Ca­na­dá, pri­mer país in­dus­tria­li­za­do en le­ga­li­zar el can na bis

Ca­na­da’s mul­ti­cul­tu­ra­lism mo­del stands the test...

La Jornada (Canada) - - PORTADA -

Ca­na­da’s mul­ti­cul­tu­ra­lism po­licy ca­me to­get­her lar­gely in res­pon­se to the strong se­pa­ra­tist mo­ve­ment that took hold in Que­bec du­ring the 1970s. Tho­se we­re the days of the fi­re­brand Ré­ne Lé­ves­que and the ex­tre­me Ro­se brot­hers, Paul and Jac­ques.

Pie­rre Tru­deau’s Li­be­ral go­vern­ment de­ve­lo­ped its mul­ti­cul­tu­ra­lism po­licy to de­mons­tra­te that all ra­ces, re­li­gions and eth­nic groups had equal sta­tus in Ca­na­da.

For Que­bec this was par­ti­cu­larly im­por­tant, as the pri­ma­rily French-spea­king po­pu­la­tion re­mem­be­red well and with dis­tas­te the days of An­glo-Sa­xon do­mi­nan­ce.

Ge­ne­rally, mul­ti­cul­tu­ra­lism po­licy has ser­ved the country well. Most peo­ple co­ming to Ca­na­da now have an ex­pec­ta­tion - and a wi­llin­gness - to learn En­glish or French and ac­cept Ca­na­dian va­lues. New Ca­na­dians freely ex­press their eth­nic and re­li­gious iden­ti­ties without in­ter­fe­ring with their abi­lity to be­co­me pro­duc­ti­ve.

Un­for­tu­na­tely, this is not the way mul­ti­cul­tu­ra­lism has wor­ked out in wes­tern Eu­ro­pe. In coun­tries such as France, Ho­lland, Swe­den and Ger­many, mul­ti­cul­tu­ra­lism has be­co­me a rat­her frigh­te­ning ghet­toi­za­tion that tears at the fa­bric of their na­tio­nal li­ves. Mus­lim im­mi­grants from North Afri­ca, Tur­key and the Midd­le East are not in­te- gra­ting in­to the mains­tream of the­se coun­tries. So­cial un­rest is the re­sult.

Cus­toms re­pug­nant to the na­ti­ve-born ma­jo­ri­ties, such as fe­ma­le ge­ni­tal mu­ti­la­tion, ho­nour ki­llings and the no­tion of jihad, show no sign of dying out in lar­ge parts of the Mus­lim im­mi­grant com­mu­ni­ties. The re­sur­gen­ce of Sa­la­fism and ot­her vio­lent strains of Is­lam wit­hin im­mi­grant com­mu­ni­ties exa­cer­ba­tes the pro­blem.

To ma­ke mat­ters wor­se, frank dis­cus­sion of the pro­blem is lar­gely con­si­de­red to be ta­boo, lea­ving such dis­cus­sion to ex­tre­me right-wing groups.

Eu­ro­pe’s ver­sion of mul­ti-

cul­tu­ra­lism has fai­led, tea­ring at its very foun­da­tions.

Ca­na­da must avoid Eu­ro­pe’s pre­di­ca­ment.

We should re­cog­ni­ze what we have do­ne right. Ca­na­da’s Mus­lim com­mu­nity is law-abi­ding, pro­duc­ti­ve and pea­ce­ful, with mo­re than its sha­re of well-edu­ca­ted pro­fes­sio­nals.

Whi­le most Mus­lims have suc­cess­fully in­te­gra­ted in­to the Ca­na­dian mo­saic, so­me ha­ven’t. Ghet­toi­za­tion, ra­di­ca­lism and anti-Se­mi­tism are the inevi­ta­ble re­sult.

Whi­le our pro­blems are not tri­fling, on the who­le Ca­na­da has avoi­ded Eu­ro­pe’s ex­tre­me cir­cums­tan­ces.

To en­su­re im­mi­grants suc­cess­fully in­te­gra­te, we should con­ti­nue to ma­ke cer­tain that ap­pli­cants have the skills to pro­vi­de for them­sel­ves and their fa­mi­lies. Res­tric­tions on im­mi­grants be­co­ming de­pen­dent on go­vern­ment as­sis­tan­ce are ne­ces­sary.

When im­mi­grants arri­ve, we should help with their hou­sing but not gi­ve it at the pu­blic’s ex­pen­se. Pu­blic hou­sing can be ghet­tos in the ma­king.

The chil­dren of im­mi­grants should be edu­ca­ted in pu­blic schools, not se­pa­ra­te re­li­gious schools. We must avoid the se­rious mis­ta­kes Eu­ro­pe made.

Si­mi­larly, we should en­su­re that im­mi­grants sha­re Ca­na­dian va­lues. We have the che­ris­hed right to speak freely and the right to chan­ge re­li­gions - or ac­cept no re­li­gion at all.

Pri­mi­ti­ve cus­toms such as fe­ma­le ge­ni­tal mu­ti­la­tion, for­ced ma­rria­ge, the ma­rria­ge of first cousins, poly­gamy and ho­nour ki­lling are ab­so­lu­tely unac­cep­ta­ble. Ca­na­dian wo­men are equal and vio­len­ce to­wards a wo­man is a cri­me. The con­cept of a holy war must be ab­ju­red. New im­mi­grants, re­gard­less of re­li­gion or eth­nic ori­gin, must ac­cept the­se ba­sic va­lues or choo­se a dif­fe­rent country in which to li­ve.

To avoid re­pea­ting Eu­ro­pe’s mis­ta­kes, all le­vels of go­vern­ment must adopt po­li­cies that dis­cou­ra­ge the ghet­toi­za­tion of all eth­nic, ra­cial and re­li­gious groups. Our edu­ca­tio­nal sys­tem must re­flect Ca­na­dian va­lues and strongly dis­cou­ra­ge na­rrowly-fo­cu­sed se­pa­ra­te schools. Prea­ching ha­te should bring de­por­ta­tion.

Fi­nally, Ca­na­da must sol­ve ille­gal im­mi­gra­tion. Po­ten­tial im­mi­grants pa­tiently wai­ting in their ho­me coun­tries can be ca­re­fully scree­ned to­wards en­su­ring our cul­tu­ral ex­pec­ta­tions. The re­cent pro­blem of jum­ping the queue by wal­king in­to Ca­na­da must be ad­dres­sed. Ille­gal im­mi­grants should be prom­ptly sent back to their coun­tries of ori­gin.

Ca­na­da is a country of im­mi­grants - and a very suc­cess­ful one at that. And we need even mo­re ski­lled im­mi­grants who want to be­co­me Can- adians.

But we owe it to our­sel­ves and fu­tu­re ge­ne­ra­tions to learn from Eu­ro­pe’s im­mi­gra­tion po­licy fai­lu­res. We need to keep Ca­na­da’s mul­ti­cul­tu­ra­lism mo­del ali­ve and well.

Brian Gies­brecht is a re­ti­red jud­ge and se­nior fe­llow at Fron­tier Cen­tre for Pu­blic Po­licy. Ste­ven Glo­ber­man is a re­si­dent scho­lar at the Fra­ser Ins­ti­tu­te and pro­fes­sor eme­ri­tus at Wes­tern Was­hing­ton Uni­ver­sity.

But we need to avoid re­pea­ting the mis­ta­kes so com­mon in wes­tern Eu­ro­pe when it co­mes to im­mi­gra­tion

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