Hon. John McKay PC, MP Address on Multiculturalism to the Pure Gospel Church in Scarborough, December 27, 2008
We are here tonight celebrating a “Multicultural event.” We think of multiculturalism as a new concept. In fact, there is nothing new about multiculturalism. The concept of peoples, tribes and nations is the ancient for runner of multiculturalism. It is spoken of in the Bible multiple times from Genesis to Revelations.
The Church in Canada has only recently woken up to the fact of “peoples, tribes and nations.” When I was growing up there were basically two groups. The Protestant churches which were largely mono racial and mono cultural. Similarly the Catholic churches were largely mono racial and mono cultural – centered in Quebec the initial protector of the Quebecois “nation.” The role of the Catholic Church in Quebec has diminished greatly. Quebecois have had to find other institutions to protect their language and culture.
The Churches in Quebec, Ontario and elsewhere are rapidly adjusting to new realities. Tonight we see an example of the new embrace of the Gospel in people’s lives. The Churches in Scarborough that have adjusted are flourishing. The ones that haven’t are dying.
“And repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
For our purposes tonight, the GTA is Jerusalem.
Rev. Alexander is trying to get you to live holy and righteous lives worthy of your calling to the Gospel. You have a calling to preach to the peoples, tribes, and nations of Canada.
There is probably no other nation on earth as multicultural as Canada. There is not a people group, a tribal group, or a national group not represented in the great nation of ours. Canada is a huge experiment. We have gone from mono cultural aboriginal peoples, to the duality of French/English settlers to now a polyglot of multiple persons of many persuasions. It is not clear that this great experiment will succeed. In fact the odds are stacked against us. Each one of us prefers to retreat to our own racial/ethnic/cultural tribe. That’s where we feel most comfortable and where we go almost by default. If we don’t fight those tendencies we as a nation will fail and we will retreat to our solitudes and live in splendid isolation.
The Church has a huge role to play in bridging these solitudes. It’s not only preaching the good news it’s also "living the good news.” Your lives should be “wholly and acceptable,” an attraction to your friends, neighbours and fellow Canadians from all their “peoples, tribes and nations groups.” It is important that you not fail. The nation depends upon you to reach out and bridge the solitudes.
New Year’s Day will be fast upon us. A good time for resolutions. Be strong and of good courage. Resolve to reach out across the divides and the solitudes.
Embrace our new cultural reality. Our nation depends upon it.
Happy New Year.