Visible minorities gaining
South Asians comprise 13.5% of population in GTA, blacks 6.9% and Chinese 9.6%
Apr 03, 2008 04:30 AM
When Jagdev Hansra and his wife Preetinder moved to Brampton from Punjab last July, they were unsure of what to expect. They had heard how difficult life was in Canada, about the cold weather and about the pitfalls of being so far from home.
Except that in Brampton, it looked a lot like home.
Instead of being part of a minority, they are part of what is a growing visible "majority" in some GTA suburbs. In the past five years, Brampton has seen the greatest change, with the percentage of visible minorities increasing from 40 to 57 – most being South Asians.
"It made it easier for us to settle," said Preetinder, who works in an auto-parts factory that employs mostly Punjabis.
Notice how they moved from the Punjab, a region in India, to Brampton, which has become a de facto Indian colony. Such a move illustrates that they have no desire to integrate and assimilate into Canadian society opting instead to shelter themselves in the Indian colony of Brampton, a choice made by most immigrants to this country because they want to live amongst their own.
For the first time, the combined total of those from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka outnumbered the Chinese. There were 1.26 million South Asians, followed by 1.21 million Chinese and 784,000 blacks across the country.
In Toronto, nearly half of the population, at 46.9 per cent, were a visible minority. Markham topped the list of communities in the GTA with just over 65 per cent visible minorities.
South Asians are often looking for a way out of political instability, said immigration consultant Ali Naqvi. But he said many come because they want to give their children a better life.
Every time a South Asian immigrant tells you that you better have a shovel ready because you'll soon find yourself waist deep in BS. I have yet to meet an Indian immigrant who didn't live the good life back in their home country of India and in fact it is not wrong to assume that almost all immigration from South Asia is middle class or upper caste immigration. It costs money to move to Canada and they are the ones who have it.
"Everyone struggles," he said. "That is part of the settlement process for newcomers. The hope is that the sacrifice translates into success."
That's what the Hansras are counting on as they settle in their new homeland.
"You think you will find a job, make a lot of money, but it's not so simple," said Preetinder, 27.
Her job of sorting through the nuts and bolts at the auto parts factory is hard on her eyes. "I never imagined things would be so difficult here," she said.
Jagdev, 26, who recently got his trucking licence, is more optimistic. "At least you can get a job here. In India you can't."
Note how they were allowed to immigrate to fill no job in particular which illustrates how poorly our immigration system is at meeting realistic job needs. Their immigration to Canada was immigration for its own sake. Secondly, note the unrealistic expectations they had before they arrived in Canada. They expected, the wife at least, to make a lot of money. This illustrates the upper caste greed that is driving South Asian immigration to Canada where economic realities are ignored to favour materialist fantasies. But South Asian ambitions are not restricted to having "a better life."
"While South Asians are the majority in terms of numbers, in terms of influence they are not," he said.
Ratna Omidvar, executive director of Maytree Foundation, which funds many immigrant and refugee programs, also sees discrepancies in the reflection of visible minorities in positions of influence.
"Public institutions are a mirror of the society. They reflect the power structure of the society and you see the faces represented in power and privileges," Omidvar said.
How is South Asian immigration not another form of colonialism? I say it is and it is exemplary of the problem of selecting immigrants from one country or region of the world in large numbers. There is no real reason for Canada to be accepting large numbers of immigrants from South Asia aside from political ones and this has resulted in the transformation of the Canadian city of Brampton into a near functioning Indian colony. South Asian immigrants have expressed desires for political power and influence and in due time Brampton politics will be South Asian in character. It will become a town of South Asians, run by South Asians, for South Asians not unlike Quebec for Quebecers, England for the English, and the Hindutva. Is nothing learned from Apna Town?
The problem inherent in such an event is that is discourages assimilation and integration into Canadian society. Secondly, it begs us to ask if immigrants really care to integrate at all or do they come to live in Canada in a parasitic fashion while sheltering themselves from Canadian influences in their ethnic enclaves? Thirdly, as these ethnically specific towns begin to pocket the land, will this be a problem for political stability? For instances, what's preventing a future South Asian exclusive town like Brampton from declaring independence and aligning itself with India? How many Quebec's does this country need? We also need to ask if Canadians are comfortable with parts of their country being transformed to reflect the homelands of the immigrants who clustered there? How is a Canadian uniqueness cultivated when portions of the country look like foreign countries? It is said Canadian culture is hindered by American culture. How is it helped by Indian culture, or any other culture for that matter?
The purpose of this post is to bring to light the colonial character of mass immigration. This kind of behviour is not exclusive to South Asian but can be seen in Chinese immigration and Italian immigration like in the town of Woodbridge, ON where half the population is Italian. If mass immigration has fated Canada to a future of ethnic enclaves, colonies, and identity politics then it needs to be reformed. This is Canada and it's the only country I have. Unlike some, both of my feet are planted here. When my country is gone then what do I have?
If Brampton is Canada for Indian immigrants then Canada is an Indian colony