From the speech of German Chancellor Angela Merkel past October, where she says “Multikulti ist absolut gescheitert” (according to this blog it has been misinterpreted by the English-speaking media), “Multiculturalism has failed”; to the declaration of UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron, where he says “State Multiculturalism has failed”, (and no misinterpretation from the English-speaking world here); Canada’s federal government has not entered the debate.
The only local approach has been Quebec’s Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences (CCAPRCD). It’s conclussions are shy and politically correct; basically, there is no problem here, it has beeen all a media-hype, we can happily continue with our multicultural lives. But the report form the comission points out important facts such as how the immigrant flux has better education credentials than the average Quebec native, and how immigrants aren’t being able to be employed in their field of expertise, and if getting any job, the income is less than the one recieved by the equivalent Quebecois.
Other reality is true, some of the time, immigrants are ill prepared to confront the Canadian labour market, sometimes not even mastering one language (English or French), also immigrants want to achieve equivalent work positions from their native countries immediately they arrive to Canada, or sometimes if they are refugees, meaning no job skills, no language, they don’t make any effort to effectively integrate into Canadian society.
Fortunately, history and the Canadian social state have prevented wide spread ghettoisation of our cities, putting us in an advantage from France, England, and Germany, all countries that have dealt with an invisible influx of illegal immigrants, that have formed ghettos in the cities where immigrants are excluded form the host culture. History, because Canada has not been a colonial state, where immigrants come fron former colonies. And the social Canadian state safety net of institutions and grants and credits, urban planning, and integration policies have worked to keep resentment to a minimum. It’s still better to abuse the system, than to riot in the streets.
All the above have try to answer the same questions in different tones: Which values identifies us as Canadians (or Germans, or English)? Where does a society draws a line from political correctness to making a strong stand against what we see as untolerable?
One of such hard stands was taken today (Feb. 10, 2011) by the Quebec Legislature when it unanimously passed a motion (113 – 0) tabled by the Parti Quebecqois Louise Beaudoin, where they ban the Kirpan, a religious dagger used by the Sikh, from entering the legislature. To give some background, on the past 18th of January, a group of 4 Sikh representatives, invited by the Legislature to speak about reasonable accomodation, was banned entry by security. In their perspective, the Kirpan could be used as a weapon, and Security gets preference than Religious freedom. Although the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in March 2006 that the Kirpan is not a weapon, M. Beaudoin sees that “Multiculturalism is a Canadian value, not a Quebec value”.
Conservatives in government are making it more difficult to immigrate into Canada, Immigration policies are being changed in order to better select suitable immigrants that are able to come and integrate effectively into the labour market, refugee quotas are being reduced, and waiting times in embassies to get visas are getting longer and longer. Liberals in the opposition, have always being seen as “Immigration Friendly”, using the immigrant vote to add to their political capital, but at what cost? Liberal and NDP MPs and MPPs attending Surrey’s Vaisakhi festival where the the pro-Khalistan movement has a float naming terrorists as martyrs; or not banning the Canadian Tamil Congress which supports the terrorist Tamil Tiger’s by collecting money as a charity, leading to the mass illegal immigration in cases as the case MV Sun Sea.
To the vast majority of immigrants, who come in good faith and that see Canada as a new chance, as a new beginning, the only thing I ask them is to work hard, and effectively integrate into Canadian society. Canada has it’s arms open, but you have to give back.
To the immigrant minority, that sees Canada as a place where the system can be abused, or a place to bring your countries problems and differences, or a place where to get new recruits for lost causes at home, you are not welcome.