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Reconstructing the Multicultural Community in Canada: Discursive Strategies of Inclusion and Exclusion Author(s): Karim H.

Karim Source: International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Winter, 1993), pp. 189-207 Published by: Springer Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20007134 . Accessed: 28/05/2013 01:52
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of Politics,


and Society,


7, No.

2, 1993

the Multicultural Reconstructing in Canada: Discursive Strategies


Community of



H. Karim

In 1971, when the Government of Canada adopted a policy of "mul ticulturalism within a bilingual framework," Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in parliament: declared
We is the very essence of Canadian pluralism identity. Every to preserve and develop its own culture and values within is not to say we have say we have two official languages two official and no particular culture is more "official" than another. A cultures, must be a policy for all Canadians. 1988: 69) policy of multiculturalism (Harney, ethnic group the Canadian has the right context. To believe that cultural

non-British the same

the cultural in Canada of presence was formally and non-French communities At recognized. time the historically status of Canadians dominant of British and French have official status, was origins, whose respective languages reaffirmed. inclusive policy of "multiculturalism a bilingual An within framework"

It was





that individuals of all ethnocultural suggested backgrounds to the English-speaking or French-speaking either belong group, on their first official no And with culture depending language. particular than another, even the smallest and the most recently being more official could established as Canadian ethnocultural would be considered community as the largest and the oldest. Two decades on Com? later, the parliamentary Standing Committee to reflect a very different and Culture munication seemed vision of the composition. country's ethnocultural
Our Committee there are four main cultural communities in Canada, each suggests of which to the expression contributes of our national identity. They are Canadians of English-speaking of French-speaking origin, Canadians origin, aboriginal peoples of other varied ethnic backgrounds. Committee and, finally, Canadians (Standing on Communications and Culture, 1992: 5)

? 1993 Human Sciences Press, Inc.

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and "French-speaking" here is understood in narrow "English-speaking" terms and excludes ethnocultural people who do not have ethnic origins Isles or in France, in the British respectively (5-6). Such a scheme serves to give specific identities to communities of British, French, and aboriginal origins1 but lumps the rest into an amorphous mass of "the others", even a substantial part of the Canadian they constitute though population.2 framework" allowed for the within a bilingual Whereas "multiculturalism the proposal of the Standing notion of an inclusive national community, seems to compartmentalize the population into four exclusive Committee

trend that the latter view is part of the general This paper suggests of the Canadian notion of in recent years that has led to the devolution as referring to the whole of the country's multiculturalism population. as being a characteristic was declared of Whereas in 1971 multiculturalism come to be various it has the entire presented by increasingly society, sources as merely to the non-British, non-French and non-abo? referring in the 1960s and 1970s had attempted Multiculturalism riginal communities. to deconstruct dominant Canadian notions of anglo-conform the symbolically as constituting the entire "the and biculturalism population by depicting ity mar? this is multicultural concept increasingly being community"; presently, only "the others." to under a common and non-discrimi? gather all Canadians Attempts are subverted that by reconstructions natory continually citizenship recreate orders. Dominant discourses older regu? socio-political discursively constructions of a society larly carry out explicit and implicit hierarchical and of "anglophones", "aboriginal peoples", "francophones", consisting the of The "the multicultural legislation limiting rights body community." to the country, to vote in elec? of peoples of certain origins to immigrate as well as to be in elite professions and to work tions, to own property ginalized as "enemy aliens" has been steadily dis? of the human discourses the alternative 1990: 7-28). However, groups (Patmore, such exclusionary laws seem more that sustained infrastructures discursive natures of dominant and the conservative resistant to change. Supported by as? succeed in often discourses, discriminatory maintaining they populist old orders. of pects to describe the reconstruction of "the The present study will attempt an that studies the model multicultural analytical through community" safe from arbitrary categorization from mantled through pressure movement of and minority rights between competition seek to demonstrate official, socio-political in the public five kinds of discourses how the use of cultural terminology discourses and populist alternative, The shifting and ambiguous domain. It will by dominant, has mirrored of words to mean

oppositional, struggles.


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The Multicultural


in Canada


are indicative of the ongoing the Canadian describing population Included rival interests. in the long the discourses of between competition are: French list of Canadian socio-cultural Canada, terminology English of ROC distinct bicultural, Canada, (Rest Canada), bilingual, society, charter groups, founding mosaic, nations, First multicultural, multiracial, reserve status Indians, Indians, natives, Nations, aboriginal peoples, Canadiens Franco-Qu?b?cois, Eskimos, Inuit, M?tis, fran?ais, Qu?b?cois hors Qu?bec, Franco de souche, pure laine, Francophones Fransaskois, communaut?s the les culturelles, Acadiens, Ontariens, Anglo Quebecers, ethnocultural ethnoracial visible third force, ethnies, minorities, minorities, official minorities, Whites, Caucasians, language minorities, anglophones, speakers, speakers, French-language les allophones, heritage language speakers, new residents, Canadians, first-generation convention economic Canadians, (Displaced Persons), refugees, Dps etc. This partial boat people, list of designations refugees, yacht people of Canada and its human occupants is perceptions reflecting varying can become a veritable arena of struggle illustrative of how terminology between and populist dominant, official, alternative, oppositional, francophones, English-language speakers, permanent language aboriginal landed immigrants,

