Multiculturalism – A Canadian Innovation

Multiculturalism – a Canadian Innovation: A 45-Year Perspective

Presenter: Barrie Webster

March, 2016

Multiculturalism defined:

1. the co-existence of diverse cultures, where culture includes racial, religious, or cultural groups and is manifested in customary behaviours, cultural assumptions and values, patterns of thinking, and communicative styles.

2. the policy of maintaining a diversity of ethnic cultures within a community; or the view that the various cultures in a society merit equal respect and scholarly interest.

3. the policy of maintaining a diversity of ethnic cultures within a community; or  the policy of maintaining a diversity of ethnic cultures within a community  (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) ; or the doctrine that several different cultures (rather than one national culture) can coexist peacefully and equitably in a single country.

Multiculturalism in Canada is the sense of an equal celebration of racial, religious and cultural backgrounds. Multiculturalism was first institutionalized in Canada (1971).

In 1971, Canada was the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy. By so doing, Canada affirmed the value and dignity of all Canadian citizens regardless of their racial or ethnic origins, their language, or their religious affiliation.

What makes things controversial 30-45 years later? Has Canada lost its way? and the Canadian policy was taken up by other countries.

The anti-immigrant forces rear their collective heads in the USA, Europe, and around the globe.

Culturally specific clothing – to be celebrated? or an invitation to disrespect?

– the niqab

So how about the turban, the kippah or yarmulke, the babushka, the salwar kameez, and the sari, not to mention the baseball cap, the three-piece suit, and short shorts?