ndigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett

BC VIEWS: Yes Justin, Canadian culture exists

Justin Trudeau has declared Canada a 'post-national state' with no identity, beyond being nice to each other

Our national fixation on the unlikely ascent of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency has taken Canadians back to a familiar place, where our southern neighbour’s business drowns out our own.

It’s been 45 years since Pierre Trudeau established the Metric Commission to convert this country to the world standard of scientific measurement, and the job is nowhere near complete. Two generations on, I’ve met few Canadians who know their own weight and height in kilograms and centimetres, or could understand a police suspect description using metric measures.

Why? America won’t let us. Their culture rules ours, without even trying.

While Trump-mania and Trump-phobia fill Canadian news media, life here goes on quietly.

A gaggle of Conservative candidates held their first leadership debate amid the Trumpeting down south last week. I searched national media, and there was basically one story reported: that nasty ex-cabinet minister Kellie Leitch is still talking about screening immigrants to Canada.

OMG, as the young people say. We have our very own racist demagogue. This ambitious pediatric surgeon wants immigration candidates screened for “Canadian values,” a term that causes our city media to pounce. Finally, a Trump angle!

Before you grab a torch and pitchfork, here’s a bit of background. Canada has one of the highest immigration rates in the world. It increased under the Conservative government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau aims to increase it some more. That’s good, not just for cultural diversity but for a population and economy that would be shrinking without it.

Currently, immigrants to Canada are screened for employment skills and given written tests of English or French proficiency. Few are interviewed, and certainly there is no systematic effort to determine if they favour throwing gay people off rooftops or treating women as livestock, to name two current immigration challenges.

Should we consider such screening? You’re not even allowed to bring that up in polite company. It’s like questioning the extent and causes of climate change. Shame on you.

In a December profile on Canada’s new prime minister, the New York Times Magazine recounts Trudeau’s thoughts on the country he now leads: “There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada,” Trudeau said. “There are shared values — openness, respect, compassion, willingness to work hard, to be there for each other, to search for equality and justice. Those qualities are what make us the first post-national state.”

If there is no unique Canadian culture or identity, Canadian “values” can only consist of a generic niceness, as per Trudeau’s list. We’re “post-national” now, and that’s why we’re cool.

So forget about the Huron Carol, and Sudbury Saturday Night and Margaret Atwood and Leonard Cohen. Forget the art of Bill Reid, son of an American man and a Haida woman.

Forget Canada’s proud military history. We’re “peacekeepers” again, hall monitors to the world.

And whatever you do, don’t go trying to fashion some sort of “core identity” out of this old-stock Canadian stuff. That would be racist.

The younger Trudeau at least comes by this nonsense honestly. It’s part of the DNA of the federal Liberal Party, stemming from the elder Trudeau’s multiculturalism project.

Defending that project in 1995 was Sheila Finestone, multiculturalism and status of women minister in the Jean Chrétien government. “In my view, there isn’t any one Canadian identity,” Finestone said. “Canada has no national culture.”

This is an odd position for a Canadian politician to take, as Ottawa spends ever-larger sums on the CBC and the arts, in a losing struggle to keep Canadian identity alive.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

 

Just Posted

Fog in Victoria affects at least four airlines

Oct. 23 is the fourth day in last week fog has cancelled flights

Retail development Sidney Crossing cancelled due to construction costs

Cost-sharing agreement couldn’t be reached for required pedestrian bridge

PHOTOS: Bear fishes for salmon in Goldstream Park

Each fall thousands of vistors head to the park to watch the annual salmon spawn

Man convicted in 1978 Victoria killing dismissed of murder charges in U.S.

Tommy Ross Jr. expected to be released from Clallam County jail after 40 years behind bars

Athlete who survived head-on collision offers GameChanger award for women

Victoria woman competed in an Ironman two years after doctors told her she wouldn’t walk

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

Mega Millions, Powerball prizes come down to math, long odds

Biggest myth: The advertised $1.6 billion Mega Millions prize and $620 million Powerball prize aren’t quite real

2 Canadians advance to finals at world wrestling championships

Olympic champion Erica Wiebe just missed joining them with a loss 3-1 to three-time world champion Adeline Gray of the United States in the 76-kg event

VIDEO: Fire destroys historic small-town B.C. restaurant

Two people were injured as fire ripped through the Hedley restaurant around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday

B.C. town’s mayoral race a tie, come down to luck of the draw

Harry Gough led incumbent Cindy Fortin by one vote on election night Saturday

Outdoor retailer MEC vows to boost diversity after online complaint

Mountain Equipment Co-op was criticized for perpetuating a white-only picture of the outdoors

Trump vilifies caravan, says he’ll cut Central American aid

Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the Guatemala-Mexico border, about 5,000 Central American migrants resumed their advance toward the U.S. border Sunday in southern Mexico.

Federal carbon tax rebates will exceed the cost for most people affected

Officials say 70 per cent of people in those provinces will get back more than they end up paying out as fuel costs rise to incorporate the carbon tax.

Rotating strike in Toronto will have ‘significant impact,’ says Canada Post

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities.

Most Read