The Sri Lanka case shows that the declared safety of a foreign country depends on Canadian politics instead of evidence like returned Sri Lankans experiencing torture and possibly worse. Politicians are not an authority on persecution. When they act like one, friends are called safe. Then domestic demands shift and suddenly they balk, tugging along lives with whims.
In terms of visible minorities, the Globe and Mail is doing no better than its national print-based competitors in providing a forum for ethnic Canadian voices. This diverse demographic is projected to grow to a third of the Canadian population by 2030. Is traditional Canadian media doing anything to include, reflect or address their experiences in the multicultural mosaic, building on the wave of the present and future? The examples are few and far between.
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court in the country, and the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. That's why the latest SCC appointment by Stephen Harper has ruffled so many feathers, as he appointed yet another male to replace Marie Deschamps on the bench, bringing the total count to three women, six men.
There are many differences between the platonic idea of secularism and the secularist statute proposed last week in Quebec. These differences will doubtless count against the Charter of Values, especially in English Canada, where a discrete conception of religious freedom and suspicions of sovereigntist motivations have elicited much scepticism.
During my several visits to Quebec, I have been spit upon, hurled insults at my face, not served at restaurants, and ticketed by traffic police for driving while being Ontarian. I do not speak French and I am not a Francophone. If my experience of Quebec ended with just this story, and with the recent developments of the minority Parti Québécois proposed plan to introduce the Charter of Values as law in Quebec, I would not be hard pressed to imagine the people of Quebec to be one of the most bigoted and unfriendly specimens of the human race the world has ever seen. But I love Quebec.
Multiculturalism is not about dwelling on our differences. It is about emphasizing our commonality. Unfortunately that principle gets lost when multiculturalism gets viewed as a foreign phenomenon designed to "tolerate" immigrants. Policies that nurture interaction between the various communities will reduce suspicion and finger-pointing.
The Fédération de soccer du Québec (FSQ) caused quite a stir when it announced that a ban on headgear -- religious or not -- would be upheld. If a soccer club makes an exception for the turban, what other exemptions follow? The yarmulke? The kirpan? Why would regulations apply to some but not to others? As FIFA struggles to address persistent racism exhibited in the sport, is it wise to add additional bias to the field? By eliminating a religious symbol, the FSQ strengthens this cherished sporting sanctuary to which congregate almost half of all Canadian kids. In this oasis, there is room for only one religion: the one called "soccer."
The individuals who admit selling illegal narcotics to the Mayor of Toronto were repeatedly referred to as "Somali drug dealers." Senator Mike Duffy, (former) PMO Chief of Staff Nigel Wright, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Doug Ford all boast heritage from the British Isles. How different would the national conversation be if the foursome had another ethnic lineage?
What's troubling is that the homophobic and racially slanted comments allegedly made by Rob Ford have received little or no scrutiny. The biggest stain this scandal brings isn't the possible addictions of a well-known politician. It is the fetid stench of acceptance and normalization of blatant bigotry that stinks to high heavens. Have we become collectively complacent in the face of bigotry?
Here in the "Canadian Mosaic," issues of race are largely stricken from the language of the everyday. We prefer not to speak openly about racism, for deconstructing it might chip away at that illusory façade of Canada as a nation of perpetual tolerance and chronic multiculturalism -- a delusion we all hold dear to our glowing hearts. Unfortunately for all those "liberal-minded" Canadians out there who view our country to be so forward thinking and accommodating that racism is a non-issue, institutionalized multiculturalism is not the same thing as social racial equality.
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.