NationalOpinion

The hypocrisy of multiculturalism in Canada

To outsiders, Canada is a land synonymous with multiculturalism and acceptance. Yet, Canadians seem to be all too eager to reject an integral aspect of their global identity.

On October 3, the Angus Reid Institute and CBC released the results from a national polling partnership and found that 68 per cent of Canadians surveyed wanted minorities to increase their efforts to assimilate into Canadian society. In comparison, only 53 per cent of Americans who were asked the same question believed it was the responsibility of minorities to adjust.

This is an interesting discrepancy, given America’s reputation for not always being the most open to immigrants. However, the overarching issue at hand is what it means to be Canadian. Is Canada a melting pot, like our neighbours down south, or is it a cultural mosaic? This question, in my opinion, is best answered based on how others in the global community perceive Canada. Foreigners views Canada as an accepting and multicultural society, and rejecting this perception is also a rejection of Canadian culture.

Since 1988, the year Pierre Trudeau passed the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, multiculturalism has been an integral part of written Canadian policy. Yet people are increasingly vocal about wanting immigrants to assimilate into Canadian society. Some of the stereotypical complaints by those who support assimilation are: immigrants must learn English, immigrants don’t value hard work or ambition, and immigrants who don’t assimilate become isolated from the community.

As an immigrant myself, I would like to introduce some truths to debunk these stereotypes.

Almost every country in the world teaches English to some degree in schools. The vast majority of immigrants already have a conversational knowledge of English. Just because you don’t like an immigrant’s accent, or if their sentences aren’t grammatically correct, that doesn’t mean you can’t understand them. Most Canadian immigrants are from Asia and the Pacific, where there are already rigorous English language classes taught in schools. In today’s globalized world, an inability to communicate in English is detrimental to one’s ability to become successful, particularly in business and academia. Additionally, in order to apply for permanent residence or citizenship in Canada, adult immigrants must pass a standardized exam that tests their English ability (either results of a third party test like the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), proof of English education in Canada or abroad, or the equivalent of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level four or higher in speaking and listening). Immigrants already speak English, and if you’re so concerned about speaking a country’s native language, perhaps you should become fluent in Korean or German, before you leave for that semester abroad.

The idea that immigrants are lazy has always baffled me. The majority of immigrants (63.4 per cent) are economic immigrants. That is, immigrants who come here to work. Economic immigrants are already skilled workers, highly educated, and often leave behind comfortable lives and stable jobs to better their standard of living in Canada and attain better lives for their children. However, you often find immigrants working as janitors, waitresses, or other undesirable jobs because Canada doesn’t recognize many foreign degrees. Consequently, some immigrants take whatever available jobs that will allow them to support their families. Other immigrants will spend many years and tens of thousands of dollars to pay for further education at a Canadian institution so that they may work in their field.

Culturally speaking, many people assume that those who don’t assimilate into Canadian culture will be isolated from the community, and may dismantle preexisting communities. Yet, I find immigrants are far from isolated, because they form their own communities. There are Arab communities, Chinese, Cuban, and countless others. Communities are not static; just as people and demographics shift and move, so do communities, and there is no reason why immigrants should be excluded.

The discussion of Canadian culture also prompts the question: what is Canadian culture? Canadians are known for moose, snow, and people of all different backgrounds and ethnicities who coexist peacefully in a multicultural society. Pierre Trudeau made multiculturalism a constitutional right in 1982 and in 1988 Brian Mulroney passed the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, and those who reject the cultural mosaic of Canada are the ones rejecting Canadian culture.

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30 Comments

  1. The reality is that the natives lived in disorganized, small groups across the country. Disease – which the Europeans had no idea about back then – wiped out their numbers. Canada was established because of waves and waves of French and English Europeans who established the laws and staked claims on the land. Other Europeans joined, choosing to assimilate into either English or French culture.

    I’m quite willing to believe that the natives were overwhelmed. But why do whites of European background want to have what was done to the natives repeated? It makes no sense. Multiculturalism is a failure. Even P. Trudeau said it.

    Canadians should have more kids. And employ more robots. I am sick of having to pretend that other cultures must be accommodated when they interfere with my child’s education or how the workplace is run.

  2. natives were all colonizers of themselves, debatedly migrated from another area, and were easily taken over due to their pre-existing tribal wars and differences and could be easily exploited and tricked through materialism and poor decisions and deals by selfish tribal chiefs selling out their peoples….every single nation currently existing the world had a former indigenous people before whatever majority nation they are now…every single peoples were invaders and robbed and raped other peoples (yes, even including the ‘noble savage’)….all of us technically are ‘african’…how far do we go with grievances and claims to being ‘first and only people’?

