The Canadian Multicultural Model
Session Title: The Canadian ulticulrural Model
Session Organizer: Haroon Siddiqui, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Ryerson University
While xenophobia grips parts of Europe and the U.S., especially under Trump, Canada remains the only G7 nation to maintain national consensus on (a) relatively high levels of non-discriminatory immigration as an essential tool of national prosperity and (b) pluralism as a precious national asset. Canada has an enviable record of integrating newcomers, whom it treats as potential citizens and hence worthy of respect and dignity. While the U.S. and Europe are deeply divided over Muslims, refugees in particular, Canadians welcomed 35,000 Syrian refugees in 2016 alone, with the loudest public complaint being that the federal government was slow to process privately-sponsored refugees.
This is not to say that Canada has erased racism, systemic discrimination or bigotry. It has Islamophobia, fanned, among others, by two governments, in Quebec by the Parti Quebecois and at the national level by the Conservatives under Stephen Harper. But both were trounced in elections, replaced by parties that explicitly advanced the politics of inclusion.
This session calls for papers that engage with pioneering debates in constitutional multiculturalism, citizenship, diaspora politics, multiple identities, media portrayal of minorities, the politics equal dignity of individuals and groups, reasonable accommodation of differences, especially by both public and private institutions, and what constitutes the right balance between a) individual and collective rights, b) freedom of religion and the secular common good, c) security and civil liberties, and d) free speech and freedom from hate.
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