Daniel Stoffman on Multiculturalism, Diversity and Immigration
This past week The Globe and Mail published an essay by Daniel Stoffman about multiculturalism and diversity, “An ideology, not a fact.” Stoffman, author of Who Gets In, a study of Canada’s immigration policy, examines the “melting pot” and “mosaic” theories of peoples and culture in Canada and the United States.
On Tuesday I joined a discussion with Stoffman hosted by The Globe.
My question to Mr. Stoffman: “How would you define Canada’s core values and do they differ from the core values of the United States? Great Britain?”
Rather than offering up his own definition(s), Stoffman agreed with a comment from another participant, stating that the following list was “as good as any” – (from participant) “the vast majority of Canadians are committed to a core set of relatively stable values: democracy, political and moral equality, individualism and consumerism.”
As to whether entities such as “core values” differ between Canada, the U.S. and Great Britain? Stoffman: “I don’t think there is much difference among Canada, the U.S., and the UK. To the extent there is, it is a difference of degree. For example, both Canada and the U.S. have freedom of speech as a core value but that freedom is more unrestrained in the U.S. than it is in Canada.”
Startling: to think that a man well published by Canadian media would go along with the idea that “core values” are stable constructs and that “consumerism” and “individualism” are within the pantheon of Canada’s core values.
How odd that all the debates and differences about “core values” not just between but also within – Canada, its provinces and regions, its micro-regions, the United States, its many divisions, and Great Britain (Welsh! Irish! Scottish! English!) would be glossed over by Stoffman.
Perhaps too close a parsing of his words is unfair? A one hour discussion online doesn’t allow for depth. But Stoffman’s comments on immigration – “I don’t think economics has anything to do with immigration policy – except in the sense that it benefits employers” – should raise eyebrows. And what about this Stoffman Statement: “Canadians need to be far more assertive about valuing and promoting traditional Canadian culture.” Ah, there’s a rub.
Stoffman is billed as an opinion leader. What to make of his view that a majority of Canadians don’t want to be “multicultural” but that “what most Canadians want is diverse integration.” What do readers think?