Cananda Essay

1447 words - 6 pages

Canada’s multicultural dynamic presents the country with a unique perspective unlike no other. The nation is made up of citizens with different heritages, traditions and practices that have positively integrated into Canadian society ever since the government began to acknowledge diversity within the country. This paper will argue that multiculturalism represents a qualitatively better approach to ethnic diversity than did the Canadian immigration and cultural policies that preceded it. Restricted immigration and aboriginal assimilation negatively affect the larger picture of Canadian culture in comparison to public policy supporting multiculturalism.
The idea of Canada being a “multicultural” society has arguably been around since the country’s early origins, despite varying understanding of the term itself. Notably, George-Étienne Cartier, who was a Father of Confederation, conceptualized Canada “as a political nation, encompassing different cultural nations” (Davis 68). Cartier’s ability to see politics as a framework that incorporated multiple cultural nations under the assumption that they would be working together for a greater common good speaks volumes about what the Fathers of Confederation had envisioned for Canada. His initial understanding of multiculturalism in the 1860s outlines keys values which if maintained would have positively influenced the further development of Canadian public policy. Year’s later, between World War I and World War II, novelist and folklorist J. Murray Gibbon used the term “mosaic” to best describe the concentration of the Canada population. The word suggests that people are greater when brought together; given that, various ethic groups have distinctive qualities that can be both learned and shared while still maintaining individualized integrity. In contrast, American counterparts viewed themselves as a “melting pot” “where different people were “cooked” together and the ingredients merged into a single dish” (69). The use of mosaic to define Canadian society reflects Cartier’s earlier understanding, neither men seeing ethnic diversity as a detrimental problem to the countries success and reiterate what they believe all Canadians were already indirectly aware of.
Before European contact, North America was not a desolate unlived region of the world. First Nations peoples have lived in what is known as present-day Canada long before it was known as the “land of immigrants.” It becomes difficult to understand how early immigration to British North America occurred to help grow the population and how it is then separated from those who followed. The joining of British colonies to create Canada arguably began during a period where immigration was used as a calculated measure to “help build railways, to resettle the prairie west, and work in logging camps, factories and as domestic servants” (70). Immigrants were being used as a means of economic development, despite the country’s tight control on...

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