While some are complaining that Canada’s new citizenship guide plays up the military, the royal family, and hockey and downplays environmentalism and the arts, it also takes a much stronger line on the issue of women’s equality in Canadian society. According to the National Post (see the full story here) Canada’s revamped citizenship guide warns newcomers that “barbaric cultural practices” such as honour killings will not be tolerated, marking a stronger tone against importing beliefs that clash with Canadian values.
“In Canada, men and women are equal under the law,” the document says. “Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, ‘honour killings,’ female genital mutilation or other gender-based violence. Those guilty of these crimes are severely punished under Canada’s criminal laws.”
Some might worry that suggestion that such crimes stem from imported values may offend some ethnic communities.
Farzana Hassan, spokeswoman for the Muslim Canadian Congress, is quoted in the Post article as saying there is nothing controversial about the statement in the new guide, adding that it is a long-overdue step toward tackling a cultural practice that does not jibe with Canadian values.
“We cannot ignore this in the name of multiculturalism,” she said.
The full text of the new guide, Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Canadian Citizenship, is here.