by Erna Paris
Originally published: July 7, 2016
Erna Paris’s recent book on the subject of multiculturalism is From Tolerance to Tyranny: A Cautionary Tale From Fifteenth-Century Spain
It may be un-Canadian to boast, but in the wake of Brexit, rising European xenophobia and the bellowing of Donald Trump, Canada looks like an island of stability.
In historical terms, most Canadians are immigrants, meaning that our leaders have had to nation-build with nuance and compromise. Because of jurisdictional quarrels between federal and provincial governments; flare-ups of endemic resentments in Quebec; a culturally disparate population huddled for warmth along the country’s southern border; and a mouse-to-elephant relationship with the most powerful country on earth, steady pragmatism has been the key. We do that well in Canada.
But there is another reason for our strength. Last week, Canada quietly celebrated Multiculturalism Day with good reason. We are the world’s most successful multicultural society. And it is this value system that will shield us from the fear-mongering happening elsewhere, provided we continue to nurture it.