Culture Issues in Canada (a short, subjective survey)

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Transcript of Culture Issues in Canada (a short, subjective survey)

  • Slide 1
  • Culture Issues in Canada (a short, subjective survey)
  • Slide 2
  • Part I: Reasonable Accommodation How far should society go in accommodating the beliefs and practices of others? What are the limits of tolerance and diversity?
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  • Early in 2007, the town of Hrouxville adopted a set of standards aimed at new immigrants, spelling out what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. Hrouxville, Quebec Population: 1338 Immigrant families: 1
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  • So that future residents can integrate socially more easily, we have decided, unanimously, to make public certain standards already in place and very well anchored in the lives of our electors
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  • No stoning women or burning them alive No burning them with acid In our families, boys and girls eat together at the same table and eat the same food. In our swimming pools, men and women swim together We listen to music, we drink alcoholic beverages, we dance At the end of every year we decorate a tree with balls and tinsel and some lights.
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  • On TV, the councillor responsible for the document said the Quebec government should declare a state of emergency to protect Quebec culture from distortion by foreign pressures.
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  • Of course, the town has been criticized
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  • [video]
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  • But Hrouxville has also received much support, and the issue of reasonable accomodation is now at the centre of Quebec politics. Opposition party that supports Hrouxville goes from 4 seats to 41 in recent elections the Parti Quebecois proposes a law of Quebec Citizenship making voting rights dependent on French- language ability Quebec Government launches Reasonable Accomodation Commission to report and advise on the issue
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  • other examples/controversies: A Montreal gym was asked to frost its windows so women exercising wouldn't be visible to men at a neighbouring synagogue Requests are made for separate gender swim times at public pools. New Canadian law says Muslim women in full veil must uncover before being allowed to vote (and yet people are allowed to vote by mail, without ever showing their face)
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  • Instead of careful reflection on these questions, the tensions increase. The phrase of the times is Enough is enough!
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  • all complexities and subtleties are swept aside.
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  • These are debates about: the limits of tolerance what constitutes an identity cultural traditions and human rights personal freedom and social solidarity
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  • and as the first planetary civilization continues to form, these debates will only get stronger.
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  • Part II Oh Canada : Our Home and Native Land
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  • Canada is said to have two founding Nations: the British and the French > But there were many Nations here long before they arrived. The lack of resolution to the just grievances of the First Nations is Canadas No.1 human rights problem
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  • one example: Six Nations The Six Nations is a confederacy of Native nations. Tired of waiting for the Courts to decide on the status of their land claim, in Feb 2006, members of Six Nations took over land being developed and set up a reclamation camp.
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  • When police tried to remove them by force, more Natives came in support and drove the police away. They have been holding their ground ever since.
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  • While the camp has largely been the site of an uneasy peace, there have been serious incidents of violence.
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  • The Ontario and Federal governments have set up a team to deal with the issue, but negotiations go slow. area claimed by Six Nations actual Six Nations reserve There is much at stake.
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  • Humanist Movement: rally for Six Nations
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  • some statistics: Just 4% of Canada's aboriginal population has a university degree. Nearly 50% of those who are of working age have not completed high school. The rate of suicide among Native youth is 5-6 times higher than the national average.
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  • Canada has a great deal of experience with diversity and multiculturalism 1 in 5 people in Canada are foreign-born Nearly 50% of people in Toronto are foreign-born (the most diverse city in the world: UNESCO)
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  • And yet we still have not reconciled with our First Nations.
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  • No doubt, North America still has much to learn about true diversity and true solidarity. But with all our experience positive and negative we also have much to contribute
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  • and that contribution is ours to make.