Multiculturalism Has Failed
Multiculturalism, Separatism: Serious Issues for Countries!
21 October 2010
CBC-Angus Reid Institute poll: Canadians want minorities to do more to 'fit in'
Majority polled also said immigration policies should put Canada's economic needs first
By Jason Proctor, CBC News
Posted: Oct 03, 2016
As a divisive election tears Americans apart over questions of race and immigration, a CBC News poll suggests Canadians are right in believing they think very differently than their U.S. neighbours when it comes to multiculturalism.
In fact, we're more likely to think minorities should assimilate.
In a national polling partnership between CBC and the Angus Reid Institute, 68 per cent of Canadian respondents said minorities should be doing more to fit in with mainstream society instead of keeping their own customs and languages.
The same question was put to Americans, with only 53 per cent of respondents saying minorities need to better adjust.
The Canadian response represents a hardening of attitudes away from multiculturalism over time.
"It does seem like a very surprising finding, especially when you consider this is a country that has been living with 45 years of official multiculturalism as government policy," said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute.
"It is maybe not what conventional wisdom might expect. But what these findings show is there are real limits on what Canadians — regardless of their own heritage or walk of life — are prepared to put up with in terms of accommodation and the sense of the mosaic versus the melting pot."
'Something that bears watching'
The online survey was conducted in early September from a sample of 3,904 Canadians. The results have a 2.5 per cent margin of error 19 times out of 20.
Researchers surveyed 2,393 American voters during the same period. Those results have a two per cent margin of error 19 times out of 20.
The poll was conducted in the wake of a series of issues that dogged politicians as they contested last year's federal election: a proposed ban on niqabs in public service; the Syrian refugee crisis; and terrorist attacks both in Europe and on Parliament Hill.
■John McCallum wants to 'substantially increase' immigration to fill Canada's labour needs
■How Kellie Leitch and Justin Trudeau are defining themselves on immigration
■Kellie Leitch defends 'anti-Canadian values' screening for new immigrants
The results also hint at why Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch believes she may be onto a winning issue by asking supporters their thoughts on vetting would-be immigrants and refugees for "anti-Canadian values."
According to the poll, two-thirds of Canadians say they're "satisfied" with how well new immigrants are integrating into their communities.
That figure seems to fly in the face of another result, because an equal number said they believe "minorities should do more to fit in better with mainstream Canadian society."
Kurl compared that figure with a similar poll done in 1993 in which 57 per cent of respondents thought minority groups should be encouraged to "try to change to be more like most Canadians."
"It's not a crisis by any means" she said.
"That said, when nearly 70 per cent of people in this country are saying they would like to see minorities do more to fit in, it is something that bears watching, particularly because that view has hardened over the last 25 years."
'Unthinking or mindless multiculturalism'
Former B.C. premier and Liberal cabinet minister Ujjal Dosanjh has written and spoken extensively about the need to address concerns about equality, race and culture in the face of blind devotion to multiculturalism.
He said the poll shows Canada's political leadership needs to pay attention.
"What you want is creative multiculturalism, generous multiculturalism, but not unthinking or mindless multiculturalism where everything anybody brings to this country is acceptable," he said.
"Diversity is great if we can begin to live with each other in equality, in understanding ... but we also understand our collective obligations to building a better society. If we can't live together with each other properly and make concessions to each other, then this phrase that politicians use — that diversity is a strength — is nonsensical."
Dosanjh says he's not surprised the results had a higher percentage of Canadians than Americans indicating they favour better assimilation.
He said the difference may simply come down to the fact that more Americans believe immigrants are integrated anyway, that newcomers and old stock alike are united in the common pursuit of the "American dream."
"Some people may believe it's jingoistic, but the fact is that that's the kind of narrative that can knit people together and bring them together across differences, customs and languages," he said.
"Canada has no such narrative."
Give priority to Canada's 'workforce needs'
The poll says people who have been living in Canada 10 years or less are nearly twice as likely as other respondents to say that minorities should retain their customs, languages and culture.
Millennial respondents — aged 18 to 34 — were also more likely to favour multiculturalism. The shift towards assimilation increased with age.
Likewise, immigrants who have been in the country for more than 20 years are in lockstep with the two-thirds of respondents overall who said minorities should be doing a better job of fitting in.
