It benefits us all to be honest with ourselves and recognize that adopted in 1971, enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982 and further enacted in law in 1988, Canadian multiculturalism is a socio-economic failure that now stains our national mosaic. There is nothing new in pointing out the failure(s) of multiculturalism. However, what has yet to be engaged as a public conversation is the consideration that, as our society's seeping open secret, the socio-economic failure of multiculturalism is what explains the festering phenomenon of black support for Rob Ford.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Minister Kenney has worked hard to strike the right balance between promoting Canadian diversity on the one hand, and identifying the shared requirements and responsibilities of all Canadians on the other. Multiculturalism cannot condone breaking the laws of Canada, which no cultural or religious tradition can excuse. Honour killing is murder.