is a qualitative analysis of textual materials, focusing on struc? contexts of discourses rather than their semantic for analysis are drawn casually from the mass samples materials media, pieces of legislation, governmental publications, produced academic references. sources, and historical organizations, by ethnocultural as illustrations in two manners: reflective of the domi? They are presented nant ideologies3 underlying and as examples of various the textual materials are not seen as being and their products discourses. Media organizations This study the socio-political tures. Discursive monolithic it is possible for various forms of but as cultural spaces where to appear from time to time. Notwithstanding the ideological mass the media in function of quotations (van Dijk, 1991: 151-53), they do some In the cases of media con? into non-media discourses. insight provide on ethnicity, tent which clearly veers away from dominant discourses it is discourses as illustrations of alternative or to draw on third party quotations possible a allows for discussion This methodological approach populist discourses. to nature of society in which varied of the polyvalent interests compete create public symbols.

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the particular discussed in this paper draw types of discourse et al's of "official," from Philip Schlesinger inspiration (1983) configuration and "alternative," "populist," "oppositional" perspectives, they are not con? same manners. a here the in distinction is made ceived between Firstly, to Schlesinger "official" and "dominant" (Williams, 1977: 108-10). According et al, the "official perspective is the set of views, arguments, explanations advanced and policy suggestions by those who speak for the state" (2). a monolithic to various types of discourses; Such a view espouses approach on any issue in a particular in reality, there rarely is complete agreement even when sector of society (Collins, Some official discourses, 1989). they not be if in the appear meanings hegemonic legislation, may they propose are actively resisted by influential elites. The notion of "of? sociopolitical in legislation and in other ficial" is limited in this study to what appears one to of this of the intents is demonstrate paper government regulations; bounds structures do always not operate within the that all parts of governmental of official discourses. the uses of "alternative" and "opposite" in this study are Secondly, et to and both those of al. contrary (16, 27) Schlesinger Raymond Williams are as viewed here discourses While operating within oppositional (113).


in which the dominant frameworks of the societies the broad philosophical are conceptual? their hegemony, discourses discourses alternative exercise same as dominant as not to world the views subscribe ized those that do are seen ones (Herman and O'Sullivan, discourses 1991). Lastly, populist ones in that they both have conservative as being related to dominant ten? are discourses in dencies. However, blunt, outspoken expressed populist manners such modes of speech are not usu? and voice extreme viewpoints: by those who participate ally adopted have to abide by the rules of "civilized 27). a dominant serves as a matrix for a society's dis? discourse Whereas of a monolithic and cussions about specific issues, it is not a manifestation currents. set Its reflect and which cultural static of ideological complexities, structures of power, are shaped by a continually the ever-changing evolving world and potentially contradictory views of socio-economic

in dominant society"



since they et al, 1983:

combination and cultural

of assumptions, and hypotheses elites.4 As Stuart Hall notes,

of dominant but a plurality must that this is not a single, unitary, remember to 'reproduce events selected that they are not deliberately discourses: by encoders the field of meanings but constitute within of the dominant the horizon ideology,' because 'universalized choose. within which Precisely they have become they must to be the only forms of intelligibility and naturalized', available; they they appear . . . that these as the 'only rational, valid ones' sedimented have become universally or refract and represent of the situation, definitions the dominant embody premises structures and domination, hence of power, wealth the existing they structure every

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Reconstructing event

The Multicultural

Community them process

in Canada in a manner has become

which the given reproduces even for the unconscious,

and accent they signify, ? structures this ideological 1979: 343-44) encoders. (Hall,

strong arguments against the idea of an (1989) also provides mass that is culture critiques; he in discourse dominant present absolutely are discourses "all to that there several show instead competing attempts and in? of with different audiences popularity significant degrees enjoying such a perspective ? stitutions within a specific culture" (114). However, fail to explain the discursive strategies which elites if taken too far?would use in sustaining dis? their power in society (van Dijk, 1989). Dominant them to in ways which enable courses, due to their very nature, operate Jim Collins sustain discourse. While their broad are mirrored retical constructed. tion about interests may not agree at all times on all matters, on major issues at particular in history junctures that the theo? dominant discourses the definitions, provide by are which and frameworks within agendas, meanings paradigms, hegemonic consensuses These reference topics such their dominance in the face of competition from all other types of

