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Conclusion: The World We Want

Thank you for participating in the Dialogue on Foreign Policy. The interactive web site is now closed. The Minister's report will appear on this web site once it is released.

This Forum is bilingual, and participants post messages in their language of choice.

Immigration in Canada. and multiculturalism...

Contributor: codc01

Date: 2003-04-07 07:47:41

This is mainly an response to an answer i saw in the answer section (Prosperity):

Quote from the answer:
"We should increase immigration levels... One final comment . Is it a coincidence that the EU, with a more liberal immigration policy ( at least it is seen as being so)is in general less xenophobic ( OK if we ignore France)than the US? Surely we do not want to go down the US route"

I'm currently living in Europe, and I can tell you that your statement is completely false! Europeans are much more xenophobic than Canadians, i can cite several facts about this.

You know that when there is too much immigration (especially when they are from completely different cultures) in a country, it debalances a country, whatever you say this is true... Acts of racism are common in Europe.

This brings me to the Canadian position, Canada's immigration policy is good, it should be strict. We should accept in priority well educated immigrants, as well as refugees (with extensive cross-checking if their claims are true)... Reuniting families should also be a top priority. We should be very tough on people who abuse of the system (immediate deporting and/or imprisonment)...

I've read several answers talking about Canadian multiculturalism - what does it mean exactly? Was it ever defined anywhere by the government?

If it means that the dominant culture (by the laws and customs we have) change dramatically to the new cultures - then i disagree, because some values may vary wildly from one culture and another, and clashes are bound to occur (since several cultures exist in our country) - This is mainly what is happening in France. People who come to our country should accept the dominant culture and abide by its rules, BUT they should also keep their culture (and we should accomodate them) and share it with other Canadians (I've met a lot of people from different cultures in Canada, and its great because they enrich our country), but it should not be forced upon the others. Assimilation should be out of the question, but integration is important. I'd really like it if the government clearly stated what multiculturalism means - because i actually have no idea!

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Immigration in Canada. and multiculturalism...

Contributor: Barretm82

Date: 2003-04-07 17:48:45

One disturbing trend I witnessed is self segregation of various immigrant groups in Canada. A business person I am familiar with owns a large grocery store for minorities. As I walked thru the store with him I noticed that he had the same specialty food items in different locations in the store. I asked him, "why not keep all this stuff in the same place? Like you would see in other typical Grocery stores like Safeway, etc."

He answered, “Many of his customers from different countries in the world didn’t like to be in the same space as other ethnic groups, so he had to segregate the food isles in his store”. For example, some from India didn’t like those from Pakistan; others from East Africa didn’t like those from West Africa, etc, etc…

I was honestly shocked by the racism of the customers; usually when I think racism I think of Nazi.
What I witnessed at his grocery store was minority detestation of minority racism, I returned during a busy hour a couple of days later and yes it was more evident, particularly at the checkout lines.

Has anyone here seen this problem? Or is it a local phenomenon in that particular city? I don’t know of any studies regarding minority to minority racism for reference…. If I was in government, I would consider looking further into this issue.

Just my 2-cents….

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Immigration in Canada. and multiculturalism...

Contributor: codc01

Date: 2003-04-08 02:04:49

That is exactly one of the problems which worries me, racsim between the minorities, and the majority being caught in the middle :(...

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Immigration in Canada. and multiculturalism...

Contributor: cfallon

Date: 2003-04-08 13:20:49

Agreed. Racism is one of the most wicked facets of human existence.

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Immigration in Canada. and multiculturalism...

Contributor: jaime

Date: 2003-04-28 17:38:04

In reference to your question about what is multiculturalism, let me refer you to a couple of paragraphs from the Multiculturalism Act (R.S. 1985,):
(a) recognize and promote the understanding that multiculturalism reflects the cultural and racial diversity of Canadian society and acknowledges the freedom of all members of Canadian society to preserve, enhance and share their cultural heritage;
(b) recognize and promote the understanding that multiculturalism is a fundamental characteristic of the Canadian heritage and identity and that it provides an invaluable resource in the shaping of Canada's future;

Regarding your comments about different cultures and values, I agree with you. However, I also believe that many of us who immigrated from other cultures and are now Canadian citizens, learn little by little (some more some less) the fundamental values of Canadian society, in particular an enormous RESPECT for the other.
I concur with your that assimilation is not the way to go. There are many problems with our immigration policies and procedures. My suggestion is that there should be more education regarding Canadian values as part of the immigration process. This is a touchy subject because some groups may object as to the values that should be brought to the fore in that process. However, I believe that we can all agree on our fundamental values of respect, compassion, non-discrimination, collaboration and the rule of law (Peace, Order and Good Government).
I also believe that, unfortunate as it is, there is racism among minorities. Education during the immigration application process may be helpful in orienting potential immigrants as to our views on racism and discrimination, which include any racism from anyone towards anyone, regardless of their colour or place of origin. Furthermore, I also believe that the requirements to become a Canadian citizen should be expanded and include more education about Canada than presently needed.
I have been a Canadian citizen for almost nine years and I can tell you that without a doubt, I am still convinced that this is the best country in the world, due in large part to the fundamental decency of most Canadians of all backgrounds. The fact that we are participating in this forum is a testament of how our society values the contributions of all.

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