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

More B.C. ambulance service needed in the North: Hospital chief of staff

Fort St. James physicians talk about the need for easier access to healthcare

Broken axle caused New Hazelton train derailment: TSB

It could happen again without a different way to inspect trains

Cullen remains uncertain about political future

Says he’ll make decision in early March

Terrace resident’s bill banning single-use plastics introduced in Ottawa

MP Nathan Cullen’s presented Ben Korving’s private member’s bill Wednesday

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

Most Read