No place like home by NeilBissoondath Essay

2424 Words Nov 13th, 2013 10 Pages
No Place like Home
Neil Bissoondath uncovers the cracks in Canada's multicultural mosaic.
THREE or four years into the new millennium, Toronto, Canada's largest city, will mark an unusual milestone. In a city of three million, the words 'minorities' and 'majority' will be turned on their heads and the former will become the latter.
Reputed to be the most ethnically diverse city in the world, Toronto has been utterly remade by immigration, just as Canada has been remade by a quarter-century of multiculturalism.
It is a policy which has been quietly disastrous for the country and for immigrants themselves.
The stated purpose of Canada's Multiculturalism Act (1971) is to recognize 'the
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The late novelist Robertson Davies pointed out that tolerance is but a weak sister to acceptance. To tolerate someone is to put up with them; it is to adopt a pose of indifference. Acceptance is far more difficult, for it implies engagement, understanding, an appreciation of the human similarities beneath the obvious differences. Tolerance then is superficial - and perhaps the highest goal one can expect of Canadian multiculturalism.
Another insidious effect of this approach is a kind of provisional citizenship. When 100-metre sprinter Ben Johnson won a gold medal at the Seoul Olympics, he was hailed in the media as the great Canadian star. Days later, when the medal was rescinded because of a positive drug test, Johnson became the Jamaican immigrant - Canadian when convenient, a foreigner when not. Tolerated, never truly accepted, his exoticism always part of his finery, he quickly went from being one of us to being one of them.
This makes for an uneasy social fabric. In replacing the old Canada, based on British and French tradition, with a mosaic (individual tiles separated by cement), we have shaken our sense of identity. In a country over 130 years old, we are still

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