Bob Mok’s column reveals the flaws of the Canadian multiculturalism, believing that promoting the cultural diversity may spawn divisiveness, driving a wedge between Canadians between different cultural backgrounds.
This is part of a series of articles on Canada’s multiculturalism. For the earlier article, please go to the following links:
It is unfortunate that Canada’s multiculturalism is running at the opposite spectrum to the United States “Melting Pot” approach on immigration and integration of cultures to the main stream. For me, the ideal is to strike a balance and seek the middle ground.
From the 1970’s, visible minorities had to endure a level of silent (racial) discrimination in many aspects of their daily lives, from employment opportunities to interactions with other majority citizens (European races). Linguistic skills become the critical criterion for acceptance in society. Without proper command of the English or French (Official languages), doors that lead to advancements and integration are closed for immigrants and citizens regardless of their credentials and skills possessed from their Country of origin.
Stats show that most Canadians are not rejecting neither multiculturalism nor immigration numbers. In 2010, various publications and polls suggest that 56% of Canadians are generally supportive of a multicultural society, at least in principle if not always in practice. A 2011 poll showed that thirty-eight (38%) of Canadians felt that immigration levels are too high.
But things are different in Quebec, where residents have resisted federal multiculturalism policy since its inception. Québécois perceive that Multiculturalism will dilute the French factor in Canada, weakening francophone status and threatening the dual partnership of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians. They viewed multiculturalism as another intrusion by federal authorities into their province’s internal affairs. Many fear multiculturalism being used as a ploy to downgrade the distinct society status of Québécois to the level of an ethnic minority culture under the domination of English-speaking Canada. Reducing the rights of French-speaking Canadians to the same level as those of other ethno-racial minorities in the name of multicultural equality is viewed as a treacherous act to one of the two founding peoples of Canada.
In my view, the Canadians’ multiculturalism is clearly flawed. While defenders of multiculturalism argue that it encourages integration by telling immigrants they do not have to choose between preserving their cultural heritage and participating in Canadian society, this cannot be easily achieved by most newcomers. In fact, Canadian culture and symbols are being discarded in the effort to accommodate other cultures. The policy is promoting too much diversity at the expense of unity, because it emphasizes what is different, rather than the existing values that are Canadian.
Canadian Government’s promotion of cultural diversity actually spawned divisiveness. The encouragement of ethnic differences promotes a “psychology of separation” from the existing mainstream culture for new immigrants. This leads to the forming of distinct enclaves and further isolates ethno-racial groups and drives a wedge between Canadians of different ethnic backgrounds. Multiculturalism grows a philosophy that separates, intensifies misunderstanding and hostility, and pits one group against another in the competition for power and resources.
Through multiculturalism, Canadians were becoming “strangers in their own land.” Political correctness means the death of Canadian history in the schools and among Canadian youth in general. Canadians are learning less and less about their history and cannot pass relatively basic tests about historical events or personalities. Multiculturalism policies have helped spread the idea among immigrants and even native-born Canadians that Canada, particularly English-speaking Canada, has no culture and identity of its own.
Next time, we will continue to look at Canada’s multiculturalism controversies.
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