As an expert for alternative dispute resolution, I am emboldened to promote a society that can evolve through the use of discussion, education and understanding. Such experts or professional are there to allow for differences of opinion to exist. Even though these differences have the impact which can divide, we must work to ensure that these differences are strengths not weaknesses.
Canada is seen around the world as a society where differences are seen as a strength. Multiculturalism has taken a large hit in the past few years with both Germany and the UK declaring their efforts as failing. Here in Canada we have also sounded the same alarm yet not as loudly. The statements that call multiculturalism a failure ignore the reality that the world is multicultural. What has failed is our capacity to resolve our differences and allow tensions to boil over to uncontrollable levels. What can we do to ensure that we do not fail to emulate the reality of the world?
One step is to evolve the current education we provide. Within the past twenty years we have made great strides to deliver communication skills in schools. Through programs such as peer mediation, anti-bully and cultural awareness the tools of understanding are being offered. Although these programs are available we can do a better job. There is also another front which is just as important to ensure peace is sustained in our society. That front is the process in which new Canadians go through to obtain citizenship.
Often the popular speak of how our society changes deals with the fact that others come into Canada and carry their issues with them. This sentiment goes back a very long way. It was at its height with the Air India bombing. In that terrorist attack, which is still the largest terrorist act on Canadian soil, people from India carried their war to Canada. Still to this day we wrestle with how and why conflicts far away can be fought on our streets. To think that we will stop every incident is beyond naïve. However, as stated in the opening paragraph, we professionals of dispute resolution must educate others on how to peacefully coexist.
As professionals we should be lobbying government to introduce conflict resolution programs to those seeking citizenship. We are currently changing the immigration program in Canada and now is a time to try a few different things. By offering such a program we will be instituting the three tenets of our society, peace, order and good government. We will be offering new Canadians a skill that is needed, wanted and if so desired taken back to assist in peacebuilding. We can teach others how and why it is needed for as many cultures to exist as possible.
Anyway, I can dream.