Anyone who has even skimmed this blog can easily discern my views on multiculturalism and immigration in Canada from my reply to Erik Abild.  Anyone who can read will see the sort of nuanced discussion I’d like to see take place on these issues.  How strange(?), then, that the CBC should persistently ignore my attempts to post my views on their Comments pages.  As a result – and because my views are far more coherent and considered than people whose views were allowed – I’m including here my reply to Prithi Yelaja’s “Multicultural Canada: a Haven from Norway-Style Violence?” in an attempt to at least get my views out there.  There were some intelligent comments posted on the CBC website which are worth looking at – they critique Yelaja’s flawed argument just as I tried to do.  But in the absence of mine, my issues with it are in my reply below – which I emailed to PY and attempted to post to no avail (in the case they are posted and I’m just jumping the gun I will update this accordingly).  So here it is (with a few modifications):

Pritha Yelaja:

How disappointed I was to see the same old naive battle-lines drawn in this article!  Canada’s discourse on multiculturalism and immigration remains profoundly suppressive and repressive – you are either for or against multiculturalism; it either is or is not a “haven” from violence like the Norway tragedy.  Unfortunately, your article perpetuates this reductive either/or.

Of course, it’s expected that you trot out the familiar propagandist images of dark-skinned Canadians celebrating Canada1.  take a good long look at the first picture designed to grab your attention -is it not an icon of the “success” of Canadian multiculturalism?  The sweet, doe-eyed little girl used as a tabula rasa for the oh-so-happy coexistence of Canada and South Asian culture?  Do we not know how journalists use imagery to shapr reader complicity to their arguments?  Now don’t get me wrong – generally, this propaganda is positive.  But when it’s overused in a culturally neurotic compensation for the real problems facing Canada and other countries, how can you expect any honest and objective criticism of Canadian multiculturalism – that is, one that discusses its benefits and drawbacks – when you insist on the same reductive binarist thinking as racists?  You’re just on the other side of the fence.2  Your article is fixated on defending multiculturalism at all costs by those evil racists out there, somewhere – and the problem is that the thoughtful, intelligent nuances in this debate are left entirely by the wayside.3

I wish this article was something more than good old-fashioned head-in-the-sand Canadian political correctness, but it is not.  I wish I could somehow shake the conviction that the CBC actively discourages serious debate beyond its politically correct discursive boundaries; as a corollary, I wish their feedback option were something more than simply the illusion of a “democratic” exchange of ideas.  But it is my unfortunate (and hopefully limited) experience that views such as mine are continually repressed from Canada’s hand-wringing babe-in-the-woods discourse on immigration and multiculturalism – whether it’s me or someone else making these observations.  But perhaps that’s expecting too much from the CBC as the national organ of government propaganda.4  Nevertheless, my growing disgust with gross reductions of the situation on both sides compel me to write.  Your article is ultimately just more evidence that Canada is much more culturally conservative than most people care to acknowledge.

The only remaining question: will you (PY, the CBC, or both) ignore the sender (my email address, as well as the confrontational nature of my website, provide you the perfect politically-correct opportunity to do so), the message, or both?

 

  1. I wonder if this is where the CBC’s PC alarm went off?  Erroneously word-associating my use of “dark-skinned” with racial condescension?  My use of “propaganda” here is not derogatory – it is meant to underscore the interested nature of all argument.
  2. I wonder if this, too, is where the CBC’s PC alarm went off – by mistakenly reading this as me calling someone racist?
  3. You don’t even bother to distinguish between immigrants and refugees, which are two very different types of person who come to Canada (just as they are in Norway, where for every one immigrant there are roughly 5 claiming “refugee” status).  I make this distinction merely for distinction’s sake; commenting on this is off-topic so I leave this as is.
  4. Which isn’t really that ominous or damning – after all, every government on this planet propagandizes their core values apart from the disputes characteristic of a multiparty democracy – Canada is no different.
  1. idorun says:

    I agree with your thoughts about this article concerning the Multicultural Canada and the attacks in Norway. The attack in Norway has nothing to do with Multiculture Canada. The Attack was a Political attack against the Norway Government . I can not see why the CBC reporter Pritha Yelaja could even tie this into Multiculture Canada . Lack of forsight on CBC to even print this story . Im just what school of journalism this person graduated from..
    I do agree with you on the points that the CBC will censor what you have to say. I have experienced the CBC with regards to censorship. CBC is a tool of the current government . We in Canada are suppost to be Lilly White, so the media would like you to think…

  2. traumaturgist says:

    Hmm…whether this has any bearing on the article in question you readers can judge for yourselves…but apparently Prithi Yelaja at one time “was suspended for making generous use of copy from another little-known New York paper, the Village Voice:

    http://thetyee.ca/Mediacheck/2004/07/07/Journalisms_Chronic_Illness/