New Brunswick's Multiculturalism Policy
New Brunswick's policy on multiculturalism pertains to all New Brunswickers. Its purpose is to work for equal treatment for all citizens of all cultures. It represents a commitment to equality in matters of human rights, in matters of cultural expression and in access to and participation in New Brunswick society.
For New Brunswickers, Equality Rights are guaranteed in the New Brunswick Human Rights Code, the Canadian Human Rights Act and in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter safeguards the rights of the aboriginal peoples recognized and affirmed in the Constitution. It makes further provision for interpretation of rights in the Charter "in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians". The legitimacy of all ethnocultural heritages present in Canada is expressed through an official policy on multiculturalism within a bilingual framework. Similarly, New Brunswick's policy on multiculturalism recognizes the great value of cultural diversity set in the context of the province's official bilingual status.
New Brunswick wishes to affirm the legitimate place of diverse cultures and the cultural values inherent in them while, at the same time, encouraging a sense of how they are a part of New Brunswick society.
While New Brunswick understands and supports the desire of diverse ethnocultural groups and individuals to maintain and enhance cultural heritages, the Province also recognizes that some groups and individuals may wish to put aside their roots in other lands and cultures. The validity of this choice is fully acknowledged.
New Brunswick's policy on multiculturalism strives for a unity which does not deny or eradicate diversity but which recognizes and transcends it. At the same time, it seeks to ensure that in acknowledging and appreciating cultural diversity, these differences, so accentuated, do not become a cause of discriminatory treatment to impede individuals in their desire to become an integral part of the larger community.
New Brunswick's policy on multiculturalism is guided by principles of 1) equality, 2) appreciation, 3) preservation of cultural heritages, and 4) participation. These principles govern interaction among majority and minority cultural communities in New Brunswick.
Equality for all, notwithstanding racial, ethnic or national origin, is a fundamental precondition to full participation in society. The concept of equality embodies rights and obligations for all men and women. This means a commitment by all to a society where racial and ethnic minorities may live without fear of exploitation or discrimination and to a society where all men and women must expect to contribute and be an active participant in that society.
New Brunswick's history reveals successive efforts to achieve harmonious relationships between ethnocultural groups. While progress has been made, these efforts must continue to address the challenges which any culturally diverse society faces in becoming an organic social unit. There must be mutual knowledge, tolerance, understanding and appreciation of all cultural values and of the way in which these cultural values are reflected in institutions and in everyday interactions both within and between all ethnocultural groups. Appreciation of cultural diversity means ultimately that all human resources are utilized to enrich the many facets of life in the Province.
Preservation of cultural heritages plays an important role for many people in specifying individual and group identity. Sensitivity to cultural origins can serve as a link with past experiences for newcomers and in so doing, establishes a base for moving forward to their adopted society. For all New Brunswickers, knowledge of the diversity of cultures present in New Brunswick is vital to understanding our fellow citizens. Preservation and sharing of heritages is a vital and creative force in the evolution of New Brunswick society. It enhances interaction among cultural groups and facilitates full and equal participation by all.
Culturally diverse people possess a wealth and variety of human talents and experience with great potential to contribute to the economic and social development of the Province. The Province has an obligation to facilitate access to services and employment and to social and government institutions, so that all, irrespective of their racial and ethnic background, must expect to freely participate in the democratic processes inherent in New Brunswick society.
Objectives for Action
The four general principles of equality, appreciation, preservation, and participation form the basis of New Brunswick's policy on multiculturalism. They pervade all areas of government and they encompass all New Brunswickers of all cultural origins. New Brunswick's policy on multiculturalism requires the education, understanding, interaction, co-operation and the mutual assistance among all citizens and all communities. The government of New Brunswick will initiate measures designed to:
- Ensure respect for and adherence to the principles embodied in the New Brunswick Human Rights Code;
- Eliminate ethnic and racial discrimination by identifying and removing societal barriers to full and equal participation;
- Assist newcomers in identifying and overcoming cultural barriers which impede full and equal participation;
- Facilitate access to services and institutions both public and private in one of the two official languages of the Province;
- Increase public awareness and understanding of the multicultural composition of New Brunswick society through educational initiatives;
- Ensure freedom of choice in matters of cultural commitment and expression in a spirit of tolerance and acceptance;
- Encourage retention, enhancement and sharing of cultural heritages among all cultural communities;
- Utilize the full range of human resources present in New Brunswick to enhance social and economic development;
- Encourage citizen participation in all aspects of New Brunswick life.
New Brunswick's policy on multiculturalism is a commitment by the government of the Province to equal treatment and access to the services and benefits of New Brunswick society for all citizens of the Province notwithstanding racial, ethnic or national origin.
The New Brunswick government department and Minister responsible for multiculturalism will be guided by ongoing consultations with and input from the multicultural community. The New Brunswick government will establish a Ministerial Advisory Committee representative of all cultural communities to advise on matters pertaining to the multicultural nature of New Brunswick society.
All registered non-profit provincial and sub-provincial organizations and associations with a stated interest in the multicultural nature of New Brunswick society are eligible to recommend members for appointment to the Ministerial Advisory Committee should they so choose.
The Minister responsible for multiculturalism, with the advice of the multicultural community, may appoint at his discretion additional members to ensure balances representation.
Committee membership on the first Ministerial Advisory Committee shall be evenly divided by two and three terms. The determination of the length of the initial terms shall be at the discretion of the Minister responsible for multiculturalism.
Thereafter, committee membership shall be for a period of two years.
Upon a vacancy occurring, a replacement member may be appointed to serve the balance of the unexpired term.
The Ministerial Advisory Committee shall call meetings at least every three months.
The Ministerial Advisory Committee shall be charged with the following duties:
- To review policies, programs and activities which have a bearing on the implementation of New Brunswick's policy on multiculturalism and to make recommendations to the Minister responsible for multiculturalism;
- To provide information and advice to the Minister responsible for multiculturalism as it deems appropriate or as the Minister may request;
- To identify needs and concerns of ethnocultural minorities and to make recommendations to government on multicultural matters on an ongoing basis;
- To submit an Annual Report to Cabinet through the Minister responsible for multiculturalism.