British multiculturalism is skin deep (no pun intended)
On Friday, Melanie Phillips had an article in the National Post warning that Islamists pose the same threat to Canada as they do to the UK. She was of course drawing on her experience of Londonistan and the circumstances leading to the 7/7 bombings.
Having visited Canada on several occasions (my parents-in-law live in Toronto), I used to think the situation there is a little different. One thing that struck me was how truly multicultural Canada is and how it makes British multiculturalism look contrived in comparison. In Canada, there is less talk about multiculturalism as it's simply part of the national identity. Being an immigrant society, everyone there is to some extent a newcomer, or at least their parents / grandparents were newcomers in the not too distant past. Canadians are patriotic, and fly their flag with pride. In fact you see the maple leaf everywhere. Try flying the Union Jack in Britain, and people think you're crazy, or worse, a neo-nazi!
In Britain, everyone talks about multiculturalism incessantly as if they keep needing to remind themselves to tolerate minorities. There's a reason for this. Britain's population has been settled for far longer plus there is all the baggage of colonialism. As a result, despite a lot of goodwill, it has been a lot harder for Britons to adjust to immigration. On one hand, there are the xenophobes who have not been able to cope with the changes resulting from immigration. On the other, there are many within Britain's establishment with a guilt complex, who are ashamed of Britain's history, and feel obliged to downplay British values and culture. As a result, it makes multiculturalism feel very self conscious, especially compared to Canada.
In the light of recent events however, it might be time to revise my view of Canada. It certainly isn't the self hating country that Britain is, but the danger of multiculturalism is that it's based too much on what differentiates you rather than what binds you. Canadians are proud of what they aren't: they're not American, they don't carry guns, they don't have the death penalty, and if they're new immigrants, they're not Canadian but are the nationality of the country they left. So what's left? The similarities to Britain are becoming more and more apparent.