An important new book on a hot subject

(Canscene) In the midst of the debate on Canadian multiculturalism and whither it’s bound comes a timely book from Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

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A “must” read
It’s Uneasy Partners, and I’m not going to review it here in the conventional way. I’m just going to tell you that if you have a genuine interest in the future of Canada this book is essential reading. It’s a searching examination of Canadian multiculturalism. Note, “Canadian” rather than the sloppily dubbed multicuturalism now under fire in so many other countries.

Uneasy Partners has an introduction by former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iaccobucci and contributions by the likes of: Janice Gross Stein who heads the Munk Institute of International Studies, Toronto Star columnist Haroon Siddiqui and Canada’s dean of multiculturalists Professor Will Kymlicka of Queen’s University.

What amazes me is the fact that the contributors present their examination of the subject in clear prose making this the dead opposite of most books on policy issues.

Canadian multiculturalism unique
All the authors recognize that Canadian multiculturalism, backed by a policy statement (1971) support in the Charter of Rights (1982) and an Act of Parliament (1988) is different from what is perceived as multiculturalism in Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and other European countries. (And would Dr Stein please note that the Act was passed into law in 1988 and not, as she implies, in 1985.)

Some of the arguments are provocative but in spite of its title, the authors steer clear of the cut and thrust of heated debate. Their unease really stems from the contrarian views expressed by lesser minds, absorbed by a search for a Canadian identity based on a procrustean idea of basing it on selected— and frequently biased — 20th century values

If you believe the Canadian concept of multiculturalism is worth preserving — and what would be the alternative? — this book offers eight viewpoints that pave the way.

At $24.95 Uneasy Partners should be read by every Canadian who values the future of this country.
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One Response to “An important new book on a hot subject”

  1. Bill Andersen Says:

    It is thanks to your article that I became aware of this book, Ben, and I agree completely with you about its value and importance. I would like to add that it is not only a “must-read”, it is also a stimulating pleasure to read.

    The essays get at the very essence of this country and offer a quick way to appreciate the uniqueness of Canada, both in its historical roots and in its ongoing struggle to “do multiculturalism” in a way that works for all of us.

    It’s refreshing to read about real issues and to consider reasoned arguments about frictions that often generate more heat than light. Best of all, the book reveals how damned interesting this country is!

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