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There have long been debates about how and whether cultural diversity, human rights, and prosperity are linked. Some have argued that attention to cultural diversity gives prominence to group rights and endangers individual rights. Others have called attention to the false dichotomy between individual and group rights, especially as it pertains to equality rights. Some have claimed that cultural diversity leads to segregation and impedes the development of prosperity within communities and nations. Others have noted that cultural diversity is an asset that helps to build prosperity. This presentation will use the example to Canada to examine various claims about cultural diversity and its relationship to both human rights and prosperity.
Canada has a long tradition of acknowledging cultural diversity and human rights in official policy. I will begin by discussing the history of these two areas in Canada and placing them in a global and international context. I will then examine some of the research on cultural diversity and prosperity to draw out key issues in Canada. Finally, I will make the argument that a social inclusion approach to cultural diversity is both realistic and necessary on the grounds of promoting both human rights and economic development.