How do we reconcile the perception of Canada as a welcoming and inclusive nation with the direction of its policies?
Divisive rhetoric and actions delivered in the name of “public security” have, in recent years, created very different experiences for different Canadians. The reform of citizenship law and the surveillance of “anti-Canadian values” were among the previous government’s attempts to contour Canadian citizenship in the post 9/11 world, yet these policies also connect to a long-standing tradition of marginalization in Canada.
From the genocide of Indigenous peoples and the internment of Japanese Canadians, to ongoing practices of racial profiling and the racialization of national security policies, Canada remains a country in tension with its own mythology.
As Canadians are ushered into a new era of “sunny ways,” how will the newly elected administration acknowledge and effectively address the continuity of discrimination in Canada’s history? How will it respond to the underrepresented voices and experiences of everyday citizens affected by public security policies?
The talk will be followed by an in-depth discussion and Q&A with guest lecturer, Azeezah Kanji, and moderator, Desmond Cole.
The following YouTube video features Azeezah Kanji, the 2016 Hart House Hancock Lecturer, delivering her remarks at the Walrus Talks Canada 150 event entitled “We Desire a Better Country” that was presented at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg on the evening of March 16, 2017.
Azeezah Kanji is a legal academic and writer. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, and Masters of Law specializing in Islamic Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Azeezah’s work focuses on issues relating to racism, law, and social justice. Her writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, OpenDemocracy, Roar Magazine, iPolitics, Policy Options, Rabble, and various academic anthologies and journals. Azeezah also serves as Director of Programming at Noor Cultural Centre. In addition, Azeezah delivered the 2016 Hancock Lecture entitled Glorious and Free? Views from the Underside of National Security.
Read some of Azeezah's published works.
Desmond Cole is an activist, author and an award-winning freelance journalist. He is a weekly columnist at the Toronto Star, and his writing also appears in Torontoist, Walrus, NOW Magazine, VICE and Ethnic Aisle. Desmond hosts a radio program every Sunday afternoon on Newstalk1010, and co-hosts a podcast on Canadian politics called Canadaland Commons. He is currently working on his first book about the past and present experiences of black Canadians.