  3. canada is 80% white, euro descent with liberal values….immigrants lower the bar of standards of expected rights and lifestyles and practices in culture, labour, family, relationships, free speech, free expression that majority of other canadians feel is not only uncanadian but unwestern….i am all for immigration, but only prioritising asian, latino, caribbean, euro, and indian because many other places like africa and mideast and russia bring the worse people and lower standards…asians and latinos and carribean adapt the best and tend to be much more accepting and practicioners of western freedom

  4. If you don’t like “bullshit white, European, English culture”, what the hell are you doing here?

  5. Also there are many people here 400 yrs and have never been to their home nation as Canada is their only nation..that is my family and we are a pioneer family first settksettler not soneon3 coming for a free handout and to cry about not getting a government job when they k and here the government jobs are for people born in Canada.. .and whose families have contributed to building Canada. No other nation gives away govt jobs to outsiders….its not fair or right..

  6. The first cultures that came were French English and Irish and then from other parts of Europe but each group had to give up their language and culture and become English. This explains why Canada’s 2nd biggest ethnic group is rush at 9 million people and they lost their language and culture and took on English first names. How I know this is I am one of the people Canadian culture is English and so is North American plus we are independent people unlike Asians Indians africans who are communal. Communal is not Canadian culture. Natives took on English culture as well and lost their languages.

  7. I am sure I can find it but It would be helpful if the author supplied a link to the national poll discussed in the article.

  8. Confederation was actually only formed under the basis of individual provinces being able to maintain certain rights and responsibilities so they would not be assimilated into the English speaking majority in Ontario. It is true that many other provinces were also mainly English speaking (in the majority ( and those who could vote)) but they still recognized the individuality or, maybe you could even refer to it as diversity, present across a land that had many geographical differences as well as cultural ones. So really this beautiful country was formed with the understanding that to work, it needed to work with and recognize differences. Yes, it is true that many many differences were completely ignored at the time (First Nations, Metis, Inuit, Women etc.) but again, building on that model to include other groups as well does not actually take away from the “Anglo-Canadian influence”, it just adds to what was there.

    And speaking French in Quebec is only one part of culture, so if that’s your argument, then what are your thoughts of when Mr. Trudeau did the same thing but in English in Ontario? I personally think it was a misstep, but he also said as much. Learning from mistakes is another reason that diversity is an important part of Canadian identity. Think about the fight for suffrage that many different groups had to go through throughout Canada’s history. Just think then too, the right to vote is a very an integral part of being able to “criticize” government/country “so sharply”. So, in fact, it was the growing and changing of Canada’s culture/beliefs about who belongs that makes this country one that we should “have some respect for”. Furthermore, In all the English speaking parts of Canada I’ve been too, I’ve never been asked to speak/understand French, or any other language for that matter (other than learning French in school – which I think is a good thing). So from my experience, the English language in English speaking Canada is under no threat.

  9. More and more people are rejecting multiculturalism. Why are tired of being told that we should only associate with people of our own “race”, and that we should not have a common language.

  10. Thanks for your intelligent response. I am here now and if you don’t like that. It’s just too bad. Why not stop speaking English ?

  11. Your words, spoken like just another self-hating, brainwashed Anglo-Canadian. If sacrifice is your primary virtue then so you shall be.

  12. And yet strangely we have Mr. Trudeau, a proud Quebecer insisting that his province is a “French province” and as such he is only willing to answer questions in French to non-French askers. Hypocritical and completely antithetical to the message he has for Anglo-Canadians? Naturally.

    He certainly believes that his own core culture is to be preserved from outward influences, yet he is a champion of a “diversity” when it comes to the English parts, which in practice simply means the dismantling of Anglo-Canadian influence in civic life the one that has been primarily responsible for building this beautiful country.

    Ironically our generosity is both our virtue and our downfall.

  13. You know the modern day worldview of North America and Europe (this includes “English history and law and to a lesser degree French”) began to form itself ALLLLL the way back in the Renaissance with the development of humanism and the power of the individual. Where did those budding humanists get many of their ideas from? Well, Ancient Greek and Roman texts, oh and Muslim ones too. Actually, a lot of technological advances as well came from countries that would be appear to be very different from the English culture during the Middle Ages. And you know what? Many people resisted this change and it even got violent a couple (many) times. English even split itself from the Catholic church (a cultural aspect that it had hundreds of years of tradition associated with it). Most would agree that some really bad policies (like imperialism) also emerged, leading to the deaths and cruelty of thousands and thousands of people. My point(s)?
    1. Culture is fluid. It changes; it is inevitable.
    2. You are praising a culture built on “800 years of traditions” which resulted from Europeans having the ability to examine and think about how to improve their culture by looking outward.
    3. You might want to think about whether you are trying to resist change that will actually improve the lives of Canadians.
    4. The English still kept certain pieces of culture from the far distant past despite other changes. The “800 years of tradition” isn’t actually being “stripped away and harangued from public life one piece at a time.”
    – side note: In my experience, the 2nd and third generations of immigrants tend to be a very nice blending of cultures. I actually would think of Canadian culture as a psychedelic, beautiful, swirly mess of different shades all bleeding into each but with patches of distinctness (not a mosaic of completely different pieces that only look like a whole when you step back).
    5. Yes, not all change is good, but it doesn’t mean it’s all bad either. I’m sure you can think of at least one type of food that comes from a country that isn’t in Europe that you (hopefully not begrudgingly) enjoy.

