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POLS 2300 (124)
Chapter 14

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 2300
Nanita Mohan

Chapter 14, Diversity and Multiculturalism - Over the last generation respect for diversity has joined equality and freedom as one of the core values of Canadian politics. - Canadians are often told, are united by their differences, (this claim appears to be at least paradoxical and possibly even contradictory) ; what it means is that tolerance, respect, the recognition of group rights, and a belief in the equal dignity of different cultures are central to the Canadian ethos - This image of Canadian Ethos, emerged at the same time as this image of Canada as the pluralistic society par excellence and a model of cultural coexistence - Canadian society has always been pluralistic and the official recognition of the group rights goes back at least as far as the 1774 Quebec Act, under which the British authorities recognized the religious rights of French Canadians – what is relatively new is the level of awareness of diversity and the idea that it should be recognized, protected and even promoted through the actions and institutions of the state. The issues that will be examined in this chapter based on the Politics of diversity and the policy of multiculturalism - How Canada‟s population characteristics have changed over time - The ways in which diversity politics has been institutionalized in state institutions and policies; - Controversies associated with the Canadian multicultural experience and comparisons to policies in other pluralist democracies From Founding Nations to Multiculturalism: The Changing Ethnic Demography of Canada The Canada that we know today was built on 2 premises: the displacement and marginalization of Aboriginal Canadians and the settlement and development of the land by European immigrants At the time of confederation the virtual monopoly of the French and English on Canadian public life was symbolized in the partnership of John A. Macdonald, the leading English-Canadian advocate of an independent Canada, and George-Etienne Cartier, the major spokesperson for French Canada The 1 stCanadian government under Macdonald did not incl. anyone who was not a member of these so-called charter groups This image of Canada as a partnership – albeit an unequal one – of the two European charter groups survived well into the 20 thcentury It was not until the 1960‟s and more specifically, the work of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (B&B Commission) that the 2 nations image of Canada experienced any serious competition What was demanded was the official recognition of Canada as a multicultural society, not a bicultural one (achieved in 1971 passage of Multiculturalism Act and the creation of a new federal ministry if State for Multiculturalism In recent years the leading sources of immigration have been Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean Under 95 % of all immigrants to Canada before 1961 were born in Europe or the US, that figure was only 22.3 % for the period of 1991 – 2001 Families: they tend to be smaller today than they were a generation ago and considerably smaller than they were 2 generations ago, there are more single-parent families in the past (1/6 families), and many couples who choose not to marry, same sex couples are more frequent in the past Sexuality: what has changed over time is the willingness of non-heterosexuals to proclaim openly their sexuality and the readiness of growing number of Canadians to accept it, consequently, sexual diversity is much more apparent today than was the case when social pressures and the law discouraged all but a small number of non-heterosexuals from „coming out‟ Disability: a greater proportion of the population is disabled today than at any point in Canada‟s history. H.C reports that about 1 in 8 Canadians claims to experience either a mental or physical disability. Official Recognition and Institutionalization of Diversity Quebec Act of 1774 represented the first official confirmation of the status and rights of a particular segment of the pop. In this case French-speaking Catholics Conferred upon the Royal Proclamation of 1763, this document recognized the presence and rights of the several Nations or Tribes of Indians with whom we are connected, and who live under our protection‟ Aboriginal Canadians were recognized by the proclamation as distinct rights-bearing peoples under the protection of the British Crown (this relationship continues to the present day – although the Canadian gov long ago assumed the obligations that originally belonged to Britain – perpetuated and institutionalized through the IndiantAct, and s.35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 which embeds the treaty rights ofAboriginal people in Canada) There is a long history of recognizing diversity in Canada. But until the 1960‟s that recognition extended principally to the French and English-language communities (s.122 of the Constitution Act, 1867), the Catholic and Protestant religions for schooling purposes (s.93 of the constitution Act, 1867), and Aboriginal Canadians. Leslie Pal: argues that the institutionalization of diversity in Canadian public life was leveraged during the late 1960‟s and throughout the 1970‟s and 1980‟s by the activities of a small organization, the Citizenship Branch, within the Department of Secretary of State (SOS) By providing education about rights, and by publicizing the existence of a system of rights protection, human rights programs and institutions politicized Canadian society in the direction of making demands for wider rights Rights consciousness and awareness of human rights commissions encouraged more and more groups to pressure for more and more rights Results was a steady expansion of human rights legislation, entrenchment of human rights legislation and institutionalization of human rights commissions At the federal level, activities of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, including its Native language broadcasting operations, the National Film Board, and Telefilm Canada, all have contributed to the public projection of images of Canadian society that reflect the diversity of the country‟s population and history In the 2008-9 fiscal year Canadian Heritage disbursed close to $1.4 billion to hundreds of groups and projects Yann Matel “the world‟s greatest hotel” Diversity and Political Representation It states that the 1878 cabinet of Sir John A. M had 14 members, and the 2010 cabinet of Stephen Harper was not as different from Sir John A.‟s government as one might have expected, given the whole idea that there has been an enormous demographic shifts in Canadian society The only difference that could be easily pointed out between the 1878 and 2010 is that, the Harper government included 7 women and 1 Aboriginal Canadian whereas Macdonald‟s included none 40 years ago John Porter stated that Canada‟s political elite had been slow to change, failing to reflect the increasing ethnic diversity of the country. In the late 1950‟s John Diefenbaker appointed to cabinet Canada‟s first female minister Ellen Fairclough Michael Starr: first non-charter group Canadian (Ukrainian origin) Herb Gray: First Jewish Members of cabinet in 1969. Though there has been an increased in numbers of candidates from a non- Judeo-Christian backgrounds over the last couple of decades, very few has been elected Non-European Ethnic backgrounds compromise about 12% of the Population, and even those non- charter group European origins, continue to be underrepresented at this highest level Judicial Elite and the Highest ranks of the Federal Bureaucracy 74 individuals who have been members of the Supreme Court since its creation, all but 3 have had British or French ethnic origins and all have had Judeo-Christian backgrounds In the sense of ranks of deputy ministers in Canada, members of non-charter groups have made some way in, but the main change in both of these elites would be the increased of presence of women This does not suggest that this maybe evidence of discrimination against those who come from other backgrounds, Acouple of qualifying factors that need to be taken into account is first: It takes time for demographic change to work its way through to the top of the political system second: the concept of “charter group Canadians” have become problematic, due to the large numbers of Canadians mixing ethnic origins, which now rejects the traditional ethnic identities preferring to describe themselves as Canadian instead It may be accurate to say that the political judicial, and bureaucratic elites in Canada are dominated by persons of French, British and Canadian origins without intending “Canadian” as a substitute for membership in of the traditional charter groups Other Models of Integration and Accommodation The Canadian model of multiculturalism represents one possible regime for the accommodation and recognition of the ancestral cultures of minorities including their language and religious beliefs Deep diversi
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