Monday, 14 December 2009

If American Culture Impovrishes Us Then Why Does Multiculturalism Enrich Us?

I came across this commentary in the Toronto Star. It's about the current state of Canadian broadcasting and its reliance on "cheap" imported U.S. programming and how this reliance "impoverishes" Canadian culture. It's an interesting read but the article can be summed up by this single paragraph:
Can Canadian culture survive when the primary instrument of communication of the age concentrates most of its effort on the importation of the culture of another country?

It is a question worth pondering and one that should be applied to multiculturalism and its fuel, mass immigration. If American culture "impoverishes" Canadian culture then why does South Asian culture or Chinese culture, etc., enrich us?

I happen to agree that American cultural influence in Canada is a concern but it is one shared by many countries. And it shouldn't stop with the U.S.

Indian films are becoming commonplace in select theaters in major Canadian cities. Indeed, the Indian film industry, in its attempt to market its brand of mediocre film fare internationally, will hold its nomadic film awards in Toronto in 2011, the first city in North America to do so. The fact is there is no market in Canada for Indian films outside of Canada's South Asian colonies. Chinese films have tried to find a market in North America and has found little mainstream success even though Chinese films have more appeal then the characteristically silly Bollywood tripe.

American films already dominate Canadian screens and competing with American films is hard enough. Now Canadian filmmakers, thanks in whole to Canada's burgeoning Indian and Chinese colonies, have to compete with imported Indian and Chinese films for Canadian screens as well.

It doesn't stop there. Companies like Rogers and Bell, in an effort to attract subscription dollars from Canada's growing immigrant communities, offer packages that will deliver television content from non North American sources.

The CBC is of little use. If it isn't making shows about the cultural hobbies and sensibilities of its Toronto-centric producers (Little Mosque On The Prairie), its making shows about themselves or their friends (Sophie, Being Erica). In other words shows no one wants to watch.

The truth is given the choice Canadians will choose American culture over multiculturalism any day. It's because American culture is so a part of Canada. It's a part of Canadians' daily lives. We see it when we turn on the T.V., when we listen to the radio, when we wear their clothes. That's just how it is because we are so much like them (or if you wish we are so like each other). There are differences but there are many similarities and there's nothing terribly wrong with that. We should be cautious (and suspicious at times) when dealing with the U.S. (NAFTA was a mistake for one thing and we should get out of it) but the United States is a great country and the American people are wonderful. There is a lot we can learn from them but likewise there is much they can learn from us.

We may feel slighted that we know more about the United States and its people than they do about us. And that we, as the people who know the Americans best are given little thought by them we too have to consider that we, as Canadians, give little thought of anyone, anywhere outside of North America north of the Rio Grande. Quick, who is the current president of Mexico (yes Mexico does have a president)?

Multiculturalism on the other hand is completely irrelevant for the majority Canadians. It means nothing to them. They simply don't care about it because it is not present in their daily lives. They may eat at an ethnic themed restaurant every now and then but those are simply cultural indulgences where the cultural habit is the generic act of going out to eat. They may see a sari here or there, a turban or a hijab, but the most they will do is acknowledge that a people and a culture not of North American origin (and thus not North American) resides within the borders of their nation. If anything multiculturalism is viewed as a rejection of Canadian culture and thus an insult.

So, if the survival of a Canadian culture, a unique Canadian voice, is desperate against American cultural influences then how is it to be heard in a multicultural society? To me it's the same thing. If American culture is impoverishing then so is multiculturalism. Both doom Canada to a state of cultural mediocrity.


Anonymous said...

Here's one for you:

UAE Perera said...

Tamil boat people up date:

Norway and New Zealand to resettle Tamil boat people

Norway has again come to the rescue of an Australian prime minister desperate to resettle stateless boatpeople, with Osloconfirming it will take some of the Tamils rescued by the Oceanic Viking.

Seven years after the Scandinavian state gave a home to the Afghans rescued by the MV Tampa, Norwegian officials have confirmed they are considering taking three of the 78 Sri Lankans.

And as Tony Abbott attacked the Tamils for "blackmailing" their way out of Indonesia, New Zealandsaid it was likely to take some of the refugees. The Australian understands Canada and possibly the US are also expected to assist.

The deal amounts to a diplomatic coup for Kevin Rudd, who was heavily criticised over his handling of the issue and the strain it placed on relations with Jakarta.

A spokeswoman for New Zealand Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman yesterday confirmed the issue was being dealt with at the highest level.

She said there had been "ongoing discussions" between Kevin Rudd and New ZealandPrime Minister John Key, as well as several ministers. "If people from the Oceanic Viking were to be included as part of the normal refugee quota selection process facilitated by the UNHCR, New Zealand would be prepared to consider them," she said.

Sources have told The Australian New Zealand is now all but certain to take some of the Tamils who were on the Oceanic Viking, most of whom will still end up in Australia.

Speaking through a spokesman, Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion director-general Thor Arne Aass told The Australian the UN High Commissioner for Refugees had approached Oslo. "The ministry has notified the UNHCR that Norwaywill assess the cases of three refugees with family links to Norway when the UNHCR submits them," Mr Aass said.