Participants were also asked about Canada's approach to immigration, particularly after the Liberal government's move to bring in 25,000 refugees from war-torn Syria.
According to the poll, 79 per cent of respondents said Canada's immigration and refugee policies should "give priority to Canada's own economic and workforce needs" rather than giving "priority to people in crisis abroad."
"At the end of the day, we're pretty practical in what we want and what we value in this country," Kurl said.
"I think that's an important reminder for policy-makers. We are an embracing country, we are an accepting, a tolerant country, one that celebrates different cultures.
"But it doesn't mean we don't have an underlying practicality at play around what we want to be as a country, and how people coming to this country play a role in that."*******
Controversial Muslim writer says multiculturalism isn’t what it once was
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Mar. 07, 2014
Pierre Trudeau wouldn’t be happy with how his vision of multiculturalism had been corrupted – at least that’s what Irshad Manji believes. The controversial Muslim writer and speaker, who penned The Trouble with Islam Today, says present-day multiculturalism promotes segregation, hyper-political correctness and the punishment of those who hold unorthodox views. It’s been a decade since Ms. Manji, who now teaches at New York University, released her bestselling book. While she’s moved on to issues broader than the need for radical reform in Islam, she’s still not afraid to offend. In fact, she told the Globe and Mail’s Dakshana Bascaramurty, offending people may be the only way to achieving a pluralistic society.
Do you think the definition or the goal we have for multiculturalism is different now than it was [when you arrived in Canada in 1972]?
[Mr. Trudeau] basically said national unity must be founded in one’s own confidence in one’s individual identity and from that you can begin to engage with others about their assumptions and attitudes and aspirations. We don’t have that kind of multiculturalism today, in my view. What we have is more a fear of engaging based very much on feeling intimidated that I’m going to say something wrong or that somebody is going to be offended. The assumption is made routinely that multiculturalism and diversity are the same thing. And I’d argue that they’re not at all the same thing. Diversity is more than your skin colour or my gender or someone else’s religion. Diversity also means differences of thought, of points of view, of opinions. Different points of view will naturally offend different people. I would argue that offence is the price of honest diversity.
Where is the line between offending someone in a way you think is constructive and then going to the point of discrimination?
We should educate the next generation to liberate their thinking and to express it in a way like this: “I’ve got a question for you. … Now, I’m asking, not assuming” and then launch in to the question. Or, “I realize that what I’m about to ask you could come off as uncomfortable so please know that you’re totally entitled to ask me anything, too.” Here’s the thing: I’m engaging with you because I see you as my equal, I see you as my peer. If I’m avoiding asking you searching questions, then, frankly, implicitly, I’m treating you like a child, because I think you’re somehow going to melt under the spotlight of my scrutiny. To me, that is not respect, that is disrespect.
Since your first book came out, have you seen an evolution in the way people respond to your views?
Absolutely. I have seen that people who would otherwise want to hurl vitriol or abuse, not only has that diminished, but better still, it’s been replaced – not with silence, but with more people now piping up and saying that we ask these questions. People get tired of constantly fighting you. Last year, I did an hour-long debate on Al-Jazeera International about whether there is indeed trouble with Islam today. Naturally the usual hate mail came in – and more love bombs came in. But here’s the real point: not a single death threat.
That’s a measure of success for you?
I know it’ll sound crazy to some people, right? I’m not saying that the world is suddenly becoming enlightened to this ideal of pluralism but I’m saying that over time, people come to realize that it is possible to engage in very uncomfortable conversations and to do so in a way that builds society rather than merely tears it down.
In some Canadian cities, the term “visible minority” means nothing any more. In populations like Brampton, Ont., or Richmond, B.C., where you have one particularly dominant visible minority group, do you think this idea of “integrating” into Canadian society is going to mean something different? That the old definition of “Canadians” will have to integrate into this new group?
I won’t go as far as to say that the old definition of what it means to be Canadian will integrate into this new definition but I will say that what we’ll have, if we stick with a multicultural mindset instead of a diversity way of thinking, I think what we will wind up seeing is more segregation and more cliqueism rather than a pluralistic society that is working ought to have. Too often, “respect me” means, “don’t challenge me.” By giving rights to cultures, not just to individuals, what we wind up doing, in fact, is not giving more power to the entire community, we wind up giving more power to those who are already powerful within certain communities. We give them more power to dictate what customs are to be respected and which customs are untouchable. The next time you’re told you must respect such and such a custom, ask yourself, “What does my respect for this custom do for the most vulnerable in that community?” And the most vulnerable tend to be women and children.
