An interesting interaction took place October 2, 2019 during the federal election campaign. A fellow Canadian in Quebec asked New Democratic Leader Jagmeet Singh to “cut off” his turban to look “like a Canadian.”
In a poised and cool manner, which is the image he has created for himself, Jagmeet Singh responded: “I think Canadians look like all sorts of people.”The man tried another approach: “in Rome, you do as the Romans do,.” A polite response from Mr. Singh: “But this is Canada, you can do whatever you like.”
In agreement, the man nodded, “I hope you win.”
The encounter between the two Canadians with different cultural backgrounds, the antiquated proverb “in Rome, you do as the Romans do” has a broader meaning from the Canadian perspective.
The question is under what culture a Canadian represents herself or himself?
The simple and clear answer lies in its multicultural fundamentals, where “Canadians look like all sorts of people.” Canada is not a monolithic society and was never like that since its inception. The culture of multi-culture is an ever-evolving and a developing phenomenon of this nation.
In a contemporary cosmopolitan society “in Canada, you do as Canadians do” is much more contemporary than “in Rome, you do as the Romans do.”
-by Promod Puri