The 78 Tamils were rescued by the Oceanic Viking in October and taken to the Indonesian port of Tanjung Pinang. But they refused to get off the boat, insisting they be taken to Australia, their original destination. The month-long standoff ended only after Australiapromised to resettle the refugees within four to 12 weeks.

But the Opposition Leader attacked the government yesterday for caving in to the Sri Lankans demands. "Basically those Tamils got what they wanted," Mr Abbott said. "They effectively blackmailed the government into giving them what they wanted."

Norway, Sweden and Canada were among the countries which helped to resettle the 433 asylum-seekers rescued in 2001 by the Tampa, a Norwegian vessel.

UAE Perera said...

1,600 Lankans receive priority Canadian visas

The Government of Canada has expedited the processing of applications for approximately 1,600 people from Sri Lanka in an effort to help them reunite with families in Canada, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said today.
The humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka prompted the Government of Canada to begin expediting the processing of new and existing sponsorship applications in June 2009 for Sri Lankans who were directly and significantly affected.

These measures ended on December 18, 2009. The applications received on or after December 19, 2009, were to be processeded according to standard procedures. Visa officers will continue, however, to have the flexibility under Canada’s immigration law to respond in a humane and expeditious manner, if needed.
“When a crisis happens, Canada is there to help Canadian citizens and permanent residents reunite with their family members abroad,” said Minister Kenney. “The situation in Sri Lanka called for us to do something to help those with family in Canada.”

On May 19, 2009, the President of Sri Lanka officially declared victory in a civil war that lasted for almost 30 years. In response to the ensuing humanitarian crisis involving Internally Displaced Persons, priority processing was announced on June 3, 2009, for both new and existing sponsorship applications. In-Canada sponsors and those being sponsored from Sri Lanka were encouraged to contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada to have their cases identified for priority processing. As always, all immigration requirements, including security and medical checks, still had to be met.

Of the almost 1,600 applicants who have received priority processing since June 3, 2009, almost 800 received permanent resident visas from the visa office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to come to Canada. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this country has a proud tradition of helping to reunite people in Canada with their loved ones abroad in times of crisis,” said the Minister.

UAE Perera said...

Pax can you provide some details about this "vote for eelam" Tamils had in Canada (as well as other Western countries).

Bunch of losers in my opinion. They left Sri Lanka, spat on it, bombed it to pieces so they can stay in Western countries, brought such misery to us here and now are citzens in those countries (for a Tamil to have a Sri Lankan passport is like a mini oil well in your pocket- its also the only passport in the world to be written in Tamil. Not even India, the Tamil homeland does that) yet they still think they can dictate our affairs?

Worse still they want to bring even more misery to our people. We have gone through enough. Tamils have developed a sub-culture driven on hate of Sri Lanka and Sinhalese, this is now becoming the mainstream amongst them. No amount of “reaching out” by us works because they are so detached from the ground situation here (some Tamils looked at the fighting like it was a video game) that extremism is threw the roof and spreads like wildfire (usually the case with most expatriate communities from China/South Asia/ME, they are furiously more “patriotic” than those in China/South Asia).

PaxCanadiana said...


Thanks for the link. I intend to blog about it.


Thanks for the updates. By caving in they only encourage more of that kind of behaviour. Canada is an example.

The 1,600 priority visas are no surprise to me. These are family reunification visas. In other words they are allegedly sponsored by a family relative already in Canada. This is part and parcel of the immigration scam the Tamils successfully pulled in my country. It wasn't about seeking refuge. It was about immigrating to Canada and bringing the family with them by painting Sri Lanka's Sinhalese as evil as they can to concoct a persecution story. Sri Lanka has enjoyed a spot on two to Canada's top ten list: refugees and family reunification. That there tells me Canada was being scammed.

What will be interesting to see is if Canada is still accepting refugees from Sri Lanka after the December 18, 2009 date and if Canada is then how many.

I don't know anything about "vote for eelam" in Canada. I assume they mean strategic voting in which case voting for the political party they can influence the most on behalf of Sri Lanka's Tamils. This would be the Liberal party of Canada.

The Tamils here have some voter clout like other immigrant groups do who have clustered in and around Toronto in considerable numbers. They have mostly settled in Toronto's east end and due to the size of their community it is estimated they can swing the vote in some 6 federal ridings. It may be less or more, I am not sure but a significant number anyways.

This is why under Liberal party rule Canada was the only western nation not to list the LTTE as a terrorist organization. The Liberal party did not want to lose Tamil block votes. It took a Conservative government to do this. It was also under a Liberal party rule when most of the Tamils came as refugees. Also, under Liberal party rule LTTE fund raisers had almost free reign to raise money to fund the war in Sri Lanka. They also have a delegation they sent to the Liberal party leadership convention shopping their block votes around to any party leader candidate willing to remove the LTTE as a terrorist organization.

This is why the government in Colombo has no patience for members of Canada's Liberal party and why one Liberal party member was denied entry into Sri Lanka.