CANADA'S TOLERANCE MISPLACED
By Mahfooz Kanwar

Calgary Herald
http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/Canada +tolerance+misplaced/1442771/story.html
March 31 2009
Canada

Canada's Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is getting flak from the
usual suspects, but he deserves praise instead.

Recently, Kenney pointed out that while at a meeting in Toronto,
members of Canada's Pakistani community called on him to make Punjabi
one of Canada's official languages. It makes me angry that such an
idea would enter the minds of my fellow and former countrymen, let
alone express them to a Minister of the Crown.

A few months ago, I was dismayed to learn that Erik Millett, the
principal of Belleisle School in Springfield, N. B., limited playing
our national anthem because the families of a couple of his students
objected to it.

As a social scientist, I oppose this kind of political correctness,
lack of assimilation of new immigrants to mainstream Canada,
hyphenated-Canadian identity, and the lack of patriotism in our
great nation.

Increasingly, Canadians feel restricted in doing things the Canadian
way lest we offend minorities. We cannot even say Merry Christmas
without fear of causing offence. It is amazing that 77 per cent of the
Canadian majority are scared of offending 23 per cent of minorities. We
have become so timid that the majority cannot assert its own freedom
of expression. We cannot publicly question certain foreign social
customs, traditions and values that do not fit into the Canadian
ethos of equality. Rather than encouraging new immigrants to adjust
to Canada, we tolerate peculiar ways of doing things. We do not remind
them that they are in Canada, not in their original homelands.

In a multicultural society, it is the responsibility of minorities
to adjust to the majority. It does not mean that minorities have
to to-tally amalgamate with the majority. They can practise some
of their cultural traditions within their homes --their backstage
behaviour. However, when outside of their homes, their front stage
behaviour should resemble mainstream Canadian behaviour. Whoever
comes to Canada must learn the limits of our system. We do not kill
our daughters or other female members of our families who refuse
to wear hijab, niqab or burka which are not mandated by the Qur'an
anyway. We do not kill our daughters if they date the "wrong" men. A
17-year-old Sikh girl should not have been killed in British Columbia
by her father because she was caught dating a Caucasian man.

We do not practise the dowry system in Canada, and do not kill our
brides because they did not bring enough dowry. Millions of female
fetuses are aborted every year in India, and millions of female infants
have been killed by their parents in India and China. Thousands
of brides in India are burned to death in their kitchens because
they did not bring enough dowry into a marriage. Some 30,000 Sikhs
living abroad took the dowries but abandoned their brides in India
in 2005. This is not accepted in Canada.

In some countries, thousands of women are murdered every year for
family or religious honour. We should not hide behind political
correctness and we should expose the cultural and religious background
of these heinous crimes, especially if it happens in Canada. We should
also expose those who bring their cultural baggage containing the
social custom of female circumcision. I was shocked when I learned
about two cases of this barbaric custom practised in St. Catharines,
Ont. a few years ago.

I have said it on radio and television, have written in my columns in
the Calgary Herald, and I have written in my latest book, Journey to
Success, that I do not agree with the hyphenated identity in Canada
because it divides our loyalties. My argument is that people are not
forced to come to Canada and they are not forced to stay here. Those
who come here of their own volition and stay here must be truly
patriotic Canadians or go back.

I am a first-generation Canadian from Pakistan. I left Pakistan 45
years ago. I cannot ignore Pakistan, because it is the homeland of my
folks, but my loyalty should be and is to Canada. I am, therefore,
a proud Canadian, no longer a Pakistani-Canadian. I am a Canadian
Muslim, not a Muslim Canadian.

I do not agree with those Canadians who engage in their fight against
the system in their original countries on Canadian soil. They should
go back and fight from within. For example, some of the Sikhs, Tamil
Tigers, Armenians and others have disturbed the peace in Canada because
of their problems back home. Recently, a low-level leader of MQM, the
Mafia of Pakistan, came to Canada as a refugee and started to organize
public rallies to collect funds for their cause in Pakistan. On July
18, 2007, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that MQM is a terrorist
group led by London-based Altaf Hussain, their godfather. As a member
in the coalition government of Pakistan, this terrorist group is
currently collaborating with the Taliban in Pakistan. That refugee
was deported back to Pakistan. Similarly, I dis-agree with newcomers
who bring their religious baggage here. For example, Muslims are less
than two per cent of the Canadian population, yet in 2004 and 2005,
a fraction of them, the fundamentalists, wanted to bring sharia law
to Canada. If they really want to live under sharia, they should go
to the prison-like countries where sharia is practised.

I once supported multiculturalism in Canada because I believed it gave
us a sense of pluralism and diversity. However, I have observed and
experienced that official multiculturalism has encouraged convolution
of the values that make Canada the kind of place people want to
immigrate to in the first place.

Here, we stand on guard for Canada, not for countries we came
from. Like it or not, take it or leave it, standing on guard only
for Canada is our national maxim. Remember, O Canada is our national
anthem which must not be disregarded by anybody, including the teacher
in Springfield, N. B.

Mahfooz Kanwar, PHD, Is A Sociologist And An Instructor Emeritus At
Mount Royal College.