Canada: Ignored, Mysterious, and Very Confused | Michael Coren | Catholic World Report
The first installment of a new column, “Controversies with Coren”
It’s always a challenge to write a first column, to introduce oneself to a new audience. My brief is to cover pretty much anything I want, but to write about Canada and Britain in particular. The reason is that I spent the first half of my life in London, the second in Toronto. I married a Canadian. We met at a G.K. Chesterton conference in 1986, where I delivered a startlingly boring lecture entitled “Chesterton, Belloc, the Marconi Scandal, and Edwardian Anti-Semitism.” Not a usual subject for future wife attraction, but even so this highly intelligent, extraordinarily beautiful woman approached me at a cocktail party at the end of the conference and exclaimed, “You’re amazing.” She was doubtless drunk.
Thinking this would never happen again, I married her. And I was right: it hasn’t happened again, and as far as I can recall she hasn’t said it again either.
Thus Canada, which is one of those geopolitical mysteries. Like Costa Rica’s peacefulness or the beauty of Bruges. People just don’t usually know. Thirty million inhabitants, incredibly wealthy, absurdly large, enormously successful, culturally and artistically fertile, and often a predictor of what the USA will become 10 years later. But because it’s a former British colony and on top of the world’s only superpower it’s often forgotten, ignored. Frankly, it rather likes it that way. Similarly with the Canadian Church. There are more than 13 million Catholics in Canada, 44 percent of the population. There are eight million Protestants of various denominations, the largest claiming to be the United Church, at around half-a-million members.
It’s the most liberal of the churches and is hemorrhaging adherents. As are the Anglicans and the Presbyterians. Unlike in the US, Evangelicals at around 11 percent are not a major force. Immigration has, of course, enormously increased the Hindu, Sikh, and, in particular, Muslim communities.
There is an extensive and publicly funded Catholic education system in the country, a tiny but still permitted Catholic television station, and in the past two generations it’s been unusual to have a prime minister who is not Catholic. Of a sort.