Has Multiculturism gone too far?
Opinion by Barry Artiste Now Public Contributor Now Public Readers I am sure have been reading various stories Pro and Con in the media about Multiculturism. We all have differences of opinions, I am pretty much Pro in all respects as long as it does not promote hate against any human being. It is also unfair to paint all cultures with the same Bad Brush, based on the examples of a few. My opinon is in regards to the Ottawa Sun story "Oath of Allegiance an Insult". Torontonian and Lawyer Charles Roach wants to launch a class-action lawsuit against taking an oath to an "offshore queen," arguing that the mandatory oath is a violation of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms' provision of freedom of conscience. Mr. Charles Roach happens to be a non-Canadian, but long time permanent resident of Canada. This week I was listening to CKNW 98 "Adler Online" interviewing Charles Roach, who compared loyalty to the off shore Queen is similar to Canadians giving a loyalty oath to a descendant of Hitler and then implied immigrants to Canada have to change our western society values and culture and adopt aspects of the worlds immigrant culture and values. Perhaps that is Mr. Roach's spin on what multiculturalism is all about. During this interview Mr. Adler (who could not get a word edge wise and sounding visibly upset) finally had enough, stating Mr. Roach, "Man to Man" and repeating to Mr.Roach many times, Sir, Sir, SIR, I am really, really trying to contain myself here...... finally Mr. Adler ended the interview with no solution in sight. Callers across the nation to the show were furious at Mr. Roach, telling him to go back to the West Indies. Last month’s Sikh festival which featured Terrorist organizations banned in Canada and attended by Canadian Politicians of every political stripe speaks volumes of how “Unclear of the concept” some Canadians are, especially our Politicians. The downside is Sikhs who had nothing to do with the terrorist aspect (By a few who spoiled it for the rest of the festival participants) of this festival were all branded with the same brush, when all they were doing is celebrating a legitimate cultural holiday, much like Saint Patricks, Chinese New Years, Jean Baptiste, Canada Day, my Birthday etc.. The media correctly pointed out the terrorist link to the Air India Bombing at this festival, asked Politicians did they notice this obvious link? To be fair the media should have mentioned that not all in attendance were celebrating terrorism, they were just ordinary Canadians having a good time to party. Another instance is Herouxville, Quebec. My friend Andre Drouin, Town Councilor and Royal Military College graduate (and ex army college bunk mate and friend of General (now Senator) Romeo Daillaire) drafted a Town Charter at the request of Herouxville citizens, stating all immigrants are welcome to live as valued citizens to Herouxville, with the caveat that Immigrants must not try and change Herouxvilles 200-year old established Judeo-Christian way of life and adapt to the Towns laws and moral codes drafted by the citizens of Herouxville. The media, public, and politicians went ballistic on Herouxville calling them racist. Yet the Town Charter (In French) clearly stated all are welcome regardless to race. Andre's values are similar to his friend Romeo Dailliare, Andre has not a racist bone in his body, and was quite distressed at these charges of racism. With the spate of honour killings in Canada, Sharia Law being considered in Ontario following a Toronto Imam stating on National TV on the Michael Coren show that it is okay for Muslims to behead women in Canada for adultery and stated that all of Canada should embrace these values of Islam under Sharia Law, media reports of abuses of women culturally and non culturally in Canada. Again all Muslims are unfairly painted with the same radical Islamic brush. Herouxville citizens (who are mostly simple rural folk) decided they wanted no part in cultures wishing Canada adapt to their customs and beliefs and stated they wish immigrants adapt to their way of life, much like "All are Welcome to Rome", when in Rome, live as Roman,contribute to Rome, be a cherished and valued member of Rome, you are now considered a Roman citizen, regardless of your race or belief....,Corny to some, but that is the wish of Herouxville citizens and councilors abided by their wishes and implemented a citizen drafted town charter. Anyway long story short, in view of all the turmoil this caused, Andre asked me to review their French Language Town Charter and translate it into English. Though some aspects of the Town Charter I did not agree with. I did and posted it verbatim on their Website and Blog. Though I may not agree with people, including my closest friends who are of all cultural, political, religious beliefs, I will always respect their opinions and rights to live as Canadians. When first meeting my friends, and my friends first meeting me, we did not immediately ask if we were Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Gay, our Race, Beliefs Culture, Straight, Vegan, Carnivores, NDP or Conservative, all of these previously mentioned are my close friends,we are law abiding, we became friends first,later learning after their beliefs and sexual orientation did not change a thing, These are friends, some of whom I have known since childhood, too late to change friends,we respect each others opinion and beliefs and I would not change my friends for anything. That is what loyalty and friendship is all about. My final thoughts: My view is if an immigrant or Canadian does not wish to take an Oath to the Queen of my Country, fine, that is your right, you must take an oath for “Loyalty to Canada” and be a law-abiding and contributing citizen to this country, that is all I ask. My Queen, though a figurehead and Monarch to Canada is one of our Constitution, Heritage and deserves our Respect, so do not compare my Queen to a descendant of Hitler, or my friend Andre as a Racist, or denigrate my right to swear allegiance to my Queen and Country,or try and implement your country’s laws into our country’s laws. You were obviously attracted to this country, Canada, either for Freedom of Persecution from your own countries oppressive laws or for the opportunity for a better life for you or your children, so Canada must be doing something right, why change it?. Canada does not force anyone to immigrate here, you came here of your own free will. So please remember “When in Rome”……………. Just respect my rights as a Citizen of Canada, as I will always respect yours as a Canadian. Ottawa Sun Story on "Oath of Allegiance an Insult" www.ottawasun.com
Michael Coren's televised interview (Now on You Tube) with Toronto Imam and President of the Canadian Islamic Council Dr.Mohamed Elmasry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OTfacRDBJo
National Post Columnist Diane Francis and Christine Blatchfords response to Dr.Elmasry
Resulting in the Herouxville English Town Charter