What Is Multiculturalism In Canada

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Multiculturalism and its Relationship to Canada’s National Identity
Though multiculturalism has been shown to be a wise policy economically and politically, the effects of multiculturalism has unintentionally complicated the Canadian national identity. Though multiculturalism is a significant part of the national identity of Canada, it has brought the population further away from national unity as the country struggles to maintain equality among and respect for all cultures. To derive a national identity from such an amalgamation of cultures has also proven to be a challenge throughout past decades as many Canadians view multiculturalism and immigration as being threats to the ‘Canadian way of life’. Officially adopted as a national policy
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This has been and continues to be pertinent to Canada’s economic growth. When Pierre Trudeau’s administration implemented multiculturalism as a policy in the early 1970s, many have pointed to it as a way to establish immigration as a positive and to emphasize the social importance of respecting differences in religion, race, and culture (Wayland 1992, n.p.). Many interpret Canada’s multiculturalism next to the United States’ assimilation, with Canada’s approach being deemed as a ‘cultural mosaic’ while the United States’ policies have been described as a ‘melting pot’ (Burgess & Burgess 2005, 31). The cultural mosaic is an effective way to see the aspirations of the Canadian government towards multiculturalism. A ‘cultural mosaic’ wishes to respect each member’s culture within a larger collection of cultures which serves as a unified identity. This is comparable to a ‘melting pot’ mentality which encourages one to forego their culture in order to assimilate with the predominant American-based culture (Burgess & Burgess 2005,…show more content…
For example, Section 27 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms states, “This Charter shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians” (Government of Canada 2016, n.p.). In addition, the 1988 Canadian Multiculturalism Act states to “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” (Government of Canada 2016, n.p.). Thirdly, the Broadcasting Act of 1991 incorporated multiculturalism as a broadcasting policy to ensure equal representation of Canada’s demographics in its media (Raboy et. al. 2010, 104). Multiculturalism has embedded itself into the national identity, and Canadians have shown to be overall far more accepting of multiculturalism and immigration than other western nations. Ambrose & Mudde (2015) highlight how “Canadians are the most likely to agree with the statement that immigrants make their country a better place to live and that immigrants are good for the economy” (213). There are even those who have suggested that words such as ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity’ have become far more accurate and meaningful to national unity than any others (Gwyn 2008,
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