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Canadian Charter, Multicultural Heritage & Tony Blair


August1991

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It's important to read constitutional provisions in their whole rather that to focus on individual words. The phrase 'multicultural heritage' doesn't require us to give constitutional regard to multiculturalism outside of our heritage.
Figleaf, what you have written is terrifying. It's Orwell 1984. Do you mean peace means war, love means hate?

Figleaf, what does the word "multicultural" mean? How far should Canadians go in respecting another Canadian's "culture"?

This kind of vagueness has no place in a constitution. (My first point.)

My second point concerns what are the principles that define Canadians? Should these even be written drown for "all eternity"? The federal Liberal Party clearly did not get general agreement in its attempt in the early 1980s - Quebec wisely dissented. With Trudeau, it was a one-man show and now we're stuck with an early 1980s version of federal Liberal (Trudeau) thought.

IOW, our Constitution must be interpreted respecting the "multicultural heritage" of Canadians, whatever that means.

Tony Blair can question why some people in Britain are not wholly part of British culture but we have a Charter that requires our Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution respecting the "multicultural heritage" of Canadians. Then again, the Supreme Court can treat the Constitituon and Charter as a "living tree" which means the Court can invent whatever the Hell they want.

Version A: "Multicultural refers to the basic principles of Canada's founding people."

Version B: "Multicultural refers to the basic principles of the religious groups now residing in Canada."

Such is our Constitition.

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The obvious question is, what the hell is a Canadian?

Someone who puts a minorities rights above a majorities rights.

That's what I learned from this forum on this last week. That's what it truly means to be a Canadian.

How does that make us different from other free societies. What makes Canadians different from everyone else?

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We can tell them anything we want but the matter of fact is that people become Canadian anyway. One sure sign is that they don't normally rant about the Greeks or the Burmese but they rant about the lazy easterners, the self-centered Ontarians, the greedy Albertans and so on. Multiculturalism means diversity and variety. If everyone was the same, we would be a bunch of boring narrow-minded rednecks living near the north pole. But seriously, if you look at the stats, one generation and bang - all immigrants' children have the same profile as the rest of us.

So why do we need legislated multiculturalism? I don't know what we would wind up with. It wouldn't be anything we have now but it would be uniquely Canadian, not a dogs breakfast of cultures brought from other places. Do you think any of the cultures that make up our country always knew what they were going to be? Why would we be a bunch of boring narrow minded red necks living near the north pole? Why couldn't we be better than the sum of our parts? Are we afraid to be unique as Canadians? Why do we need to be something else?

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The obvious question is, what the hell is a Canadian?

Someone who puts a minorities rights above a majorities rights.

That's what I learned from this forum on this last week. That's what it truly means to be a Canadian.

Why would you be proud of putting one group's rights above another? Rights are rights, what does being in a majority or minority have to do with it?

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Sikhism is a religion, not a race. Your point seems to be that Sikhs promote relationships with other Sikhs - this is true of most religions, I think.

I disagree. I'll change that to South Asian or Jamaican or whatever else.

Italians, Greeks, Polish, German, Spanish, Portrugeuse, Lebanese, seem to be very accepting of outside cultures coming into their families.

Hindu's are allowed to marry ourside their 'religion'. My ex's grandmother didn't like me though becuase of my skin color. Oh well. I guess no one here has experienced it. Maybe the majority of people here are living in small towns.

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You didn't mention your ex's parents disliking you for your skin colour, however. In a generation, grandma will be dead and if your ex's children want to marry someone outside of their " race " then they won't encounter the same prejudice from grandma, right? Everything takes time.

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My ex's grandmother didn't like me though becuase of my skin color. Oh well. I guess no one here has experienced it. Maybe the majority of people here are living in small towns.

Sounds like a case of racism, but one old lady's prejudices can hardly be applied to everyone. If you're only interested in anecdotal evidence, my sister in law married a Sikh man, and I am married to a man of East Indian origin. Don't let one old lady turn you against everyone you assume she represents - she doesn't.

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My ex's grandmother didn't like me though becuase of my skin color. Oh well. I guess no one here has experienced it. Maybe the majority of people here are living in small towns.

Sounds like a case of racism, but one old lady's prejudices can hardly be applied to everyone. If you're only interested in anecdotal evidence, my sister in law married a Sikh man, and I am married to a man of East Indian origin. Don't let one old lady turn you against everyone you assume she represents - she doesn't.

