Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made much of his
clarion call sophomoric suggestion that “Diversity is Canada’s strength.” That’s rubbish, of course, diversity is an attribute of modern Canada, a feature, but it is hardly a strength.
Ever since classical times we have understood, almost instinctively, that unity is a strength and that diversity can ~ doesn’t always, but certainly can ~ act against national unity.
The Etruscans appear to have given ancient Rome the symbol of the fasces lictoriae ~ the ceremonial axe strengthen by a tightly bound (unified) bundle of sticks ~ which was the ceremonial image of the power and authority (imperium) of the Roman government. It was evident then, and remains so now, that unity and strength are correlated and the fasces is still used, in some of the world’s greatest democracies as a symbol of government authority and of the need for national unity.
Canada has struggled with diversity ever since 1763 when, in the Treaty of Paris, Britain agreed to protect Catholic (mainly French-Canadian) religious rights in North America. Diversity brought us to actual war in 1885 when the competing aims and ambitions of Catholic French Canadians, newly arrived, mainly Protestant, Scots immigrants and native Canadians, mainly the Métis, all collided in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Diversity was a feature of Canada, then, and it remains one now … but it was not, then, and is not, now, a strength.
Tolerance of our many and diverse customs and cultural norms is a strength … one which we have had to develop and teach in our schools, too, because we are, by choice, a diverse society. But the fact that we need to be tolerant of one another’s customs and preferences should tell us, quite clearly, that diversity is not a strength … it might even be a problem. If diversity was a strength then we wouldn’t have divisive debates about e.g. banning the niqab, we would embrace it and all that it represents ~ which is quite controversial. Diversity, which leads to identity politics, divides and, therefore, weakens us.
We need to stop the nonsense of trying to rewrite history to suit the ever so progressive attitudes of a minority ~ albeit a large one ~ of Canadians in order to achieve partisan political goals. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is ~ no surprise ~ both wrong and foolish when he says “Diversity is Canada’s strength;” it is, self-evidently, not a strength and it is, in fact and I think also self evidently, a feature or attribute of Canada, at best, and a weakness at worst.
We need to have a reasoned, rational debate about the future face of Canada … one devoid, it is to be hoped, of juveniles parroting mindless slogans.