Canada has never offered ‘a mosaic’

POTTER: Our policies have been aimed at integrating newcomers, not keeping them apart

Canada has never offered 'a mosaic'

Francis Vachon/CP Images

Grab as much maple syrup as you can and run for your lives. The menacing hydra known as the “hyphenated Canadian” is stalking the land once again, awakened by some sharp statements out of Germany that have been megaphoned across the Western world by a bunch of dangerously ignorant conservatives.

Yes, ancient obsessions over immigration and social stability are roiling once again, thanks to some widely misconstrued remarks by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Taking note of the high rates of unemployment, poor educational outcomes, and increasing religiosity in Germany’s walled-off Turkish community, Merkel declared that “multikulti” had “failed, utterly failed,” and suggested that immigrants really ought to learn to speak German. While Merkel was clearly talking about a very specific, and very German, failure—40 years of abhorrent treatment of its Turkish community—conservatives across the Anglosphere jumped on her remarks as the final indictment of the whole Western pro-immigration ideal.

“This is not a lesson for Germany alone,” wrote the American economist Thomas Sowell. Multiculturalism, he said, has become “a cult that has spawned mindless rhapsodies about ‘diversity,’ without a speck of evidence to substantiate its supposed benefits.” Here in Canada, the Globe and Mail’s Margaret Wente echoed Sowell by noting how Canadians and Germans alike “have been swamped by official propaganda celebrating the joys of ethnic diversity,” and warned of the reckoning to come. “Our tipping point is arriving too,” she intoned. “And once it does, there’s no turning back.”

Tipping into what? Turning back from where? For all the portentous language, it is hard to see what Wente is getting at, since the only thing Canadian and German approaches to immigration have in common is the use of the word “multiculturalism.” The closest parallel in Canada to Germany’s Turkish problem is our treatment of Aboriginals, where, as with Germany’s Turks, the official policy has long been to encourage cultural insularity and socio-economic isolation.

So why do worries over the balkanizing effects of immigration, and the very idea of the “multiculturalism cult,” continue to have such resonance with Canadians? One of the most pervasive and enduring myths about Canada’s immigration policy is that while America is a “melting pot” where new arrivals are encouraged to assimilate to the dominant values and cultural norms, Canada is a “mosaic” that encourages immigrants to maintain their old values and traditions.

It’s a story that sprang up almost as soon as the federal government launched its policy of official multiculturalism in the early ’70s, and it persisted and even strengthened over the ensuing 40 years. Ottawa went to great lengths to encourage the idea that we were building a uniquely Canadian “mosaic.” This served two useful political functions: one was to flatter insecure Canadians that our society was morally superior to the United States, and another was to flatter immigrant communities and build support in their ranks for the government of the day. But this way of talking was also catnip to conservatives who delighted in turning the pro-diversity rhetoric back on itself. Unfortunately, neither side seemed to realize that the debate bore no serious relation to how Canadian multiculturalism actually functions.

It was only in the 1990s that Canadians figured out just what sort of country they’d been building, thanks largely to the efforts of a cohort of young academics who spent a great deal of time writing and talking to ministers and to federal bureaucrats about it. The key figure here is the Queen’s political scientist Will Kymlicka, who smartly observed that while Canada was not assimilating immigrants, it wasn’t offering a mosaic either. Rather, the institutions and policies we had designed were aimed at the middle path of successful integration: allowing newcomers to keep as much of their cultural traditions as possible, while providing the means for their full participation in civic life.

The classic example here is the debate over the Sikh Mountie who asked for permission to wear a turban instead of the usual stetson. While the idea made assimilationists want to chew leather, they failed to understand that the whole point of permitting the turban was to integrate the Sikh community into one of Canada’s most visible and important institutions. The alternative—banning the turban—would have the perverse effect of alienating the Sikh community from the national police force, contributing to the very cultural isolation that assimilationists claim to abhor.

This is the underlying structure of every debate of this kind that Canada has had over the years. From kirpans in schools to the use of sharia in family law, the goal has never been to turn the country into a land of isolated communities. Instead, it has been to find a reasonable accommodation of cultural difference that integrates newcomers into a shared civic space.