points form the bases for public communica? as and science culture, democracy, violence, key uses of and Certain unconscious) language and 1983). (Williams, (conscious of information by dominant discourses visual imagery and the presentation the status quo. Preferred networks of terminology tend broadly to reinforce of terms (Hall, 1979) prevail in important discus? and preferred meanings are either disparaged or and meanings sions while alternative terminology are mass vital channels for dominant The media discourses, disregarded. manners themselves in self-referrential continually reproduce constant interaction between various communication channels. the through are discourses carried and While alternative, by the populist oppositional, to be over? mass media from time to time, they tend on the aggregate discourses. whelmed by the ubiquity of dominant an a dominant discourse dis? may criticize Although oppositional same to sets both subscribe the course's specific viewpoints, they generally which the struggles of oppositional of fundamental myths and premises; discourses ones are political conflicts between with dominant (reflecting elites) rather on the other than ideological. Alternative discourses, hand, provide more to the hegemonic in deconstructions order by engaging serious challenges the latter, through their pre-eminent discourses. Nevertheless, of dominant over time to overwhelm or re? and ubiquitous character, usually manage to their own ideological construct messages that do not conform frame? discourse works. One of the primary features of a dominant is its power to comment and it its and issues maintains events; upon interpret major and the coopting transmuting continually by being dynamic, superiority

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194 words,


that threaten modes its images and symbols of other discursive to the efforts. In it of elites this way, corresponds maneuvering propaganda it reinforces. it is produced and whose positions by whom a dominant is at times influenced discourse While by oppositional its and alternative them is at the heart of discourses, ability to overcome

status. Official to sustain discourses its hegemonic its power may share of dominant but features discourses, many of the primary they can often at the level of everyday which mainly operate diverge. Populist discourses, are ideo? to tend have elements that talk (van Dijk, 1987; Essed, 1991), are some to dominant but discourses generally more they logically similar and social charac? assumptions, retaining political in dominant outmoded discourses. terizations considered They also lack that the latter usually enjoy. Yet, populist the ready access to mass media to oppositional and alternative have a greater capacity compared discourses to influence dominant share broad socio? discourses ones, with whom they conservative in their viewpoints. political can the five kinds of discourses of struggles between The unfolding construct discourses in the following manner. Dominant be conceptualized within which certain terms are used in public of meaning the parameters discourses may take exception of particular discussions issues; oppositional to aspects of specific terms but do not question their fundamental validity. networks and meanings of terminology proposed by more be challenged however, may, seriously by alternative ideas or new New words expressing terms may appear of existing processes through deconstructive meanings But of legislation. in the official discourses and may even be enshrined of conservative and often with the collusion populist discourses ultimately, reconstruct the dominant discourses in daily conversations, manifested ones proposed newer or terms of the older place the previous meanings a status frameworks into ideological discourses supporting by alternative bases The ideological discourses dominant discourses. alternative

to expect these discursive it would be simplistic However, struggles more tensions" usual for "synchronie it is to occur in such linear fashions; between various discourses. 1989: 134) to occur simultaneously (Collins, contexts there exist concurrent ethnocultural in Canadian Thus, struggles multicul? like anglo-conformity, between biculturalism, concepts competing Multiculturalism poses particularly unitary Canadianism. those belong? that would exclude orders to socio-political strong challenges of institutions in mainstream from to minorities ethnic participation ing turalism, and society.
carries to include the excluded in the name of cultural pluralism liberal demand The - the demand for a cultural radical demand within itself the seeds of a far more

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The Multicultural


in Canada


and redefinition sets the cultural

of the sphere of inclusion reconstruction itself, i.e., the sphere realm. (Bridges, 1991: 7) boundaries of the public

of symbolic re? the Canadian state's allocation However, notwithstanding sources to minority and administrative vehicles groups through legislative are to latter unable effective control of the the largely gain (Breton, 1984), Traditional socio-cultural of society dominant discourses 1991). (Itwaru, substantive control of key institutions such as the mass elites, in maintaining on Newspapers, to media 1981), are able continually (Royal Commission own in their decon? favour. Therefore, having reinterpret public symbols the alternative structed exclusionary social structures, discourses of multi? to the dominant then lose ground discourses of elites, which culturalism to reconstruct parts of the old order in which certain proceed symbolically were to others subservient of types (Patmore, legally considered people 1990: 7-28).


In the 1840s the Governor-General wrote about the political from London, the French in Canada: Lord tensions Durham, between recently arrived the British and

a government to find a contest two I expected between and a people; I found not of principles of a single state: I found a struggle nations warring in the bosom but of races. (McNaught, 1976: 94)

Durham's of the assimilation of the French residents of British proposal a was of North America through policy rejected by the anglo-conformity nascent Canadian state. The Canadian in dominant polity socio-political
discourses was seen as comprising of "two races," "two nations," "two

founding peoples," groups," came to be most characterized frequently two terms which were officially used in a dyadic

"two charter

"two solitudes" as "bilingual" fashion

etc. The country and "bicultural," until twenty years

on Bilingualism and Bicultural? the from disagreement larger non-British, as to the of European non-French collectivities origins image of Canada a was as and It result British French. of pressure being primarily largely that the Canadian from these alternative discourses government adopted a bilingual within its policy of "multiculturalism framework." Hanson R. ism In the 1960s, the Royal found vehement (1970) Commission Hosein remarks:

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196 a structure ?