What do you make of the debate that’s been going on in Quebec for months now? The charter of values: what’s your take on it?
Big thumbs down, but for different reasons than most people articulate. French-speaking Quebec society, its leaders anyway, are operating very much from a cultural mindset. They fear that the minority culture of Canada being Francophone is already under threat in Canada and in order to compensate for that, newly-immigrated people must integrate. But once again it comes back to the group-think that culture incubates and I would argue that what we have is conservatism on top of conservatism. First and foremost, you are a human being and you are an individual. You don’t have to stop affiliating with any of these labels. I don’t see you as a label first, I see you as an individual. When we can get to that point, which is a diversity way of thinking rather than a multicultural way of thinking, that’s when we’ll see complexities far beyond hijab, far beyond the cross and the kippah and so forth. This whole charter of secular values comes from a place of fear: fear of religion, fear of being swept away by a series of other cultures. It does not come from a place of aspiration.
Back in January at York University [a male student asked to be exempt from doing group work with female students on religious grounds. His professor denied the request.] How do you feel about how that played out?
I endorse the professor’s decision but I think the way it could’ve played out could have been much more constructive. I would’ve loved the professor to go back to that student and make it a public discussion. “Let me ask you this question, sir, if your scripture was interpreted in a way that said – as it might have been 100 years ago – that you cannot consort with black people, with black men, would you agree to that today?” If the answer is no, take that further. “Then why is it okay to segregate on the basis of gender and not on the basis of race?” By asking questions, we actually put the ball of accountability and of dialogue in play. Making statements on the other hand, suggests there is no discussion to be had.
When was the last time you were offended by something someone said to you?
I try really hard to practise what I preach and I don’t always succeed. Most times when I go out on to a stage, when I know that there’s going to be anger in the crowd, I actually ask God to help me rise above the anger, to not stoop to that level and become defensive about it. I don’t mind acknowledging that of course I’m offended by many of the same arguments that I continue to hear over and over again. And why with some people it feels like it’s willful ignorance people bring to the table just to have a go at me or what I represent.
So when they ask questions you don’t think it’s coming from a place of them seeking knowledge.
There are many many people, Muslim and non-Muslim, who say Muslims will never change because baked into Islam is violence. And they ask me about certain verses of the Koran and I give them my interpretation of those verses and how I think old interpretations can be trumped by new interpretations. And it’s literally like they have not heard what I just said to them. It’s not that I ask them to agree with me, they haven’t even heard what I have to say and they keep saying “But what about! But what about!” It’s one thing if you don’t accept, it’s quite another if what you’re telling me is that the reason nothing is going to change is because you’ve decided nothing can change.
Irshad Manji was in Toronto this week to give a Ramsay Talk.*******
When Multiculturalism Becomes a Threat
Director of Policy for Canada, Foundation for Defense of Democracies4
Canadians remain divided on whether multiculturalism is salutary or injurious to our country. Perhaps the answer can only be reached on a case-by-case basis, as we work through the constant tension between respecting the cultural distinctiveness of all members of society while demanding loyalty to the state and at least some degree of national unity and shared values.
Five recent stories in the news may help to pinpoint the appropriate boundaries of multiculturalism, enabling us to signal to policy makers where we stand on the issue.
A nine-year-old girl in Quebec refused to remove her hijab during a soccer game, and was forced to stand on the sidelines as a result. This took place days after the International Football Association Board approved the wearing of headscarves due to the dearth of evidence that the practice represents a safety hazard.
A Toronto street-corner Muslim cleric has called for Canadian laws to be amended to require all women to dress modestly, taking inspiration from those Muslim women who cover their entire bodies and at least part of their face in public. If all women covered themselves, according to Al-Haashim Kamena Atangana, they would not be sexually assaulted.
Ontario's Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is planning a program at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre to meet the spiritual needs of Muslim inmates, and to assist staff, inmates and management "in developing awareness and understanding of both cultural and religious diversity."
