As our country’s 150th birthday celebrations get underway, we owe it to ourselves to have a mature and non-partisan discussion about Canadian values.

The topic is right up there now at centre stage. It would be a missed opportunity of the greatest magnitude if we let it slip away. Yet this is what too many Canadians, particularly those in the chattering classes, seem content to let happen.

For too many years now, Canadians have been poorly served by the working definitions of Canadian values and Canadian identity that have been on offer.

“Diversity is our strength” is a mantra that’s been repeated so often it’s lost meaning.

Meanwhile, “Hockey and Tim Hortons” reduces us to nothing more than…well, than hockey and Tim Hortons. With no alternatives on offer, we’ve become cynical.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau only made matters worse when he told the world via The New York Times the other year that “there is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada” and this makes us “the first post-national state”.

The situation is frustrating. But we’ve looked the other way and kept a lid on it. There’s been no pressure valve for people to release these frustrations.

Then along comes Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch with her proposal to screen newcomers for “Canadian values”. It’s not much, but it’s something at a time when nothing else is on offer. No wonder it got everyone talking.

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