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Multiculturalism (7/10)

Canada: a population of 32 millions… and we are all different. Isn’t it nice?
multiculturalism

Granted, these pictures mostly depict Chinatown… well, we all have our favorite neighborhood, right? But the country is truly diverse: traditional Chinatowns and Little Italy area can be found close by Ukrainian, Russian, South-East Asian, Latino and Indian neighborhoods, and I bet you could find a community newspaper in almost every language on earth in Canada.

As a “new country”, Canada has always been a destination for immigrants. Event though the first draft of a Canadian citizenship was only created in 1910, four major waves of immigration have already taken place:

  • The French settlement in Quebec and Acadia
  • The English and Irish settlement
  • A wave of immigrants from Western Europe right before WW1 and after WW2
  • A current wave of immigrants mostly from Asia and India

Since the seventies, immigrants are mostly visible minorities from developing countries. According to Stats Canada, Canada has 34 ethnic groups with at least one hundred thousand members each and 13.4% of the population belongs to visible minorities. And the trend will continue: between 225,000-275,000 newcomers make Canada their home every year and we have the highest per capita immigration rate in the world.

Indeed, Canada has a pretty good immigration policy, welcoming skilled workers to fill labor market needs, reuniting families under the sponsorship program and caring for refugees with a good humanitarian program.

The result is a truly multicultural country with a rich ethnic diversity… and we’re proud of it! Multiculturalism was even adopted in Canada as a national policy. For example:

  • Canada recognized dual citizenship
  • It supports newspapers, TV programs (like OMNI2) in several languages (Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Chinese…)
  • It encourages minorities representation in the work force and in education
  • It offers support and help for newcomers in Canada (translation services, immigration advices etc.)

Generally speaking, the Canadian society is an undivided whole although extremely diverse. Liberal immigration policies aren’t criticized much here unlike in some country and both the Conservative and the Liberals acknowledge Canada’s diversity and need for immigration. Of course, problems arise, generally revolving around the acceptance of traditional and religious dress in society… mixed with the fact any society is prone to the irrational fear that its identity might disappears overnight. Ignorance exists everywhere.

Canadian multiculturalism… a model to follow? I’d say yes!

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