Book review of:
Canada in Decay
Mass Immigration, Diversity, and the Ethnocide of Euro-Canadians
By Ricardo Duchesne
London: Black House Publishing, 2017
Hardcover, 369 pp., $23.00
Ricardo Duchesne, a professor at the University of New Brunswick in Atlantic Canada, is among a very small number of conservative or traditionalist professors in the Canadian academy today. Duchesne is virtually unique in his principled opposition to Canada’s multiculturalism and mass immigration policies. Among his other books are The Uniqueness of Western Civilization (2011) and Faustian Man in a Multicultural Age (2017). Duchesne is the founder and one of the chief contributors to the Council of European Canadians website (www.eurocanadian.ca).
Canada in Decay offers a well-written and tightly argued account of the ongoing drastic course that is changing the face of Canada. In the book’s preface, Duchesne states forthrightly,
As late as 1971, when Prime Minister [Pierre] Trudeau announced multiculturalism as an official government policy, over 96 percent of Canada’s population was European in origin.
Today, the proportion of Canadians with a European ethnic origin has declined to less than 80 percent, with non-whites already making up close to half of the residents of Greater Toronto and Metro Vancouver. In less than two decades immigrants and second-generation children of immigrants will account for almost 50 percent of the population. In less than a century Canada will be 20 percent white, 65 percent non-white, and 15 percent of mixed race.
Duchesne explains his provocative title:
[B]y “ethnocide of Euro-Canadians,” I mean what the United Nations also means by “cultural genocide” and “ethnocide,” that is, the deliberate destruction of the ethnic heritage of a people. I do not mean the deliberate killing or extermination of Euro-Canadians, which is also part of the definition of “ethnocide.” I mean the deprivation of Euro-Canadians of their integrity as a people with a distinctive culture and ethnic identity in possession of their own nation-state.
Duchesne demonstrates that the idea that Canada has always been “a nation of immigrants” is palpably false. The British and French were not immigrants, but “pioneers, settlers, and discoverers.” In the case of the French, from an initial population of 10,000 settlers, the rapid birthrate had led to a population of 70,000 in 1760. Thereafter, there was near zero immigration from France, and the population increased solely due to high rates of fertility, reaching four million by the 1950s. Duchesne also writes about the Acadians, a small and unfortunate French group in Canada. The main initial wave of Loyalist English settlers numbered about 50,000. The English population also increased rapidly, and immigration in the nineteenth century came mostly from the British Isles. As Duchesne notes frequently, Canada was still 96 percent European as late as 1971.
Duchesne dissects the leading theorists of Canada’s “immigrant multiculturalism” insanity, notably Will Kymlicka and Charles Taylor. The central contradiction of these theorists is that, while they claim minorities require a community and group-values, they deny that the majority has any claim to a communal cultural identity.
Duchesne then looks at the weakness of some conventional conservative and liberal criticisms of multiculturalism, namely those promoting individualism and assimilation. The ideas of Leo Strauss and his disciples are criticized, for their universalism and repudiation of the actual cultural and religious (Christianity) traditions of the West. Duchesne criticizes Janet Ajzenstat, who has tried to re-interpret Canada’s founding in 1867 as merely a “political nationality,” removing its ethnic and Tory aspects. Towards the end of Part Three, Duchesne has a fascinating short section about the debate on Oxycontin, which seems to buttress ideas of “natural in-group behaviors.” Liav Orgad’s The Cultural Defense of Nations: A Liberal Theory of Majority Rights (2015) also gets scrutinized. While the message of the book is welcome, it is not powerful enough to deal with the challenges now facing the West, notably the incredible demographic surge of Africa in the coming century.
In Part Four, “Canada Spiraling Out of Control,” Duchesne looks at how the “ethnic liberalism” of an earlier Canada, where there were no qualms about proclaiming Canada as English and French, was conceptually transmogrified into the current-day “immigrant multiculturalism.” He bases his argument largely on Carl Schmitt’s concept of the political, claiming that liberalism has an underdeveloped sense of the truly political.
