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January 8, 2008

Canadian society: a vibrant, modern, symbiosis global society


Germain Dufour
Spiritual Leader of the Global Community
Prophete of God

Key words: Canadian multiculturalism, diversity, the Canadian experience, immigration, symbiosis global society, symbiotical relationship, global ministries

Canadian multiculturalism is a symbiotical relationship between Canada, the Canadian people, and the world
Artwork by Germain Dufour
January 8, 2008

Canadian society today includes a vast diversity of cultural heritages and racial groups. This multicultural diversity is a result of centuries of immigration. Truly, the struggle for the making of Canadian multiculturalism is the Canadian experience and the Canadian identity. Canadian multiculturalism is a symbiotical relationship between Canada, the Canadian people, and the world.

Diversity has been a fundamental characteristic of Canada since its beginnings. At the time of European settlement there were more than 60 Aboriginal nations speaking more than 30 languages. As the French and then the English colonized Canada, treaties were signed that acknowledged Aboriginal nationhood. Linguistic duality was enshrined in law at the earliest stages of the development of the Canadian federation. At a time when it was accepted practice to establish sovereignty through war and cultural domination, there were enough Canadians who believed in the virtues of accommodation and mutual respect to ensure that, with some exceptions, Canada would develop peacefully and the foundations of its diversity would be preserved.

Immigration has played a key role in shaping the character of Canadian society. All Canadians have a parent, grandparent or more distant relative who came to Canada as a stranger to a strange land. Because all Canadians share an immigrant past, there would be no Canada without immigration. Immigration to Canada is a privilege, not a right. Canada remains selective about who may enter and, equally important, who may not.

Attempts to address the needs of Canada's Aboriginal peoples began in 1973 when the Supreme Court of Canada first recognized land rights based on an Aboriginal group's traditional use and occupancy of land. In 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms recognized and affirmed the treaty rights of Aboriginal peoples to protect their cultures, customs, traditions and languages. In 1996, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples identified the legal, political, social, economic and cultural issues that need to be addressed to ensure the future survival of Canada's First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

The contributions made by all Aboriginal peoples to Canada's development, and the contributions that they continue to make to our society today, have been properly acknowledged by the Government of Canda in 1998 with the unveiling of Gathering Strength: Canada's Aboriginal Action Plan.

In 1950, when the landmark Massey-Lévesque Commission linked cultural diversity and Canadian identity, about 90% of Canada's population growth was a product of the birth rate. Today, immigration has outpaced the natural birth rate, and accounts for more than 50% of overall population growth. Often called "the global village in one country", the face of Canada, particularly in our larger urban centres, is changing dramatically. By 2006, one in six Canadians will be a member of a visible minority. Toronto, the largest city in Canada's largest province, will be the world's most multicultural city, ahead of New York and London. Vancouver, with the fastest growing and most diverse immigrant population in Canada, will be among the world's most integrated cities.

All Canadians are guaranteed equality before the law and equality of opportunity regardless of their origins. Canada's laws and policies recognize Canada's diversity by race, cultural heritage, ethnicity, religion, ancestry and place of origin and guarantee to all men and women complete freedom of conscience, of thought, belief, opinion expression, association and peaceful assembly. All of these rights, our freedom and our dignity, are guaranteed through our Canadian citizenship, our Canadian Constitution, and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

A broad framework of laws and policies supports Canada's approach to diversity. At the federal level, these include the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Employment Equity Act, the Official Languages Act, the Pay Equity Act and the Multiculturalism Act. Provinces and territories also have laws, human rights commissions and programs that promote diversity. Finally, Canada reinforces its commitment to diversity as a signatory to international conventions including, for example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The Bill of Rights in 1960 barred discrimination by federal agencies on the grounds of race, national origin, colour, religion or sex. Changes to Canada's Immigration Act in 1962 specifically stated that "any suitably qualified person from any part of the world could be considered for immigration to Canada, without regard to his race, colour, national origin, or the country from which he comes". As a consequence, Canada's immigration polices gradually became less European and the mix of source countries shifted to nations in Southern Europe, Asia and the West Indies. Substantial increases during the 1970s and 1980s in the number of immigrants admitted as refugees under humanitarian and compassionate grounds further diversified the ethnocultural origins of newcomers to Canada.

