Originally published in 2008.
In the past on Perlocutionary we have had some discussions of Canadian multiculturalism (here) and have worried about the relationship between multiculturalism and faith based initiatives, some of which seem to be in conflict with the basic principles of our Canadian approach to a liberal democracy with its guarantees of individual freedom and human rights. Attempts to fund all religious schools with public money lost the Conservatives the recent election in Ontario even though public money is already being used there to sponsor Catholic and Jewish schools. To deny similar funding to Muslim schools seems discriminatory. Conservative Muslim groups came close to establishing “Sharia” law for family law disputes in Ontario. Since 9/11 there have been deep concerns about what is being taught in faith based schools.
How should we proceed in attempting to maximize individual freedom while protecting values of tolerance and equality?
Philosophy Professor Will Kymlicka has thought long and hard about these problems. He recently gave a lecture at UBC which is available for a short time on the CBC Ideas podcast page. It is an excellent review of our uniquely Canadian approach to multiculturalism and suggests that we will be able to cope with the new stresses without giving up on important values.
Since its adoption in 1971, multiculturalism policy in Canada has encouraged the self-organization and representation of ethno-cultural minorities. But this has changed over time, as issues of race and religion have emerged. In the 2008 UBC-Laurier Institution Multicultural Lecture, Will Kymlicka, Canada Research Chair in Philosophy at Queen’s University, explores how multiculturalism has evolved.
R̶i̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶c̶l̶i̶c̶k̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶D̶o̶w̶n̶l̶o̶a̶d̶ ̶T̶h̶e̶ ̶T̶h̶r̶e̶e̶ ̶L̶i̶v̶e̶s̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶M̶u̶l̶t̶i̶c̶u̶l̶t̶u̶r̶a̶l̶i̶s̶m̶
There are also several newsletters on topic available at Professor Kymlicka’s web site. Further resources: