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What happens when Multiculturalism meets Liberal Democracy?

  • Royal Oak

    161 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa, ON (map)

    45.424949 -75.683777

  • Western Europe, the U.S, Canada, Australia and New Zealand all profess to practice liberal democracy which has as one of its major tenets the protection of minority rights. This means that although the majority rules, the inalienable rights of the minorities are guaranteed from abuse by the majority: that everyone is entitled to his opinion, political belief, have different hairstyles, worship different gods or deities, belong to different races and cultures. Or are we?
    Until the last 30-40 years in Western democracies, the populations had been fairly homogeneous, but mass migration from 3rd world countries (legal and illegal) have changed the race composition of western countries. With them, come religious and cultural diversities and new challenges.
    The war on terrorism, political and economic refugee flows, economic globalization, western economic stagnation, industrial automation plus the changing profiles of western societies, all these are posing major challenges to one of our main foundations in liberal democracy, the protection of minority rights. In the process, whether multiculturalism is desirable and workable is increasingly being questioned by some politicians and citizens as evidenced in recent and upcoming elections and referendums.
    So, what is multiculturalism and does it have a place in liberal democracy? Is multiculturalism a main cause in the demise of liberal democracy? 

    Socrates Cafe is a social forum where we meet in person to engage in conversation on topics of interest: it is NOT an online discussion forum. As such, please refrain from preempting the event online, but by all means post links and questions you want to discuss on December 12th. Thank you in advance. 

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