Monday, October 26, 2009

Jason Kenney Not Racist Just Wrong on Multiculturalism

"Reform is somewhat un-Canadian. It's about tidy numbers, self-righteous sanctimoniousness and western grievances. It cannot talk about the sea or about our reluctant fondness for Quebec, about our sorrow at the way our aboriginal people live, about the geographically diverse, bilingual, multicultural mess of a great country we are." (Vancouver Sun, April 8, 1994)

The fact that William Gairdner's book The Trouble with Canada was seen as a manifesto for the Reform movement in Canada, says a lot. The Reform Party was never about protecting our Canadian identity, but instead they just wanted to 'fix us'. They are the anti-government government, and the anti-Canadian moralists who believe that they know what's good for us, even if that means completely losing 'us' in the process.

In the above video we see Jason Kenney stammer and stall, with his typical 'deer in the headlights' look, when he is presented with a question that he does not have a scripted answer for. His explanation over his decision to demand that new immigrants can speak either French or English, is verbose and patronizing.

He may not be a racist in the traditional sense but his ideology is deeply rooted in the notion of a Judeo-Christian, Anglo-Saxon hierarchy. In Kenney's view, our society should be more homogeneous; a melting pot and not a buffet. He seeks to change Canadian society from one of diversity, to one based on his myth of 'Canadian values'.

In an interview with blogger Stephen Taylor, he stated that multiculturalism was a Conservative initiative, boasting of how it was Brian Mulroney who first created the office. What he doesn't say is that when he was with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, he lobbied against multiculturalism and public funds going to support cultural events.

So what has changed? Potential voters. No one has been more adept at exploiting immigrant communities. Even the provincial Tories sought him out and like a side-show hawker he traipsed them around to meet his new pet projects.

Canada is a multicultural country and proud of it

Michael Ignatieff once said "There is no reason why ethnic heterogeneity is incompatible with national unity." We can be proud of our individual cultural roots, while recognizing them as part of a broader multicultural society.

Enough of Multiculturalism—Bring On the Melting Pot
Lawrence Martin,
Globe and Mail
March 31, 2009

Issues don’t get much hotter than immigration. It’s where political correctness abounds, where allegations of intolerance and racism are but a breath away, where ministers had best show finesse with their pronouncements.

Not so Jason Kenney. Our man at the immigration turnstiles has been in a bull-in-a-china shop mode lately. He’s told newcomers they have to speak our official languages better, he’s barred British MP George Galloway from admittance, he’s accused refugees of systematic abuse of the system, he’s called for more integration of immigrants, and he’s gone to war with the Canadian Arab Federation, a group that accuses him of being a shill for the Jewish community.

It’s serious stuff. The purport is that immigrants must do more to conform to Canadian standards. The minister wants to tighten the definition of what it means to be Canadian. The pitch—when in Rome, do as the Romans do—is for less multiculturalism and more melting pot.

The Conservatives are saying that there’s too much tolerance, that there needs to be limits. Mr. Kenney, for example, has ended the heritage language program wherein Ottawa helped pay for children to learn their parents’ language.

The government, favouring a more selective immigration process, brought in legislation last year that allowed it to fast-track the types of immigrants it wants and freeze out those it doesn’t. Critics said it gave too much prerogative to the immigration minister. Many Liberals were pushing for increased immigration, saying an aging population and declining birth rate will reduce the population and, in turn, hinder economic growth.

In his book Unlikely Utopia, Michael Adams contests the need for melting-pot initiatives, saying it’s the absence of a strong Canadian identity that helps make this country free of prejudice and a place where immigrants can feel comfortable. Communities with a stronger, more confined sense of themselves are less tolerant. In parts of Quebec and Europe, multiculturalism is seen as a threat. In Canada, Mr. Adams notes, it’s a source of pride.


