Canada and Xenophobia

Topics: Canada, Culture, Multiculturalism Pages: 6 (843 words) Published: March 24, 2006
The world is your oyster. This is a statement that for many is not as true as it

sounds. We live in a world that is, to some extent, available for all to enjoy. It is

when we start giving restrictions and implications for people to experience our

planet, that we find an unpleasantness in the world. Multicultural states and

democracy have a direct correlation. Both of them are on the increase. From

decades of fighting for democracy and, in hindsight, multiculturalism; we have

unleashed an evil. Xenophobia is a word that is not heard very often, but it has

implications of a serious nature.

The Oxford dictionary defines Xenophobia as "an irritational dislike or fear of

people from other countries". The Canadian population is diverse. With a

population of "4 million immigrants accounting for thirteen percent of the

population in 2001" (Statistics Canada (2005). Retrieved February 14, 2006, from ) , one can see why the process of

integration can, and has been, an uneasy one. Xenophobic patterns of behavior are

almost exclusively found in locals "from less educated strata" (Roland Eckert in

Theodor Hanf, 1999, p. 50). With an employment rate of only 6.6% ( Statistics

Canada (2005). Retrieved February 14, 2006, from however, one can see that there is more to

Xenophobia than mere competition.

Canada is renowned for its multicultural approach. It is a land filled with the

diversities of our planet. The wonder of this country is not so much its diversity as

it is its 'acceptance' of different cultures. The Multiculturalism Act states "It is

hereby declared ... and acknowledges the freedom of all members of Canadian

society to preserve, enhance and share their cultural heritage," ( Bissoondath,

1998). It is this law that, inadvertently, has led to a country which is losing its

identity in a sea of identities. One has to agree with Allan Smith (1971) when he

says that "[a] greater degree of behavioral assimilation has taken place in Canada

than that concept would appear to allow for". It is this reason that Canadian-born

citizens show behaviors of Xenophobia.

There has to be a point that is reached where the Canadian government can realize

that being over accommodating is not the solution.

[A] state dedicated to the proposition that all cultural groups within it have an inalienable right to flourish would be a state in which, ideally, brokerage politics would have no place (Allan Smith, 1971).

Canadian politics needs to be based on Canadian principles and beliefs. It cannot

expect to flourish by giving every culture and nationality a say in the law of the

land. If you have one culture favored over another, you are bound to irritate the

other, leading to the exact definition of Xenophobia.

On the other hand, we cannot force an immigrant to change his identity and

national heritage for the sake of wanting to live in another country. By doing that,

we will simply throw away what democracy has accomplished in the last century.

We cannot hide the fact that people are who they are because of where they come

from. Our culture and nationality gives us our "sense of self" (Bissoondath, 1998,

pg. 536). Forcing someone to take on a new culture is forcing them to change who

they are. In so doing, there is bound to be resistance and retaliation, leading to a

Xenophobic outcome.

The question beckons then; where does that leave us? We are stuck in the middle

of a conflict that has its roots as early as the 1800's with the immigration of close to

thirty eight million to the United Sates . The solution can be reached though. It is

Gregg Kvistad (1998) that said "[w]e must therefore wedge ourselves between the

abstract optimism of a simple legal solution to Xenophobia, and the dark...
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