Multiculturalism is a perception that differences between cultures, tribes, and races of both the minority and majority within a dominant political society must be embraced and respected. Multiculturalism also means safeguarding the rights of specific cultural groups under the law. Canadians consider multiculturalism as an important aspect of their society (Fong, 2018). Multiculturalism coincides with their standpoint that all Canadians are equal regardless of their cultural, racial or ethnic groups Canada is among the countries that have strongly embraced multiculturalism . It adopted multiculturalism policy over four decades ago. Canadian government implemented this policy to ensure that every citizen maintains their identities, embraces their ancestry and views Canada as their home. The aim of this paper is to discuss multiculturalism in Canada, its success and drawbacks as well as analyze its impacts on immigrants, francophone, and indigenous communities. Multiculturalism has succeeded and affected certain communities such as francophone, immigrants, and indigenous people in Canada despite having some drawbacks.
Multiculturalism in Canada
Canada passed its multiculturalism policy in 1971 under the administration of President Pierre Elliot (Fong, 2018). The policy made Canada become the pioneer country to legislate multiculturalism in the world. The policy protected citizens from different ethnicities, races, and cultures from the Quebec Separatist Movement present in Canada before 1971 (Fong, 2018). The movement does not respect and appreciate individuals from different cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. Quebec province greatly supports ethnic nationalism within the province. Ethnic nationalism disregards the different identities in Canada and promotes racism and ethnicity in the province. Notably, Quebec insists on the screening all immigrants entering Quebec province and Canada to ensure they possess specific Canadian values (Lisee, 2014). Many multicultural proponents who believe that Canada is a multicultural country criticize this notion. The group concentrates more on the physical appearance of the individuals and their origin instead of their skills and character. Therefore, to combat Quebec's ethnic nationalism, the government adopted the multiculturalism policy.
The Canadian citizens from diverse cultures, races, and ethnicities felt insecure and unsafe before the adoption of the multiculturalism policy. Canadian government embraced the policy in order to make people from the minority groups feel protected from forms of discrimination or prejudice from the majority populations (Fong, 2018). The policy assured immigrants of freedom to practice their culture, speak their languages and acquire a sense of belonging in Canada. In addition, the legislation allowed immigrants to interact with Canadian cultures and languages to encourage them to appreciate other diversities.
Canada acknowledges multiculturalism to promote racial and ethnic peace among its citizens.The Canadian government encourages all citizens to appreciate and respect cultural practices, racial and ethnic backgroundof citizens with different identities in order to coexist in harmony (MCOS, 2018). Furthermore, Canada practices multiculturalism as a way of promoting an understanding of various cultures from all over the world. Canada is cognizant of the potential capability of its citizens and promotes the integration of individuals from different countries into their society. Integration of immigrants makes them feel welcomed and appreciated in Canada (MCOS, 2018). Moreover, integration into Canadian society guarantees immigrants freedom to participate in Canada's social, political, cultural, and economic matters. This implies that people from other countries who have been accepted in Canada can contest for political offices, get employment, as well as practice their culture and religion. However, integrated immigrants must live in accordance with laws and policies stipulated in the Canadian constitution.
Multiculturalism encourages people from different countries to migrate to Canada to seek employment, education or permanent citizenship. Immigrants bring their cultural and religious practices in Canada. In addition, immigrants have different racial and ethnic groups. These immigrants interact with Canadian citizens, thus allowing them to learn their customs as well as identify with their racial and ethnic backgrounds. Immigrants also introduce new behaviors and values to Canadian citizens (Bhatnagar, 2017). Canadians are influenced by the immigrants and may adopt these habits and values, which may have positive implications to the Canadian society. Notably, cross-cultural knowledge among Canadian citizens is critical as it helps them develop a good attitude towards each other. When citizens have a positive attitude towards their diverse cultures, religions, habits, and values, they live in harmony as they learn to respect and appreciate each other regardless of their origin or cultural background.
Success of Multiculturalism in Canada
Multiculturalism has succeeded because of its influence in the Canadian education system and economy. The Canadian government has adopted several programs in institutions of higher learning to accommodate the rising number of immigrant students in Canada. The students ascribe to different cultures, religions, and ethnicity. The government implemented these programs to ensure immigrant students feel welcomed and appreciated in Canada (MCOS, 2018). Many students graduating from Canadian universities and colleges work in Canada. Immigrants working in Canada earn income and pay taxes to the Canadian government, thus contributing to the growth of Canada's economy.
