Canada Racist? Only its Government

Commentary, Government, Peter Holle

Canada has always prided itself on being one of the most open and least racist countries in the world. This view may not have always been true, particularly with regard to our past immigration policies, which only became colour neutral in the 1960s. But since then, and ongoing today, the vast majority of our immigrants have been what are referred to as people of colour (a highly pejorative term that hopefully will soon become unfashionable).  

The recent absorption of so many newcomers of different backgrounds, races and religions is no small feat. No other country in the world has brought in such high levels, as a percentage of its population, of different people in such a short period of time—and done so successfully. Most countries in the world never even attempt this experiment—and even small numbers of racially mixed newcomers often bring with them massive waves of ghettoization, riots and unbridled racism.  

It is impossible to find another country that has been able to do this—or even close to this—without societal upheaval. Think Brexit in the U.K., riots and insurrection in the U.S., burning refugee camps in Greece—to name but a few recent examples. In Canada, despite being way outside the norm in accepting so many different people in such large numbers, we have largely been successful in doing this and should be proud of this accomplishment.  

What have we done right to make this happen? First and foremost is that we have embraced our multicultural origins and have promoted a cultural mosaic, rather than a melting pot. In Canada we take pride in our different backgrounds and celebrate them for generations, unlike the U.S., which has historically encouraged everyone to simply become Americans as soon as possible.  

Second, unlike the U.S., we have made a point of banning racial information from most government forms.  You are not asked what race you are on a driver’s licence, birth certificate, school enrolment, marriage certificate or even criminal record checks. For the most part, governments have been—and remain—colour blind to your race. In the U.S., they break most statistics down according to race, noting every small difference and outcomes. 

Our current Canadian government wants to change that and starts with the premise that only white people can be racist. I am not making this up, as it comes directly from the federal government’s most recent in-house training on anti-racism in which they say that prejudice against a race is not racism and is only considered racist if it is from a white person. Hard to believe, but true.  

Anyone who has travelled extensively has encountered severe racism in its ugliest forms. This is the kind that sees Yazidis killed en masse by Islamic extremists, or India’s caste system preventing low-caste people from even talking to so-called elite castes, or Jews and Christians all but exterminated in most Middle Eastern countries.  

Why is this important? Unlike the period before the current prime minister, during which immigrants were told that everyone is equal—men and women, Black and white, rich and poor—the new message is that only white people can be racist, as they hold all the power. The problem with this is that it is facilitating the racism and prejudice that so many left behind in their home countries, and which we have historically tried to eliminate from their new life in Canada.  

We have worked hard as a country over many decades to minimize newcomers’ importation of their own nations’ racial prejudices—only to find that in the prime minister’s Canada they are told that these prejudices are no longer racist and that only white people can be racist. They have come to Canada hoping to find a country of equality and freedom and now find an increasingly race-obsessed administration that is trotting out racist tropes and pitting everyone else against white people.  

This cannot work. This is wrong and it must stop. Canadians believe in equality and compassion; we do not believe in pitting one group against another. We need to call on all government officials—elected or otherwise—to resist this terrible movement in our country. We must relish our belief in equality and not let a few woke individuals try to take that away from us. If Canada does not believe in equality, then what else is there to believe in? 


Peter Holle is president of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

Photo by Benoit Debaix on Unsplash.