By Vancouver Sun |

A Vancouver suburb that boasts the largest proportion of immigrants anywhere in Canada has unveiled the final draft of its “cultural harmony” strategy, which officials hope will bring together residents and ease social tensions.

While the slate of initiatives recommended by Richmond city staff include no-brainers, such as the promotion of intercultural activities and celebration of the arts, it also contains more ambitious goals, such as recruiting employees who reflect the population they serve and developing a policy to ensure under-represented communities have greater say in the city’s decisions.

Reaction to the 10-year plan has been mixed. At a public meeting Monday night, some city councillors said they wanted to see more emphasis on “Canadian values” — a loaded phrase that is open to broad interpretation and that some have derided as divisive rhetoric. Some community observers told the Post they feared certain initiatives were being put off too far into the future, while others said the document seemed to use “pleasant-sounding language” to paper over real community differences.

One thing is clear: the pressure is on to get this blueprint for social cohesion right.

“Many people are watching us,” Councillor Linda McPhail said.

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