Canada's Immigrant Handbook Selectively Offends Liberals

By: Rachel Marsden

The new Canadian citizenship study guide released this week by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has upset the Liberal Party’s immigration critic and son of late former Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, arguably the father of Canada’s official multicultural policy and for whom family friend Fidel Castro served as a pallbearer. Now his son, Justin Trudeau, is complaining that the handbook Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship makes snarky value judgments on things such as murder when it’s perpetrated by people of a foreign culture. He did, however, express his own positive judgment regarding some of the other examples of cultural diversity included in the manual—homosexuality, for example.

The new version of the immigration guide defines Canadians in the “Who We Are” section as Indian/Aboriginal, English, French, a bunch of other nationalities and religions—plus don’t forget the gays, please. Trudeau says that he likes that part acknowledging that “Canada’s diversity includes gay and lesbian Canadians, who enjoy the full protection of and equal treatment under the law, including access to civil marriage.”

While guesting on a radio show this week, the Liberal shadow-minister said he felt “uncomfortable” with the “tone” of this part: “In Canada, men and women are equal under the law. Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, 'honour killings,' female genital mutilation, forced marriage, or other gender-based violence. Those guilty of these crimes are severely punished under Canada’s criminal laws.”

To be fair, when the Conservatives attacked Trudeau for his objections, he clarified to a national newspaper reporter: “Perhaps I got tangled in semantic weeds in my comments, particularly in view of the Conservatives' cynicism on these issues. … I want to make clear that I think the acts described are heinous, barbaric acts that are totally unacceptable in our society.”

One might venture to guess that the juxtaposition of the terms “barbaric” and “cultural practices” is what automatically sets off alarms inside leftist brains of guys like Trudeau. When that occurs, any intelligence occupying that brain reflexively shoots to its feet—screaming and panicking and running around looking for the nearest escape from the right-wing bigots attempting to take it hostage, thereby completely missing the things that came after it, such as wife-beating, murder, and vaginal mutilation.

I have more bad news for Trudeau: There’s some second- or third-degree bigot action in that manual that not only went right over his head, but of which he explicitly approved.

While he was focused on defending murder and genital assault from the closed-minded and culturally insensitive, he failed to notice that nowhere alongside the manual’s discussion of “gay rights” does it also refer to “heterosexual rights”—at least not with equal explicitness. This may mean that heterosexual rights aren’t important enough to include—which may or may not be fine according to Liberal dogma. I really don’t know, as only true leftists can process that level of politically correct nuance, in the same way dogs can hear frequencies humans can’t. It could also be a sign that gays are again being singled out of mainstream society with separate mentions. Not only did Trudeau either miss or ignore the imbalance in that statement, but he praised it. The questions that progressive leftists need to ask Trudeau is, “Did you wilfully ignore the explicit homo-hetero imbalance in the new immigration guide? And, while you were at it—praising what will at some point be seen as a great injustice—did you not, in passing, think to stick up for people of genders other than male and female?”

Trudeau’s ignorance and insensitivity doesn’t end there. His rubber-stamping of the guide’s passages relating to homosexuality, clearly meant to school people from other cultures on the issue, risks offending these foreign cultures by implying that they are less enlightened than Canadians. Did Trudeau ever think that potential new Canadians might read the gay-related passage, see him cheering it as an open-minded progressive concept loved worldwide except by hardcore bigots, and feel bad about their own cultural practices denouncing gays? Did Trudeau not consider how much shame he could make these people feel about their cultural roots?

Maybe Trudeau should spend less time doing battle with the conservative-minded and focus instead on whether his cultural and gender-related proclamations—or loaded silence that serves as ‘statement by omission’—are adequately meeting the expectations of the progressive Left he claims to represent. Right now, he’s yellow*-carded.

* Not that there’s anything wrong with cards of other colors.