  14. Wow i have hope i thought i was in the minority of people that still have common sense.I hope more people like us speak out and who cares if libtards call us racist because we care about our country.Loving ones own culture and not wanting it changed is not racism it is patriotism.

  15. So true brainwashing by the liberal media has been successful on Canada’s European ancestors and founders they really believe we have no culture . If this happens anywhere else it is called genocide.I hope one day our traitor leaders will be held accountable.I know good luck with that.

  16. As a metis man i embrace both parts of my dna. The white men were the government and catholic church which i both despise regular people did not do this and we can not move forward and be punished for the acts of some white assholes in the past .All i am saying is a white society is a lot better than the other choices we have.I am as Canadian as you can get mostly Scottish some native and some french.

  17. Your fucking ancestors came from abroad and killed, annihilated the people and cultures who used to live in what you call Canada (btw, does it sound like an English name to you?) So go fuck yourself and go back to where you’re REALLY from! I stand against multiculturalism too, since it means having to compose with that bullshit white, European, English culture!

  18. What about the “red” Canadians? Weren’t they exterminated and parked in reserves by “white Canadians”?

  19. Says the First nation or Inuit man, I guess? Give me a break: spoke like a true, proud and supremacist descendant of colonizer.

  20. In 20 yrs from now, on a legislative and political level, Canada will still be mostly British in that sense and in terms of values with the exception of Quebec and the northern territories which have always been different. But on a cultural level the culture will have completely shifted…It does not matter how assimilated immigrants are, race is always going to be an issue. Again look at Quebec and Nunavut, very diff places culturally and linguistically. The reason ppl did not have problems with immigration before was because all immigration came from culturally similar countries. If the demographics changes then so does the culture, cuisine look and feel of the area. That’s the reality, it just wouldn’t make sense for an African immigrant to start a pub or have storefronts in the British fashion, and plus ppl would find it awkward anyways.
    Major cities across Canada and even some small towns are no longer necessarily going to be culturally or close to UK in 20 yrs as immigrants will have their say in the aesthetic of the new neighborhood in which they establish and live in.

  21. I am sick and tired of immigrants coming from overseas and telling me that I am not Canadian and that I am a traitor to my race.

    I stand against multiculturalism. I will not apologize for speaking English.

  22. All it means is immigrants are not assimilating in Canada and people are getting sick of it and with white Canadians being replaced.Pierre Trudeau made multiculturalism a constitutional right in 1982 and in 1988 Brian Mulroney passed the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, and those who reject the cultural mosaic of Canada are the ones rejecting Canadian culture. This statement says it all before this whites from Europe were Canadian culture it has nothing to do with moose and snow you idiot I do reject this propaganda bullshit. Canada had a British flag until 1965 and my Canada will always be British with British values take your traitor cultural mosaic and shove up your ass.

  23. Hi Ravi,
    We changed it because “Opinion” limits the types of articles published under that section. The previous organization categorized articles by topic rather than style of article. This meant that any argumentative article, which is inherently an opinionated article, could be categorized under Arts if it discussed music, movies, pop culture, etc. So now, “Commentary” allows for a larger variety of different article topics and simply denotes that the article is argumentative. I hope this clears things up!

  24. White culture has been the greatest force for civilisation bar none the world has ever known at the same time this great beacon has been built on the back of crushing others. I guess they get to crush us back now, but it will be messy and the non whites will have nothing left when its over.

  25. canada like the usa is a civil culture….based on the english tradition….i drove truck in the states and they are a friendly people with many cultures with one thing in common….they all want to be american…..multiculturalism causes division and isolation…..and separates instead of bringing people together….this is not to say that cultural clubs are wrong they are not and americans have many….our politicians are deceived supporting multiculturalism and changing the demographics of our country….really the are destroying the country…..like europe we are heading for cultural clashes and violence…..americans have it right its always american values first…and that’s the way it should be in canada

  26. Canadian culture is built on 800 years of traditions of English history and law and to a lesser degree French. It very much exists and has existed, but because it’s being stripped away and harangued from public life one piece at a time, it only seems that it doesn’t. Have some respect for the country and the culture that defends your ability to criticize it so sharply. I imagine a piece like this might land you in jail where you come from.

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