When it comes to multiculturalism in Canada, the only real menace stalking our political landscape are the dinosaur conservatives who continue to fight battles that are best left forgotten, and that never made any sense to begin with.


Canada has never offered ‘a mosaic’

  1. the goal has never been to turn the country into a land of isolated communities. Instead, it has been to find a reasonable accommodation of cultural difference that integrates newcomers into a shared civic space.

    Maybe it's because I grew up in the 80s/90s but this was my understanding as well. The point of the whole exercise is to create a harmonious society (that phrase does sound like its coming from the Chinese Ministry of Culture, doesn't it?) of diverse peoples; not to destroy our traditional society.

    I was under the impression that the point that the anti-Islam crowd has is that Muslims have trouble integrating. Is this not what people think? If not, I think the discussions have gone completely over / under / around my head.

    • Right on. The USA has Mexicans flooding thru their borders to be a part of the US. The blacks struggled to be a part of the US and also Canada. Nothing changed or changes – just their participation. We came very close in Ontario to having some Sharia Laws. Our uniforms don't meet the definition of "uniform -ie all the same" anymore. We spend millions on security cameras and allow people to walk around with their faces covered. We are "wimps".
      jack howlett

      • It should be noted that I was not agreeing with the anti-Islam crowd. I think that often its simply thinly veiled xenophobia. But I also think that there is a significant portion of the population that is so afraid of being racist that they view even legitimate criticism as offensive.

        I guess my point is, I agree with the content of the article. It isn't one or the other. We can have integration without people losing their entire cultural identity. And, it has, for the most part, worked just fine.

      • Ontario has never come close to having Sharia Laws. Yes, it rose to the point of public discussion and there was some media panic about it, but the government never seriously considered it and shut down the discussion very quickly.

        • Depends on what you mean by "close." The McGuinty government backed off on this because of widespread public antipathy, but it was recommended in a government report, done for them by former provincial A-G Marion Boyd. Given that refusing it meant getting rid of the existing Catholic and Jewish arbitration, McGuinty's (correct) decision to not follow Boyd's suggestion wasn't without cost to him, and if public opinion had been less one-sided it's easy to imagine him choosing differently.

          • There is one problem with Sharia law that Catholic and Jewish arbitration don't share. Regardless how sexist you may find or think the two religions are neither view a women's voice is half that of a man's or their rights less than a man, debatable I know but usually not family wise anyways. Regardless on your view the fact is Ryan like you I grew up in the 80s and 90s and the conversation is never had honestly. Whether we talk about Sikhs turbans, or Muslim religious law, the discussion has to happen. If it doesn't the situation is not addressed and the communities are unduly put on when one group says “too far” or another says “not far enough”. Then issues like what is going on in all of Western Europe will come to pass here. Articles like this don't help either as it becomes a left right issue and is dismissed out of hand.

    • Some people can't be accommodated, Rob. Not even the Muslim countries from which they came have been able to accommodate Islamist extremists drunk on Sharia. Then there are the Dukhobors out in prairie provinces. They were only too happy to give up even the right to vote rather than face being drafted. Not that any Canadian has to worry about being drafted these days…

  2. My family came from England in 1948. I was a child growing up in East end of Hamilton. I have an old pic of me at 9 yo with 2 bandages on my forehead where I was hit with rocks – as we were "foreigners" and had a funny accent. I grew up with drunken Irishmen, cheap Scotsmen, dumb Polaks, lazy wops. I was a "chiper". We all laughed at each other. Today, there is no laughter from newcomers – they run to the government and create hubris. Sure we had areas of little Italy, Ukraine, Irish, but we all went to the SAME SCHOOLS and mixed, married etc. We didn't have a "muslim" or "Islam" issue as there weren't any. What happened? Why do we invite people into Canada that aren't happy with it the way it is and want to change it? I watched the Spanish and the blacks assimilate into society – they wanted to be a "part" of us and contribute and share. Today, we have peoples coming to Canada to change Canada.
    jack howlett, wasaga

