• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Multiculturalism in the basis for the Canadian identity.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Multiculturalism in the basis for the Canadian identity Canada has been declared by the UN to be one of the best countries in the world in which to live - yet to define our identity is like trying to nail smoke to the wall. Canada is a nation of many cultures. There are Canadians from nearly every ethnic background imaginable, be they French or English, or descendent from immigrants from all corners of the world. In 1971, the Trudeau government adopted a policy of multiculturalism within a bilingual framework. Multiculturalism is here to stay, but is it beneficial to the formation of the Canadian identity? The policy can be observed in a very negative light. Canadians are a rag-tag assortment of people from every nationality imaginable. As a result, its relatively small population, spread over a large area, shares no unifying traits or customs. Immigrants are encouraged to maintain their distinctiveness from the rest of the Canadian population, and even those Canadians who are descended from the original colonists share no identity of their own. Thanks to bilingualism, many Canadians do not even understand one another, let alone feel a common bond or share distinctive characteristics. Canada's policy of multiculturalism within a bilingual framework has lent it a confused and feeble national identity. This is not at all the case. Canada began with the fusing of two cultures, traditionally enemies. The cautious tolerance that arose with the beginnings of Canadian history endured through to the dawn of the 20th century, when immigrants from other nations began to incorporate themselves into Canada's population. ...read more.

Middle

Under this Act, the Canadiens were permitted to keep their way of life virtually intact, and to participate in their own government. Such freedom was essential if the British hoped to keep Quebec's loyalty in the face of the discord that was brewing in the Thirteen Colonies to the south of British North America. The Quebec Act kept the Canadiens loyal during the American Revolution, but caused dissent among the British Loyalists who fled to British North America following the Revolution. The result was the Constitutional Act of 1791, which divided Canada into its chiefly French and English areas, referred to as Lower and Upper Canada. By forming separate governments to recognize the individuality of the French and English cultures, this prototype for bilingualism set the stage for Canada's development as a bicultural society. Interestingly, despite the traditional enmity of the French and English, the early Canadians were able to fight alongside one another to defend themselves from the American invasion during the War of 1812. The distinctively Canadian traditions of biculturalism and tolerance were already beginning to emerge in the days of our nation's infancy. A series of historical experiments determined the most effective way to govern Canada. Maintaining the biculturalism of the region was essential, as the British soon discovered. The theory of assimilating the French population simply did not work, but allowing French and English to coexist, each with a system designed to fit their needs, proved a success. This sentiment set the tone for Confederation in 1867, and endures to this day an essential trait of the Canadian identity. ...read more.

Conclusion

All aspects of the federal government became bilingual, as did the federal civil service, and even those aspects of life as seemingly trivial as product labeling became bilingual as well. In bilingual districts, education must be offered in both official languages. It is important to recognize the rights and needs of the francophone minority in Canada. The Official Languages Act helped to quell fears of Quebec's separation. Were such an even to occur, the significance of Canada's historical diversity and cultural tradition could be damaged beyond repair. Canada's government also sponsors a number of programs to assist recently landed immigrants to become successfully integrated into Canadian society. Programs are offered to help immigrants both financially and socially. These programs encompass everything from basic to job-specific language training, loans and financial assistance, to organizations and volunteers dedicated to helping immigrants settle into their new life. Immigrants are permitted, even encouraged to retain the culture and traditions from their country of origin. It is apparent that bilingualism and multiculturalism form an integral part of the Canadian identity. It has influenced us throughout the history of our nation, and led the Canadian people to becoming a tolerant, freedom-loving society that respects the equality and identity of the cultures that comprise it. It is true that many Canadians share little in common: they may come from opposites ends of the world to live at opposite ends of a continent. For this reason, multiculturalism does not weaken our identity, multiculturalism is our identity. Colonization initiated it, history has proven it, and government policy has reaffirmed it. The policy of multiculturalism within a bilingual framework can only lend more strength to this distinctively Canadian form of identity. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. What immigration policy should Britain have?

    a lot of money and most people wouldn't be able to afford it. In my opinion the best thing for the British government to do would be to use the 'one in, one out' policy. I think this would be the best idea because it doesn't interfere with the population.

  2. The development of nationalist movements in Southeast Asia

    Others learned from the Indian nationalist movement or were inspired by the communists. The French educated elite led the nationalist movement for a brief period. Their strategy was cooperation with the French colonial government for political reforms leading to self-government.

  1. The debate over immigration and French identity is one of the most controversial questions ...

    Regarding France's revolutionary history, one can mark many more turning points, but none of these involved a racial dimension. Early 1916, the french government was to draw heaviliy on the reserves of manpower available to her in the colonial territories across the mediterranean.

  2. The Rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire.

    The war ended badly for the Russians, and the Paris peace of 1856 was unfavourable to them. Not only did the war shift the balance of power in Europe, but it also effected the Ottoman Empire, for from this point onwards it was obvious that the Empire was controlled by the Europeans.

  1. Minority Rights, Identity Politics and Gender in Bangladesh: Current Problems and Issues

    A number of leftist students' organizations, teachers of universities and other intellectuals also took part in the solidarity of the struggle. A rally was held which gave forth slogans in the different languages of the indigenous communities. Current situation and problems of minorities The Southeast Currently two different regions, the

  2. Section 1 of this report provides an introduction, which deals with the issue of ...

    Some even feel that they are to blame for the state of our country today as a quote taken from a UK citizen explains "Britain was a world leader before we had ethnic minorities" Alibhai-Brown (1999/36). There is also the fact that citizens do not like asylum seekers as they feel they are taking their money e.g.

  1. There are many different issues of disagreement between the British government and American ...

    Colonists reacted angrily to the stamp act when to government passed it without any response to their petitions. They argued that parliament could not tax anyone outside of Great Britain. It is this disagreement that would question the constitutional relationship between Britain and the colonies and thus led to further confrontation between the two.

  2. Asian Values in Singaporean Perspective.

    The concept of individual rights has solely developed in the West and in China social relations were derived from family relations. Most researchers of Late Imperial China have noted this clear distinction between the interpretation of laws in the society in Anglo-Saxon societies and Chinese societies.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work