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Uneasy Partners

Multiculturalism and Rights in Canada

Janice Stein, David Robertson Cameron, John Ibbitson, Will Kymlicka, John Meisel, Haroon Siddiqui, and Michael Valpy

Canadian Commentaries Series

Paper 184 pp.

ISBN13: 978-1-55458-012-5

Release Date: May 2007

Online discount: 25%

$36.99  $27.74


eBook availability

After decades of extraordinary successes as a multicultural society, new debates are bubbling to the surface in Canada. The contributors to this volume examine the conflict between equality rights, as embedded in the Charter, and multiculturalism as policy and practice, and ask which charter value should trump which and under what circumstances? The opening essay deliberately sharpens the conflict among religion, culture, and equality rights and proposes to shift some of the existing boundaries. Other contributors disagree strongly, arguing that this position might seek to limit freedoms in the name of justice, that the problem is badly framed, or that silence is a virtue in rebalancing norms. The contributors not only debate the analytic arguments but infuse their discussion with their personal experiences, which have shaped their perspectives on multiculturalism in Canada. This volume is a highly personal as well as strongly analytic discussion of multiculturalism in Canada today.

Janice Gross Stein is the Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management in the Department of Political Science and the Director of the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto. Her most recent publications include The Cult of Efficiency (2001), Canada by Mondrian (2006), and The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar which won the 2007 Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing.

David Robertson Cameron is the chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He has divided his time between public service (in Ottawa and at Queen’s Park) and academic life.

John Ibbitson is the political affairs columnist for The Globe and Mail and author of several works on public policy.

Will Kymlicka holds the Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy at Queen’s University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and his works have been translated into thirty languages.

John Meisel is the Sir Edward Peacock Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Queen’s University and past president of the Royal Society of Canada. He has been a frequent media commentator and lectures widely in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

Haroon Siddiqui is a columnist for the Toronto Star. A former president of PEN Canada, he is a member of the Order of Canada and winner of numerous professional honours.

Michael Valpy is a senior writer for The Globe and Mail and writes frequently on public policy, religion, spirituality, and ethics. He has won three National Newspaper Awards, and in 1997 Trent University awarded him an honorary doctorate for his journalism. He is currently a senior resident at the University of Toronto’s Massey College.


“In the midst of the debate on Canadian multiculturalism and whither it’s bound comes a timely book from Wilfrid Laurier University Press.... If you have a genuine interest in the future of Canada this book is essential reading.... If you believe the Canadian concept of multiculturalism is worth preserving...This book offers eight viewpoints that pave the way.”

— Ben Viccari, Canscene

“The seven essays that fill this book pack more punch than you might expect. By turns the pieces are provocative, witty or frustrating — but rarely dull”

— Omar Majeed, Montreal Gazette

“Canada has benefited from favourable circumstances in putting in place a peaceful and prosperous multicultural society. But we have let good fortune take the place of hard thinking, and we have not sufficiently engaged in democratic discussion to do with the kind of multicultural society that we want. It is past time that we take up Janice Gross Stein’s invitation to face upt to this difficult but unavoidable societal challenge.”

— Daniel Marc Weinstock, Literary Review of Canada