In the minds’ eye, thoughts of Canada quickly turn to the wide expanses of untouched land, the beautiful capital cities of the many provinces, and the nation’s proud history. Also, one is quickly compelled to consider the complexity of culture in Canada itself, for multiculturalism is one of the many facets of the modern day Canada. While the enhancement of cultural richness, increased tax bases and the like would appear to be what a nation like Canada would crave, the reality is the practicalities of the underlying issues of increases in multiculturalism must likewise be acknowledged (Belkhodja, et al). This research will present a recent newspaper account of some of the complications of multiculturalism; supplemented by other sources, upon conclusion of the research, what will be seen is not as much an effort to keep minorities in check or to preserve some sort of homogenous status quo, but an effort to promote positive growth in a nation in transition.
How Multiculturalism Plays Out in Canada
In 2011, Canada’s modern era of multiculturalism will observe its 40th anniversary, almost mandating an exploration of how the phenomenon began in Canada, how it has matured, and where it will go in the future. Traditionally, Canadians have always sought to be seen as liberal, tolerant people who embrace change and welcome individuals from all walks of life to share in the bounty that the vast expanses of Canada have to offer. However, the reality that has been seen since 1960s Canada opened up its borders to people of all walks of life, there have been problems in terms of the conflicts that often result when people of differing belief systems, backgrounds and nationalities are confronted with the challenge of peacefully co-existing. In fairness, however, the impression should not be given that there is a majority, or even substantially loud voice of opposition to widespread immigration (Belkhodja, et al). The fact of the matter would seem, as will now be discussed, that the problems that multiculturalism faces in Canada are not due to any particular misdeeds on the part of immigrants or the intolerance of native Canadians; rather, much of the obstacles to multiculturalism are encountered due to the realities and necessities of everyday life.
Debunking the Myth of “Bad Apples”
While admittedly a relatively small and somewhat quiet minority, those who would oppose multiculturalism in Canada often do so based on the claim that immigrants in general are seeking refuge from some crimes that they committed in their native lands, that they would immediately resume a life of crime in their new Canadian homeland, and that certain races are more prone to criminal activity than others simply as a matter of inherited traits rather than free will and solid behavioral choices. Evidence, however, indicates that this is simply not the case. It is more accurate to say that the classic assertion that immigrants, the proverbial equivalent of “a few bad apples” is more accurately described as an effort on the part of a small, yet powerful group of Canadians to advance efforts of racial profiling, and the ensuing racial discrimination as a means of restricting the blossoming of multiculturalism (Bourouh).
The Real Problems of Multiculturalism
Canadian multiculturalism, it would seem, is not a problem because of the flawed thinking of those that would quickly generalize about immigrants into Canada. Putting this claim aside, it is possible to take a closer look at some of the stark realities that have been reported as challenges to Canadian multiculturalism in recent times.
In a recent news article, journalist Lesley C. Taylor put forth an interesting assertion- that Canadian multiculturalism is not a problem due to the intentional efforts on the part of immigrants to come to Canada in some conspiracy to commit crimes and be a burden on Canadian society, but rather that those who come to Canada from other nations in search of a better life and more opportunities are often marginalized because of the circumstances that await them when they arrive in Canada. In 2009, the reality is that Canada’s extremely fragile economy not only makes prosperity extremely difficult for well rooted, familiar Canadians, but also makes the types of rags-to-riches stories that immigrants have been noted for in the past extremely remote and impossible. In addition, the menial jobs that immigrants to Canada have been forced to take in many cases in order to avoid outright poverty have posed yet another threat to successful cultural mixing; immigrants who are in need of medical and social services place burdens on the Canadian economy which is something which the nation can ill afford anytime, but especially, in a present day when economies across the globe are highly challenged. (Taylor). These trying circumstances, more than some sort of premeditated conspiracy, have led to bad behavior on the part of immigrants, thereby posing a challenge to efforts to harmoniously promote multiculturalism.
A Successful Multiculturalism?
If Taylor’s words are to be held true, understanding and good policy will be more effective in the fostering of multiculturalism than the kinds of misunderstanding, prejudice and animosity which has made multiculturalism almost a term of profanity in 21st century Canada. Therefore, the issue remains of whether or not there could be a successful growth of cultural diversity for Canada. In the future, it would be advisable for open minds to take precedence closed ones, and for Canada to learn from the mistakes of the past before it is too late.
If nothing else, this research has shown that any efforts to achieve smooth multiculturalism will take a great deal of effort, open minds, and meaningful change. Therefore, in conclusion, let it be understood that every effort must be made, if immigration is unstoppable, to make the best of a perpetual situation.
Belkhodja, C., Biles, J., Donaldson, I., & Hyndman, J. (2006). Introduction: Multicultural Futures? Challenges and solutions/Avenirs Multiculturels? Problemes et Solutions. Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal, 38(3), I+.
Bourouh, O. C. (2006). Racial Profiling in Canada: Challenging the Myth of “A Few Bad Apples.”. Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal, 38(2), 193+.
Taylor, L.C. (2009, June 18). Immigration System Hurts More than Helps, Study Finds. Star Newspapers. Retrieved July 1, 2009 from the World Wide Web: http://www.immigrationwatchcanada.org/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=4937&MMN_position=92:90