Colloquium: Multiculturalism and Interculturalism: a constitutional provision vs. an abstraction

When and Where

Friday, February 14, 2020 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Robert Gill Theatre
Koffler Student Services Centre
214 College Street, Toronto, ON, M5T 2Z9


L to R: Anita Aloisio, Rocco Galati, Rohan Kulkarni, Tony Nardi, Kim Borden Penney, Alan Young

L to R: Anita Aloisio, Rocco Galati, Rohan Kulkarni, Tony Nardi, Kim Borden Penney, Alan Young

Canada’s official multiculturalism is articulated and defined in and protected under the 1971 Multiculturalism Policy, the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms (section 27), and the 1988 Multiculturalism Act. In contrast, interculturalism is not an official policy and enjoys no statutory protection. Yet, it has been proposed and branded as a better model for integration (in Québec) and stimulating a more inclusive cross-cultural encounter in performance (in English-speaking Canada).

This colloquium will address multiculturalism (and interculturalism) from a Canadian perspective, prompted by the following questions:

  • What is the (dis) connection between multiculturalism and performance practices in theatre, film and television?
  • Is the majoritarian view of multiculturalism, and its institutional interpretation and implementation, consistent with the constitutional/statutory provision?
  • What does “Multiculturalism within a Bilingual framework” mean - statutorily? How has this principle been interpreted and implemented - institutionally?
  • How has Canada’s Official Languages Act circumscribed the institutional understanding and implementation of multiculturalism?
  • How has de facto and de jure multiculturalism impacted cultural and performance practices in Canada?

Panelists include (alphabetically):

Anita Aloisio – Filmmaker/scholar
Rocco Galati – Constitutional lawyer
Rohan Kulkarni – Teacher, PhD student, CDTPS
Tony Nardi – actor, PhD Candidate, CDTPS
Kim Borden Penney – PhD Candidate - OISE
Alan Young – Lawyer and Professor Emeritus of law at Osgoode Hall Law School

Panelists will treat and debate multiculturalism from their research interest and/or field of expertise perspectives.

Q&A will follow the presentations.

This is a free event and open to the public.

MINI BIOGRAPHIES* of participiants/panelists:

Anita Aloisio: one of only a few female Italian-Canadian filmmakers, obtained her BA in Communications Studies and a Masters in Media Studies (2016). Her areas of research focus on Italian-Canadian experience and culture, while continuing to expand her independent (documentary) cinematic works using a research-creation methodology. Anita wrote and directed two documentary films: Straniera Come Donna, -A Woman, a Stranger- (2002) co-produced with Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration, explored the understanding and effects of cultural and social traditions on women of Italian origin in Québec; Les enfants de la loi 101, -Growing up with Bill 101- (2007), explored the impact Bill 101 had on the first generation of children such as herself, 30 years after its adoption. This documentary is being used in various Québec Studies departments in Montreal’s universities. Her third documentary, Calliari QC, currently in production, features singer, songwriter Marco Calliari, indigenous actor/singer Kathia Rock and music producer Paul Cargnello. The film examines the challenges that artists of diverse cultural descent born in Quebec experience during their creative journey. Her films and media work revolve around issues of immigration, language, systemic racism and politics particular to Québécois and Canadian society. In 2017, Anita was invited to talk about the history of linguistic dynamics with the Italian Community of Québec at the Off The Shelf conference series organized by QUESCREN, the Quebec English–Speaking Research Community.

Rocco Galati: graduated from McGill University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts and then graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1987. After his Call to the bar he worked at the federal Department of Justice. Galati specializes in constitutional law, including cases regarding human rights, suspects of terrorism, and refugee claims. Galati argued Baker v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [1999] 2 SCR 817. In this leading Canadian administrative law decision, the Supreme Court of Canada provided guidance on the standard of judicial review of administrative decisions. Baker is one of the most cited cases in courts across Canada. In 2001,
Galati defended Delmart Vreeland at trial. He was Abdurahman Khadr's first lawyer. In late 2003, Galati resigned from all national security cases after being the target of death threats. In 2006, Galati represented Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, a suspect in the 2006 Ontario terrorism plot. In 2008, charges were stayed against Ghany and three other defendants. On October 7, 2013, Galati brought a Federal Court application that challenged the appointment of Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court of Canada on the basis of Nadon being ineligible as under the Quebec provisions of the Supreme Court Act. The challenge resulted in a Reference Re Supreme Court Act, ss 5 and 6, with the Supreme Court deciding that Nadon was ineligible under the Quebec provisions of the Act, and that changes to the Act required unanimous constitutional amendment. Galati has been recognized by Canadian Lawyer Magazine as one of the "Top 25 Most Influential" in the justice system and legal profession in 2014 and 2015.

