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Culture Issues in Canada. (a short, subjective survey). Part I: ‘Reasonable Accommodation’. How far should society go in accommodating the beliefs and practices of others? What are the limits of tolerance and diversity?. Hérouxville, Quebec Population: 1338.

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Culture issues in canada l.jpg

Culture Issues in Canada

(a short, subjective survey)


Part i reasonable accommodation l.jpg

Part I: ‘Reasonable Accommodation’

How far should society go in accommodating the beliefs and practices of others?

What are the limits of tolerance and diversity?


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Hérouxville, Quebec

Population: 1338

Early in 2007, the town of Hérouxville adopteda set of standards aimed at new immigrants,spellingoutwhat is acceptable behaviour …and what is not.

Immigrant families: 1


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“So that future residents can integrate socially more easily, we have decided, unanimously, to make public certain standards already in place and very well anchored in the lives of our electors…”


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  • No easily, we have decided, unanimously, to make public certain standards already in place and very well anchored in the lives of stoning women or burning them alive

  • No burning them with acid

  • In our families, boys and girls eat together at the same table and eat the same food.

  • In our swimming pools, men and women swim together

  • We listen to music, we drink alcoholic beverages, we dance

  • At the end of every year we decorate a tree with balls and tinsel and some lights.


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Of course, the town has Quebec government should declare a state of emergency to protect Quebec culture from been criticized…


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[video] Quebec government should declare a state of emergency to protect Quebec culture from


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But Hérouxville has also received much support, and the issue of “reasonable accomodation” is now at the centre of Quebec politics.

  • Opposition party that supports Hérouxville goes from 4 seats to 41 in recent elections

  • the Parti Quebecois proposes a law of “Quebec Citizenship” making voting rights dependent on French-language ability

  • Quebec Government launches “Reasonable Accomodation” Commission to report and advise on the issue


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other examples/controversies: issue of “reasonable accomodation” is now at the centre of Quebec politics.

  • A Montreal gym was asked to frost its windows so women exercising wouldn't be visible to men at aneighbouring synagogue

  • Requests are made for separate gender swim times at public pools.

  • New Canadian law says Muslim women in full veil must uncover before being allowed to vote (and yet people are allowed to vote by mail, without ever showing their face)


Instead of careful reflection on these questions the tensions increase l.jpg

Instead of careful reflection on these questions, the tensions increase.

The phrase of the times is…

“Enough is enough!”


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tensions increase.all complexities and subtleties are swept aside.


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These are debates about: tensions increase.

  • the limits of tolerance

  • what constitutes an “identity”

  • cultural traditions and human rights

  • personal freedom and social solidarity


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and as the first planetary tensions increase.civilization continues to form,

these debates will only get stronger.


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Part II tensions increase.

Oh Canada:

Our Home and ‘Native’ Land


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Canada is said to have two founding Nations: the British and the French

> But there were many Nations here long before they arrived.

The lack of resolution to the just grievances of the First Nations is Canada’s No.1 human rights problem


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one example: the FrenchSix Nations

The Six Nations is a confederacy of Native nations. Tired ofwaiting for the Courts to decide on the status of theirlandclaim, in Feb 2006,members of Six Nations took over land being developed and set up a reclamation camp.


When police tried to remove them by force more natives came in support and drove the police away l.jpg
When police tried to remove them the Frenchby force, more Natives came in support and drove the police away.

They have been holding their groundever since.


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While the Frenchthe camp has largely been the site of an uneasy peace, there have been serious incidents of violence.


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The Ontario and Federal governments have set up a team to deal with the issue, but negotiations go slow.

There is much at stake.

area claimed by Six Nations

actual Six Nations reserve


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Humanist Movement: deal with the rally for Six Nations


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some statistics: deal with the

  • Just 4% of Canada's aboriginal population has a university degree.

  • Nearly 50% of those who are of working age have not completed high school.

  • The rate of suicide among Native youth is 5-6 times higher than the national average.


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Canada has a great deal of experience with “diversity” and multiculturalism

  • 1 in 5 people in Canada are foreign-born

  • Nearly 50% of people in Toronto are foreign-born(the most diverse city in the world: UNESCO)


And yet we still have not reconciled with our first nations l.jpg

And yet we still have not reconciled with our and multiculturalism First Nations.


No doubt north america still has much to learn about true diversity and true solidarity l.jpg
No doubt, North America still has much to learn about true diversity and true solidarity.

But with all our experience – positive and negative – we also have much to contribute…


And that contribution is ours to make l.jpg

…and that contribution diversity and true solidarity.is ours to make.