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

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Friends and family of Sonya Riome, 35, are confirming she died in the fire. (Submitted)
Woman dies in weekend Revelstoke house fire

The fire gutted the property

Above, MLA-elect Doug Clovechok cast his vote early. Photo submitted
MLA-elect Clovechok reflects on election

He’s ready to get to work as an opposition MLA, he says

While Revelstoke has one of the oldest bear awareness societies in the province, the city has yet to implement a community wide bear-proof garbage system. (Submitted)
Saving bears: Revelstoke’s garbage dilemma

More than 400 bears have been killed in the city since 1986

Your Columbia River Revelstoke candidates; Nicole Cherlet (NDP); Samson Boyer (Green) and Doug Clovechok (BC Liberal). The polls are closed and ballots being counted. (File photo)
BC VOTES: Clovechok preliminary winner with 52 per cent of the vote

35 of 77 polls have reported and The Canadian Press is calling Clovechok winner

Firefighters and RCMP are on scene at a fire on Douglas Street. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
PHOTOS: Firefighters battling blaze on Douglas Street

RCMP are also on scene and blocking off access to the street

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media file)
Penticton RCMP cleared of wrongdoing after man seriously injured in custody

B.C.’s police watchdog found no evidence of harm caused by police in Sept. 21 incident

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

Apex Mountain Resort received 35 centimetres of fresh snow over the weekend, prompting some to head out for some early season turns. (Apex Mountain Resort / Facebook)
Stay off the mountain: Apex warns of early season dangers

Recreational use of the mountain before opening day comes with serious risks

Armstrong’s Christyna Whieldon is $1M richer after scoring a winning Lotto 6/49 ticket from the general store. (BCLC contributed)
Armstrong mom $1M richer after candy run

Christyna Whieldon bought a winning ticket from Armstrong’s general store

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

An Instagram post from Matty Rebman shows his injuries as well as a plea to the driver who struck him. (Instagram/Matty Rebman)
Hit and run kills dog, severely injures West Kelowna man

The car was abandoned but police could not locate its driver

The Penticton Indian Band is opposing any hunting of local big horn sheep which are an at-risk population. (submitted photo)
Penticton Indian Band oppose big horn sheep hunts

Local big horn sheep are an at-risk population

Most Read