Diversity is only part of the equation

By: Candice Malcolm

August 14, 2018 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is known for his pithy one-liners and perfect soundbite platitudes. In the face of an illegal border crisis, a bizarre policy to “de-radicalize” and “re-integrate” ISIS terrorists, and growing skepticism over increasing immigration while neglecting Canada’s once-strong integration policies, Trudeau responds with the same simplistic response.

“Diversity is our strength.”

What exactly does he mean by “diversity”? What about less desirable types of diversity, such as diversity of core values? Or diverse moral codes, where some Canadians do not value women’s rights or the rights of the LGBT community? What about those who believe group rights ought to supercede the individual rights and freedoms guaranteed through the charter?

Diversity of core values, beliefs and culture can easily create societal fractures, and put our coveted peace and stability at risk.  

Is Canada simply a United Nations of different people with different values and different moral codes? How are we, then, to deal with the corruption that plagues the UN itself, including vile anti-Semitism, a failed consensus on what constitutes basic human rights, and a lack of an agreed upon authority to enforce laws and norms?

Canada’s defacto policy of ever more immigration and ever more diversity was the subject of a now-controversial Twitter essay by Conservative Member of Parliament Maxime Bernier.

Bernier argues that an endless drive for diversity, with no emphasis on what it means to be Canadian, will push us towards division and balkanization. He asks, “if anything and everything is Canadian, does being Canadian mean something?” And he goes on to raise a concern I’ve raised many times — what will happen to a tolerant and liberal society if it welcomes, en masse, individuals with illiberal and intolerant beliefs, practices and traditions?

Despite the predictable pearl-clutching from the Liberal media, and the one-sided rush to condemn Bernier for wrongthink, the Beauce MP raises an important, dare I say obvious, criticism of Trudeau’s open-border mantra and obsession with diversity for diversity’s sake.

It’s especially relevant since, in an interview with the New York Times magazine, Trudeau said he believes there is “no core identity” and “no mainstream in Canada,” describing his vision of our country as the world’s first “post-national state.”

Pluralistic nation-states have long existed, Canada being a prime example. And the basic notions that tie our society together are based not on our differences, which are many, but on the commonalities that unite us.

It is our common features — languages, history, traditions, laws, shared culture and values — that form the basis of a pluralistic nation-state. This is the “core identity” of our nationhood. In addition to this basic consensus, individuals and communities are free to engage in their own religion and traditions — all the things that make Canada a wonderful, interesting and unique place to live.

In pluralistic societies like Canada, we do not derive our identity from our racial, religious or ethnic origin — unlike most countries in the world. We derive our identity from shared values. And yet, increasingly in Canada, we are forbidden from articulating or discussing what these values may entail.

Trudeau seems to think we should not have core values, or perhaps, that we already lack them.

And Trudeau’s vision for Canada is to go even further; to rid ourselves of any unifying identity, and to graduate to a sophisticated, cosmopolitan, post-national state of Leftist global citizens.

Trudeau’s post-national state would presumably mean the end of the uniting institutions that foster nationhood; instead, we would be a state with many nations, many enclaves and many identities, which happen to live side by side, in the territory known as Canada. The United (or perhaps Divided) Nations of Canada.

But in Trudeau’s diverse, post-national utopia, would there be a shared identity? Would our laws be commonly agreed upon and equally enforced? Without a commitment to nationhood, how would governments command legitimacy, and would our communities live in peace?

Without our shared institutions, and universal trust in them, what would be left of Canada? Without a basic consensus and mutually agreed upon rule of law, the legitimacy of a country is called into question. That’s how you get a failed state.

Pluralism, not just diversity, is our strength, and yet, Trudeau’s vision of a post-national state differs from our current position as a pluralistic nation-state. Remove the nation — the unifying factor — and what are you left with? What is the common cause?

This lack of identity or commitment to shared values is particularly troubling given the Liberal push for immigration on an even larger scale.

Worse, it’s become hip among the intellectual avant-garde to argue for open borders and drastic measures to boost Canada’s population, with even some (misguided) conservative intellectuals arguing that Canada ought to intentionally boost its population to 100 million by the end of the century.

If Canada were to open its doors to, say, about a million people per year, for the next 80 years, would Canada continue to be a Western liberal democracy? Would English and French be broadly spoken? Would there even be official languages?

What kind of values would these hypothetical Canadians posses, and what kind of political leaders would they elect? Would our laws continue to be equally applied, or would there be special caveats and exemptions for cultural and religious communities?

Could we continue to afford universal social services, including healthcare, education and social welfare? What language would these services be provided in?

