Multiculturalism and Intergroup Relations

By James S. Frideres | Go to book overview

11.
NONHYPHENATED CANADIANS-- WHERE ARE YOU?

Joseph E. DiSanto

The central focus of this short chapter is Jean Burnet account of Book 4 of the Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism and the federal government's policy of multiculturalism within a bilingual framework. While I realize that the contents of this volume are somewhat dated, the substance of the report placed in motion a set of policies and programs that have become apparent in many areas of life today.

First, let me extend my academic appreciation for Book 4. Certainly the report of the Royal Commission would have been a disservice to Canada without it. Book 4 adds significantly to the national discussion of ethnicity by highlighting the reality of diversity and complexity of Canada and the associated issues that must be taken into account in developing government policy.

Several questions have to be asked. First, how strong are the assumptions on which Book 4 is based? Specifically, how strong is the assumption regarding the relationship between language and culture? How strong is the assumption of cultural pluralism as opposed to an amalgamationist position on the Canadian scene? Second, does the data base used in the report of the Royal Commission systematically bias or limit research contained in the report and thus misdirect the conclusions? Last, what is the effect of the terms of reference on the report?

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