The Unlikey Utopia: The Surprising Triumph of Canadian Pluralism
By Michael Adams
Viking Canada, 2007


"It sometimes appears that multiculturalism has very few friends in this country. Pundits tell us that Canadians, like citizens of other Western countries, are too “tolerant” for our own good. Multiculturalism, once seen as a fair-minded, idealistic vision that Canadians could be proud of is now commonly blamed for a host of social ills: civic apathy, loss of identity, gender inequality, fragmentation, ghettoization, even racism and terrorism. Where as multiculturalism was once seen as good for immigrants and good for Canada, it is now a lose-lose proposition. Or so some commentators tell us.

"When ordinary Canadians are surveyed, however, another picture emerges. Canadians do have concerns about their country’s immigration and refugee policies, and they have concerns about the social integration of newcomers. On the whole, however, Canadians remain proud of their country’s diversity and the way that diversity is managed: an approach we call multiculturalism. Over the past four decades multiculturalism has become central to Canadians’ sense of themselves and their country. In 2003, 85 percent of Canadians said that multiculturalism was important to Canadian identity. More Canadians cite multiculturalism as central to the national identity than bilingualism or hockey. Also in 2003, four out of five Canadians (81 percent) agreed that multiculturalism has contributed positively to the national identity."


"Not only do Canadians feel that multiculturalism is a central part of their country’s identity, it’s also increasingly a source of pride. In 1985 we asked Canadians to tell us in their own words what made them proud to be Canadian. Multiculturalism was in tenth place. People were more likely to cite the beauty of the land, Canada’s natural resources, and even the physical size of the country. By 2006, multiculturalism had climbed to second place. Only Canada’s democracy was more often named as a source of national pride. Immigrants themselves are especially likely to take pride in Canada’s multiculturalism and to feel that it’s an important part of Canada’s identity. But at still only 19 percent of the population, it’s not only immigrants who are driving this trend; native-born Canadians increasingly see their country as being defined and enriched by its diversity and by the official response to that diversity: multiculturalism.

"As political philosopher Will Kymlicka puts it in the Constitutional Forum (13:1, 2003), Canadians aren’t unique in living in a diverse society. Rather, “Canadians are distinctive in the way that they have incorporated Canada’s policy of accommodating diversity into their sense of national identity.” Public opinion data certainly suggest that multiculturalism holds an ever more central position in the imagined community that is Canada.

"In 2006, an international Ipsos-MORI study found that 75 percent of Canadians believe that overall, immigrants have a positive influence on the country. The country with the second most positive attitudes, Australia, was slightly over half (54 percent), with the United States not far behind (52 percent). In Western Europe, Germans (47 percent) were the most positive about immigrants’ influence on their country, with Spain (45 percent), France (45 percent), Italy (44 percent), and Great Britain (43 percent) hovering just below."


"Remarkably, as immigration rates have increased, the proportion of Canadians believing there is too much immigration to this country has actually diminished. In 1977, when Canada’s immigration rate was only 3.5 people per thousand population, about two-thirds of Canadians believed the rate was too high, while about a third were satisfied. Today those proportions are roughly reversed: as of 2006 only about a third of Canadians believe there is too much immigration to this country, while about two-thirds think it’s about right or too low.

"Recall that at present Canada has one of the highest immigration rates in the world: 6.6 per 1,000. Even given this exceptional practice, Canada achieves a level of support for immigration that many countries with lower rates of intake can only dream of. One common anti-immigrant sentiment is the idea that immigrants come to a new country and take jobs from the native-born. Most Canadians aren’t buying that old saw.

"As of 2008, four out of five (82 percent) believe that overall, immigrants have a positive effect on the Canadian economy. Just one in five (20 percent) believe that immigrants take jobs away from other Canadians."


Jason Kenney just doesn't get it. His interpretation of 'Canadian values' has little to do with being Canadian, and clearly lacks any value. We ain't broke. Why do you want to fix us?



  1. Here's a video produced by the Canadian Tourism Commission you may find interesting. It's called 'Multicultural Road'


  2. Great video. I've added a link above.