Ricardo Duchesne was not popular among his fellow faculty. A former professor at the University of New Brunswick, Duchesne was the last member of Canadian academia to question the merits of forced diversity, mass immigration and multiculturalism that has been pushed, undemocratically, on every western nation since post-World War II. Due to the political culture of censorship that currently poisons our public forums today, Duchesne was forced to take early retirement three years ago after experiencing an “academic mobbing“. He affirms, unapologetically, that Canada was and is a nation founded by a distinct people and culture and states that the rewriting of Canadian history as “multicultural” is dishonest and not in accordance with the facts.
I am not going to attempt to summarize the whole book, nor am I going to cite many dates and figures as he has done throughout his book. My goal with this essay is to outline a few key historical aspects of the idea of nationhood that have undergone a drastic and continuous change over the past 50 years. In his book, Duchesne outlines 4 distinct variations of nationalism in the present and former eras. Understanding these forms and how they fit into the evolving state of our country is paramount to understanding where this country is headed demographically and culturally.
The first (and founding) variation is called ethnic nationalism, which is a nation defined and governed by a distinct ethnic or racial demographic. This sounds extreme in the modern context but in reality, up until the postwar era of the 1950s and 1960s, this was the fundamental basis for all western liberal democracies. Great Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, and the United States were all essentially ethnic national states that controlled immigration and defined the culture based on European bloodlines. The ethnic group, which every individual belongs to, was seen as an extension of kin and the nation as such was built around each people through cultural traditions. Canada, for example, was founded as a British colony, by British folk, with British institutions in place to govern, with outside sources of immigrants and settlers limited to ethnic Europeans. Duchesne goes into much detail about the creation of the Quebecois people as well as the Acadians of Nova Scotia, but I am going to focus mainly on the forms of nationalism in this essay.
The next form of nationalism Duchesne breaks down is cultural nationalism. This was first step made in postwar era to redefine western states as culturally European only. The founding governmental principles of parliamentary democracy, individual rights, and values based in Christianity would be coupled with English (and minority French in Quebec) cultural traditions and language. The distinction of cultural nationalism from ethnic nationalism was the idea that any race or ethnic group could assimilate to such a nation provided they accepted national customs and language and would forfeit cultural distinctions on the national level in favor of the culture of the majority. This form would allow and even encourage immigrants from non-European or third world countries, as long as assimilation could be considered applicable.
The third form is called civic nationalism. The idea of civic nationalism was revolutionary in the 1960s as the next step to further alter the idea nationhood. It professed in definition that western nations were essentially a collection of rights and freedoms, not privileged to the founding peoples of western nations, but to humanity as a whole. A civic nation forfeits not just rights of the ethnic founders to have their nation based on European ethnic identity, but also cultural distinctions that go with each ethnic founder. Nationhood was being redefined to mean nothing more than the sharing of liberal values. Pierre Trudeau took civic nationalism to the forefront of the west in the 1970s.
In 1971, Pierre Trudeau took a major step in forever changing the way future Canadians would be forced to identify themselves: multiculturalism. This philosophy would redefine Canada as a nation not built by two ethnic elements and cultures, the French Quebecois and Anglo-settlers under the British form of government and a culture rooted in British tradition, but as a nation of “immigrants” built my many cultures. This was a major building block for establishing future acceptance of the radical idea of mass immigration, and the rewriting of Canada’s history. If Canada had always been a nation immigrants, why should there be any resistance to forces of mass immigration?
What’s specifically radical about this philosophy is the fact that multiculturalism encourages not just the acceptance of high levels of foreign ethnic elements from the third world with no thought given to how this will alter the social climate and ethnic makeup of the nation, but that it encourages the new comers to hold onto their cultural traditions and customs while at the same time denying the founding peoples their right to be the majority culture. Trudeau firmly believed that “the very idea of a nation-state is absurd” and Canada “must separate once and for all the concepts of state and nation.”
What struck me so hard upon reading these facts is that the majority of Canadians have no real understanding about the radical nature of multiculturalism. Today when you hear debates about immigration, you quite frequently hear opposing arguments about whether or not immigrants are assimilating to Canada at a fast enough rate. What a lot of people don’t realize is that assimilation has not been the goal, nor is it even in the legislation on multiculturalism. The very definition of multiculturalism means that there effectively is no majority culture to assimilate too, and that this is a civic nation with nothing holding us together but individual rights, open to all the peoples of the world. A large amount of Canadians live under the illusion that Canada is still operating under some form of cultural nationalism but the reality is that cultural nationalism was pushed out just like the original ethnic nationalism before it.
Fast forward 48 years and we have Justin Trudeau pushing his father’s experiment even further by making a declaration shortly after being elected Prime Minister of Canada in 2015 that has no precedent in western politics: “There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada. There are shared values: openness, respect, compassion, willingness to work hard, to be there for each other, to search for equality and justice. Those qualities are what make us the first post-national state.” The first post-national state.
Setting aside the infantile world-view of the drama teacher, what is being stated here is that Canada is not just forfeiting it’s right to ethnic, cultural, or at the very least civic nationalism. The new Trudeau is publicly stating that Canada is ceasing to be a nation at all. Our great nation, in his eyes, is nothing more than a collection of values for all the world’s peoples to enjoy, bringing with them their own culture and customs while deliberately suppressing the culture of the founding peoples. You need only look at the content of our media and the equality-of-outcome policies prevalent in private and public sectors to see that this suppression is real.
Breaking down these variations of nationalism and how they apply in the history of this country is just one aspect of Duchesne’s analysis of the radical process of mass immigration and multiculturalism. Whether one agrees with the philosophy of this process or not, it is indisputable that this is major social issue. Open dialogue on the subject is relentlessly attacked and citizens are afraid to voice their opposition for fear of losing their jobs or being publicly labeled a racist. Duchesne himself was suppressed by academics who are hell bent on silencing any counter argument, no matter how logical and factually rooted it is. We as Canadians owe it to our ancestors and the founders of this nation to bring this discussion back into the public forum in the name of true nationalism.