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