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Former Governor General Of Canada Celebrates Multiculturalism In Lecture Series

the CanadaVisa Team - 09 July, 2015


Former Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarkson, has remarked that Canada is unique in how it approaches issues of identity, integration, reciprocity, multiculturalism and mediation in her CBC Massey lecture series. The Massey lectures offer a major thinker the chance to address an important issue over five hours of radio, multiple public events and a short book. Clarkson served as Governor General from 1999 to 2005.

Citing Canada’s particular method of multiculturalism and the “Canadian model” of citizenship, Clarkson said that aboriginal life emphasizes mutual dependence, which she calls "the ecology of human relationships.” She also had a special mention for Canada’s renowned spirit for volunteerism (more than 50 per cent of Canadian residents volunteer in some capacity) in a lecture titled The Cosmopolitan Ethic. Volunteerism is “the ultimate expression of civic virtue,” according to Clarkson.

Another of Clarkson’s lectures this month spoke of the South Afrian concept of “ubuntu”, which describes and promotes acceptance of and respect for different cultural groups, and the individual’s coexistence and harmony with all living things. Ubuntu does not call for the evaporation of individualism. On the contrary, ubuntu recognises that the individual is unique and possesses his or her own identity, which is part of the group. Clarkson draws parallels between ubuntu and Canada’s policy of multiculturalism, in doing so lauding both, but notes that Canada has fallen short in its objectives, particularly with respect to how it relates to aboriginal communities.

The fifth and final lecture, titled Gross National Happiness, takes place tomorrow, October 28 at Toronto’s Koerner Hall. Previous lectures were held through October in Montreal, Halifax, Saskatoon and Vancouver. The lectures will air on CBC radio in November.