Well actually I had a sikh ex also whose parents did want her with a white guy. They wanted to her arranged with their own kind.

I feel this is backwards and if you do not want your children marrying outside your languag/religion/skin color than they should NOT have come to Canada. And this is after 30 years of living here.

Looks like we have something in common as far as my fiance is concerned.

I said before that i'm trudeaus dream. But these people are older and came during a diffrerent time. They integrated back then. The kids and parents these days seem to be very un-accepting of new cultures and religion becuase there are so many of them here now in extrememly large communities. In Ottawa they were very well integrated, but these days.. some of my co-workers I had.. man.. the can't even communicate in basic Enlgish..

15 years in Canada and we had to fire one guy becuase after a month on the job we realized he couldn't speak/read/write English because he was so ghettoized in his chinese community. And the dude came at 14 years old.

And i've experienced reverse racism many more times than that.

I also get 'tsk'd all the time in Toronto when at the mall becuase people don't like the fact that my fiance is with an 'outsider'.

I feel these people should leave Canada. It's that simple. We don't need that here.

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I think you perhaps do not forsee how such behaviour could of have the unintended consequence of polarizing our society to be just as intolerant as you accuse those people of being.

We all know the analogy of how that which is less likely to bend is more likely to break. Being flexible is our strategy against not breaking. Exporting people for not fitting what we want perfectly would make us very stiff. Most natively born Canadians do not even fit what we want perfectly. The first real racists I ever had prolonged contact with were white Christians.

Besides, those people are still more likely to change for the better here than back at " home " where they would be completely surrounded by people with the exact same prejudice. Maybe part of the problem is no " Canadian's Canadian " has ever made a serious and ongoing effort to change their minds. You have to beat them at their own game before they will be willing to play ours.

If you really think about it, having a multicultural policy still contains an implied form of assimilation. However, it is far more cerebral than material.

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Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the Liberals (strong traditional Quebec support) used culture to help obliterate and destroy the majority English factor including its traditions and customs including Christianity for the benefit of Quebec and its culture.
Canadians across the country voted for the Liberals several times.

I don't think it was ever announced policy to destroy the cultural heritage of Anglophones. On the other hand, I think that what the Liberals were saying - as they destroyed the cultural heritage of Anglophones - was that they were eliminating "colonialist remnants" in order to not offend Francophones. Since much of the cultural heritage of Anglophones was bound up with Britain, the government did its best to downplay or eliminate them. References to our past, or any association with England, were thought to make Francophones uncomfortable. This was done in a myriad of ways, large and small, from getting rid of our previous anthem and flag, to taking the royal crest and name off everything they could. For example, instead of "the Royal Canadian Mail" with the crest of the crown on the mailbox we get a corporate "Canada Post" entity. Probably most of the people on this site have never even seen the royal crest, and those who have have seen it in the UK or associated with a visit from the Queen. But it used to be everywhere.

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Leafless, you insult the members of this community by trying to suggest that you attack issues instead of people. Every day I see another thread by you started as a blatantly obvious attack on a segment of the population of Canada.

This would be a little less worthy of snickering if your responses to him were on his issue rather than a personal attack on him.

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There is also a common culture. For instance, South Asian culture includes Pakistan, Bangledesh, Sri Lanka, and India. While they have different langauges, they all share a south asian culture which is arguably the strongest in the world.

There is a European culture which we are all familiar with.

Then there is the 'North American' culture which is based off working and democracy.

None of these evolved in isolation, they are a result of many cultures assimilating over centuries of migrations and conquests. They will evolve and spawn new cultures regardless of whatever politicians and special interests try to engineer through legislation. We criticize religious fundamentalists when they try to turn the clock back. The concept of multiculturalism tries to stop the clock. Equally as bizarre.

I find that Trudeaus 'vision' of how Canadians should act and think has actually worked and has proved succsesful and a culture was born for anglo Canadians.

Uh huhhhh. Yeah, sure. And what culture is that? In his last years Trudeau expressed a number of regrets over his social engineering experiments as related to Canada's culture.

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We can tell them anything we want but the matter of fact is that people become Canadian anyway. One sure sign is that they don't normally rant about the Greeks or the Burmese but they rant about the lazy easterners, the self-centered Ontarians, the greedy Albertans and so on. Multiculturalism means diversity and variety. If everyone was the same, we would be a bunch of boring narrow-minded rednecks living near the north pole. But seriously, if you look at the stats, one generation and bang - all immigrants' children have the same profile as the rest of us.

