Salim Mansur was in Toronto yesterday to give a talk on his new book “Delectable Lie: A Liberal Repudiation of Multiculturalism”. The event was organized by Forum for Learning (presented by Raheel Raza) and the International Free Press Society (IFPS).
He is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario (in London). His specialty would raise a big red flag in the minds of many people. The political science departments usually are swarming with delusional “scholars” who, instead of doing real research, use their positions to spew whatever leftist dogma they have been indoctrinated in.
Prof. Mansur stated in the very beginning of his remarks that his major premise about multiculturalism is that it is a lie, without any basis in reality or philosophy. His position made the mainstream media wary; they tried to avoid any coverage of his views. He had the hardest time in the “Republic of Toronto”, which is like a different country, where McGuinty and his people could get re-elected, while losing elsewhere in Ontario. The major papers (Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and National Post) refused to touch the theme in any way. At the same time, he got offers for discussions and meetings from many different parts of the country.
He has been working on that issue for years, but the final push came after a Maritime think tank commissioned from him an essay about multiculturalism. When he tried to put all his findings into the essay, he found out it was impossible to cover the topic in such a short paper. The think tank asked him to present the essay and told him that if there is anything extra, he should put it into a larger work. That’s how the book was born.
From that point of view, Mansur is a rare bird – although he is an Indian Muslim, who came to Canada in 1973, he didn’t go the easy way of spreading propaganda on “racialization”, “oppression”, “minorities issues”, etc.etc. , as the Canadian elites expect somebody like him to behave. He chose to do real research of real problems. That made him a real scholar, but getting out of the Liberal Party box didn’t play well with the establishment.
In her introduction, Mary-Lou Ambrogio, Vice-President of IFPS, specifically mentioned that – Mansur has never been politically correct. He was one of the first scholars in Canada to write about the radical Islam after 9/11 and he is also a columnist for Sun Media. It’s no wonder that he receives hate mail. The controversy followed him when he tried to publish his new book. Although it was well researched and covered very real problems, many Canadian publishers were afraid to get into an open discussion of multiculturalism.
It didn’t help that Salim Mansur refused to change or soften his positions to make the book less controversial (from their point of view). That’s why the IFPS firmly stood behind the book and sponsored its publication.
Then Raheel Raza made an introduction to his views by reading a column he recently wrote about multiculturalism.
The concept of multiculturalism is supposed to make us feel good, so the elites, in the name of stability, don’t want to allow any criticism or even discussion about it. The legislation on multiculturalism was imposed on us first by Trudeau and then by Mulroney without any discussion. If it were put up for a vote, it would’ve been most likely defeated.
The government never bothered to present any factual or conceptual justification for it. All the government-issued documents on the topic are just fluff – you can read in them about “celebrating differences”, “diversity” and many other empty phrases, but you’ll never find any explanation of the context or necessity of
Salim Mansur wrote his book to fill that gap. He thought it was important to explain the meaning of “liberal” used in the title. He is a firm supporter of the small-letter liberalism, a concept, which advances the individual freedoms, developed by Adam Smith, Tocqueville, and many other thinkers. That’s opposed
to Liberalism with a big letter, which hijacked the word, but is using it to endorse a political party system, which defends collectivism and a powerful state.
Multiculturalism disposes of the individual rights and freedoms and puts in the centre of its values the groups united by different cultures, claiming that all those cultures are equal. That is a totally false claim. Canada is great not because of multiculturalism and diversity, but because it is a liberal democracy, where the rule of law guarantees the freedoms of the individual.
Cultures are not equal, never have been equal, and never would be equal. It would be absurd to claim that the culture of the Huns was equal to the Roman culture (even in its years of decay). The same applies to the Islamic culture and the Western democracies.
The individuals are those who should be equal in the sense of being treated equally. The classical liberalism is all about the individual rights.
It’s absurd to equate cultures, but that’s what multiculturalism does. In doing so, that doctrine aims to destroy free speech, because it is hostile to criticizing any cultural differences.
The issue of immigration is the most acute public policy issue affected by multiculturalism. That became a pressing issue after in the USA they adopted the Open Immigration Act (in 1965), which was mirrored in Canada a few years later.
Decades before that, immigration was much more difficult. Due to the more primitive means of transportation, it required a significant commitment and expenses. Once people arrived in their new countries, they felt grateful and did their best to fit in and contribute. They embraced the culture of the USA and Canada and adapted quickly, considering themselves Americans or Canadians, without hyphens.
Now conditions are very different, changed by the revolution in transportation. Moving around the globe is much easier. The situation creates new problems – the old immigrant mentality is being replaced by the migrant worker’s point a view. The migrant workers always consider themselves temporary guests, who don’t plan to change their ways. The new immigrants are under no pressure to become Americans or Canadians, on the contrary, they are even encouraged to “celebrate their culture” and isolate themselves in the new country, no integration is required. Eventually, that leads to fragmentation of our society, where those ethnic islands are protected by government legislations and human rights commissions.
This is a very touchy issue, but we will have to face it. While the elites ignore it, the ordinary people are very well aware of it. Then Salim Mansur said that when he came to Canada in the 1970’s, he was attracted by the liberal democracy and the protection of individual rights. A few decades later, he sees the country divided, with a government and media that don’t allow discussion of the differences. And that’s not a good sign – when people’s thoughts and grievances are bottled up and suppressed, they tend to explode in unpredictable ways. We should avoid that.
During the Q&A session, Prof. Mansur had the chance to express his strong opinion about the Human Rights Commissions in Canada. It’s disgraceful that they want to control free speech through Section 13 (1). Canada is one of the most developed and important countries in the world. There is absolutely no reason to have in our democracy a gag law enforced by the unelected members of those commissions.
He recalled a talk he had with the rights lawyer Allan Borovoy years ago. Borovoy told him that when the human rights commissions were established in the 1960’s, the idea was to defend people from real discrimination by employers and when looking for housing. The commissions were supposed to be alternatives to courts, which provide conflict resolution at much lower price. Now they have deteriorated to the point where they try to censor media and curtail personal freedoms.
You can’t have a commission protecting your feelings – if you don’t want to be offended, don’t listen to that radio station, don’t read the book or the magazine, etc. Nobody can be legislated into liking somebody else. The Human Rights Commissions are kangaroo courts. He ironically remarked that despite his confrontational position, HRC is afraid to go after him because he is a brown guy, while the white people like Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant are considered a fair target. With so much evidence about the destructive role of the commissions, we must hope that the government will finally take the long-promised action against them.
Overall, that was a great presentation. I suppose that for as long as people like Professor Salim Mansur, who are not afraid to voice their opinion, are not silenced, our country has the chance to remain a real democracy.
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