‘Multiculturalism - the preservation of different cultures or cultural identities within a unified society, as a state or nation” – (multiculturalism at dictionary.com) The Canadian identity is in a constant state of turbulence, always changing, always being re-created. So the question is whether or not multiculturalism has affected the development of the Canadian identity? The three arguments to support this thesis is Canada’s past treatment of immigrants, how Canadians are only accepting of immigrants who look similar to us and have the same kind of culture, and how French and English cultures have managed to assimilate to help form a cultural identity that has helped define Canada.
The first argument is Canada’s past treatment of immigrants compared to now such as the treatment of workers on the CPR construction and the Chinese head tax. Between 1881 and 1884, as many as 17 000 Chinese men came to B.C. to work as labourers on the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Chinese workers worked for $1.00 a day, and from this $1.00 the workers had to still pay for their food and their camping and cooking gear. White workers did not have to pay for these things even though they were paid more money ($1.50-$2.50 per day) – (History: Building the Canadian Pacific Railway- Chinese). This is the first documented time that Canadians have blatantly discriminated against a race. The Chinese were usually given the most dangerous jobs such as planting the explosives and detonating them and since there was no proper medical care while working on the railway especially for the Chinese, who had to rely on their own remedies (opium anyone). The Chinese head tax was something that all Chinese immigrants to Canada had to pay to reside in Canada. The Chinese head tax was created after parliament passed the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885 - (“Chinese immigration act 1885 – Asian Canadian). In 1923 Canadian parliament passed the Chinese exclusion act which stopped Chinese...
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