    • jack. When my Catholic friend was asked to be best man at his Protestanat buddies wedding his priest said no, in that he would be taking part in a heretical rite. User yes, best man no. All newcomers were urged not to to or were afraid to assimilate lest their faith or heritage be lost. The first Cardinal Archbishop for Toronto had his car stoned enroute from Union Stiation to St. Michaels Cathedral in he 30's and it took decadeds to change but try to get rid of the Seperate Catholic School system in Ontario and see how well we "adjusted." In the US the KKK bred fear and tried to keep a specific group down, here it was the Orange Lodge. Give the Muslims the time we needed…..and we were supposd to be all Christians

      • Uhmm there are still Catholic School in Ontario, the difference is like in my Catholic School you can find a couple of Muslims and the occasional Jew (oddly enough) My best friend in a private Catholic High school was a Hindu. What first Catholic Cardinal Archbishop are you talking about since a) they are different titles and b) the first Cardinal in Ontario pre dates cars? By the way you still have Orange lodges in Ontario.

  3. It is a nice article. All three comments are about Muslims and sharia laws. Sikhs are not Muslims. Mohammad is not our prophet. We are a Indian religion. The turban is a cultural legacy for us just like a cowboy hat is for a American. It is to cover our unshorn hair. We respect all religion equally because we are all equal before God. Thank you, bless you all . Sat Sri akal ( truth is immortal)

    • FYI, prabhjyot, the turban isn’t a cultural legacy like a stetson, it is a required religious article…

      • I think anI think and I can only really talk for myself but it was not the intent to imply that they were the same religion but to discus to “big Issues” that have come up in a short time apart.d I can only really talk for my self but it was not the it

  4. Yes perhaps you're right about the objective and that we have so far been reasonably successful at accomplishing it. I think though that we will find that Muslims are a harder nut to crack.

    It's not a question of odd cooking, head gear, or carrying religious symbols. Islam is not a race or ethnicity. It's a doctrine. Islam teaches that Muslims are not to integrate. They are to remain separate from non-believers and struggle to dominate them, even through violence.

    When numbers are larger there will be a greater centripetal force to not integrate.

    It's not just a case of German or other societies putting impediments in the way of Muslim integration.

    Perhaps we're different in Canada and large numbers of Muslims will integrate here but it's hard to see why.

    • Your description is a paranoid fantasy: I have lived, shopped and worked around Muslims my entire life and can say that you are completely mad. This is exactly the same xenophobic view that people had about the irish, the Chinese, and the Japanese in their time. All these people integrated into the society: the Catholic church does not rule us all – as much as it would like to; we are not expected to kowtow to a Chinese emperor – unless it fits our PMs trade plans. It would be good for you to get a grip on reality.

      • I think and I can only really talk for myself but it was not the intent to imply that they were the same religion but to discus to “big Issues” that have come up in a short time apart.
        Sandy come back to earth; please. No emperors in China for a long long time. Our PM has never bowed to one either since they don't exist. Unless of course you the President of the United States of America bowing to The King of Saudi Arabia. In which case wrong countries all around.

  5. "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith but to become dominant" declared the chairman of the board of the Council on North American Islamic Relations, Omar Ahmed in July 1998.

    The inconvenient truth in an age of globalization is that a billion people belong to a doctrine that doesn't integrate well.

    • But by the time we awake to that fact it may very well be too late. Try to oppose sharia law then…much less practise your Christian faith.

    • Yeah, well, the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses don't have any intention of being equal to any other faith either. So what's your point? Do you think maybe we should send the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses back where they came from? How about the Roman Catholics and the Anglicans? As for those who belong to the United Church of Canada, those people look very suspicious to me!

      • Ya but they all gave up killing their own for changing religions they don't stone adulterers primarily women oh and their Honor system doesn't include killing family members hmm I think that last one never happened shunning maybe but no murder.