In 1982, the multicultural character of Canada gained constitutional recognition in Section 27 of the newly adopted Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It specified that the courts were to interpret the Charter "in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canada". By virtue of this section of the Charter, Canada became a constitutional multicultural state.

In 1971, the federal government announced its policy of multiculturalism. The policy not only recognized the reality of pluralism in Canada, but seemed to reverse the earlier attempt to assimilate immigrants like is done in the United States. It challenged all Canadians to accept cultural pluralism, while encouraging them to participate fully and equally in Canadian society.

Multiculturalism brought forward a new model of citizen participation in the larger Canadian society that addressed the pluralism of ethnic groups that were part of the Canadian family, a Canadian society based on public acceptance of difference and support of cultural pluralism. Unlike the melting pot model of the United States, Canadians preferred the idea of a cultural mosaic - unique parts fitting together into a unified whole. Ethnicity was to become the new Canadian identity.

When the policy was announced, it was one of multiculturalism within a bilingual framework. Multiculturalism affirmed English and French as the two official languages of Canada. But ethnic pluralism was declared to be a positive feature of Canadian society worthy of preservation and development. Many provinces followed the federal lead by introducing multiculturalism policies in their areas of authority. In l988, Bill C-93 was passed as the Canadian Multiculturalism Act. It became the first formal legislative vehicle for Canada's multicultural policy.

Canadian multiculturalism is fundamental to our belief that all citizens are equal. Multiculturalism ensures that all citizens can keep their identities, can take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging. Acceptance gives Canadians a feeling of security and self-confidence, making them more open to, and accepting of, diverse cultures. The Canadian experience has shown that multiculturalism encourages racial and ethnic harmony and cross-cultural understanding, and discourages ghettoization, hatred, discrimination and violence.

Through multiculturalism, Canada recognizes the potential of all Canadians, encouraging them to integrate into their society and take an active part in its social, cultural, economic and political affairs.

Canada was the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy. By so doing, Canada affirmed the value and dignity of all Canadian citizens regardless of their racial or ethnic origins, their language, or their religious affiliation.

The Canadian experience has shown that multiculturalism encourages racial and ethnic harmony and cross-cultural understanding, and discourages ghettoization, hatred, discrimination and violence.

Multiculturalism has led to higher rates of naturalization than ever before. With no pressure to assimilate and give up their culture, immigrants freely choose their new citizenship because they want to be Canadians. As Canadians, they share the basic values of democracy with all other Canadians who came before them. At the same time, Canadians are free to choose for themselves, without penalty, whether they want to identify with their specific group or not. Their individual rights are fully protected and they need not fear group pressures.

Multiculturalism is a symbiotical relationship between Canada and the Canadian people.

Multiculturalism is a symbiotical relationship between Canada and the Canadian people. Our citizenship gives us equal rights and equal responsibilities. By taking an active part in our civic affairs, we affirm these rights and strengthen Canada's democracy, ensuring that a multicultural, integrated and inclusive citizenship will be every Canadian's inheritance.

For example, in Canada, there is now a well established symbiotical relationship between the Government of Canada and the Inuit people of Nunavut.

