Tag Archives: mosaic

Maybe Canada is a melting pot afterall?

19 Mar

For as long as I can remember, we have used the word “mosaic” to describe the way people can keep their cultural beliefs and traditions when they come to Canada to live.
This is in contrast to our neighbours to the south, who have been referred to as the “melting pot” – a place where you leave your culture at the door and become American.

However, I’ve been wondering if we still truly deserve the description we feel so strongly (and maybe, to be honest, a bit superior) about. Here are a few things that “make me go hmmmm”:
The Quebec judge’s refusal to hear a woman’s case because she was wearing the hijab. And the lack of repercussions.
The Federal Government wanting to challenge the Supreme Court’s decision overturning a ban on the wearing of the niqab for citizenship ceremonies.
And this week, Ontario MP Larry Miller’s words: “stay the hell where you came from.”
– all examples of Islamophobia, by the way.

Maybe the only difference between Canada and the USA is that they admit that they want people to assimilate, while we still hold firm to the illusion that we are a mosaic that welcomes all people as they are.

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copyright 2015 Annemarie Shrouder
Speaker and facilitator on issues of Diversity and Inclusion.


Oh God!

1 Feb

A couple of weeks ago I received an email suggesting that CBC had opened the debate about keeping “God” in the Canadian National Anthem, and most of those polled were in favour.

My reaction: “Really?!” (But a weary one.)

Whether or not this is actually true (and I wasn’t able to find it when I googled) someone took the time to craft an email about this topic, include poll statistics, and ask people to forward it if they agreed.  Again, really?!

It reminded me of the CBC program I heard at the end of November. It was in response to the public outcry at what was deemed an inappropriate Remembrance Day program that included other wars and Other people’s experiences. The Other is capitalized on purpose. What I heard that day was an awful lot of xenophobia thinly disguised as holding on to tradition.

Listen people. We are either in or we are out. We are either working on a multicultural, inclusive country, or we are not. But we can’t espouse to be tolerant (Oh how I hate that word) and accepting and then choose when it’s convenient. We can’t proudly talk about how the mosaic is better than the melting pot to the South and then choose which parts of the fabric feel okay to us.

It doesn’t work that way. But so often this is exactly what happens. Whether it’s about whose stories and pain belong to Remembrance Day or if God should still be in the anthem, the bottom line is this: we haven’t figured out how to live together yet in a way that values all of us. But we keep patting ourselves on the back like we have.

Until we take a good hard look at that, we will continue to be a living breathing example of the difference between diversity and inclusion.

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Copyright 2012 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity & inclusion.

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