It would be a lot easier to debate the tough cases of Canadian multiculturalism if people understood how the system actually works. That includes everyone from taxi drivers and barbers to those who spend their time trolling the comment boards of political blogs or loitering around the virtual water-coolers of social media. It includes radio and television hosts, editorialists and pundits. And it also includes the Citizenship and Immigration minister himself, Jason Kenney, who last week announced that henceforward, anyone who takes the oath of citizenship must do so unveiled and uncovered.Read it here. Thanks to pogge.
Announcing the new policy in Montreal, Kenney said that it is "a matter of pure principle, which lies at the heart of our identity and values with respect to openness and equality." The citizenship ceremony, he went on, "defines who we are as Canadians including our mutual responsibilities to one another and a shared commitment to values that are rooted in our history."
For conservatives, a Canadian immigration minister using words like "we" and "our" and making forceful references to "shared values" is like the scene in A Fish Called Wanda where Kevin Kline seduces Jamie Lee Curtis with his cannonball Italian: you could hear the moans of ecstasy of the right-wing pundits from Tofino to Torbay.
For the rest of us, it is another lost opportunity for our leaders to educate Canadians about how their country functions, what holds it together, and how we can think about how to reasonably accommodate newcomers. Because here's the plain truth: Canadians don't have shared values. We never have, and we never will. But that's not a problem, because the ongoing cohesion of Canadian society is not seriously threatened by deep pluralism. If it was, we would never have got past the sectarian, linguistic, and cultural divides of the 19th century.
memo to jason kenney: that's not how multiculturalism works
Another take on Jason Kenney's bigotry, by Andrew Potter of the Ottawa Citizen.