Karim whether such

a bilingual multiculturalism within of a single official culture?is by the disavowal framework?accompanied feasible. From preliminary such an arrangement would observations, conceptually seem to deny the almost-inevitable link between and culture: in other language to have an official an official it is possible culture? words, policy without language the two distinct then an equality of If the policy is able to keep from each other, to a successful cultures is possible. (1992: 609) policy of multiculturalism leading One may wonder

Official because within

However, nant discourses

to be part of the official lexicon. was it from official in domi? discourses, although dropped seems to have blended with its sister concept biculturalism a bilingual within Thus "multiculturalism framework" of bilingualism. is a mean to multiculturalism within bicultural frame? frequently reinterpreted ceased

(Cook, and biculturalism

could conceptually discourses separate language and culture to become had accustomed long framing they language policy terms rather than those of cultural policy political-constitutional 1986: 195). Therefore, bilingualism was linked with multiculturalism, federal

reconstructs the dominance in effect of the two majority work, which cultures. The Official Languages Act (1988), which designated and English a as the two public of the manifested French country, languages policy and French-speaking Canadians inclusive of all "English-speaking officially or first language to their ethnic Canadians?without origin regard Canadians" and learned" (preamble). "French-speaking "English-speaking are usually referred to in dominant as and populist discourses Canadians" these discourses But in and "anglophone" "francophones." "anglophones" ? means not all just those people with British ethnic origins frequently ? and those French with only "francophones" speakers English-language on not all French-language ethnic origins ? speakers (Standing Committee 1992: 5). and Culture, Communications In the province of Qu?bec, where (unlike the federal official discourses) a clear link ismade between language and culture (Cook, 1986:195), there exists a tripartite linguistic distinction of "les francophones," "les anglophones," and "les allophones." The latter category generally refers to people whose mother tongues are neither French nor English; however, the first two do from time to in individuals of European time include some assimilated origins conversant French or English, respectively. But, members of visible minorities5 who similarly speak French or English as first official languages rarely escape the designation in dominant discourses of the province. of "les allophones" a resident of Haitian origins, "if you're Qu?bec Hyppolite, not [The (Montreal) Gazette, Sept. francophone" you're into ethnocultural transformation of linguistic categories overt in a publication of the Federation des communaut?s enne du Canada, which speakers the French-language to Keder According not white, pure laine, 14, 1992: A2].6 Such ones was even more

francophone et acadi of non-Qu?b?cois interests largely represents from the early settlers from France: descended

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The Multicultural


in Canada


of Canadian Francophones an ethnic group constitute from Ukrainian, Chinese,

common ethnic and cultural origin, origins, having in the strictest meaning of the term, just as do citizens or Scottish descent. and Kaprielian-Churchill, (Churchill

1991: 78-79) an (exclusive) of Canadian ethnocul? origin" here becomes "Francophones tural rather than a linguistic collectivity: other Canadians who speak French as a first official tongue seem to have no language or even as a mother among them. are often made to biculturalism in the mass media References to place national issues within dichotomic tendency through a dominant and the Rest of frames such as "English and French Canada," "Qu?bec than two decades "the two solitudes" etc. More after the official Canada," a distinguished demise of biculturalism, Jacob Siskind ? classical Canadian could still write: music critic ? place
The National have albums English official to is attempting Library at the same time ? arrived and Raoul (Ottawa Citizen, . . . tenor [honour] Edward Canadian Johnson and two singers . . . representing the other representing

Canada; culture.

Jobin, "Quebec's golden June 12, 1993: H2)


that reflect a dominantly bicultural perception of the country and also appear from time to time in high-profile its population pronounce? on official minority ments. In a 1990 decision language education rights, the Supreme Court of Canada referred to the Canadian Charter of Rights as "a linchpin in this nation's commitment to the values of and Freedoms Allusions and biculturalism" Simi? (Globe and Mail, Mar. 16, 1990: Al). bilingualism of language and culture in official government larly, the separation policy could not prevent a Commissioner of Official Languages from evoking the "cultural values" of English and French. Testifying in April 1988 before a committee the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, he parliamentary studying that it re? gave "his support for a policy on multiculturalism, provided were able to official bilingualism and that newcomers spected Canada's learn our official languages and the cultural values they convey" (Ohan,

1988: 22).
Even teristic" evaluation which as a "fundamental is described charac? though multiculturalism an in the Canadian Multiculturalism Act of Canada (1988), on the reluctance with of federal cultural institutions commented a funding Council, under that law. agency for cultural activities, accepted


its obligations
In devoted

its 1990 long range plan the Canada Council stated that "As an organization to the arts and culture, and as a federal the Council has always agency, to the bilingual nature of Canada. been deeply It is now committed and bicultural to respect Act and to recognize the increasing the Multiculturalism cultural required diversity of Canada."