Experts from different cultural and ethnic background also work in various industries in Canada. The immigrants working in Canada pay taxes from their incomes, which increases the revenues collected by the Canadian government. . Notably, the influx of immigrants has influenced the hotel and tourism industry in Canada. Restaurants adopt new recipes that represent different cultures in Canada. In addition, hotels decorate their accommodation rooms in a way that appeals to different world cultures to attract immigrants from various countries. Multiculturalism has contributed to the rise in revenues made by hotel and tourism industries, thus boosting Canada's economy.
Adoption of the multiculturalism policy has empowered immigrants to join active politics in Canada. Allowing immigrants living in Canada to contest for political position demonstrates that Canadian government and citizens have embraced multiculturalism and its social impacts into their society. For instance, more than ten percent of the current Canadian national assembly comprises of people born in foreign countries (Fong, 2018). Promotion of equality and freedom for all people in Canada is an indication that multiculturalism has succeeded in Canada.
Governmental and non-governmental organizations are championing for discrimination, prejudice and racism-free society for both native and immigrant Canadians. Through multiculturalism legislation, immigrants have the rights to be treated with respect in Canadian workplaces, schools, religious centers, and hospitals. Additionally, multiculturalism is a success in Canada because it has become part of the social identity of the Canadian people. Almost all provinces in Canada embrace immigrants from different cultures, ethnicity, and races to work, study and live in Canada. These provinces also protect the rights of immigrants by ensuring that they are treated like the native Canadians in both public and private organizations.
Value corruption is one of the drawbacks of multiculturalism in Canada. The Canadian multiculturalism policy permits immigrants to practice their culture and habits. Some of the cultural practices and behaviors of the immigrants may interfere with Canadians' values such as respect, environment conservation, peacefulness, and punctuality (Canadian cultural values and beliefs, 2016). For instance, immigrants that subscribe to a culture that does not have respect for other cultural and religious practices may influence native Canadians to discriminate against some cultures practised by immigrants. Competition for public amenities between native Canadians and immigrants in Canada is another multiculturalism demerit (Muchammadun, 2014). Canada has experienced a rising number of people from different countries seeking education or employment opportunities (Bhatnagar, 2017). Consequently, the Canadian government has been compelled to increase the number of universities, colleges and high schools to accommodate this large number of immigrants in the country.
The Canadian government is forced to increase its budgetary allocations for learning institutions to facilitate quality learning in these facilities. Immigrants also compete for jobs with the locals. The high competition for jobs and public resources reduces job opportunities for native Canadians. Multiculturalism has eroded the national identity of the Canadian people (Fong, 2018). The influx of people from different countries who have different cultural practices, racial, and ethnic affiliations have made cultural practices of the native Canadians to be invisible. Multiculturalism allows people to practice their cultures thus making Canada have many cultures, which makes it difficult for native Canadians to promote their customs and cultural practices. In addition, immigrants have developed perceptions that Canada does not have a culture because they embrace all the cultural practices of all the people in the country.
Implications of Multiculturalism in Canada
The minority Canadians have been undergoing several challenges, which prompted the Canadian government to embrace multiculturalism policy to promote equality in Canada. However, aboriginals feel that multiculturalism has failed to resolve their issues and concerns (Srikanth, 2012). Multiculturalism has affected the indigenous Canadians negatively because they exist separately from other cultures since integrating them would not address their claims (Srikanth, 2012). Furthermore, multiculturalism has resulted in the influx of several cultures, languages, religions, and ethnicities, which have shifted the concentration of Canadians on cultural practices of the indigenous people to other emerging and foreign cultures of the immigrants. Multiculturalism has led to a tremendous increase in the Canadian population, leading to a reduction of the resources and amenities provided by the government to the aborigines. Moreover, exclusion from multicultural society has led to high levels of unemployment, poverty, and illiteracy among indigenous Canadians.
The French-speaking people in Canada are affected by multiculturalism, as they perceive it as a threat to their ethnic and cultural affiliations. Francophone believes that allowing several people from different cultures, ethnicity, and race may reduce Francophone to just another tribe in Canada. The majority ethnic group in Quebec province opposes multiculturalism and support immigration of people from different countries with their culture but instead of practicing their culture, they should be assimilated into Quebec's Francophone society (Moustaqim-Barrette, 2017). Furthermore, multiculturalism threatens the bilingualism policies in Canada as it advocates for equality for all the ethnic diversities in Canada. Therefore, multiculturalism may influence constitutional amendments to make other languages official in Canada besides English and French. Moreover, multiculturalism does not guarantee immigrants a complete...
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