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You know that quote that right wingers love to make fun of Trudeau for? It’s the whole “diversity is our strength” quote.

Well guess what. Trudeau wasn’t the first person to say it.

The official, original quote is from Sir Georges Étienne Cartier, a prominent figure in forming Confederation. At the time, he was grappling with the diverse make up of Canada. French versus English. Catholic versus Protestant. And so on.

During and after Confederation and the foundation of Canada, he continuously reminded people that Canada is a nation with diverse populations who nonetheless are Canadian in spite of their differences.

Canada has always been a diverse country. And I cannot stress enough how incredibly special it is that Canada continues to exist. According to any basic philosophy of nationalism, a nation with several different nationalism in one state should not work out. Historically, it’s resulted in a break up of the state altogether. Somehow, with English Canadians, French Canadians, Indigenous peoples and more, we’ve managed to make it work.

A common thread in Canadian history has been the difficulty of maintaining national unity given the makeup of this country. The conscription crises of 1917 and 1944 tell us that very clearly. It’s a thread that has followed us into the 70s with the October Crisis and it continues to follow us today with the rise of Western alienation.

In spite of everything, we’ve managed to hang on.

Canada was built on diversity and multiculturalism. Don’t let any right winger tell you otherwise.

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