Nunavut's territory covers 772,260 sq mi (2,000,671 sq km) of land and water in Northern Canada including part of the mainland, most of the Arctic Archipelago, and all of the islands in Hudson Bay, James Bay, and Ungava Bay (including the Belcher Islands) which belonged to the Northwest Territories.
The Inuit lived in the Nunavut region for thousands of years before the first European explorers arrived searching for a Northwest Passage. For all but the last 250 years or so of their history, they were free to govern their lives and manage their territory and resources according to Inuit needs and traditional practices. With the arrival of explorers first from Europe and later from North America, the Inuit way of life started to change, and they have had to struggle very hard to maintain control over their culture, territory and resources. The Inuit are in Canada one of three groups of Aboriginal peoples. The other two are the First Nations and the Métis.

The Inuit people used to hunt the caribou, seals, and fish for food, most Inuit now live in small communities that depend on trapping, sealing, mining such as diamonds, and the production of arts and crafts for their livelihood. There is a small tourist trade, lured by the wildlife and vast space, as well as Inuit cultural attractions.

The creation of Nunavut was the outcome of the largest aboriginal land claims agreement between the Canadian government, a liberal government, and the native Inuit people. The Inuit is one of the first indigenous peoples in the Americas to achieve self-government. They have the right to participate in decisions regarding the land and water resources, and rights to harvest wildlife on their lands.

In the pass, the Canadian Government took advantage of the Inuit to further its sovereignty agenda while ignoring their suggestions and demands. The importance of an equal partnership between the federal government and the Inuit regarding a future Northern Strategy should not have been underestimated. The Inuit have a very practical interest in stewardship in the North. The Canada’s Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act is a good start, but without the ability to enforce this Act at present, the likelihood of protecting Northern resources is unlikely.

The Inuit community has to be actively involved with both the Earth management of the Northwest passage and Nunavut territory. All of the above historical facts seem to indicate more than one way to reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

Canada's experience with diversity distinguishes it from most other countries. Our 33 million inhabitants reflect a cultural, ethnic and linguistic makeup found nowhere else on earth. Approximately 200,000 immigrants a year from all parts of the globe continue to choose Canada, drawn by its quality of life and its reputation as an open, peaceful and caring society that welcomes newcomers and values diversity.

This does not mean that there are no tensions in Canada that are generated from the differences between people. But as these tensions are addressed, Canadians learn to adapt and relate to one another despite their differences. Through practice, we have come to understand that the differences between us do not have to divide us. This encourages citizens who face common challenges to step forward and claim their right to full participation in Canadian society. As a consequence, Canada's concept of what constitutes diversity is expanding.

As with official languages and multiculturalism, Canada has learned that constitutional measures and legislation alone are not enough to assure equal opportunity in a diverse society. To contribute fully and achieve their full potential, all peoples must have a voice in society and a chance to shape the future direction of the country of which they are a part. This requires mechanisms to enable individuals and groups to speak out and be heard, and to participate in national debates. It also requires programs that help equip individuals, communities and organizations with the skills and tools they need to advance their interests.

Experience with diversity has taught Canadians to accept and respect diverse views. Canadians welcome debate and are willing to listen, discuss, negotiate and compromise for the common good. The Global Dialogue is an other example of the Canadian experience.

There is an ongoing daily Global Dialogue Proceedings of the Global Dialogue  between Canada and the world. There is always a need for helping humanity back onto the path of survival this millennium. The Global Dialogue is the source of new ideas and finding new ways for our survival and taking along with us other lifeforms on the planet.

The people of the Global Community is using the Global Dialogue to resolve conflicts, promote democracy, and fight hunger, terrorism, disease, and human rights abuses. In order to bring about the event of peace, the Global Community is offering other good organizations around the world to work together to bring warring parties to peace. We can accomplish this task by concrete actions such as:

a)     Tracking armed conflicts within and between nations around the world and offering assistance in dispute resolution;
b)     Promoting human rights and democracy;
c)     Monitoring democratic elections;and
d)     Educating the public about the advantages of a peaceful solution to any conflict.

The Global Community also proposes that all nations of the world promote the Scale of Human and Earth Rights and the criteria to obtain the Global Community Citizenship. Every global community citizen lives a life with the higher values described in the Scale and the criteria. Global community citizens are good members of the human family. Most global problems, including global warming and world overpopulation, can be managed through acceptance of the Scale and the criteria.

