Multiculturalism, Transnationalism, and the Hijacking of Canadian Foreign Policy: A Pseudo-Problem?

By Satzewich, Vic | International Journal, Winter 2007 | Go to article overview

Multiculturalism, Transnationalism, and the Hijacking of Canadian Foreign Policy: A Pseudo-Problem?


Satzewich, Vic, International Journal


Visitors from abroad, and many Canadians themselves, see "multiculturalism" as a defining and positive feature of this country. Nonetheless, since its inception as a federal government policy in 1971, multiculturalism has generated significant critical commentary. The focus and priorities of the policy have changed since 1971, and its various incarnations have been subject to a now familiar bundle of criticisms.1 In its early versions, multicultural policy was criticized for its promotion of symbolic ethnicity and its inability to break down structural barriers to socioeconomic equality in Canada.2 In the 19903 the policy was criticized for promoting cultural relativism, undermining Canadian identity, values, and culture, and fostering ethnic ghettos, as well as preventing the integration of newcomers to Canada.3

More recently, the policy has been criticized for encouraging the development of socially harmful and politically dangerous transnational ties, connections, and identities on the part of immigrants and ethnoreligious communities in Canada. In this new round of criticisms, historian Jack Granatstein claims that multicultural policy facilitates unhealthy transnationalism in the form of engagements in "motherland" issues, dual political loyalties, and the import of "old world" conflicts into Canada.4

My aim in this article is to question what Granatstein sees as the link between politically oriented "unhealthy" transnationalism and the federal policy of multiculturalism. There are three parts to this article. First, I review Granatsteiris argument that draws a causal connection between multiculturalism and socially unhealthy forms of transnationalism. second, I question the link between transnationalism and multiculturalism on historical grounds. I suggest that transnational identities and politics existed in Canada (and the United States) well before the announcement of the policy of multiculturalism in 1971. Third, I examine the wider contextual factors that shape transnational political engagements among immigrants and ethnic communities. I suggest that contextual factors associated with sending countries and the context of reception in Canada shape present-day transnational involvements. I also suggest that multicultural policy may have little to do with the promotion of transnational political connections, actions, and identities.

MULTICULTURALISM AND UNHEALTHY TRANSNATIONALISM

A new twist has been added to the lengthy list of criticisms directed against the federal government's policy of multiculturalism. Some commentators see contemporary multiculturalism as responsible for the promotion of socially unhealthy forms of politically oriented transnationalism that undermine Canadian unity, identity, and foreign policy.

Contemporary critics of multiculturalism often use the same examples to demonstrate that socially unhealthy forms of transnationalism are widespread in Canada and are being encouraged by multiculturalism. One case is that of Croat-Canadians who returned to Croatia in the 19903 to fight in the civil wars in the former Yugoslavia. Some returnees promoted hypernationalist political agendas and participated in ethnic cleansing campaigns; some within the Croatian-Canadian community were accused of morally and financially supporting these causes from within Canada. Another case is that of individuals of Italian heritage who do not live in Italy but who are allowed to vote and stand in Italian elections. In 2006, diasporic Italians elected two members of parliament to represent the interests and concerns of Italians abroad, even though they are citizens of other states. Finally, the case of the evacuation of 30,000 Lebanese Canadians during the 2006 war between Lebanon and Israel is also used to expose socially unhealthy transnational identities. The alleged quick return to Lebanon of many of the evacuees when the war ended raised questions about the obligations the government had towards dual citizens whose connections to Canada were thin. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Multiculturalism, Transnationalism, and the Hijacking of Canadian Foreign Policy: A Pseudo-Problem?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.