HIS312H1 - Lecture 19 + 20.docx

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23 Apr 2012
Lecture 19 Multicultural Policy and Its Critics
A history of assimilation and exclusion
Gradual growth of acceptance of distinct ethnic minorities: towards the mosaic
Government policies reach out to minorities
Official multiculturalism, 1971
In retrospect a shift in Canada’s core values
Diversity an asset, not a weakness
Living with difference
Opposition voices
The deep roots of multiculturalism
Pluralism: toleration of cultural differences
o John Murray Gibbon, The Canadian Mosaic (1938)
Folk festivals celebrating diversity
o International Institute of Metropolitan Toronto, 1950s
Mutual respect, appreciation of diverse heritages, integration
“Unity in diversity”
“Ethnic groups in Canada are like musicians in an orchestra”
Government policies
o WWII: Nationalities Branch, 1941
Bringing ethnic minorities on side with Canada’s war effort
Ottawa’s grants to ethnic organizations and publishers
Politicians established links with ethnic leaders/brokers
o Postwar reconstruction planning: Citizenship Division of the Secretary of State, 1944
Permanent programs to enlist support of ethnic associations
o Citizenship Act, 1947
From “British subjects” to “Canadian citizens”: shedding a vestige of colonialism;
belonging to the nation not the empire
Liberal individualism: each Canadian belongs to a national community without
reference to racial, religious, cultural, or linguistic differences. “Canadians all! = runs
counter to pluralism of groups
Towards a multiculturalism policy in the 1960s
o Growing concern about inequalities
John Porter, The Vertical Mosaic (1965)
Sociological study exposed and critiqued the hierarchy of ethnic groups with
Anglo-Canadians having wealth and power
o The Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, appointed 1963, reported 1965
and 1969
A response to political anxieties
Quebec’s new nationalism and the rise of separatism
The decline of Britishness in Canada and rise of Canadian nationalism
Growing opposition to US cultural and economic dominance
o Bi and Bi plan: public discussion and recommendations about
How to ensure French Canadians feel they belong everywhere in Canada
How English Canadians can take pride in a Canada that is distinct from the US
o Surprise: Ethnic minorities were highly vocal
Asked “where do we fit?’
Demanded recognition too
o Bi and Bi Preliminary Report, 1965
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Must discover ways of “reconciling the concept of dualism and multiculturalism
o 1969 Final Report
Bilingualism yes
Bilingualism, no; instead: multiculturalism
16 recommendation on how Canadian institutions could change to protect Canada’s
ethnic minorities
o Attractive politically for the Liberal government
Grants for cultural retention to promote multiculturalism
Cements ethnic associations and voters to the Liberalism
Now represented as enhancing a core Canadian value, multiculturalism
o Multiculturalism Policy, announced by Liberal Government of Pierre Trudeau, 1971
A policy of multiculturalism within a bilingual framework”
Two official languages for public life (French and English)
No official culture: all culture now valued
Assumed fundamental liberal values
o In retrospect = a significant shift in identity politics and in Canadian cultural identity
Evolving Policies
Yet little initially changed in practical terms
o Budget for promoting new Secretary of State for Multiculturalism only $3 million in 1973
o Grants to ethnic groups to preserve heritage cultures continued much as before
o Some modest new programs: “The Generation Series”: premature histories of Canadian
immigrant/ethnic groups
o Heritage-language funding inadequate to satisfy minorities
Momentum builds, late 1970s and 1980s
o Resettlement funding
Canadian gov’t expanded settlement services, 1975-1980s
Ethnic associations undertook some of the work and received big grants, offering
services to their own ethnic groups=
Political advantages for government politicians
Anti-racism, 1980s
o Rise of anti-racist movement with activists from Caribbean, Asian, and African populations
in Canada
o Exposed and critiqued racism in Canada
o Multiculturalism = a space for arguing for respect and demanding federal funding for anti-
racist education
o 1983 House of commons Special Committee on the Perception of Visible Minorities in
Canada Society
Testimony on racial abuse suffered by people of colour
Report: Equality Now! Urged government funding for anti-racist education
Some funding for anti-racist education provided by the Secretary of State for
Initiatives of Brian Mulroney’s Conservative government (1984-93)
o Aimed to woo ethnic associations and voters to Conservatives and to counter anti-immigrant
reputation of western Reform Party element
o Multiculturalism Act, 1988
Multiculturalism written into law
Act emphasized combating racism
o 1990 Department of Multiculturalism and citizenship
Raised Multiculturalism’s status: now has own minister
o Responding to ethnic group lobbying
Japanese Canadians injustices during Second World War
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