  6. "The classic example here is the debate over the Sikh Mountie who asked for permission to wear a turban instead of the usual stetson." Classic example indeed. Maybe the author should have researched a little deeper into why that same 'Mountie' quit shortly after graduating from the tax-paid training and graduation, saying something that he just wanted to make a point …. Point taken.

    • … and a point on which we were wrong to have succumbed. I have no problem with displays of religious symbols… under most circumstances. But we have a separation of church and state, and the RCMP are symbols of State. The uniform should NOT include religious symbols of ANY type (yes, including Christian).

      And before you ask: I supported the Sikh's right to wear the turban in the Legion (a controversy from the same period), and my MP – for whom I voted – is Sikh. I have no problem with Sikhism or the turban per se – just with its use in this one specific area.

      • I'm looking forward to your championing of the removal of the Union Jack, which includes the St.Andrews cross, St.David's cross and St.George's cross – all ancient Christian symbols – from the Ontario flag.

  7. I would prefer that it were a fact that all Abrahamic religions beleived in the same God. That would make multiculturalism including Moslems simpler for Christians and Jews however that is not the case as seen in their sacred writings, all non-Moslems are considered of having a lesser value than Moslems whether it is in court or otherwise. All non-Moslems are to be converted or killed accordingly and Moslems are not to assimilate. When the pilots in 9/11 were flying into the twin towers they were shouting in Arabic, "God (Allah) is greater" not "God (Allah) is great.

    • Technically, George, the Jews, Christians and Muslims all believe in the same God. "Allah," or "Al-Illah" means "The God" in Arabic (which, in Hebrew, is rendered "El-Al." This "God" is a formless, invisible being that has no image. You can' t see him, and you can only hear him or detect his presence if he decides to speak to you and reveal his presence– just like the God of the Old and New Testaments. As well, Muslims consider Moses and Jesus to be prophets of the Islamic faith; God revealed himself to them before he revealed himself to Mohammed. Okay, there's a problem with Muslims fanatics who think they serve better as bombs than as ambassadors of their faith. Not so long ago, say, around the time Columbus sailed to America, Christians in Spain were burning Muslims and Jews at the stake. And you think those Jewish fanatics who want to kick the Arabs out of Palestine are great believers in multi-culturalism? I don't think so!

  8. Dangerously ignorant liberals – are paid to write crap.

  9. Islam cannot integrate anywhere because it is a Arabian imperialistic cult. sikhism is a Indian religion which promotes universal brotherhood. It is exactly opposite of Islam in its beliefs. It is a humane faith at the core of its teachings. A good book can reform a criminal but a book of hash mash and evil like Koran can only divide humanity. The life and conduct of desert warmonger mohammad in hadiths are enough to convince any rational human being . Bless you all. Sat Sri akal

    • Denigrating Islam is not going to get us anywhere. You should know better given your own background and Sikh history which details the close relatioship that Sikh Gurus enjoyed with the Muslim people of Punjab and surrounding areas. There is something to be said about the current battle between strict Arab backed militias who are waging an internal battle against Sufi inspired practices of certain Muslim sects in Punjab in Pakistan and the almost daily bombings at the places of worship of these people. Religious intolerance and the fight for conformity is also not foreign to our faith as we all know what has happened in our neck of the woods in India. The good fortune that we have is that in Canada , with the exception of abortion, no religious violence is seen on a frequent basis like in the Middle East or other parts of the world and for that we have to be thankful. That is not by accident, but because we live in a peaceful and pluralistic soceity where people agree to disagree without killing one another. Sarbat da Bhala. May God Bless us all.

      Gurdip Singh Sahota

      • what religious intolerance, sikhs have always only fought for religious freedom and liberty in the face of persecution.. sikh dharma believes in live and let live…

  10. I found it interesting to learn that the requirement for Sikhs to carry knives comes from the time that they were under threat from Muslim invaders, when untold numbers of Indians were massacred.