The Global Community can contribute in evaluating options and strategies for adapting to climate change as it occurs, and in identifying human activities that are even now maladapted to climate. There are two fundamental types of response to the risks of climate change:

1.     reducing the rate and magnitudes of change through mitigating the causes, and
2.     reducing the harmful consequences through anticipatory adaptation.

Mitigating the causes of global warming implies limiting the rates and magnitudes of increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, either by reducing emissions or by increasing sinks for atmospheric CO2. Reducing the harmful consequences can be achieved by co-operating together with the global ministries on climate change and emergencies. The Global Community has created the global ministries to help humanity be prepared to fight the harmful consequences of a global warming through anticipatory adaptation. The global ministries on climate change and emergencies are now operating. The ministries have developed:

1.     policy response to the consequences of the global warming, and
2.     strategies to adapt to the consequences of the unavoidable climate change.

The Global Community has given back responsibility to every citizen on Earth. Everyone shares responsibility for the present and future well-being of life within the Global Community. We will work together in finding sound solutions to local and global problems. It would be wrong and dishonest to blame it all on the leader of a country. Most problems in the world must find solutions at the local and global community levels (and not assume that the leader alone is responsible and will handle it). There is a wisdom in the ways of very humble people that needs to be utilized. Every humble person deserves to have ideas respected, and encouraged to develop his or her own life for the better. Sound solutions to help manage and sustain Earth will very likely be found this way. Everyone can help assess the needs of the planet and propose sound solutions for its proper management, present and future. Everyone can think of better ideas to sustain all life on Earth and realize these ideas by conducting positive and constructive actions. When there is a need to find a solution to a problem or a concern, a sound solution would be to choose a measure or conduct an action, if possible, which causes reversible damage as opposed to a measure or an action causing an irreversible loss; that is the grassroots process. The Global Community can help people realized their actions by coordinating efforts efficiently together.

The responsibility of a peacemaker is to settle differences through compromise and negotiation before they erupt into violence. Conflicting views do not have to bring about fighting. War is an irreversible solution to a problem. War is never an appropriate solution to resolve a conflict.

The Global Community is promoting the settling of disputes between nations through the process of the Earth Court of Justice.

This has made Canadians effective international mediators. We understand the virtues of accommodation and respect, and the importance of negotiation in peaceful conflict resolution. With so much violence in the world fuelled by racial, religious and ethnic intolerance, Canada is regularly asked by developing nations and newly emerging democracies to provide advice and assistance on conflict resolution, human rights, democratization and establishing the institutions that a civil society needs.

Canada stands as proof that it is possible for women and men of the world's many races, religions and cultures to live together. We admit our problems and work across our differences to find solutions. We show the world that different people can accept and respect one another, and work collaboratively to build one of the most open, resilient, creative and caring societies on earth.

The ethnocultural diversity of Canada's population is a also major advantage when access to global markets.

The Canadian experience can be related to many other types of symbiotical relationships. Other symbiotical relationships may be based on common concerns and issues such as: the environment, peace, justice, women's rights, human and Earth rights, and many more. There is a whole spectrum of possible symbiotical relationships.

A global symbiotical relationship between two or more nations, or between two or more global communities, can have trade as the major aspect of the relationship or it can have as many other aspects as agreed by the people involved. The fundamental criteria is that a relationship is created for the good of all groups participating in the relationship and for the good of humanity, all life on Earth. The relationship allows a global equitable and peaceful development and a more stable and inclusive global economy.

The fundamental criteria is that a relationship is created for the good of all groups participating in the relationship and for the good of humanity, all life on Earth. The relationship allows a global equitable and peaceful development and a more stable and inclusive global economy.

