Canadian Identity

Better Essays
Topics: Canada, World War II
Arman Duggal
Ms. Lefaive
CHC 2DI
11 June 2013
Canada’s evolution since WW2

The dynamics of Canada’s Laws of tolerance, bilingualism and multiculturalism towards non-British descent have changed since World War II (WW II). During the First World War, a term called “Enemy Aliens” was used towards Canadians of non-British descent who were treated very poorly. Many were sent to internment camps where they had to endure harsh living conditions. Equality was not present at the time. It was nearly 26 years after the end of WWII that a formal Multiculturalism Policy was adopted in 1971. It ensured that all Canadians will have the freedom of belief, opinion and religion. It created a more culturally diverse society which has now become the hallmark of Canadian identity. Another significant development was the introduction of The Official Languages Act 1969 which essentially proclaimed both English and French to be the two official languages of Canada. As a result of these two Acts, Canada has ensured that it is committed to recognizing the rights of minorities in general and of immigrants on non-British descent in particular.

Both WW I and WW II saw the unfair treatment towards enemy aliens and natives in Canada. Japanese Canadian Internment which refers to the confinement of Japanese in British Columbia (BC) during WW II. Over twenty thousand Japanese were scattered in camps throughout BC where the living conditions were extremely poor, many families were forced to live in small shacks with inadequate heating in the winter months. The internments started in 1942 following the attack on Pearl Harbour when the Canadian Government issued internment orders suspecting Japanese to be engaging in espionage. Though there was no official proof that Japanese were involved in any such activities, they were nevertheless placed in such camps. WW I shaped a debate regarding the preferred racial composition in Canadian society. Canadians found the presence of enemy aliens



Cited: "Multiculturalism Policy in Canada | Mapleleafweb.com." Multiculturalism Policy in Canada | Mapleleafweb.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 June 2013. "Canadian Council for Refugees." A Hundred Years of Immigration to Canada 1900. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 June 2013. "OCOL - Official Languages Act." OCOL - Official Languages Act. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 June 2013. "Aboriginal Peoples and the World Wars." The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 June 2013. "Japanese Internment." CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, n.d. Web. 12 June 2013 "Centre for Constitutional Studies." Centre for Constitutional Studies. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 June 2013. Cruxton, J. Bradley and W.Douglas Wilson. Spotlight Canada Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.

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