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to note It is interesting that the Council had to the federal multiculturalism policy which had twenty years earlier. The phrase "now required that the change may not have occurred suggests the Act. (Chuck Sutyla Consulting, 1992: 47) not to respond deemed it necessary been in existence since 1971, almost to respect the Multiculturalism Act" without compliance required





also noted


people mention

1990 federal museums the "roles played policy recognizes by the aboriginal and the two founding in the development of our country," with no peoples even though several briefs to the museum of other cultural origins, policy to this aspect of Canadian and programming. group spoke heritage (48) working


revised Canadian Broadcasting Act (1991) states that the country's broad? nature of Ca? casting system should reflect the "multicultural and multiracial Yet some policy documents from the nadian society" [Section 3(l)(d)(iii)].

to refer to the country as continue federal Department of Communications 1992: 48). It appears that even though "bicultural" (Chuck Sutyla Consulting, dominant dis? official discourses are increasingly recognizing multiculturalism, courses still hold sway over key bodies in charge of cultural affairs. However, the obligations that federal institutions have under the Multiculturalism Act seem to be compelling them to review their policies in the light of the country's in the government's cultural diversity. One of the principles response to the on and Culture the Communications 1992 report of Standing Committee (drafted by the Department
Canada's cultural from that of our shared through (Communications

of Communications)


to be enriched of diversity, by the wealth heritage must continue to that of our newest and strengthened oldest peoples, peoples and in all of our communities. understanding regions 1993: 8) Canada,


Whereas official Canadian discourses describe as the entire population and "anglophone" In dominant and to those applied only people origins. It seems to serve the

being "multicultural," ? has also become

the term?just like "francophone" an exclusive ethnocultural category.

is frequently "multicultural" populist discourses or with non-British, non-French, non-aboriginal same kind of marginalizing function as the term "ethnic."
The ethnic,

as a euphemism for entered into everyday word multicultural usually speech, in one of Rohinton short stories in turn was, as a character which Mistry's 1989: 11) to another, "a polite way of saying bloody (Burnet, foreigner." explained

to Raymond According Greek times to exclude

Williams people

"ethnic" has from in-groups.





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The Multicultural


in Canada


in the senses of heathen, pagan or Gentile, It was widely used [in English] until C19 [the this sense was generally nineteenth superseded centuiy], when by the sense of RACIAL States as what was described Ethnics came to be used in the United (q.v.) characteristic. in 1961 as 'a polite term for Jews, Italians and other lesser breeds.' (1983: 119)


refer to gatherings including people or as "multicultural African with Dutch, Vietnamese, origins French and Scottish Canadians events," similar meetings involving Welsh, are rarely described in the same manner. The headline of a Toronto Star an umbrella article on the demand of the Canadian Ethnocultural Council, media habitually German, to participate of ethnic minority in national con? associations, organization want to read: "Multicultural be included in stitutional negotiations groups are term of talks" variations this "the multicultural unity (Mar. 4,1992: A9); Canadians." and "multicultural community" are usually not reported upon inmajor stories Ethnic minority members

the mass

but covered mainly by reporters assigned to the "multicultural beat" (Karim and Sansom, 1992). The subservient place of "the multicultural community" was graphically portrayed in a now discontinued Ottawa Citizen Sunday feature called "Mosaic," a parallel term of "multiculturalism." This feature appeared Hero" in the late 1980s on the city page along with its companion columns, "Local and "The Valley." "Mosaic," which was often placed in a bottom corner of the page, consistently featured non-British and mostly visible minority com? munities in the Ottawa area, while the other two (more prominently-placed usually featured people of British heritage. This journal? to imply that the Ottawa region's heroes were not to be residents. found among its ethnic minority the was Another in which media marginalize multiculturalism way an on demonstrated Ottawa-area two An article newspaper. by community a venue events at cultural local with the simultaneously-occurring opened following:
Civic Square was brimming with Canadian and multi-cultural pride last Thursday night.


longer) columns istic scheme seemed

In one end of the building, in Centrepointe Lome comedian Elliot shared Theater, humorous anecdotes and songs, which could love and understand only Canadians ... In the other end of the in the Council to Outreach Chambers, building Nepean to this city's Celebration" in tribute the World "Africa?A (NOW) presented multicultural groups especially the African community (Clarion, Feb. 9, 1993: 7).


and "multicultural" the "humorous


categories: Theater confines of Centrepointe dian" in-group, while the exhibition in the lobby of the Council Chambers a to became tribute the "city's multicultural could groups," all of whom relate to the display on Africa. According to the broadcaster supposedly


here as mutually exclusive presented and songs" recited within the closed could only be understood by the "Cana?

