by Barbara Kay
Last week the Post published excerpts from the new guidebook issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. I was asked by a radio talk show host what difference the guidebook would make in terms of my own writing on issues the new text raised, especially the section on gender relations, one of my niche topics. I replied that I would still be saying exactly what I have always said, but now that the government’s official position is the same as mine, I won’t have to feel defensive anymore. I was thinking specifically of the passage in the section “The Equality of Women and Men” (note the word order) where the guidebook says: “Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, ‘honour killings,’… or other gender-based violence.”
Barbaric? Barbaric? That’s a judgment — a negative judgment — of other people’s cultural practices. We may have arrived at a watershed moment in the history of multiculturalism. Indeed, this may be our official policy of multiculturalism’s “tear-down-this-wall” moment. It may even soon be possible to say that multiculturalism has failed as a national policy without being labelled a racist.