Glendon - English

Volume 7 - Issue 1 - Spring 2011

Issue link: http://digital.yorku.ca/i/26051

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CONFERENCE CONFERENCE ON “RELIGIOUS PLURALISM AND IMMIGRATION”: A GREAT SUCCESS FOR THE Building on the momentum of its previous activi - ties, Glendon’s Centre for Global Challenges (CGC) held a noteworthy conference on January 27th in Quebec. Organized in collaboration with the Tru deau Foundation and the École nationale d’admi nistra tion publique (ÉNAP) in Quebec, nine expert panelists debated the patterns, options and mana gement implied by immig ra - tion and reasonable accommodation. The issues surrounding immigra tion and reasonable accom - mo dation are what caught the attention of con - fe rence attendees and garnered the most com - mentary and questions. After the opening remarks by Professor Nelson Michaud, director of teaching and research at ÉNAP, it was Alex Himelfarb, director of Glen - don’s Centre for Global Challenges, who laun - ched the debate. In his introductory com ments, Mr. Himel farb indicated that Canada is viewed by other coun tries as a welcoming refuge and somewhat of a model. "Our type of multi cul tu - ralism remains active," he said. “But we cannot continue to avoid the issues that multi - culturalism raises.” For Mr. Himelfarb, Canada has benefited substantially from immigration, but current thinking on the management of immig - ration and the response to social issues raised by immigration is more advan ced in Quebec, notably through the work of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on Reasonable Accom modation of Minorities. The entire nation should join the discussion started by the publi cation of the Com - mission’s report, according to the director of the Centre for Global Challenges, whether just for the short term or the medium term. FIRST, CLARIFY THE ISSUES The first panel was moderated by Don Newman, Chair of Canada 2020 and former Senior Par lia - men tary Editor at CBC. Michael Adams, the Foun ding President of Environics Institute for Survey Research, presented the results of a poll of 2021 Canadians who agreed to answer 135 questions from investigators. Mr. Adams indi - cated that a great majority of Canadians, though seemingly confident, are worried about the glo - bal economic crisis that we have just expe rien - ced. Canadians also have a great deal of confi - dence in their public health system, which sur - article by: Michel Héroux CENTRE FOR GLOBAL CHALLENGES passes the country’s flag as the most impor tant element of national identity. The vast majo rity of Canadians are comfortable with the growing ethnic diversity of Canada and still believe that Canada is a considerate neighbour to the world. 95% of Canadians are proud or very proud of their country, and 86% of Que beckers feel proud or very proud, in equal pro portions, to be Cana - dian. Nelson Michaud Pierre Gerlier-Forest and Alex Himelfarb With regards to immigration in general, surveys indicate that 80% of Canadians born outside Canada feel more closely tied to Canada rather than to their native country. Nine in ten Cana - dians reject any immigration policy that would be deemed racist. Since 2000, the majority of our citizens do not feel there has been too much immigration to Canada. Moreover, the majority of Canadians no longer believe that “immigrants come to steal our jobs” and consider them to contribute positively to the economy. Two thirds of respondents believe immigrants do not adopt Canadian values, and do not like to “see men tell women what to do.” Another finding was that most Canadians are doubtful that Muslim- Canadians will adopt the customs of our country. Finally, according to polls, a majority of Que - beckers and a very substantial minority of Cana - dians would like to see the wearing of the veil banned in Canada. Don Newman Michael Adams After the presentation by Michael Adams, Profes - sor Jocelyn Maclure of the Faculty of Philosophy at Laval University recalled that from a normative point of view, religion must not have special status in our country. Religious freedom, he ex - plai ned, is part of freedom of thought. However, once this is established, he had this caution for the audience: while there may be a relationship between religious pluralism and immigration, we must always distinguish between the two, because there is no perfect alignment between them. Continuing on this theme, he explained that many countries face the challenge of developing what he calls “moral diversity” of citizens, regardless of the status of the rela - tionship between State and religion. For Pro - fessor Maclure, there is a palpable concern in Canada on this issue. On the one hand, we can - not completely remove religion from the public arena, and we do not wish to completely dismiss our social and religious heritage. We must, the - Glendon Magazine 2011 ] 13 [ La Revue de Glendon 2011

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