The Canadian Alternative

Edited by Hédi Bouraoui

If Canada’s unity lies in its diversity, then perhaps the Canadian cultural alternative is new and unique compared to the cultures in Belgium, Switzerland, or even the United States. Unity lies in diversity only if we listen to each other, and this timely provocative collection of articles is a fitting start in that direction.

Éditeur: ECW Press, Toronto, 1980. 110 pp.
ISBN: 0-920802-16-8
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“. . . between ethnicity and total assimilation there is a third alternative, and that is the pursuit of an enlightened, tolerant policy of Transculturalism. . . . [This] involves integrating various groups in a humanistic way, and arousing their curiosity about each other so as to build bridges between peoples.” Hédi Bouraoui, York Gazette. 10:31 (May 9, 1980).

“According to Bouraoui, transculturalism should be applied as a positive alternative to either melting pot or mosaic and multiculturalism is a suitable way to avoid the homogeneity and conformity dictated by manipulated mass culture. It is necessary . . . to enrich the understanding of ethnic cultures beyond an appreciation of dance, folklore and food, as well as to transcend factionalism.” Alexander J. Matejko, Canadian Ethnic Studies/ Études ethniques au Canada. XII:3 (1980).

“. . . it is well to be reminded of multiculturalism’s concern for the human rights of both groups and individuals . . . ; a greater sharing and appreciation of other cultures may ultimately lead to the development of a Canadian alternative which, as Bouraoui suggests, is neither melting pot nor mosaic.” Paul E. Blower, Canadian Materials. 10:1.

“Its topics range from an examination of early Canadian history to an expression of hope in Christianity as a unifying force in the country, and this diversity of viewpoint is the collection’s strongest feature.” Beth Greenwood, Canadian Author and Bookman 57:1 (Fall 1981).

“In the concluding essay, ‘Unity and Diversity in a Transcultural Context,’ Bouraoui is an eloquent critic of ethnicity as well as of assimilation.  He is an ardent advocate of transculturalism, which he sees as tolerance, the acceptance of the otherness of others.  ‘If we grant everyone the right to be different,’ he concludes, ‘we will benefit from cultural enrichment and construct a unique, creative, tolerant Canadian identity.’” George F. Theriault, Explorations in Sights and Sounds. (Summer 1982).