There is a direct line between each of those attributes and Canada’s success in building a more diverse and inclusive society. But what’s made it work so well in Canada is the understanding that our diversity isn’t a challenge to be overcome or a difficulty to be tolerated. Canadians understand that diversity is our strength.We know that Canada has succeeded—culturally, politically, economically—because of our diversity, not in spite of it.He was doing a parliamentary exchange program in Paris. He pointed to his colleagues and said: “Well, this.
Our commitment to diversity and inclusion isn’t about Canadians being nice and polite—though of course we are.
In fact, this commitment is a powerful and ambitious approach to making Canada, and the world, a better, and safer, place.
He was asked what Canada “looks like.”He was accompanied by four other colleagues, none of whom except him were born in Canada. Two Catholics, an Ismaili Muslim, a Jew whose parents had survived the Holocaust, and a gay protestant minister. In our largest city, more than half were born outside Canada.
Against that backdrop, the importance of diversity can sometimes be taken for granted.
In typical Canadian fashion, we don’t celebrate this success often enough.
But I would argue that now, more than ever, the world needs us to do just that.In response, the community rallied, and raised more than 0,000 in two days to help the Muslim community rebuild.United in faith, members of local Christian and Jewish communities opened their doors—literally opened their doors—to give their Muslim neighbours a place to pray. In Kitchener, Ontario, a Hindu temple was vandalized—its windows smashed by rocks, while the congregation's head preacher attended a vigil for those who died in the Paris attacks.Canadians look back on these transgressions with regret and shame—as we should. These positive changes can never right historical wrongs.But our history was also filled with many positive moments. But they can serve to remind us that, in the phrase so beloved of Martin Luther King Jr., “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”Like many other nations, Canada faces a constant debate between those who would have us restrict, close ranks, and build walls—and those who remind us that we are who we are precisely because we are open diverse and inclusive.I’d like to share with you a few very recent examples.One day after the attacks in Paris, a mosque in Peterborough, Ontario, was set on fire—a suspected hate crime.In the wake of horrific events like the recent attacks in Paris, as we renew our resolve to work with the international community to help prevent such attacks, and as we reaffirm our steadfast participation in the coalition against ISIL, we must also recommit to building a world where diversity and difference are promoted and celebrated.We know that peace is possible, and that hope beats fear every single time.Canada’s economy depends on a strong and growing middle class. In the last century, Canada’s growing and optimistic middle class created a big-hearted, broad-minded consensus.Together, these hard-working Canadians built a better country, not just for themselves, but for their children, and for each other.