Apr 06 2008

Globe&Post: Our Big Cities are Multicultural Meccas

Published by at 10:08 pm under Uncategorized

The latest findings from the Statistics Canada census show that the majority of visible minorities live in — surprise, surprise — Toronto and Vancouver (Canwest News). Not surprisingly, our new immigrants are avoiding the rustic charms of farming life in Saskatchewan and opting for the thrills and opportunities of the big city.

We’ve come a long way since the days of Lord Durham’s description of Canada as “two nations warring within the bosom of a single state” (presumably with the First Nations peoples living peacefully on the sidelines somewhere, Mr. Lambton?). How odd that certain Vancouver-based miscontents have taken it upon themselves in recent marches and demonstrations to blast the “racist Canadian state” for the terrible crime against humanity of having immigration rules and trying to police its territory (just like every society in human history, not excluding the Coast Salish people).

The real question that such groups need to answer is: if Canada is such a racist state, why does everyone keep moving here? Dealing with a related assertion (aired on the CBC last year) that in Canada and the USA in the post 9/11 world, certain ethnic groups feel like they are under siege, intellectual Hirsi Ali had this ironclad response: “I think that it’s highly exaggerated… If that were the case, we know of groups in history that were under siege and what they usually do is they would leave.

They’re not leaving. The world is coming to Canada.

As we know from our own census records, Canada is still — happily — a nation of immigrants.

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Globe&Post: Our Big Cities are Multicultural Meccas”

  1. Raulon 07 Apr 2008 at 8:42 am

    As an immigrant myself, I have to say that I find it hard to believe that somebody thinks of Canada as a racist nation. However, and I should not this, Canada is far from a homogeneous nation. It is very heterogeneous and because of that, we can’t say “Canada is not racist” as a blanket statement. The implicit heterogeneity of the ethnic make-up and the multiple layers of complexity of the social fabric are two compounding factors to be considered when looking at this issue.

    Some people are racist, some people are not. Some people are accepting of gay people, some people aren’t. A lot of close friends of mine would *never* suggest that I move to Lethbridge, AB to teach, for example. But I think I would thrive in Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto.

    God, I hate my writing. Now my comment sounds like I disagree with you. No, I don’t disagree that we need immigration rules. I completely agree! I actually agree more than many other immigrants, I am sure. The thing is, if the world was perfect, we wouldn’t need rules.

    Sometimes (as I have told you before), Canadian immigration rules have made my life difficult. But hey, I am here legally and Canada and Canadians have welcome me with open arms, so who am I to complain?

    Great conversation over coffee, by the way Jonathon. As always, a pleasure to see you.

  2. jnarveyon 07 Apr 2008 at 10:15 am

    Hey Raul, it was great to see you too.

    As you say, there will always be at least some hicks and neanderthals SOMEWHERE who make life difficult for visible minorities. Conversely, these days in Vancouver and other Canadian urban centers, there will always be people who blow racist incidents out of proportion to try to show that the entire society is rotten (and therefore in need of a revolution?)

    I’ve found in my travels and my interactions with various nationalities in Canada that people from homogenous societies tend to have the most built-up stereotypes about people from other countries. I suppose that in such societies, there just isn’t any pressing need to reevaluate perceptions. In contrast, in Vancouver, we’re literally brushing up against diversity every day, so we (generally) learn to get along and even appreciate the differences.

    Globalization of cultures and mass media has many drawbacks, but hopefully, a better understanding and tolerance for diversity are some of the benefits.

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