In recent decades, progressive values have been gaining increased recognition all over the world. In Canada, progressive public policies have long been implemented by the government and supported by the general public and are considered to be inherently linked to the Canadian national identity. Further implementation of these policies is believed to facilitate the development of the nation towards a more tolerant, equal, and economically and politically prosperous society.
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Internationally, progressive values have been shaped by the rich history of social movements of the 19th and 20th centuries. Historically, they have been based on the ideas of equality, sustainability, and justice. The modern progressive social agenda includes multiculturalism and support for immigration, gun-control legislation, access to abortion, and the ban on capital punishment. The ideas of equality are centered around the acceptance of cultural, racial, and gender diversity, promotion of LGBT rights, and support of same-sex marriage. Environmentalism and antiwar activism also constitute an essential part of modern progressive values.
In Canada, progressive social values prevail in society and have a profound influence on the nation’s development. Canada was one of the first countries to legalize same-sex marriage and implement laws on abortion, gun control, and capital punishment. These initiatives are supported by the majority of the population and are believed to reflect the society’s progressive views that constitute an integral part of the national identity. The current government’s policies place a particular focus on the issues of gender equality and multiculturalism.
Multiculturalism was officially adopted as a government policy in the 1970s and 1980s. As a concept, it is defined as the unity and coexistence of many different religious and cultural traditions and influences in society. As an ideology, multiculturalism places its emphasis on the support of immigration, which has been an issue for Canada since the 19th century. The current government programs aim to develop a diverse society by implementing three objectives.
The first is providing support to communities in confronting racism and discrimination and fostering equitable opportunities for all groups of population (“Community Support”). The second is “promoting discussions on multiculturalism, diversity, racism, and religious discrimination at the domestic and international levels” (“Community Support”). The third is encouraging research to build an understanding of racial and religious disparities. The long-term goal that the program aims to achieve is the creation of a fully diverse, inclusive, and equitable society.
The implementation of the policy has been successful, and Canadian multiculturalism is now generally considered to be one of the country’s most significant accomplishments and a distinguishing element of the Canadian national identity. Further development of the current strategy is aimed to achieve comprehensive integration of immigrants and minorities into society and establish a diverse, peaceful, and respectful community. Multiculturalism as the progressive value has an integrative effect on Canada’s development as a nation, promoting tolerance and helping society grow culturally, politically, and economically.
Gender equality is the progressive idea that people of all genders are equal in every way and should have equal access to resources and opportunities. The issue of gender equality has been addressed by the Canadian government since the 1970s. In 1976, the Women and Gender Equality Canada was formed as a separate department within the government (“Who We Are”).
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Its aim is to “advance equality with respect to sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity through the inclusion of people of all genders in Canada’s economic, social, and political life” (“Who We Are”). Over the recent years, the government has been taken measures to increase the number of women in business and politics, address the gender wage gap, prevent gender-based violence, and establish LGBT rights (“Gender Equality Achievements”). Promoting gender equality requires collaborative efforts of businesses, politics, and the general public in order for this principle to become the touchstone of society.
Canada has been successful in promoting gender equality over the last decades. In 2020, one of three people elected to Parliament were women (“Gender Equality Achievements”). In 2017, gender expression and gender identity were added to the Canadian Human Rights Act (“Gender Equality Achievements”). In 2005, same-sex marriage was legalized all across the country (“Gender Equality Achievements”). It is believed that commitment to gender equality is stronger than ever within Canadian organizations (Bonin et al.).
Gender equality is proved to stimulate economic growth and the development of areas and processes within society that has been neglected due to inadequate gender representation. It contributes to social progress, sustainable development, political, cultural, and social development, and stimulates the protection and promotion of human rights in general (“Advancing Gender Equality”). Overall, further implementation of gender equality policy in Canada will contribute to the development of a more progressive, equitable, and sustainable society.
Multiculturalism and gender equality are the two main progressive values currently addressed on the governmental level and supported by Canadian society. They have a profound effect on the nation’s development towards a more equal and tolerant society and achieving economic and political prosperity. Further implementation of gender equality and multiculturalism policies will stimulate economic growth, promote tolerance, increase sustainability, and help society develop culturally, socially, and politically.
“Advancing Gender Equality and Empowering Women and Girls.” Government of Canada, 2020.
Bonin, Genevieve, et al. “The Present and Future of Women at Work in Canada.” McKinsey & Company, 2020.
“Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives Program.” Government of Canada, 2020.
“Gender Equality Achievements.” Government of Canada, 2020.
“Who We Are.” Government of Canada, 2019.