By Charlie Smith A British author and broadcaster has claimed that Canada’s Conservative government has embarked on a "disastrous policy" by bringing in more temporary foreign workers to deal with labour-market demands. In a phone interview from his home in London, England, Kenan Malik told the Georgia Straight that this approach has created deep social, cultural, and political divisions and greater religious extremism in Germany, France, and other countries.
"You have a whole group of workers who have few rights, no access to services, and no access to citizenship," Malik said. "That can only create the kind of problems that we’ve had in Europe with the guest-worker system over here."
Malik will be in Vancouver on Sunday (June 3) to deliver the annual free Milton K. Wong lecture called "What’s Wrong with Multiculturalism? A European Perspective". Wong was a Vancouver philanthropist, businessman, and former SFU chanceller who died last New Year's Eve...
...Malik also pointed out that it’s important to distinguish between the two meanings of multiculturalism. The first, he declared, is the lived experience of diversity. The second is the political response, which is about creating policies to manage diversity.
"The experience of living in a society that is less insular, more vibrant, and more cosmopolitan because of mass immigration is something to celebrate," he said.
On the other hand, he noted, official multiculturalism is often designed to separate people into "ethnic and cultural boxes", which he opposes because governments then have a tendency to deal primarily with conservative community leaders. Ultimately, he argued that this leads to greater balkanization, which undermines democratic engagement.
"I’m a critic of multiculturalism precisely because I’m a defender of diversity," Malik added. "Because the irony of multiculturalism as a political process is it undermines much what what’s valuable about diversity’s lived experience."...Read here...