Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Origins Of Multiculturism

Did you know that in the early 1960s a Royal Commission was established under the government of Lester Pearson to examine the issue of Bi-culturalism and Bi-lingualism. Yup. It was Pearson, not Trudeau, who was responsible for the French on the Cornflakes boxes. Trudeau merely implemented the recommendations outlined in the Commission's report.  And the PCs and Dippers also supported his endorsement of those recommendations.

The Commission also sowed the seeds of Multiculturalism in its fourth report.

Trudeau gets blamed for all of this, but it actually predates his election as Prime Minister. True, he did implement the recommendations, so he does share part of the blame.

With respect to multicultualism, these are his words:
"It was the view of the royal commission, shared by the government and, I am sure, by all Canadians, that there cannot be one cultural policy for Canadians of British and French origin, another for the original peoples and yet a third for all others. For although there are two official languages, there is no official culture, nor does any ethnic group take precedence over any other. No citizen or group of citizens is other than Canadian, and all should be treated fairly."
(Emphasis mine)

The commission's recommendations also laid the foundation for the creation and fostering of ethnic enclaves:
"The royal commission was guided by the belief that adherence to one's ethnic group is influenced not so much by one's origin or mother tongue as by one's sense of belonging to the group, and by what the commission calls the group's "collective will to exist." The government shares this belief."
Of course, ethnic enclaves had existed beforehand, too. Nearly every city of some size had and still has a "China-Town". And the prairies are dotted with little towns and villages that began as centres of commercial activity serving the multitude of ethnic "block settlements" created by Sir Wilfred Laurier's push to put peasant farmers on the fertile grain growing regions of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta - people of Ukrainian, Hungarian, Polish, and so on, origins.

The multicultural policy began as an attempt to reduce racial discrimination:
"A policy of multiculturalism within a bilingual framework commends itself to the government as the most suitable means of assuring the cultural freedom of Canadians. Such a policy should help break down discriminatory attitudes and cultural jealousies. National unity if it is to mean anything in the deeply personal sense, must be founded on confidence in one's own individual identity; out of this can grow respect for that of others and a willingness to share ideas, attitudes and assumptions. A vigorous policy of multiculturalism will help create this initial confidence. It can form the base of a society which is based on fair play for all.

The government will support and encourage the various cultures and ethnic groups that give structure and vitality to our society. They will be encouraged to share their cultural expression and values with other Canadians and so contribute to a richer life for us all."
"In implementing a policy of multiculturalism within a bilingual framework, the government will provide support in four ways.

First, resources permitting, the government will seek to assist all Canadian cultural groups that have demonstrated a desire and effort to continue to develop a capacity to grow and contribute to Canada, and a clear need for assistance, the small and weak groups no less than the strong and highly organized.

Second, the government will assist members of all cultural groups to overcome cultural barriers to full participation in Canadian society.

Third, the government will promote creative encounters and interchange among all Canadian cultural groups in the interest of national unity.

Fourth, the government will continue to assist immigrants to acquire at least one of Canada's official languages in order to become full participants in Canadian society."
The whole commission report is an example of what the Liberal Party of Canada does best - social engineering. And, of course, it hasn't worked out that well.

One wonders what members of all those ethnic groups that came to Canada prior to this commission did. I can think of a few individuals who did quite well - Saskatchewan's Ramon Hnatyshyn (of Ukrainian ancestry) for example, who became Canada's Governor General, after several years of a successful law practice in Saskatoon and a stint as an elected representative in Parliament, or Manitoba's Ed Schreyer (German-Austrian ancestry), who also became Governor General, and prior to that was Premier of Manitoba, or even John Diefenbaker, (German origins), who was Prime Minister, for a spell and who also had a successful career in law prior to entering politics, and, who championed the advancement and better treatment of native Indians during his law career and was a strong proponent of racial equality.

Of course, all these men were white, and therefore unable to cry "racism" at the drop of a hat, although Ukrainians certainly did not have an easy time of it as settlers on the Canadian prairies in the late 1800s and early 1900s. What they all share is a strong work ethic and a will to succeed. They didn't need no multicultural policy to tell them they were in need of special considerations.

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Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

I am not the one to munch cereals, but I can see where French on the Cornflakes boxes could put one off one's feed. Esp. in the morning when a man wants to be in peace with life for a few more minutes*.

(*)Women don't appreciate this state of affairs in the morning, I know.

September 20, 2012 3:41 am  
Blogger Louise said...

I bought a couple of electric tools earlier in the year. The instruction manual for one of them has five languages. The other has three. It's a marketing ploy. A smart business knows it can sell its stuff to a vastly larger market if they print the manuals in: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. Must have something to do with those nasty empires.

September 20, 2012 9:27 am  

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