Canada’s Secret to Escaping the ‘Liberal Doom Loop’


The world is burning with the fires of illiberal populism. The flames take on different shapes in different nations. There is Trump’s lurid xenophobia in America, Brexit in Britain, a right-wing government in Poland, a “People’s Party” smoldering in both Denmark and Austria, Marine le Pen’s Front National in France, Geert Wilders’s “blond beastliness” in the Netherlands, and the Kultur-warriors of Germany’s “Alternative für Deutschland.”

But in the Canadian wilderness, the fire isn’t catching.

For decades, Canada has sustained exceptionally high levels of immigration without facing an illiberal populist groundswell. It is the most inclusive country in the world in its attitudes toward immigrants, religion, and sexuality, according to a 2018 survey by the polling company Ipsos. In a ranking of the most important Canadian symbols and values, its citizens put “multiculturalism” right next to the national anthem—and just behind their flag. In the U.S., those supportive of multiculturalism say they’re the least patriotic; in Canada, patriotism and multiculturalism go together like fries and cheese curds.

To be clear, Canada has not discovered some magical elixir to eradicate intolerance, racism, or inequality, all of which are present in the nation of 36 million. Its indigenous communities, which have endured centuries of brutalization and discrimination, often live under conditions that are still described as “third world.” And the country is not equally welcoming to all newcomers. But at a time when anti-immigrant sentiment and populist politics are sweeping across Europe and America, Canada stands apart.

What’s Canada’s secret? A unique blend of imperial history, bizarre geography, and provincial politics have forged something unique in the Great White North. Countries now buckling under the strain of xenophobic populism should take note.

The Dawn of a Multinational Nation

The first seeds of Canadian multiculturalism were planted before the United States technically existed. In the 1760s, the British gained control of French Canada, an area that corresponds roughly to modern Quebec. But back at London headquarters, it wasn’t evident that this frigid plot of land was good for much more than beaver pelts. (Even Voltaire dismissed his country’s outpost as “a few acres of snow.”) So, Britain passed the Quebec Act in 1774, which allowed French Catholics to live their private lives as they saw fit, so long as the law remained in the hands of the British Protestants.

“This was a bold accommodation,” said …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Global

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