revealed by confused Liberal party members that Ontario's premier-designate Kathleen Wynne's campaign sent letters in foreign languages to would-be supporters. In a gauche effort to connect with the ethnic vote, the Wynne campaign combed through membership lists and divvied them up based on perceived cultural origin. The Ontario Liberal Party's federal cousins have progressively lost their grip on traditional liberal-leaning communities by ignoring them or taking them for granted. History could repeat itself if the Wynne team fails to take corrective measures.
This week marks seven years since Stephen Harper was first elected Prime Minister of Canada. The Harper Administration has been described as a dark cloud, but it does boast a silver lining. A thin one. Perhaps the Prime Minister should reassess his criteria and/or consider these seven success stories as feathers in his conservative cap.
The World Junior Hockey Championship has captivated Canadians again this holiday season. But the sight of Team Canada's goalie's skin colour was met with laughter, bemusement, confusion and contempt in Canada and abroad. Thankfully, the long-ignored vestiges of disdain for diversity in hockey have been gaining attention nationwide, in the USA, and across the pond as hockey fans and foes band together to address long-standing pressures that still blight the game.
As a nation built to a great extent on immigration, Canada boasts a rich ethnic diversity. Census data show that by far, the largest group has its roots in Western Europe. Analysts and policymakers often lament that economic growth does not reflect this makeup. Within the diaspora in Canada is a hidden goldmine of opportunity to further connect and trade with the fastest-growing markets of the world.
The most influential man in the history of the province of British Columbia is James Douglas. Curiously overlooked by Ottawa, no statue of Sir James Douglas adorns the capital. Fact is, the capital region bestows no parks, no bridges, no street or stretch of highway to Douglas -- an honour reserved for the monarchy and Canadian heroes of European heritage.
Ever watch one of those shows that make fun of Americans and what they think of Canadians? I mean, ha ha, they think we all live in igloos, or ha ha, they think we all drive snowmobiles in July. Except I find I am not doing much ha-ha-ing when I realize that my fellow Canadians - and Albertans - know so little about my region. I find myself saying not "ha ha" but rather "what the hell?"
For all the racial adversity the Unites States have faced, they still elected a minority to head a major party and their country. When it comes to honouring their heroes, American cynosure comes in all colours. Canada could stand to learn a thing or two from this particular slice of Americana which fosters a more inclusive, more perfect Union. In Canada, the archival whitewash persists.
Today, we celebrate the 1929 Persons Case on the anniversary of a ground-breaking case which the Supreme Court of Canada declared women to be "persons" under the law. Well, not all women. October 18 is now celebrated as Persons Day, but it was a milestone victory that did not extend to all. It is also worth giving credence to the struggles that continued for 40 long years after this 1929 monochromatic victory.
Canada's most-visited museum, the Museum of Civilization, is a staple in the National Capital Region. It has garnered sustained interest from locals and foreigners alike with its exhibits showcasing the splendour of cultures and civilizations worldwide. In an abstruse move, the Harper government is announcing today that the beloved museum's mandate is being rebranded to focus solely on domestic history, while the overarching themes of military and monarchy -- sweetheart conservative subjects -- have been touted as guiding principles.
Over the last year, the provinces of Ontario, Alberta and Québec were called to renew their representatives in their respective provincial legislatures. But Contrary to the trend in Ontario and Alberta, where the revelation of a candidate's bias would stain a campaign, Parti Québecois rose in the polls following the aforementioned disturbing disclosures, and even managed to win a minority government.
After much indignation from Canadians, some who do not fit the "neutral ethnicity" the Bank of Canada's P.R. team had seemingly invented, Bank governor Mark Carney, offered a carefully worded statement this morning. Though the governor "apologizes to those who were offended," admitting that "the Bank's handling of this issue did not meet the standards Canadians," there were many points missing from the statement. The Twitterverse is abuzz about the underlying problems in Canadian society which proclaims allegiance to multiculturalism.
The xenophobia from the Quebec election spilled over to the rest of Canada today when it was revealed that the Bank of Canada, our country's central bank, chose to carve out all hints of diversity from its $100 bank note after heeding to discriminatory judgements from focus groups. As Canadians born with names a rural Quebec mayor cannot pronounce and with facial features unfit for a Canadian bank note, it is high time Canada acknowledge its long legacy of divisiveness and address its ugly remnants in order to move forward to the pluralistic vision of our beloved country we have yet to fully achieve.
The Parti Québécois (PQ) have unveiled some disconcerting aspects of their would-be mandate: all overt religious symbols would be banned from public institutions... except for Catholic religious symbols. In addition to lengthy and costly constitutional battles with Ottawa, certain Quebecers can now be expected to have their basic civil liberties trampled on in order to appease an increasingly intolerant voting population. The PQ are once again marginalizing a segment of the Quebec population because they are not seen as being an important fabric of Quebec's so-called distinct society. What I find truly alarming, however, is that the PQ is poised to form the next government. Vive le Québec libre indeed.