In 1995, then Multiculturalism Minister Sheila Finestone said that Canada has no culture. For thirty years Canadian tax dollars have supported this insidiously nasty message. And in terms of robbing a people of their identity, this hate slogan has proven to be a stroke of evil genius. The subtext, of course, is that Canadians must hasten to import active, viable cultures and identities, being so hopelessly bereft of one of our own. Remember the other two cliches about Canadians? We were polite and we saved our money – neither of which are any longer true. Why is that? It is only now, that our culture has been effectively eradicated (subsumed) that we remember the golden days with a pang of regret.
The irony is that as Canada is fundamentally ‘revised’, it bears less and less resemblance to the place immigrants themselves had bargained for. As an immigrant, you may have been intrigued with the prospect of wilderness, water and winter sports, chances are you hadn’t foreseen a huge and influential community of your traditional ethnic enemy. Oh well, why should anybody be happy? Robbed of a core identity, Canada becomes a cacophony of cultures and a babble of languages all jostling for a bite of the pie. Canadians born, bred and betrayed cannot lay claim to a common culture and identity any more than recent arrivals. Patriotism is a ‘threat’ which must be ruthlessly put down before it properly draws breath.
As the politician says, “Heavens above. If the 85% (and overwhelming majority) of this population ever discovered what I’ve been doing to them for thirty years, I could lose my Mercedez.” As always, intelligent discussion of cultural issues will not be tolerated, our government and dependent agencies have told us how we should think about this one too: the ‘threat’ to Canadian unity is Quebec and Quebecois culture – nice people don’t discuss the forced introduction or preferential treatment that Canada’s other 120 distinct societies enjoy. Cultural sovereignty means advertising revenue gleaned from special Canadian runs of magazines — at least that’s what our “Heritage” Minister tells us. It is thus that Canada becomes a lacklustre artificial construct defined by dotted lines on a map. In our enormous, unproven social experiment, disparate (but culturally viable!) factions occupying the same petri dish pursue their own ends without cohesive vision or loyalty to anything but the almighty dollar. No wonder Quebec wants out.