Duchesne traces the long process of gradual decline from “ethnic liberalism” to ever more intense notions of “immigrant multiculturalism.” He does say that World War II was a great watershed. In many people’s minds, all forms of ethnic nationalism are synonymous with the totalitarian policies of National Socialist Germany. Liberal Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson’s Immigration Regulations of 1967, where the so-called points system was brought in, was a major step towards changing Canada’s traditional immigration patterns. Pearson was followed by Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who launched “an assault on bicultural nationalism,” declaring Canada a “multicultural society” in 1971. In 1982, Pierre Elliott Trudeau brought the Charter of Rights and Freedoms into Canada’s constitutional structure. It essentially enshrined virtually his entire agenda, as the highest law of the land. Section 27 of the Charter states:
This Charter shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians.
Also, Section 15 of the Charter subsection 1 proclaims the equality of everyone before the law. Subsection 2, however, says that the government has the constitutional right
to create special programs aimed at improving the situation of individuals who are members of groups that have historically experienced discrimination in Canada….
Perhaps some of these developments might have been tempered had there been a more genuinely conservative opposition.
However, as Duchesne writes about Brian Mulroney (Progressive Conservative Party Prime Minister, 1984-1993), he
was the most ardent promoter of multiculturalism, mass immigration, and a global identity for Canada. It was under his government that mass scale immigration from non-European sources on a continuous basis irrespective of the economic needs of the Canadian working class was fully implemented. It was under his insistence that multiculturalism would be enforced into “all aspects of Canadian society” and that Canada would be sold to the world as a business place with a global, not a national, identity dedicated to the enhancement of racial diversity. The Conservatives had come to realize that cultural Marxism was coterminous with global capitalism and that selling Canada to the world for its humanitarian diversity was a great image to solidify global capitalism in Canada.
Duchesne calls this “Brian Mulroney’s Globalist ‘Post-Fordist Regime’ of Accumulation.”
In 1987, there arose the Reform Party, co-founded by Preston Manning. This Western Canadian-based protest party became a country-wide party by 1991.
In 1991, it stated its opposition to “any immigration…designed to radically or suddenly alter the ethnic makeup of Canada.” The Reform Party was forced to back off from this statement after intense accusations that it was harboring racist and xenophobic ideas.
According to Duchesne, the Reform Party movement was essentially defeated in Canada, with the arising of the more moderate Canadian Alliance, and then the creation of the new Conservative Party, where very few of the old Reform ideas persisted.
As far as the Stephen Harper Conservatives go (Harper was the Conservative Party PM, 2006-2015), Duchesne offers this assessment:
Yet, in the end, Kenney, and the Harper government, more than ever, would make a habit of boasting about how their conservative government had sustained immigration levels that made “Canada the largest per capita receiver of immigrants in the entire world,” and how the immigrants it brought deserved to be admired as truly Canadian for having “a much higher incidence of post-secondary degrees than the Canadian population at large.”
In October 2015, the Liberals came roaring back with a strong majority in the federal Parliament, under the leadership of Justin Trudeau (Pierre’s son). Among Justin’s most well-known statements is that Canada is a “post-national” state. Duchesne says that this phrase signifies the repudiation of even the thinnest forms of civic nationalism.
Prof. Duchesne’s work can certainly lead to disquieting reflections on the possible future of Canada. From beginnings that certainly appeared to be auspicious, Canada has slipped into very negative directions. The question of “what is to be done?” certainly looms large, but Duchesne has little concrete to suggest.
If there is one shortcoming to Prof. Duchesne’s otherwise fine work, it is the lack of sufficient attention to the so-called “white ethnics” in Canada. Much of the impetus behind the initial adoption of multiculturalism came from “white ethnics,” notably the Ukrainian-Canadians. The term largely meant a recognition of other European (non-English and non-French groups), especially Eastern and Southern Europeans. Nevertheless, it was quickly transmogrified in the general culture to mean “visible minorities.”
Also, it is worth pointing out that the English are still very prominent in many aspects of Canadian life. It could be argued that they remain so on the basis of ideological affinity rather than ethnic solidarity. They are the most liberal, most politically correct group in Canada.
Prof. Duchesne’s book is certainly a strong challenge to the
currently regnant notions of multiculturalism and mass immigration in Canada.
Wide reading of this book by Canadians could be the first step toward a better
future for Canada.