The Global Community has begun to establish the existence of the age of symbiotical relationships and global cooperation. An economically base symbiotical relationship exists between nations of the European Union. Other types (geographical, economical, social, business-like, political, religious, and personal) may be created all over the world between communities, nations, and between people themselves. There has always been symbiotical relationships in Nature, and between Souls and the matter of the universe to help creating Earth and life on Earth to better serve God.

In the context of the global civilization of the 3rd Millennium, we have defined that any symbiotical relationship is for the good of all, for the good of the 'other'. It is based on a genuine group concern and unconditional support for the individual's well-being ~ a giant leap in human behaviour. The question is how can we improve the political symbiotical relationship to fulfill the fundamental criteria? The Global Community promotes the values and principles to achieve the fundamental criteria and that requires the promoting and establishment of: global community ethics, mutual respect, respect for life, basic liberties, justice and equity, caring for the 'other', integrity, responsibility and accountability.

Symbiotical relationships are needed today for the long term future of humanity and for the protection of life on Earth.

A global symbiotical relationship between nations is more than just a partnership, or an economical agreement such as the WTO. The WTO is about a trade partnership between nations. Of course it is a bad idea to be a member of the World Trade Organization ( WTO). There are no advantages! The fundamental criteria is not being fulfilled. It just does not work for anyone except when you have an army to knock down any member who does not do your five wishes and plus. A membership in the WTO is not needed and nations should instead seek relationships with fewer other nations only if needed. Certainly it is better to seek an economic relationship with another nation we can trust than with a hundred nations we have no control on and everyone of those nations has a say in the governing of our nation, its environment and social structure. The WTO only offers illusions to profit the few wealthiest people on Earth. They say "become an industrialized nation as we are". But that is the biggest illusion of all. To become an industrialized nation is far from being the best solution. The best way and solution for any nation is to follow the Scale of Human and Earth Rights. Right on top of the scale are the ecological rights, the global life-support systems, and the primordial human rights of this generation and of the next generations. Economic and social rights come next and are not the most important. That makes a lot of sense!

The effect of IMF and World Bank policies in the world caused the destruction of the economies of the poor nations (now we call them 'developing' countries). They impoverished the people by taking away basic services and devaluating their currency. They opened up the national economy to be ravaged by competition with richer nations. Poverty lead to other problems causing the ecological destruction of a poor nation.

The Global Community is inviting you to participate in the formation of global symbiotical relationships between people, institutions, cities, provinces, communities, nations, and businesses. We are also proposing the formation of a political symbiotical relationship between state and global civil society. A similar relationship already exists between the people of the Global Community, also known as the human family, the global civil society.

Global ministries are a very specific and useful type of symbiotical relationships on Earth. There are urgently needed. The Global Community has been promoting the formation of global ministries for the proper governance of Earth.

Global ministries are world wide organizations just like the WTO for trade and therefore should have the same power to rule on cases as that of the World trade Organization (WTO). The importance difference between a global ministry and the WTO is that a global ministry follows the fundamental criteria.

The Global Community is inviting you to participate in the formation of global symbiotical relationships between people, institutions, cities, provinces, communities, nations, and businesses.

On the other hand, a global symbiotical relationship between two or more nations can have trade as the major aspect of the relationship or it can have as many other aspects as agreed by the nations involved.

An other example is the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO is mostly lead by powerful lobbying groups subsidized by the pharmaceutical industry. The organization is money-driven as opposed to be following the fundamental criteria.

A new symbiotical relationship between religion and the protection of the global life-support systems has begun to take place all over the world. Religious rituals now support the conservation efforts and play a central role in governing sustainable use of the natural environment.

Major faiths are issuing declarations, advocating for new national policies, and creating educational activities in support of a sustainable global community. The Global Community is establishing a symbiotical relationship between spirituality and science, between our heart and mind, and God, between religion and the environment.

The Canadian experience can be used as a model of the kind of symbiotical relationships other nations should relate to in order to create Peace in the world.

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