How reassuring. So then, let us look at these states. Produce them please.

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I find that Trudeaus 'vision' of how Canadians should act and think has actually worked and has proved succsesful and a culture was born for anglo Canadians.

Uh huhhhh. Yeah, sure. And what culture is that?

Just look here on the board. Look at how people will put someone who does not consider themselves to be Canadian before a fellow Canadian.

The fact that people on this forum believe that someone who landed here and barely speaks English should be in line for a liver transplant at the expense of a Canadian.

There is a culture of self-hate.. a culture of empowering the people who don't give a damn about us.. a culture of loving those who are here to abuse us.. a culture that is based off turning any little difference into a minority and then to pander to that...

a culture of opening our country to all others in an attempt to fill a 'void' on the world stage in order to feel important, even if it's at our own demise.

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In Canada, we can't do it so easily. Multiculturalism is now part of our constitution. IOW, we're stuck with whatever lame vaguely worded social engineering ideas that were in vogue in federal Liberal Party circles in the early 1980s.

Harper could not really give a speech such as Blair just did because it would be contrary to Charter principles. Or maybe not.

Either section 27 means something and hence Canada is locked into being a multicultural state or else section 27 means nothing which begs the question of what else we can ignore in the Charter.

In the US, the Courts refuse to construe many parts of the Constitution. Among those are the "privileges and immunities" clause, the Constitution's guarantee to all states of a "republican form of government" and others. The USC holds that those provisions are political in nature and best left to elected bodies.

The SCOC should take the same posture on the "multicultural" provisions of the Charter of Wrongs and No Rights.

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  • 1 month later...
In the US, the Courts refuse to construe many parts of the Constitution. Among those are the "privileges and immunities" clause, the Constitution's guarantee to all states of a "republican form of government" and others. The USC holds that those provisions are political in nature and best left to elected bodies.
That's an interesting idea.

If someone tries a Charter defence using section 27, the Supreme Court could just back away and say it will leave the issue up to the legislature. (Given our interventionist court, that might be surprising but it has on occasion avoided decisions.)

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In the US, the Courts refuse to construe many parts of the Constitution. Among those are the "privileges and immunities" clause, the Constitution's guarantee to all states of a "republican form of government" and others. The USC holds that those provisions are political in nature and best left to elected bodies.
That's an interesting idea.

If someone tries a Charter defence using section 27, the Supreme Court could just back away and say it will leave the issue up to the legislature. (Given our interventionist court, that might be surprising but it has on occasion avoided decisions.)

That would be a form of democratic dialogue not current found on the S.C.C.

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In the US, the Courts refuse to construe many parts of the Constitution. Among those are the "privileges and immunities" clause, the Constitution's guarantee to all states of a "republican form of government" and others. The USC holds that those provisions are political in nature and best left to elected bodies.
That's an interesting idea.

If someone tries a Charter defence using section 27, the Supreme Court could just back away and say it will leave the issue up to the legislature. (Given our interventionist court, that might be surprising but it has on occasion avoided decisions.)

That would be a form of democratic dialogue not current found on the S.C.C.

Section 27 relates to multiculturalism, so I'm a bit confused. The US Sct. has, from its beginnings, ruled in ways tha tavoided controversies, especially where they ran the risk of being disobeyed. The very first ruling where they struck down a law, Marbury v. Madison involved the attempt of someone appointed by the departed Adams administration to a foreign job. He wouight to compel the signing of the commission by the new President, who balked at honoring the last minute appointment. No doubt realizing that Jefferson would not obey an order, or mandamus, to issue the commissions, the Supreme Court struck down the enabling legislation, thus avoiding a blow to its prestige.

In retrospect, it was beginning to develop the doctrine that the remedy for official abuse of power was political in a democracy, not judicial, at least in some cases.

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Leafless, you insult the members of this community by trying to suggest that you attack issues instead of people. Every day I see another thread by you started as a blatantly obvious attack on a segment of the population of Canada.

This would be a little less worthy of snickering if your responses to him were on his issue rather than a personal attack on him.

The little twerp wouldn't know the difference anyways as he comes from a group that is the most bigoted, racist and most intolerant of the ROC.

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