Politics of Canada
2 min

Whose values?

Immigration minister – and apparent media prima donna – Jason Kenney is back in the news again, this time suggesting that the time has come to put more of a focus on “Canadian values” when it comes to immigrants to this country, and that multicultural funds should no longer promote individual communities, but rather deal with the “concrete challenges of integration.”

Or in other words, let’s kill the successful model of multiculturalism that has made Canada stand out in the world because we don’t have the same kinds of problems with “home-grown” radical Islam, or complete ghettoisation of all immigrant communities, as many other countries do with their own immigrants. After all, that kind of thinking comes from the 70s, and therefore it must be bad and out of date.

But putting aside the fact that this kind of change to our multicultural fabric would invariably be detrimental to us in the longer term, listening to someone like Jason Kenney talk about “Canada’s values” worries me. Just who, pray tell, is suppose to determine just what constitutes “Canadian values?” The minister? The Prime Minister’s Office? A special Parliamentary committee? And therein lies a very big problem.

Remember that Kenney himself, for all his time spent going to every ethno-cultural community’s buffet dinners across this country in an effort to woo them to the Conservatives, does not exactly have a shining record when it comes to talking about human rights in this country. Kenney, being a good Irish Catholic boy who still purports to be a virgin (no, seriously), has previously made statements during the same-sex marriage debates like “gays and lesbians can still get married – just to a person of the opposite sex.” And other shit like that. And yet he has the temerity to talk about “Canadian values,” as though he perhaps has some objective list of just what those values are, even if he disagrees with what is the mainstream opinion?

Somehow I don’t think he’s exactly a qualified source, and perhaps he should stop trying to fix something that’s isn’t broken before he really makes things worse.

Liberal MP Keith Martin – advocate of free speech, reforming health care in this country, and now decriminalising marijuana? Apparently so, in an op-ed he wrote for the Globe and Mail on Monday. Dr. Martin’s arguments are sound, logical, and based on observable and verifiable scientific data. Too bad they’re just going to wind up as fodder for the Conservatives to try and cast the Liberals as “soft on crime” during Question Period next week.

Over in Alberta, the Health Minister caught demonstrators off-guard by announcing that even though they’re delisting gender reassignment surgery, the province will grandfather 48 procedures still on the waiting lists, for those currently in the process and on hormones. Mind you, it’s not going to stop the province’s trans community (and their allies) from launching a human rights complaint, but at least they’re not leaving them in the lurch, unlike what happened in Ontario in 1998. Not that it makes this whole sordid affair any less distasteful either.

And finally, over in Halifax, there is a fascinating story about the superstition about burying shoes in the walls of a home under construction, as is going on during the renovations of Government House there. At least eight women’s shoes from the early 1800s have been found to date, and it looks like the workers are going to carry on the tradition.