A 2009 RCMP publication has resurfaced in the headlines. Entitled "Words Make Worlds," it discourages the use of terms like "Islamic terrorism," "Islamist terrorism," "Jihadism," and "Islamo-fascism" and instead recommends "the construction of 'alternative narratives.'"
The Iranian embassy in Ottawa has been accused of seeking to recruit Iranian-Canadians to infiltrate the Canadian government. Hamid Mohammadi, the embassy's cultural affairs counselor, recently gave an interview in Farsi in which he urged Iranian-Canadians to "occupy high-level key positions" and "resist being melted into the dominant Canadian culture." He also noted the need for "very concentrated cultural programs to enhance and nurture the culture in this fast-growing population" since "this large Iranian population can only be of service to our beloved Iran through these programs and gatherings."
The Iranian-Canadian who helped translate Mohammadi's interview into English as part of her anti-regime activism was quoted as saying: "Multiculturalism is killing Canada. I am sick and tired of political correctness in this country."
Given the implausibility -- and inadvisability -- of discarding the constitutionally enshrined principle of multiculturalism, let us focus instead on establishing reasonable parameters.
For starters, an individual's minority cultural traditions cannot be imposed on others. As such, the notion that all women in Canada should be required to cover themselves in modest Muslim dress is absurd. (And to claim that sexual assault is the fault of the victim is simply offensive). This is not multiculturalism, but a contemptible endeavor by an individual to impose his cultural preferences on all Canadians.
In contrast, a young girl who wishes to wear a hijab while she plays soccer -- absent any risk to her or her teammates' safety -- ought to be able to do so. Getting involved with recreational sports, playing alongside children from diverse backgrounds, not demanding that team members dress as she does, all the while staying true to her own religious convictions, demonstrates how integration and multiculturalism can co-exist.
A special program for Muslim inmates (or any single cultural group) at a detention centre is a more complicated matter. The Canadian Somali Mothers Association, comprised of women whose sons had been in trouble with police, is supportive of this program because, as one spokesperson put it, some young Muslim inmates struggle with the lack of correctional staff from a similar cultural background.
If these inmates can better relate to Muslim staff, leading to more successful rehabilitation and an enhanced respect for the cultural diversity of others, surely this is a program worth pursuing. But if it only creates or reinforces a sense of entitlement to interact solely with people of the same cultural origin, it is a case of multiculturalism gone wrong. The Correctional Services ministry should tread carefully.
Multiculturalism has veered off course when those responsible for our safety -- a major threat to which is Islamist terrorism -- are reluctant to use direct language to describe that threat. This does not mean that Islam itself should be presented as the driver of terrorism; such a position is unequivocally inaccurate and bigoted. But law enforcement officials must be properly and candidly briefed on the role of religious ideology in some strains of terrorism.
Brian Michael Jenkins of the RAND Corporation points out, "The term 'jihad' is on the banner of al-Qaida. If they use it, I can use it." And as Dr. Sebastien Gorka, my colleague at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, adds, "If your enemy has successfully determined the limits of what you can say about him, he is already winning."
Most egregious is the Iranian embassy's alleged attempt to organize outreach programs (ordinarily permitted within the Canadian multicultural context) that are actually intended -- in the words of UBC professor Michael Byers -- "to recruit and utilize a population of Canadian citizens in ways that are clearly an interference with Canada's domestic affairs."
Mohammadi's comments are troubling enough. But coupled with reports by security experts and many Iranian-Canadians that Iran routinely sends spies through its foreign embassies to monitor and intimidate its nationals abroad, the interview has triggered calls for the Iranian embassy to be closed.
The Department of Foreign Affairs must immediately undertake a full investigation into whether the Iranian embassy is encouraging or even coercing Iranian-Canadians to prioritize Iran at the expense of Canadian loyalty and national security. Ottawa must also take heed of the chilling indications of a regime-backed Iranian presence in Canada working to sidestep sanctions, acquire dual-use technology and nuclear know-how, and cross into the United States.
Canadian multiculturalism, tolerance, and even political correctness are admirable values, and we should welcome diversity to the greatest degree possible. But we cannot allow these principles to be abused by those who seek to impose their cultural ideals on others, by those who distract us from genuine threats, and above all, by those who wish to cause us harm.
Follow Sheryl Saperia on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sherylsap*******
Multiculturalism, Separatism: Serious Issues for Countries!
21 October 2010