Since it was enshrined as official policy in 1971, multiculturalism has been worn by Canadians as a badge of honour even as its consequences have remained happily abstract. But if tolerance has long been one of the touchstones of Canadian identity, there is reason to believe our cherished multicultural tapestry is fraying.
Do Canadians wear state enforced multiculturalism as a badge of honour? This journalist doesn't really know that so how can Martin Patriquin say so with such surety? How can any journalist for that matter? The truth is they can't and I'd say it is much more accurate to state that most Canadians don't care about multiculturalism. It means nothing to them. I for one think official multiculturalism is an embarrassing mistake and it is turning the average well mannered Canadian into a "bigot".
The article does publish some interesting figures.
When asked if they agreed with the following statement -- "it is reasonable to accommodate religious and cultural minorities" -- a mere 18 per cent said yes. How many thought immigrants should "adapt fully to culture in Canada"? Fifty-three per cent. When it came to accommodating religious and cultural minorities in public places, such as schools, hospitals and government buildings, 37 per cent thought there should be no accommodation at all, with smaller portions accepting some accommodation but only six per cent advocating full accommodation. The numbers were even more striking for accommodation in the workplace, with 45 per cent saying there should be none, and just four per cent agreeing with full accommodation.
The geographic breakdowns were indeed stark. A full 77 per cent of Quebecers thought immigrants should fully adapt(just five per cent said it was reasonable to accommodate), and in Ontario 49 per cent agreed(with just 22 per cent saying accommodation was reasonable). Perhaps suprisingly, given their relative provincial images, support for accommodation was highest in the Atlantic provinces, Alberta and the Prairies.
It is easy to see why Quebec's and Ontario's figures are so high when you realize that Quebec and Ontario receive the bulk of immigrants to this country. If immigrants were flooding into Alberta and the Atlantic provinces at the rate they are in Quebec and Ontario then you'd see similar numbers. The truth is Canadians are fed up with accommodation and the transformation of their public spaces into de facto colonies of foreign countries.
The SES poll does suggest those with less education, as well as older Canadians, tended to be less accommodating. Only 17 per cent of Canadians aged 55 to 64 thought it was reasonable to accommodate, compared with 24 per cent of those aged 25 to 34. And as for education, just 24 per cent of those with a university education saw accommodation as reasonable, while 50 per cent said immigrants should integrate. This is higher than the 9.6 per cent with a high-school education or less who saw accommodation as reasonable, but it hardly amounts to a ringing endorsement.
Nor does income seem to have much to do with the degree of tolerance. Canada's middle class, the SES poll indicates, is least at ease with the idea of accommodating religious and cultural minorities: roughly 64 per cent of those earning between $40,000 and $49,999 a year believe it is up to immigrants to fully adapt to Canadian culture, a full 18 percentage points higher than among those earning less than $25,000, and 8.7 percentage points higher than those earning between $50,000 and $74,999.(The numbers drop off again among those earning $75,000 or more.)
If Canada is becoming a nation of bigots then blame mass immigration and multiculturalism. If you want to eliminate racism then cut immigration levels and abandon multiculturalism as official social policy.
The problem I have with this article is that it implies that it is white Canadians who are becoming bigoted and this is because they are expressing reservations about accommodation and daring to expect immigrants to integrate into the culture of the country they willing chose to immigrate to. So refusal to accommodate is a bigoted act. Is refusal to integrate a bigoted act as well? It is because the sentiment is the same. However in the event of a cultural stand off the onus is upon the immigrant to accommodate because he or she chose to move to another country. It's just common sense and good old fashioned manners. But multiculturalism removes that responsibility and unjustly places it upon the host population. This is why cultural minority groups love state enforced multiculturalism. It allows them to have their cake and eat it too.
Multiculturalism also removes all power from the host population to define itself. So refusal to accommodate is just an act of dissent and civil disobedience to a state enforced policy that was undemocratically imposed upon the Canadian people and denies them their collective right to define themselves as a people. So I hope more Canadians refuse to accommodate. This is Canada and its time to take our country back.