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the following origins), Dwight Whylie (himself of Caribbean exclusionary is operational in dominant definition of a "Canadian" discourses:
are white. You are Christian, or Roman either Protestant or you are francophone. And you can trace your to that definition, 100 per cent If you belong you're Oct. 21, 1990: B3) Herald, You anglophone or France. Catholic. ancestry Canadian. are You to Britain (Calgary

have at least one ethnic origin Even though 41.7 per cent of all Canadians discursive other than French or British, such exclusionary strategies deter? can as "Canadian" of be described mine whether groups people particular or as "members of the multicultural community." of the parliamen? of the meetings A perusal of the published minutes on and Committee Multiculturalism shows how tary Standing Citizenship such is used in a similar manner terminology The institutions who were called as witnesses. Canadian the government-funded Broadcasting
We will cover within our mandate the mainstream and community

by some Executive


of federal Vice-President of promised that

to (Nov.

community obligations of our regular program.

the multicultural 6, 1991: 23)

as he defended the Chief Commissioner of Even multiculturalism, to marginalize seemed inadvertently Canadian Human Rights Commission
to accommodate it is claimed, Multicultural groups, expect Canada to accommodate to Canadian but are not willing and their traditions . . . (Nov. 20, 1991: 31) this is very far from reality experience, their ways. cultures In my

the it:

on racial stereotyping, a member And in the midst of a heated discussion statement the of the Chairman of the Canadian of parliament challenged who had remarked and Telecommunications Radio-Television Commission, towards different professions," that "certain cultures orient people by say?

Your (Nov. implication 20, 1991: is that people 13) with multiracial backgrounds don't go into . . .

Even that the prefix "multi" has come to denote ethnic minorities. some multicultural? this terminology actually support people using though as those tendencies the same marginalizing ism, they unwittingly employ dis? discourses. As dominant indicated of the pervasive above, oppositional courses may criticize a dominant but unlike discourse's specific viewpoints, the latter's hegemony alternative discourses by en? they do not challenge It seems in its deconstruction. of "the multicultural One of the clearest reconstructions community" on Communications and has been carried out in the Standing Committee above. A very exclusionary 1992 report, mentioned Culture's picture of English-speaking of "Canadians from its descriptions origin, emerged gaging

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The Multicultural


in Canada

201 and,

Canadians Canadians
Canadians Canada

of French-speaking origin, aboriginal of other varied ethnic backgrounds:"



of English-speaking in mass; origin are not a homogenous they arrived waves of settlement. in three major battles in First, following military in 1763, there was a wave of Anglo-Scottish settlement Qu?bec by both military and business classes. Within 20 years the Loyalists, Americans of English, Scottish came so as to to Canada who could not accept the Revolution, and Irish descent in the 1840s and 1850s, there was a wave of Irish remain loyal to the Crown. Then, In each wave, famine. there was also a smaller the potato settlement fleeing by the Welsh. While these Irish, English, and Scottish tongue, they all used a common ... settlers brought with them pronounced Welsh cultural differences (5) While in their origins, French-speaking date back to the Canadians and Qu?bec in 1604 and 1608 respectively. The cultural legacy as far south as and of settlements reached which hundred-year history was held to survive. From Louisiana its widely strongly by one purpose: together the will of the French-speaking to in North America locations, separated community survive has evolved the necessity into cultural concentrated in awakening primarily the only province where the majority of citizens continue to speak French ..." Qu?bec, settlements of a four in Acadia . . . our appreciation concentrated needs and deserves specific French-speaking society recognition to the Canadian for its unique and distinctive contribution but extended in Qu?bec, all across the nation. certainly, (6) and scene not so diverse

but equally cultural Conversely, important, development must also provide for its English-speaking Qu?bec citizens, . . . its multicultural communities Canada was a multicultural

and expression within its native peoples and

arrived. The aboriginal peoples and history as the people who While

and multilingual the Europeans country long before are in fact as diverse with respect to language, tradition ... were part of the modern waves of immigration (7) in the knowledge aboriginal peoples of their origins must depend

can take cultural other Canadians comfort and can even access those sources for inspiration, . . . on their own native heritage

an increasingly Over the years, Canada has become with its pluralistic society, citizens from various parts of the world. To accommodate this new reality coming with Canadian the government the Canadian Act Multiculturalism society, passed a multicultural and implemented the retention and, encourages (sic) policy which the celebration of our ethnocultural This plurality of distinctive indeed, heritage. cultural backgrounds and parallels the other three main communities complements ? culture of Canadian and aboriginal. English-language, (8) French-language


the report attempted to emphasize the diversity within each of the seem to four "cultural remain sealed off from each communities," they other. The vision of two linguistic communities ethnic differ? overriding was the official is promoted ences, which by languages policy, effectively eliminated and "French-speaking" into by transforming "English-speaking" ethnocultural Even the used Committee "multicultu? designations. though ral" to refer to pre-Columbian aboriginal society, when writing about the reserve context to it this adjective contemporary preferred just for people non-French and non-native origins.

