Archived Letter – 860

I would like to respond to Mr. Balkind’s letter “Being Canadian” regarding his desire to protect our Canadian heritage.
Mr. Balkind refers to the Canadian Bill of Rights. While it still exists, it was superseded in 1982 by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Unlike the Bill of Rights, the Charter covers much broader human rights laws and it is also part of our constitution.
One of the most important parts of the Charter is the section which covers Equality Rights. It clearly states: “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”
This means that if we conform to allow a Sikh man, who obviously wishes to serve his country, the ability to wear a turban, so be it! This also means that if a woman chooses to wear a niqab or burkha that is also her right to do so, under the laws of this country.
Canada has been built on the backs of immigrants and it still is. More recently, with the increase of multi-culturalism, we have become very diverse. We are a far cry from the original immigration of the primarily French and English heritage that started this country. We are even further from the original native culture that walked these lands before colonization.
I would like to pose a question to Mr. Balkind. What is Canadian heritage exactly?

Linda Horowitz