Both Canada and Singapore express support for—and have the reality of being—multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious; and both jurisdictions have an avowed commitment to the freedom of religion. Yet, this commitment expresses itself in different ways in these two contexts. Although both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Singaporean Constitution guarantee the freedom of religion, juridical definitions of what this freedom means may differ quite profoundly.
This Article explores and analyzes these two different environments that nonetheless share important features. We argue that the approaches of Singapore and Canada do not fall simply into the categories of being “liberal” or “illiberal,” but instead invite reflection and reconsideration on the concepts of pluralism, secularism, and liberalism in interesting ways. This Article thus highlights the significance of contextual factors in understanding the ways in which religious diversity is dealt with, particularly in Canada and Singapore, but also more generally.