This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun
This is what a postnational multicultural state looks like.
On Wednesday, the Liberal candidate in the Burnaby South by-election resigned after sending a controversial message through the Chinese social media platform WeChat.
In a Chinese-language post, Karen Wang told her supporters to vote for her because she is “the only Chinese candidate” in the race, and to vote against NDP candidate and party leader Jagmeet Singh, noting that he is “of Indian descent.”
This sort of crass appeal based solely on race and identity is off-putting and unwelcome to most Canadians. But it should come as no surprise that race-based ethnic politics takes place across Canada.
And while the Liberal Party can try to back away from Wang’s message, her appeal to identity politics is straight out of the Liberal playbook and echoes the politics and policies promoted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In late 2015, Trudeau was interviewed by The New York Times magazine about his vision for Canada.
The American publication fawned that “Trudeau’s most radical argument is that Canada is becoming a new kind of state, defined not by its European history but by the multiplicity of its identities from all over the world.”
Forget about our traditions of ordered liberty that date back to the signing of the Magna Carta. And forget about our constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy — arguable the most successful form of government in human history — or our commitment to Western liberal ideals.
That type of “European history” is unimportant in Trudeau’s Canada.
Instead, Trudeau said “there is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada… those are the qualities that make us the first postnational state.”
The race-based message from the Liberal candidate mirrors this type of thinking. Wang’s appeal is the inevitable conclusion of Trudeau’s identity politics and his dream of a post-national Canada.
For instance, in her WeChat message, Wang does not call herself “Canadian” or even “Chinese-Canadian.” Instead, she identifies as “Chinese” and calls Singh “Indian.”
Just like Trudeau said, there’s no mainstream, no core identity in Canada. Newcomers don’t have to change anything about themselves when they move to Canada, so why would they bother to adopt a Canadian identity?
Likewise, Trudeau has downplayed the emphasis on language — eliminating the citizenship language test for many newcomers. It’s no surprise, then, to see politicians pandering in different languages to various ethnic communities.
Trudeau’s fixation on identity politics led him to appointing cabinet positions based solely on gender. While 26% of MPs are women, Trudeau promoted 50% to his cabinet.
But why stop at gender? The next logical step is to expand this thinking to other identities, like ethnic background and language groups. Why wouldn’t a postnational Canada have quotas to proportionately represent every ethnic group?
In November, Trudeau said he rejected Canadian nationalism, seemingly conflating it with ethnic nationalism found in Europe and throughout the world.
Canadian nationalism, however, is not based on race or ethnicity, since Canada has always been pluralistic and racially diverse. Instead, our nationalism is defined by patriotism — a love of country and commitment to our heritage and shared values.
Patriotism is the glue that holds our diverse country together, and without it, we devolve into tribalism — divided by bloodlines and ancient feuds from foreign lands.
Trudeau has engineered these changes and created a toxic brew in Canada: lax integration policies juxtaposed with a forced multiculturalism that downplays Canadian values and divisive identity politics that demonizes Canadian heritage and identity.
Candice Malcolm is the Founder of the True North