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.
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?"