Friday, February 25, 2011

Lefty Salutin Heavy Into Multiculti Self-Abnegation

Canada is--or as least was--a proud Western liberal (in the classic sense of the word) democracy. That is, until Pierre Trudeau got hold of it and "multicultied" the joint. Some in Canada and other Western countries have now acknowledged that, as an organizing principle, multiculti has been an abject failure. Then there are those--such as Toronto Star columnist Rick Salutin--who don't think that being a Western liberal democracy is something to be proud of, something worth preserving, and who argue that we should allow the multiculti cult to prevail because it has substance while the idea of "Canada" has next to none:
...It’s possible that the whole idea of a mainstream is flawed and mythical. Perhaps there are no real mainstreams. We worry that our underdeveloped mainstream will get overwhelmed or undermined by other currents — but that’s how cultures develop. They react to every influence they encounter. All cultures, including “mainstream Canadian” have been constantly undermined, “contaminated” and reshaped by encounters with others. It’s a fruitful, messy process.

So our own version of multiculturalism, which kindly allows distinct groups to set up little boutiques while they all genuflect to some unifying mainstream, is also unreal. At some point you need to have confidence that what you prize can hold its own, trust your fellow citizens, old and new, and hope something fine and hopeful emerges in the mix.

This is why the process of trying to define core or mainstream “Canadian values” is absurd. Many people think our public health-care system is an example of a core Canadian value. The CBC named Tommy Douglas The Greatest Canadian because of it. Yet before it arrived 40 years ago, a major argument against public health care is that it was “unCanadian.” Some core value.

The search for a Canadian mainstream should probably be left to the beer ads. (“You’ve worn a canoe for a hat. . . You feel kind of bad reclining your seat in an airplane. . . And you recycle!”) They do it well, don’t take it too seriously, have the ring of truth, and are unlikely to lead to sectarian slaughter...
How about these for "core values"--freedom, including a free media, the freedom to hoist a brewski now and then, and that most crucial freedom of all, free speech; democracy; equality; and, oh yeah, no sharia, because it's the antithesis of and inimical to all the aforementioned?

Is that "mainstream Canadian" enough for you, Ricky?

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