Would Canada continue to be a safe, friendly and welcoming society? Would our liberal tolerance be extended to those who are illiberal or intolerant? Would newcomers bring their ancient tribal feuds and hatred with them? Would practices like FGM and forced marriage be permitted? Would we import the foreign wars of the world — Israelis against Palestinians, Shi’ites against Sunnis, Russians against Ukrainians, and so on — into our own backyard?

Would newcomers to Canada be selected based on education and training — Canada’s longstanding practice of skills-based immigration? Or would we simply allow any newcomer who arrives at our doorstep and wants to live in Canada?

Would there be a united Canadian identity? Or would our society splinter into identity groups with the pernicious concept of the “hyphenated-Canadians” — with some other identity coming before being Canadian?

How long would Canada continue to exist as a political entity? Perhaps Quebec would seek to separate. Or perhaps it would be aggrieved minorities, stateless ethnic groups or religious fanatics who would seek to carve out their own ethno-state.

And that’s just the start. It would only be a matter of time before other groups — disgruntled Indigenous tribes, libertarian Albertans, Marxist communes, and any number of religious cults or zealous identity groups — would seek their own self-determination and self-governance.

What would be the tipping point? 50 million? Or 150 million?

In the past, immigration policies were heavily restrictive, cost prohibitive and were coupled with a strong civil society promoting universal norms and values, conformity, and integration (frankly, assimilation).

The world is freer and more democratic today, thankfully, but that also makes integration all the more challenging.

Rather than promoting Canadian values and our way of life, elites are ashamed of Canadian history, values and traditions. They remove statues of our great leaders, concede to revisionist historical lies that Canada committed acts of genocide, and mock and shame anyone who seeks to stand up for our way of life — maligning them with slurs like “racist,” “xenophobic” or “anti-immigrant.”

Meanwhile, the Liberal government has gone out of its way to reduce and remove integration programs for newcomers.

The Trudeau government skipped vital “Welcome to Canada” meetings for Syrian refugees prior to arrival — and they did so deliberately, in pursuit of achieving Trudeau’s vain campaign pledge to get 25,000 Syrians into Canada in a few weeks time. These Syrians were later found to have been completely abandoned by the federal government; many had no communication whatsoever.

Meanwhile, independent refugee resettlement agencies lack resources, Trudeau has offloaded responsibility onto local and provincial governments, his government skipped important screening and vetting steps of Syrian refugees and cut screening steps from the refugee determination process, Trudeau limited the more successful private refugee sponsorship program, and he fast-tracked citizenship (and voting rights) for newcomers.

He started handing out Canadian passports to those who’d only been part-time residents of Canada for a handful of years, and cut out the English or French language requirement for a larger percentage of newcomers.

Studies consistently show that language is the most important factor in becoming a successful new citizen, and yet, Trudeau cut this requirement for anyone over the age of 54, without consultation or explanation.

Trudeau has turned his back on integration, while steadily increasing the amount of immigration and without much concern for selecting those who will be successful in Canada. A casual observer of Europe’s failed immigration experiment can see that this is a toxic combination, and Trudeau’s schemes should be met with criticism and resistance from Canadians of all backgrounds.

More newcomers into Canada, with less of a united idea of what it means to be Canadian, benefits nobody. And Trudeau’s only explanation as to how any of this will help Canadians is to simply resort to his stale and meaningless talking point: diversity is our strength.

Diversity is important. There’s no doubt about that.

We need to challenge one another with new ideas, innovative thinking and differing perspectives in order to grow and thrive, as well as to solve the problems of our day. Societies that are too conformist or homogeneous are not only boring and banal places to live, they’re also destined to fail.

Look at North Korea — the most homogeneous country in the world; closed to immigration and most trade — where everyone is equal in their misery and nothing meaningful has changed in decades.

Or Japan, which allows little diversity in ethnic makeup or societal norms, and, in turn, the population is aging, the economy is stagnant, and debt is ever-growing. In other words, the society is dying.

Diversity is necessary. But diversity, in and of itself, is not necessarily a feature. The most diverse empires and countries in the world have fractured, imploded or dissolved, be it the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire or the former Yugoslavia. Diversity alone wasn’t the problem, but diversity without a common commitment, in other words, without unity, led to collapse.

Alongside diversity, it’s unity that makes Canada a successful country and a great place to live. And we need to constantly work and strive for this unity, in the face of large-scale immigration, changing demographics and a societal obsession with cultural relativism, identity politics and anti-Western distortion.

We need shared laws, shared values, shared traditions, and a shared identity to thrive and succeed. We need pluralism and nationhood.

It’s unity that makes us love our country and fosters patriotism. It’s unity — imbedded within diversity — that is our true strength.