  11. I guess that would be as opposed to dangerously ignorant liberals. You know the type–those that feel we should abide by Sharia law and stick up for Muslims stoning women but ridicule Christianity. Those that feel certain groups should have special rights and you are anti-something or other or racist if you complain. The mantra of the left is hypocrisy with virtually alll their decisions driven by 'feelings'. Yes Comrade, there are very, very dangerous and extremely ignorant liberals out there…

    • To the Right Honourable Judge Roy Bean:

      It's a good idea to ridicule Christians, Jews AND Muslims when they are ridiculous, which, unfortunately, is most of the time. Your woman should cover herself with a black shroud with breathing holes? You must be afraid people will question your taste in women if they look at her. You want to wear side curls like Orthodox Jews? Must be, you want somebody to pull them. You wear a cassock like Catholics priests do? You might secretly yearn to wear a dress. The problem, Your Honour, is neither Liberals nor Conservatives, but religious fanatics. But seeing that you favour Christian fanatics over Muslim and Jewish fanatics, I must ask you to either recuse yourself or seek a change in venue to better represent my client, secular humanism.

  12. I think the goal for the future should be integration of immigrant people into the wider mainstream of Canada. The case of Sikh immigrants is an interesting one. I too, am a proud Sikh who came to this great country about 21 years ago and still proudly wear my turban as this idendtifies me with my Sikh faith. I will never ever think of giving this up as a condition to "integrate" into Canadian soceity. My integration as who I am will make the mainstream wider and more sofisticated and inclusive. The dominant Euro-culture has survived till today and English and French populations in Canada have not given up their roots and I have equal opportunity and right to keep my culture and language alive, while being fully literate in English so as to operate in the economy and wider soceity of of this vast land. Melting pot theory suggests that the various cultures are tossed into the pot and after a lot of stirring what is left is totally new and in no way resembles any one of the ingredients. Is that what really exists in the US? In that case there should be a totally new language, religion, racial composition that no longer resembles the European, African, Asian or Native peoples who supposedly have been "melted" to create a new American identity. This has not happened in America at all and will never happen in Canada, so stop dreaming. We should stop arguing about who came first and second to this land and find constructive ways to fashion a national identity that is not race of lanquage or complexion specific, but based on common human values and respects the origin of one and all. Where did I come from should matter less than what I can do for my country and help create a living culture that is dynamic and forward looking and not shackled by our small minds and prejudices. Some people have a convoluted sense of ownership of this country. If I die today what part of this country will I or you take with us. This land has been here for millions of years and will be still here long after we have passed on. So please let us learn to respect one another and spit out this attitude that is preventing us all from creating a new soceity that can be the envy of the world and last a thousand years. Thanks and love to all of my fellow citizens of Canada.

    Gurdip Singh Sahota
    Surrey, BC

    • ''This land has been here for millions of years and will be still here long after we have passed on. So please let us learn to respect one another and spit out this attitude that is preventing us all from creating a new soceity"
      Words of wisdom ! The Truth is not nations or bits of paper with numbers printed on them. Both are merely creations of human mind… but bear no reality except in the heads of most people…. who are ready to act stupid for ideas they never came up with at the first place…
      I also cannot understand those who are naive enough to think that things can stay the way they are. They never do. Change happens all the time… not always for the better but they happen none the less.

  13. Please , learn about. Sikhism , half knowledge is evil. Please study sikhism and judge accordingly. Please dont go by appearace physical.. we wear turban but we are nationalist., thank you

    Ps sikhs fought against evil rohilla rajas too. Evil has no religion . Sat Sri akal

  14. NO MULTIKILTI = NO DOMESTIC TERROR and good things….

    Lets leave our friends in their own countries en-masse. And vacation to see each other. We owe them nothing so why the endless push to accomidate 'others'. Having them in Western countries in large numbers is corrosive to the original societies. We could still have trade/ where deserved respect and love between peoples.

    • LMAO! Western countries can’t live without immigrants. Western countries will starve without them and their tax base. Western countries can’t live without immigrant brains and hard work. Get over it. WORLD is one now. No more boundaries.

