Multiculturalism in Canadian Constitutional Culture: Domesticating Difference
8 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2016
Date Written: January 4, 2016
If neither magic nor gods govern the public sphere, how should disagreement over fundamental values be mediated in secular states? Canada often is touted as a model for others to emulate in solving the problem of living together in divided societies, partly by reason of its policy on multiculturalism. This paper is a reflection on the origins and limits of this element of Canadian constitutional culture. Though Canadian constitutional culture accommodates difference rather well, it has discernible limits. By relying principally on liberal rights like freedom of religion, the Canadian model aims to domesticate difference. Multiculturalism, this paper argues, poses no real threat to dominant cultural values. Its aim, instead, is to tame and assimilate difference, a policy traceable to Canada’s origins in the eighteenth century.
Keywords: multiculturalism, constitutional culture, Canadian constitutional history
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