A celebration of our history brings us to reflect on the present. There are certain questions we must ask ourselves. What challenges do Norway, Canada, and other like-minded countries face in our efforts, for example, to promote democracy, protect, and live in an inclusive society with equal rights and non-discriminatory practices? What is our role in the global picture?
A rule that has an unclear or ridiculous purpose is, on its face, unfair. A rule that cannot possibly achieve its purpose is pointless. A rule that has more negative than positive effects is unfair and undemocratic. Discipline or punishment that does not address the behaviour it purports to correct is tyrannical.
In terms of statistics, 12 per cent grew antibiotic resistance and became marginalized from others. Twenty-eight per cent of the population chose a wealthy style, happily living in their gated biofilms. Half of all the bacteria decided to take a middle-class lifestyle, choosing an easy nutrient source and never engaging in any extreme activity.
Make no mistake, everyone on that list is worthy of inclusion. They all made great contributions to our country and our world. But where are the women and non-whites who have contributed just as much? A pantheon so steadfastly monochromatic and male hardly reflects the diverse and multicultural nation we claim to be.
If we convey negative or suspicious attitudes about other cultures and ethnicities, our kids will pick up on these and replicate our behaviour. "Monkey see, monkey do" is real so keep this in mind and remember to convey a positive and open attitude about other cultures, particularly around your children.
The fact is our student populations are becoming more diverse, though that's barely mirrored in the staff make-up of most urban schools. And while there is recognition of a need to hire teachers that better reflect the student population, reaching that goal remains a long way off considering the comparably low number of teachers who self-identify as visible minorities. In the meantime, we need to foster culturally sensitive and inclusive schools where student engagement leads to higher graduation rates, the de-glamorization of gangs, and the nurturing of productive citizens of all backgrounds.
One can easily see the allure of focusing on millennial entrepreneurs. Their youth and inexperience allows them develop innovative solutions and ideas and their low overhead enables to them to work on what Y Combinator's Paul Graham famously called the "ramen diet" where the only food entrepreneurs can afford is ramen noodles.
When I leaned over and asked a woman in a movie theatre to please put her cellphone away, she started yelling at me. She AND her husband called me an F'ing TERRORIST repeatedly. Does the colour of my skin or the fact that I wear a piece of cloth on my head make it alright to lambaste me in public in front of my child and her friends?
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.
I recently served on a governance awards judging panel assembled by the Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries (CSCS). Winners of the awards were announced at this organization's annual conference in Halifax last month. I participated in a plenary discussion to discuss some of the winning practices.
The last time the Canadian Forces made a huge effort to integrate a minority, there were serious concerns. There was a demographic forming 28 per cent of the Canadian population, which was said not to fit into the traditional military mould. They were seen as too "different", too "rebellious", too contrary to ever enter the fold of the military elite. They were French-Canadians.
ADD is constantly in the news, and the news is never good. Some of these issues are very real and very serious. However, I will not address any of them today. Instead, I would like to take this small opportunity to celebrate the very things that drive some people crazy. Let's shout a big "hurray" for the following:
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.
I believe that women entrepreneurship will not only give a boost to the economy by increasing the number of employed people and leading towards a more gender-equal growth. Not being financially independent is one of the main factors that prove as a hindrance in self-empowerment of women, especially in patriarchal societies like India.
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."
Earlier this month Huffington Post blogger, Nydia Dauphin, wrote a post entitled, "Why The Hell Are Quebec Comedians Wearing Blackface?" She was referring to Mario Jean's "impersonation" of Boucar Diouf at the Gala des Oliviers, in which Jean used black makeup to portray Diouf. This would have been an opportune time to have a constructive dialogue concerning race relations in Quebec. Quite predictably, however, the discussion has resorted to accusations of overzealous political correctness on one side to indictments of overt racism on the other, which is simply indicative of the sad state of the discourse surrounding ethno-race relations in Quebec.
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?