Multiculturalism: What Happened to Responsibility?

Multiculturalism is engrained in the Canadian constitution—as well as in the constitutions of many European nations. The Canadian Multiculturalism Act states that all are equal under the law regardless of their race, national or ethnic origin, color, or religion. Canada was the first country in the world to legislate national multiculturalism. Under this policy, all citizens “can keep their identities, can take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging.” Citizens also “have the freedom to preserve, enhance, and share their cultural heritage,” and “full and equitable participation of individuals and communities of all origins in all aspects of Canadian society” is promoted. Diversity in Canada is deemed a national asset, and although its constitution allows all citizens equal rights and freedoms, it also requires “equal responsibilities,” a factor that has been overlooked.