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Canada: Bernier’s problems with multiculturalism cannot be dismissed

Monday 29 July 2019, by siawi3

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]


Bernier’s problems with multiculturalism cannot be dismissed

Tarek Fatah

Published: July 26, 2019 Updated: July 26, 2019 4:45 PM EDT

Photo: People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier speaks from a podium at an announcement in Toronto on June 21, 2019.Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS

On Wednesday, Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, announced his party’s platform on immigration, calling for a 50% cut in the annual number of immigrants admitted.

Justifying this massive cut, Bernier cited figures from a 2011 study by the Fraser Institute that said the net “cost” to Canada per immigrant was $6,051, estimating an annual burden of about $24 billion. He told the cheering audience, that “is a lot of money.”

He then opined that “one reason for this is that immigrants generally have lower wages than non-immigrants” and thus pay less tax.

In arriving at his figure of $24 billion, Bernier did not take into account the fact that immigration is a way of importing consumers without paying a penny to the society that manufactured us. We are the only goods that arrive duty free with no price tag.

When I arrived as an immigrant, Canada paid zero for my degree in biochemistry and 20 years of experience as a journalist and advertising copywriter. Neither did my wife’s postgraduate degree in English Literature cost a penny to the Canadian taxpayer, yet we were both contributing to the economy of Canada as taxpaying consumers and renters from day one.

Having said that, it would be foolish to outright dismiss Bernier’s very sincere fears about the integration of immigrants like me into Canadian society. It is true that most of us who come to Canada from developing countries in Asia and Africa arrive with religious-cultural baggage that includes archaic values bordering on racism, tribalism, casteism and superstitions that have little to do with the values that shaped Canada in the last 400 years of Western civilization.

Bernier said, “in the past, immigrants who came here gradually integrated into our society. They kept some aspects of the culture of their country of origin, of course. And that influenced and changed our society. They became Canadian, but with a distinct flavour.”

“This is a type of multiculturalism that enriches our society. And it is perfectly fine,” he added.

However, Bernier expressed a problem with immigrants “living permanently in an enclave apart from the larger Canadian society,” a problem he said that gets exasperated by “being officially encouraged by the government to continue to do so rather than to integrate into Canadian society and adopt Canadian culture and values.”

A nation must be based on a sense of belonging, of participating in a common national project, sharing the same values, being different from the rest of the world.

As an example, Bernier cited the way ‘ethnic politics’ has become the norm among Canada’s political parties. “They don’t talk to Canadians. They address themselves to ethnic voting blocs. To Ukrainian Canadians, Italian Canadians, Chinese Canadians, Muslim Canadians, Sikh Canadians.”

Bernier is right to point out this slow disintegration of Canadian society into vote banks. As he said, “even our foreign policy now depends on appealing to these ethnic political clienteles, instead of being based on the interests of Canada as a whole.”

The Multiculturalism Act must be revoked for the simple reason that not all cultures are equal. The culture that treats my autistic daughter with the utmost respect, love and care is not equal to the culture that treats autistic children as a punishment by God for sins committed by others.

The culture that calls for slaying gays, permits polygamy, and imprisons women in black burkas is medieval and misogynist and is certainly not equal to the culture of gender equity and LGBTQ rights.

Bernier is right when he told his party faithful: “Among the threats to our values and way of life is political Islam, or Islamism, the fastest-growing and most dangerous radical ideology in the world today.”

Canadians dismiss Bernier’s fears at their own peril.