  15. Good article. Reasonable accomodation to make integration possible is what multi-culturalism is about. The problem is you get dangerous ignorant conservatives who want new Canadians to ASSIMILATE into a White anglo culture of Hockey, hamburgers and boring music. They don't understand the difference between Assimilate (the American way and what we tried to do to Aboriginals via the disgraceful residential school system) and integrate. Integrate equals participation and mutual respect. Assimilation says "white anglo way or the highway. Eat those hot dogs, listen to Don Cherry spew, put on some more Tommy Hunter. Ain't gonna happen friend. Canada is — happily — much too diverse now. Oh sure the old grouchy white guys from Medicine Hat and Moose Jaw are going to kick and scream for the next dozen years until they're all mowed down by steak fueled heart attacks, but we'll be patient. Canada will never return to the 1950s. Get over it.

  16. Allowing a Sikh to wear a turban while on duty as an RCMP officer was outrageous pandering to our multicultural stupidity. Of course wearing anything Christian was not allowed because it might offend non Christians. That is a reasonable argument but the multicultural bigots allow Sikh, Muslim and any other "minority" to brazenly put their religious belief in everybody's face.
    Immigrants must be prepared to assimilate into Canada's culture. Hyphenated Canadians are not Canadian.
    Insofar as Indians (Firist Nations, Aboriginals, First Peoples–whatever the nonsense word is these days), their culture(s) are dead. They were created to support a way of life that is gone and pretending otherwise is as ridiculous as British people pretending to be Medieval.
    Assigning everyone to a "group" from which some Government determines what rights and privileges you have appeals to the Socialist mindset. This is why the Left embraces the lie of "multiculturalism".

    • I am a military reservist and I have had a Sikh soldier join my infantry unit, he was with us for about a year and a half. He did not wear the unit headdress either; he affixed a cap badge to the front of his turban. He did not shave or trim his beard, as soldiers usually are expected to do.

      I respect religious faiths and cultural traditions, but what about our traditions? The RCMP's stetson is part of OUR identity, it's one of our few pieces of traditional dress. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect Canadians to observe this country's customs when they represent it. My girlfriend is an Indian Sikh born in Canada, and she has found a way to be Canadian and practice her faith without any issues.

      As a sidenote, I always wondered how the Sikh soldier would be able to don a helmet while wearing the turban, or create a proper seal around a bushy beard when he must wear a gasmask. It's impractical to make considerations like that, and Canada's policy must accept the fact that they can't accomodate everything indefinitely.

      • Learn some history. Sikhs dont wear helmet while they fight and they have fought WWI and WWII on European soil and leaving 83000+ dead there. NOBODY questioned turbans when they needed them to be pawns and die in front lines so the Europeans can later on go and claim victory.

    • LMAO! The Aboriginal cultures are dead because they didn’t practice right wing politics like Hitler. They tried to resist but were gunned down.

  17. Strange use of language in Andrew Potter's article. "While Merkel was clearly talking about a very specific, and very German, failure—40 years of abhorrent treatment of its Turkish community—" and "Taking note of the high rates of unemployment, poor educational outcomes, and increasing religiosity in Germany's walled-off Turkish community." Assimilation is not the responsibility of the host country, it is the opportunity of foreign immigrants. Potter implies that the – walled off – reality is created by Germany, and that Canadian aboriginals are – walled off. Neither Canadians nor Germans use guns to contain these communities, yet that is what Potter implies. The wall is created by the Turks. The Sikh turban issue is simply not logical. "While the idea made assimilationists want to chew leather, they failed to understand that the whole point of permitting the turban was to integrate the Sikh community into one of Canada's most visible and important institutions." How can the use of foreign symbols contribute to assimilation? Strange use of language.

