Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Open Society Our Greatest Strength

[Excerpted from an article by Rod Micleburgh in today's Globe & Mail]

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a ringing defense of cultural diversity, rejecting calls for Canada to be less open to immigration as a way of curbing terrorism.

"I believe, actually, the opposite is true. Canada's diversity, properly nurtured, is our greatest strength."

The threat of terrorism, he said, is "sadly, the most serious challenge" modern policy-makers face." Some commentators have blamed Canada's open, multicultural society for spawning the homegrown terrorist network, Mr. Harper added. "They have said it makes us a more vulnerable target for terrorist activity."

Rather than shutting out those from other countries with different ethnic backgrounds and religions, Canada should maintain its long-standing, open-door policy, he said.

"It is true that somewhere, in some communities, we will find apostles of terror, who use the symbols of culture and faith to justify crimes of violence. They hate open societies like ours because they want the exact opposite. They want societies that are closed, homogeneous and dogmatic."

The terrorists and their vision will be rejected "by men and women of good will and generosity in all communities," Mr. Harper affirmed. "And they will be rejected most strongly by those men and women living in the very communities that therrorists claim to represent, as we have already seen in Canada since those arrests. "We've largely avoided ghettoization.... and the impoverished, crime-ridden, ethnically polarized no-go zones."

Hear hear!

A rational, ethical point of view from our northern neighbors that we would do well to emulate.

And a terrific add-on story to yesterday's blog on terrorism.