Sunday, December 27, 2015

Let's Not Feel Smug



After almost 10 years' dalliance with darkness, Canadians certainly have no reason to feel smug. That we survived with our core values intact, something I was far from certain would be the case should, however, be a source of pride. A story in today's Star makes the case quite nicely, I think.

Contrasting Canada and France's welcome and integration of Muslims is instructive:
Canada ranks among the best countries in the world for integration, according to the 2015 Migrant Integration Policy Index, a study of 38 developed countries. Canada scored highly — No. 6 — for its open job market, pathway to citizenship, investment in language training, settlement services, cultural diversity and training programs. The government has pilot programs in specialized language training, helping newcomers strengthen language skills in occupational areas so they can get jobs that reflect their qualifications.
Jeffrey Reitz, a University of Toronto sociologist, found that while employment rates for recently arrived Muslim women in Canada are low at first, and they are less likely to work outside the home, they catch up over time.

“Group differences fade for those with more than 10 years in Canada, and completely disappear for their children born here,” he noted. “This is not the case in France.”
The same cannot be said for France, a fact that some suggest is one of the causes of the country's homegrown jihadism.
In contrast, even French-born Muslim women in France are 13 per cent less likely to find work than the mainstream population, said Reitz. He attributes the discrepancy, in part, to the French ban on wearing head scarves in public. “The ban is punitive and ends up pushing more people into poverty,” he says.

The November terror attacks in France highlight again how vital it is for host societies to ensure newcomers and their families can succeed.

Success, in turn, may be the perfect antidote to second-generation Islamic radicalization.
A country must always guard against hubris, often a pathway to the kind of jingoistic imperialism that so hobbles countries like the United States. A modest national pride, however, is a totally different matter, and one we should all embrace.

10 comments:

  1. Success, mostly in finding employment, is key to minimizing those in our society who would turn to violence or crime, Lorne, no matter what age, religion or ethnic origin. Unfortunately there is much to be done to assist people with finding gainful employment, particularly amongst our youth, the frustration of constant rejection cannot be discounted when considering such matters.

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    1. I agree completely, Rural and, of course, it is a source of frustration for all youth. they are far too valuable a resource to sacrifice to the forces of neoliberalism that currently engulf us.

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  2. Once again, Lorne, we are reminded that the mosaic is better than the melting pot.

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    1. It enriches us all, Owen, no matter what the forces of the extreme right might otherwise suggest.

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  3. Lorne, you are so right. We have reasons to be proud. Trudeau's commitment to bring in refugees is very encouraging.

    Even in Trudeau's Cabinet there are quite a few minorities including a Muslim. The Muslim Minister (female) is from Afghanistan.

    We got rid of our Donald Trump/Harper and hopefully we are safe from such crazies some time to come.

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    1. I think the key to protecting ourselves from the crazies, LD, lies in the nurturing of our democracy. Never again should we take it for granted.

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  4. It always gave me a good feeling, Lorne, to see how well east Indian youth integrated with white kids in Vancouver. Chinese newcomers seemed more reluctant to assimilate,choosing to keep to themselves. Perhaps they're culturally predisposed to resist assimilation. Some of the harshest comments I heard about these Chinese newcomers were from Canadian-born, ethnic Chinese. They seemed to resent the newcomers who arrived here very rich while their own ancestors had arrived in relative poverty.

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    1. A very interesting distinction that they make, Mound. It sounds like time and succeeding generations will ultimately lower any resistance to acclimation and assimilation into the larger Canadian society.

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  5. Lorne, Pierre Trudeau said,that there is no such thing as an ideal Canadian and that to call someone an all Canadian boy or girl was absurd. That kind of uniformity he said breeds intolerance and hatred. Trudeau did not believe in a melting pot, he believed in a mosaic, in multiculturism. His vision was of a country where people of different languages, races, religions and traditions could live together and thrive. These were not just words to him, he walked the walk when he created the Multiculturalism Act. I don't think any other country had done this. Trudeau was indeed ahead of his time. When I look back and see how Trudeau defined Canada as a multicultural country, I realize how far reaching that was. He not only supported multiculturalism, he embraced it as part of our identity.The consequences of trudeaus multicultural vision served toward eradicting racism and tribalism, the root causes in part of humans destroying humans. When the day comes when we have built a world where we see people of other races, not as lesser beings, but as our brothers and sisters, then we can start to call ourselves civilized. While Canada still has a long way to go , I think, none the less, has come closer then most nations, to achieving this.This goal is an ongoing process in our democracy, one that Harper attempted to destroy, including the legacy of the man who started this process, Pierre Trudeau. Harper didn't succeed.

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    1. While there were a number of things I objected to about Pierre Trudeau, Pamela, your points about his multicultural policy bent is well-taken. To me, even though we often fall short, Canada is a country that can serve as a model of tolerance and the embrace of people from around the world. The fact that we rejected the hateful and divisive policies of the Harper cabal speaks well of us as a nation, and it certainly restored my faith in my fellow Canadians, a faith that was often sorely tested for almost 10 years.

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