    • There was once a small village in Germany. It was once a clean village, but the villagers neglected it because they were busy tending to their businesses and homes. The villagers didn't even want to pick up the garbage on garbage day, so the garbage began to pile up on the curb, drawing flies and rats. Then a group of strange men from a foreign country arrived in town and offered to pick up the garbage; the villagers accepted their offer. Soon the foreigners were hauling away the garbage every week. They were also willing to stomp on the grapes that the villagers grew to make Rhine wine, since the villagers considered this work to be as demeaning as picking up garbage. Because these foreigners, were "different," the villagers told their daughters to stay away from them, so the foreign men sent for foreign wives from back home, and soon there were foreign children in the village as well. When the foreigners erected a shantytown on the village outskirts, the villagers were alarmed. Gangs of young men from the village sometimes beat up the foreigners, but the foreigners stayed and the shantytown grew until it was larger than the village. However, things began to change. A villager who had lived in a big city for many years came home one day and heard two women in head scarves speaking in German at a street corner; they couldn't speak any language but German, they said. He also heard the garbagemen shouting to each other in German. In the fields, he heard the wine workers speaking to each other in German. However, the villagers still considered these people to be foreigners. "They don't fit in," the villagers said. "They don't want to fit in." The Mayor said, "Multi-culturalism has failed. These people should just go back where they came from. What's more, they dress funny." The villager who had been away remembered a time when the foreigners tried to dress like Germans, but that was very long ago. The villagers hadn't accepted them then because they "talked funny"; many of them couldn't even speak German. The villager sighed and said to himself, "Maybe there will come a time when the foreigners neither dress funny nor talk funny, but that may be many years from now." The villager realized that neither his country nor his village would ever be the same again. The world was changing.

  18. ah! such sweet bliss this religion is, making slaves of contrived and argumentative beings ready to swear togetherness as the conclusive result, why dost thou linger in the caves of ignorance so long?

  19. Andrew Potter, congratulations, as usual a great article!

    I loved the word integration, assimilation to me, sounds like the Borg taking over.

  20. 'It's hard to see what Wente is getting at.' Sure, Potter. Politically correct mush on immigration and multiculturalism which this country's elites and chattering classes, especially in Toronto, have been churning out for years if not decades. Nothing new about that. When you decide to start being straightforward about the whole subject, Andrew P., maybe I'll give you a read again; until then, you are on my 'ignore' list.

  21. You totally had me Andrew, until you said introducing sharia law into family law. Sharia law is dangerous to women, who often have no choice or to face terrible consequences if they refuse to submit. Take that one phrase out and it's a good article.

    • Be careful people. Sharia Law says it is okay to beat women. Check it out.

  22. This was an okay article, but boy you're delusional if you think introducing Sharia Law in Canada is a good thing! It's a barbaric law that discriminates against women. Seriously, there's multiculturalism, and then there's that. And you know what? Several muslim experts and priests have said that nowhere in the quran does it say that women have to cover their bodies. This is a barbaric and oppressive measure against women by bigoted, old societies.

    Honestly, I think that Canada should follow in France's example in banning things like full-body covering in public sphere – its a great threat to our security, if nothing else. That's how most of the suicide-bombers operate. Headscarves are one thing, and covering your entire body up to make u unrecognizable is another.

  23. I enjoyed the article & also the bit of comment argumentation regarding the "classic case" of the turban.
    But I think the the "enduring myth" that canada was a mosaic rather than a melting pot is older than the early 70s. John Porter's book The Vertical Mosaic, was published in 1965 from work going back to the 50s. The title signifies his introduction of class analysis to the pre-existing myth.

  24. Wasn't conservative dinosaurs that lined up out the doors at polling stations to make sure a gay man did not become mayor of Toronto. Maybe you should take a closer look at those cultural traditions being imported?

  25. People are aware that Sikhs wore turbans as part of the British military uniform for well over 100 years? If our military traditions are based on British ones, then the turban is part of our military traditions

  26. Canada is like a scenic puzzle. We are building it piece by piece. ALL Pieces are not the same. Some pieces are still needed. If you don’t get this you are already a dinosaur and you and your thinking will join the dodo. ALSO world is one now. No more boundaries. Civility is new religion. Civility must accommodate all. What is the problem? If you can tolerate Jehovas, Scientologists and Mormons then Sikhs shouldn’t be a big problem to swallow.