of non-British,

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tend to voice extreme viewpoints, discourses, which present to be in the of "multicultural." There appears interpretations between people who are "mul? language of younger age groups a dichotomy ticultural" and those who are "White." This was indicated in a report about and torture by a skinhead of a certain Paul Dvorak, who had the kidnapping in Sri Lanka. The assailant apparently objected to Dvorak having what origins overtly Populist racist was supposedly a "White" first name. The latter testified in court, "While he was hitting me, he was telling me that I was a piece of multicultural trash ... to be white" Jan. that I shouldn't be allowed Journal, 23,1990: {Edmonton as to to the "a back of man's This hark Canada White appears image Al). a in dominant discourses of the 19th and notion early 20th popular country," seems It that such members of who remain centuries society, (Ward, 1978). but share their conservative ideology, structures which unapologetically dis? criminated against certain types of people. Populist discourses are more open in their racism than the subtler discriminatory practices of some mainstream institutions that are part of dominant society (Henry and Ginzberg, 1985). an discursive interactive there remains However, relationship between popu? unsocialized into dominant to use the older continue un? the sentiments list and dominant discourses, with the former expressing et to 1983: "civilized al, 27). society" (Schlesinger acceptable non-French, non-British, groups are be? non-aboriginal Increasingly, even see themselves to to and dominant discourses be influenced by ginning the chair of For as constituting "the multicultural example, community." on visible minorities told The committee the City of Ottawa's advisory and communities Ottawa Citizen, "We act as a link between multicultural In the that 1993: hall" perva? adopting B3). marginalization (Mar. 25, city hold out for them, they tend to place their own discourses sive dominant the community selves outside in his book on The Imaginary of "real Canadians." Canadian (1980), As Tony Wilden notes discourses discursive

in these matters is alone a problem The parasitical quite ignorance of the dominant even more awesome to human well-being and dangerous It becomes serious enough. those who are the targets of these real and Imaginary objectifications in its effects when are so overwhelmed by the insidious power and the daily insistence of these violences to believe result will be that they them to be true. The that they come unconsciously of Other with an objectification their objectification will match by the [dominant] their stereotyping themselves, by the [dominant] by themselves. They will tend to match roles laid out for them. They in the stereotyped collusion Other with an unconscious Other with of the [dominant] the hatred expressed will match by the representatives self-hatred, and with a hatred of others like themselves. (109)

as a result of the these kinds of objectifications, Canadians be? Apparently to reserve the often tend to minorities visible various appellation longing for people with fairer skin, referring to their own selves only "Canadian" as "Black," "Chinese," "Sikh" etc.

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The Multicultural


in Canada


from mainstream such exclusion strategy to overcome use has been the of Canadianism." Thus Canadian "hyphenated society "Muslim-Cana? there are "South Asian-Canadians," "French-Canadians," etc. Clifton Ruggles, whose dians," "Jewish-Canadians" family had lived in that for over 300 years, was faced with a teacher who suggested Canada One discursive his daughter's over Ruggles'


for her school's for "African

"multicultural Canadian."

day" be titled "Africa"


that calling the display "African Canadian" insisted [the teacher] someone to the children not readily associate since they would confusing ? as being a Canadian. a black ? (Ottawa Citizen, May 21, 1993: A13).



like myself


ness," In fact, removal ferences

hyphenation it does allow

still maintains




"real Canadian Canadian

for at least partial inclusion within would of all ethnocultural designations that exist due to active

in life chances

society. ignore the real dif? discrimination against par?

and Ginzberg, 1985). a unitary, discourses undifferentiated promote to ethnicity. that would eliminate references Canadianism Such tenden? would hinder of the in the hands of cies, however, power scrutiny lying ones. suffered by subservient dominant ethnic groups and of disadvantage ticular groups (Henry Some dominant are against that even some of the interests which it appears to find it necessary Canadianism" "hyphenated identify the ethnic origins of opposing the discursive of Canadians in the very process strategy. on stated in While the right-wing Reform its multicul? Party policy paper However, the current concept of multiculturalism and hy? that it "opposes . . ." Canadianism and 1992: Pantazopoulos, (Flanagan 1), the phenated to demon? form of hyphenation document itself used another in seeking strate ideological ethnic background: support from a person of a minority turalism the policy paper referred to him as "a Canadian quoting a Dr. Rais Khan, of South Asian origin." From the viewpoint of those seeking equality, it becomes necessary to carry out research on socio-economic to ethnocul? differences according to alleviate tural distinctions: this would help foster policies designed con? based on these very distinctions. societal discrimination In particular texts "hyphenated Canadianism" a means to resist reconstructions would hance a foot ness," deny disadvantaged their socio-economic serves of an order a strategic in which function and becomes a unitary Canadianism support they require to en? has its to get them "real Canadian

minorities conditions.

the state But

limitations: while

some members

of ethnic minorities

this discursive strategy use hyphenation

in the door, dominant discourses, in denying can use it to keep them at the door.

