When I arrived in Canada last year, I saw different people of different skin colors. There were white, yellow, black and brown. I got surprised cause I never thought about Canada like this. I never thought of Europeans, Americans, Latinos, Africans and Asians will ever settle in one place. But it is happening, right here where I immigrated to. It is a fact that Canada is racially diverse. The 250,000 to 300,000 residents of Canada are composing of about 50 societies belonging to twelve linguistic groups. Aside from the two prevailing groups co-existing inside Canada (Anglophones and Francophones), the presence of the minorities contributes in its culture, language and values (Burnet 66 and Bibby 158, 162-169). This gives out to a mosaic idea of Canada (Bibby 158, Burnet 71). The mosaic means putting together distinctive characteristics among the people leaving in Canada. This means every ethnicity, including English and French, must preserve their own culture and language in particular. For me, this impression is not a hindrance in developing distinctive Canadian identity. In fact speakers and writers never get tired of praising the condition in which ethnic groups can preserve their uniqueness and yet live as a Canadian (Burnett 66). This mosaic idea will be distinctively Canadian as long as its two components, bilingualism and multiculturalism, will be accepted and appreciated by most Canadians. Every move must start on the huge part of the mosaic- the Anglophones and Francophones. The conflict between them must be resolved first before anything else. According to Wardhaugh, the English- French conflict is an enduring trademark of Canadian history (Wardhaugh 13). Apart from their language difference, each group is tied up with different culture and values (Richer and Laporte 75). This may affect the relationship between the two groups. These two countrywide mindful individuals have to gain knowledge of co-existence inside a federal system which can provide that opportunity (Wardhaugh 16). Just what the late Prime Minister Trudeau visualized about Canada before he became the Prime Minister: "The die is cast in Canada: there are two main ethnic and linguistic groups; each is too strong and too deeply rooted in the past, too firmly bound to a mother-culture, to be able to engulf the other. But if the two will collaborate at the hub of a truly pluralistic state, Canada could become the envied seat of a form of federalism that belongs to tomorrow's world
" (Wardhaugh 18) As the original immigrant-groups, as they claim themselves, these cultural differences is only a minor problem but it seems like language difference is still a big deal. Indeed the government wants to end this divergence and to fill in a puzzle piece on the mosaic. The government passed The Official Languages Act of 1969 which reserves bilingualism as an official government rule (Wardhaugh 15, Breton 51 and Dasko). French and English becomes the official language of Canada. The new act did not bring peace between the majorities instead it remains disrupted because of the Bill 101 of 1977 under the said languages act which forced a diminution of English language in Quebec. The bill infuriated most of the English (Wardhaugh 14-15). It even gets worst as French Canadians began to identify themselves as Québécois. The incident was marked by the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism as the greatest crisis in Canadian history (Burnett 67). There are also records of low approval of the law among the Canadians almost twenty years after passing the Official Languages Act. Outside Quebec a little less than 50 percent Canadians agree with the policy. The statistics range at about 50 percent in Ontario and the Atlantic Region, through 41 percent in British Columbia to a low of 36 percent on the Prairies. Certainly, most of western Ontarians consistently favour English as the only language they want (Bibby 159). However, more and more Quebeckers has supported...
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Burnet, Jean. "Multiculturalism in Canada". Ethnic Canada: Identities and Inequalities. Ed Leo Driedger. Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman, c1987. 65- 79.
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