Rohan Kulkarni: is a PhD student at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. He holds an MA in Drama from the University of Alberta and a BA Honours Double Major in Theatre & Political Science from York University. His research interests include intercultural performance, South Asian theatre in Canada, community engagement for the arts, and production dramaturgy. Rohan has taught as a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta, hosted preperformance talks and panel discussions for Edmonton Opera, worked as a production dramaturg, and contributed program notes for several theatre and opera performances.

Tony Nardi: PhD Candidate, University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. His dissertation “Performing (in) the Multicultural Melting Pot” investigates the impact of diverse cultures on actor training and performances in Canadian theatre, film and television. Recipient of four Genie Awards nominations, winning twice for Best Actor for his roles in La Sarrasine (1992) and My Father’s Angel (2001) and one Canadian Screen Awards nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Corbo, 2016). Awarded the Prix Guy-L’Écuyer for Best Actor at the 16th Rendez-vous du cinéma Québécois (La Déroute, 1998) and nominated twice for the Quebec Cinema Awards (Le Gala Québec Cinema - Prix Iris) for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Corbo, 2016 and Embrasse-moi comme tu m'aimes, 2017). In 2010, he made the Academy of Canadian Film & Television’s 30th Anniversary Top 10 list in the Lead Actor category in Canadian cinema – based on the number of wins/nominations over the 30-year period. He has performed in theatres across Canada ranging from classics to more experimental and collective-driven works. A Modo Suo (A Fable), written and presented entirely in Calabrian, received a Dora Award nomination (Outstanding New Play) in 1990. Two Letters, on the state of contemporary theatre, film and television, garnered a Dora Award nomination (Outstanding New Play, 2007). He received a Siminovitch Prize in Theatre nomination (long list) for playwriting (2008). Two Letters…And Counting! was published by Guernica Editions (2013) and received a Patrick O’Neill Scholarly Award nomination.

Kim Borden Penney: MBA, CFA, M.Ed. is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE)in the Department of Social Justice Education. She is a descendent of indigenous Black Canadians in Nova Scotia (Scotians) whose roots reach back to the late 1600s. Her research examines Black women’s leadership experiences in the Canadian banking sector. The research objective is to understand why there continues to be an under representation of Black women in executive leadership positions in Canadian banks (Currently, there are no Black women in executive leadership positions in the Canadian banking sector). The focus of her research is to examine the factors and conditions that make Black women’s executive leadership in corporate Canada so exceedingly rare. She has presented at a number of conferences, including, Congress 2019 - Canadian Sociological Association, Vancouver, British Columbia: Race and Ethnicity II: Pardon Me, that’s my seat: Navigating through racialized spaces; 2019 American Education Research Association (AERA), Toronto, Canada: Queering Access, Inclusion, and Equity in Higher Education; Loud Speakers Conference – Race & Toxic Masculinity in Academia, Concordia University, Canada, February 2017. Panel 2 Presenter: “Queer Women of Colour Scholars in Canadian Academic Settings – The Role of Race, Sexuality, and Gender”; and the 10th Annual Decolonizing the Spirit Conference – Role of Indigenous Discourse and Innovative Technologies to Catalyze Development and Human Wellness, Embu University College, Kenya, July 2016. Theme: Decolonizing Higher Education. Panel 2 Presenter: “Challenging the Multicultural Mosaic – Anti-Racism and Decolonizing Canadian Classrooms.”

Alan Young: is Professor Emeritus of law at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Young retired July, 2018. Prior to starting his teaching career at Osgoode in 1986, Young clerked for Chief Justice Bora Laskin of the Supreme Court of Canada and worked as a criminal lawyer in Toronto. Young is the co-founder and former director of Osgoode's Innocence Project, which seeks to investigate and overturn cases of wrongful conviction and provides experiential education to law students. Young has been recognized by Canadian Lawyer Magazine as one of the "Top 25 Most Influential" in the justice system and legal profession in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. In 2018, Young was also awarded the Dianne Martin Medal for Social Justice Through Law. In R v Bedford (2013) Young and a team of students successfully challenged three provisions of Canada's sex work laws. As a result of this successful invalidation, Parliament enacted a new legislative regime governing prostitution. Young published a critique of the legal profession in 2003 in a book called "Justice Defiled: Perverts,
Pot Heads, Serial Killers and Lawyers." In the preface to the book, he noted that he chose to write an offensive book as a form of "professional suicide note," as he wanted to expose all the blemishes and warts of the profession.

* Please note: Mini biographies were pulled from material found on Wikipedia, the CDTPS website, and/or as submitted by participants. They have been approved by the participants.


214 College Street, Toronto, ON, M5T 2Z9