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that traces how dominant, model The analytical official, opposi? discourses interact with each other allows and populist tional, alternative reflects socio-cul? the study of the ways in which discursive competition how This paper has sought to demonstrate for hegemony. tural struggles a common and under to all Canadians non-discriminatory attempts gather that symbolically are continually subverted by reconstructions citizenship orders. The body of legislation older socio-political limiting the dismantled been has of certain of steadily through origins peoples rights infrastructures discursive discourses. from alternative However, pressures to change. Sup? laws seem more resistant such exclusionary that sustained natures dominant and of conservative the discourses, populist ported by in discursively succeed aspects of discriminatory maintaining they often recreate relationships. inter-group previous of minority ethnic groups have been discourses the alternative While to of the Canadian official able to influence population descriptions to to discourses continue dominant become more inclusive, deny equality on official and on to "the others." discourses Inclusive languages are as decoded in in federal multiculturalism, legislation, they appear to create separate discourses and dominant by populist "the and aboriginal peoples," groups of "anglophones," "francophones," to references "real and "the multicultural implicit community." Explicit also serve as of multicultural and to "members Canadians" groups" to into the barriers maintain discursive integration against strategies to Even institutions. mainstream discourses, by failing oppositional reinforce of the fundamental they employ, terminology problems recognize of ethnic minorities. the marginalization re? discourses have allocated official Canadian symbolic Although sources to ethnic minorities, the latter are unable to participate effectively of society. This is because in the dominant discourses they lack the effective socio-cultural the gains they make. Traditional discursive power to consolidate control of the mass on substantive in other the hand, elites, maintaining exclusive manners media can continually reinter? institutions can thus withstand favour. They pret of multiculturalism discourses from the alternative deconstructive pressures of are to the elite able sustain and groups. "The multicultural hegemony is thus recon? to consist of the entire held society, officially community," mean others." to "the and structed only marginalized cultural and other mainstream own their in symbols public

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The Multicultural


in Canada


1. leaders and policy makers have resisted the incorporation of native aboriginal into "the multicultural Even the cultural issues raised by peoples community." though are similar to those of other the aboriginal their political interactions groups, peoples with governments also involve the major of land claims and self-government. questions For a discussion the alternative of how of aboriginal discourses have been peoples in influencing see Karim successful dominant Canadian discourses (1993). to the 1991 national had origins census, 31 per cent of the Canadian According population or French other than British and another 14 per cent identified at least one other origin or French. than British Statistics The Daily Canada, (Feb. 23, 1993). 3.7 per cent of the at least one aboriginal also reported The Daily population origin. Statistics Canada, (Mar. 30, 1993). as is viewed here "the the of meanings and ideas" process of Ideology general production (Williams, 1977:55). to London's In referring and financial business McCall draws community, Christopher to a definition attention of elites as the existence of groups within ethnic collectivities, which in a totality of a shared "a relatively small group of businessmen partake life-style: and bankers who speak with the same accent, have their clothes made by the same tailors, went to the same schools, take the same newspapers, and marry go to the same concerts, each other's sisters" Mills noted "Almost in America, (1990: 64). C. Wright everywhere Even more or less, race, the metropolitan and nativity. upper classes have in common, religion, if they are not of long family descent, of longer American they are uniformly origin ... than the underlying In various cities, Italian, Jewish and Irish Catholic population. ? families and powerful ? have risen high in status. But however having become wealthy these are still exceptions: the model of the upper social classes is still 'pure' important, extraction" by race, by ethnic group, by national remarked, (1956: 60). Peter C. Newman "Although ... control the Canadian Establishment it remains dominated by Old Canadian


3. 4.


is coming under American increasingly Canada Wasps, and together holding proud the right career histories the right connections" and, most through emphatically, (1977: are not viewed in this paper economic but 446). Elites only as people power, wielding also those who have to the ability access institutionalized shape public opinion through resources to symbolic 1965: 457-519). (Porter, seems "Visible to have been in Canada formulated in the early 1970s as a minority" result of the attempts to deal with discrimination of alternative discourses against people of non-European ethnic origins. The term has become in Canada part of the legal lexicon since the proclamation of the federal Employment in 1986. This law seeks to Equity Act correct of disadvantage "conditions in employment experienced" by "designated groups" as "women, who were identified and visible persons with disabilities, aboriginal peoples, minorities" and Immigration 1988: 59). For the purpose of this Canada, (Employment are persons, of visible minorities other than aboriginal act, "Members who are persons, . .". non-Caucasian in race and non-white one of the earliest in colour. Interestingly, uses of the term, which was in a in mass media study of ethnic representativity advertising, was see Frederick inclusive of aboriginal Elkin Its reconstruction seems peoples; (1971). to have been carried out in accordance with the insistence of native peoples of Canada that their problems of disadvantage be treated from those of other minority separately groups. See Karim communities," The Canadian uses (1991) interesting peoples. for the marginalizing (1993) "ethnocultural," "race," Broadcasting "multicultural" to note that the Corporation's to mean term as tendencies and of other terms such as "cultural

6. 7.



The multicultural and

in Canadian discourses. in CBC's programming mosaic it is Canadians; included aboriginal


non-French in this document also

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Breton, of and allocation (1984). The production Raymond. and ethnocultural the linguistic fields in Canada. Tom. resources: an analysis of symbolic Review Canadian and of Sociology

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(Ed.), towards



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