Enthusiasm runs high as Canada marks its 150 anniversary on July, 1st, with people from all walks of life gathering together to celebrate their contribution to the great country. As a country with a multicultural mosaic, the anniversary has also provided a perfect opportunity for ethnic communities to grow their connections with their adopted land.
The 150 anniversary has a brought a historical perspective to immigrants from China. It highlights the Asian ancestry’s contribution to Canada and reflects the discrimination that Chinese Canadian faced during its intense racism period. But Canada has reshaped lives of Chinese immigrants in modern era, as it widely opens its door to newcomers and eagerly embraces anti-racism policies.
Under its immigration policies, waves after waves of China immigrants have arrived in the country, leading China to become one of the major source country of Canada’s vast immigrant population. Undoubtedly, Canada paved a path for the prosperity and offered a Canadian dream for the Chinese youths fleeing poverty and political crackdown in the 1980s, and provided a sense of security to today’s wealthy elites who try to escape the air pollution and food unsafety in their hometown. But it is the second generation of immigrants that has benefited the most from what the country has to offer.
Abundant evidence shows that Canada provides the best social mobility to the immigrants. According to StatsCan, despite the poverty and hardship that the first generation of immigrant face, their children, armed with Canadian education and credentials, are doing much better than their parents and enjoyed the great success in the country. They are rising from the lowest to the highest of income scale at a high rate – much higher than the most local Canadian demographic. Their success is the best reward for our immigration journey and has only strengthened our connections to this ethnic diverse country – the land of peace, opportunity and growth.
I appreciate my parents’ choice to immigrate to Canada
As Canada marks its 150th birthday on July 1st, no doubt it will be the event of the summer. As Canadians across the nation gather to celebrate their life and gratefulness to this great country, the anniversary shed some light for those like me, of a second generation of immigrants, on the opportunities given to us by this great country.
When my parents came to Canada, they had nothing with them but 200 dollars in the pockets, and a dream to live a better life than that in China. If it wasn’t for them, neither my brother or I today would have experienced one of the best education systems in the world. Hearing stories of my parent’s childhood, and their struggle and fight for education, it really had me thinking about my life here. I still remember that the parents of a friend of mine struggled to pay for his university tuition, working three jobs and countless hours. However, the hard work by his parents payed off as he started two businesses on his own. He paid his parents back for all the tuition, as well as being able to lavish them with gifts of appreciation, all thanks to the education he received in Canada.
Of course, the education system back then in China is comparatively different than what it is now in Canada. However, compared to some parts of the world, Canada still exponentially has a better system. I had a chance to meet with an exchange student from Africa, who shared his story on the struggle it was just to receive any kind of education. He had to walk miles just to attend school while struggling with poverty himself. And then there are those who face tough competitions just to get into any post secondary education. China for example with their gao kao, just to determine whether they can even get into any university, compared to here in Canada, where we’re more worried on which school to get into whether if we’ll get in at all.
It's easy to forget how lucky those of us who are second generation immigrants are. Born and raised in Toronto my whole life, hearing tales of life in China are ones I can’t even imagine living through. All in all, any form of success that comes to me or my brother, being the top of our class, our piano awards, getting jobs, we owe it in part to our parents’ effort to immigrate to this country. They left their home country in order to give us the best possible opportunities to grow, succeed and thrive, and their struggle proves to have been worth it. I probably wouldn’t be where I am today if my parents didn’t reside to Canada. This country really is the true north, strong and free.
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