Multicultural Funded Programs flourish
When the “concept” of multiculturalism first appeared in Canada, the discussion papers reveal that in the Canadian context, “multiculturalism” was intended to simply foster “tolerance”. The term,” multiculturalism” first appeared in a Royal Commission Report in the 1960’s as a result of that Royal Commission being requested by then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
Reading the Royal Commission official report, it becomes apparent that something has changed. The “devil” appears in the details. The Commissioners’ statement that, “”There are many reasons, the first moral, against considering ethnic differences, either by group or by origin, as a basic principle for shaping society,” they said. “This would tend to create closed membership groups with newcomers condemned to remain outsiders; accidents of history would be emphasized and rigid barriers would divide people”.
A well-intended and harmless enough statement from the Commissioners intended to prevent racial bias and discrimination in key areas such as employment , housing and education morphed into its own growth industry fueled by large amounts of taxpayers’ money being handed out for projects intended to “teach” mainstream Canadians about the cultures of Canada’s various minority immigrant groups. The Federal Government sets aside annual budgets of 15 to 20 million dollars to fund projects intended to promote “better understanding” of our “multicultural differences”. The various provinces match (and often exceed) that funding with various immigrant settlement programs and grants. The largess even trickles down to the various municipalities by way of tax funded social assistance, subsidized housing and numerous cultural festivals.
Somehow, the initial premise of “multiculturalism” became a growth industry fostered by a sense of entitlement. It all seems counter intuitive. Why, on earth, would any immigrant be so displeased with his/her own country of origin that they would decide to immigrate to a new country such as Canada and then decide to replicate what he/she had abandoned by perpetuating those cultural conditions in their new home land?
I humbly suggest that the answer to that question is MONEY. It is only logical that a newcomer would seek out those of similar origins in order to get a toe hold in a new country. Logic would dictate that, once assimilated into a new home land, the newcomer would have expanded his/her social circles so as to merge comfortably in the Canadian mosaic.
And, right there is the flaw in how this tax money is being wasted. The thing that the Commissioners warned about (closed membership groups with newcomers condemned to remain outsiders) has been fostered by way of (allegedly) well meaning funding from governments.
The recent debate in the National Assembly in Quebec centres on the province’s Bill94 a bill which would effectively ban the wearing of various religious regalia IF employed in a Government agency. To the forefront came downtrodden minorities each voicing that there Charter rights would be abused because these allegedly religious prerequisites (such as the buqa, the hijab and the turban) would no longer be on display IFthe wearer of such an item wished to work in a Government funded office.
Lame arguments brought forward pertaining to the Charter is that such items are essential to the practice of Islam or Sikhism etc. However, it is evident by way of observation that MOST Muslim women wear neither the burqa nor the hijab here in Canada. Similarly with Sikh men. The turban is one of the five “K”’s of that particular religion. The majority of Sikh men in Canada do not wear a turban.
Moreover, by way of personal observations during travel into various Muslim dominant states throughout the Middle East, it is apparent that wearing neither the buqa nor the hijab is the norm. Where it is the norm is only in Islamic states such as Iran.
Not only to most Sikh men in Canada not wear the turban but inside the Punjab, I encountered numerous Sikh-Indians who no longer wear the turban.
I recently watched an interview with a Muslim cleric in Quebec . This individual argued against Bill94 and opined that his preference would be educating people rather than restricting a right. When questioned further, it was obvious that the intent of training would be to educate mainstream Canadians about such things as the burqa and hijab. It was apparent that the hand was already out for additional training funds so that everyone could learn why it is that a minority of Muslim women wear a burqa or a hijab.
I normally would not get too exercised over a discussion on “multiculturalism”. However when the Federal Government decided to slash funds by closing about ten regional offices used by Canada’s military veterans; the shear wastefulness of the hundreds of millions of dollars being poured annually into various multicultural schemes seem so unfair.
This is a very generous country (at times). Where we willingly permit newcomers into Canada without basic language skills in either official language often training a ninety year old immigrant to speak English or French, we blindly tolerate the underfunding and educational neglect of elementary school aged Aboriginal children.
Just my musings on Bill94