Ingredients: As many foreigners as you want.
1. Take foreigner(s) and place them in Canada.
2. Let sit for three years.
3. Voilà! Instant "new Canadians!"
Another Canada Day has come and gone and along with fireworks we Canadians were entreated to the showcasing of a citizenship swearing-in ceremony by the nation's media. These ceremonies are perfunctory and attendance is not mandatory. The one's who show up are the one's who feel like it while many others don't bother.
The impression being made is these people are Canadians now as if to imply that saying some words and signing one's name to a piece of paper is all that is required to be considered Canadian. But we know deep down that being Canadian is more than that.
Let's put things in perspective.
Arguably Canada is the easiest nation to immigrate to in the world. You'll have a tougher time immigrating to Mexico or India or China or anywhere else for that matter than you will immigrating to Canada.
The residency requirement for Canadian citizenship is laughably short. One only need to have lived in Canada for 1,095 days over a four year period or for three out of four years. You can break that time up however you wish so long as you have spent 1,095 days over four years in Canada. For others like live-in care givers you just need two years of living in Canada and that will put you on the path to permanent residency and eventual citizenship despite technically being a temporary foreign worker and being bereft of skills this country needs. For investor immigrants all you need to do is invest an insulting $800,000 and you can buy Canadian citizenship for yourself and for your family. When it comes to Canadian citizenship we give it away like toys in McDonald's Happy Meals.
It is argued that by quickly granting citizenship to immigrants - sorry, I mean to say "new Canadians"- it gets them politically engaged and voting. Since elections are typically held once every four years this suggests that to the political parties immigration is just a voter importing mechanism which would explain why none of the nation's political parties are for decreases in immigration levels. On the contrary they always want more immigration since more immigrants means more voters to pander to.
Our expectations for immigrants is low to the point where we don't expect them to assimilate at all yet call them Canadians just the same. It's like the Chinese woman in the linked article above. She lives in the largest of the Chinese colonies in Toronto, speaks Chinese exclusively almost everyday, but still thinks she's Canadian. And to her this is what being Canadian is all about which is to say you are Canadian by not being Canadian. Put another way you can be Canadian by not being Canadian. None of this makes sense of course but it's a paradox allowed by multiculturalism. It can only be rectified by either eliminating the Canadian identity altogether and replacing it with one delineated by the rhetoric of multiculturalism; or by the creation of a vague Canadian identity that is based on the acceptance of something called "Canadian values" which are values not unique to this country but are shared by the western world. In either case nothing uniquely Canadian is created.
With that said are "new Canadians" really Canadians or just foreigners with Canadian citizenship? Are they Canadians or just Canadians on paper? Does staying put for three years in Canada while hiding away in an ethnic enclave - a politically correct euphemism for colony - really make one a Canadian? I don't think so.
Equally important is do "new Canadians" even care? I don't think so either. To them Canadian citizenship is a legal document that grants them entitlements to Canadian society. Canada is just the easier America to get into and unlike the United States we don't have a clearly defined cultural identity so to them there's nothing to assimilate into. Canadians may disagree with them on that but to the "new Canadians" they don't see it. To them Canada is a land of entitlements and benefits, it's a harbour in a storm, it's an ATM machine and a shopping mall and nothing more.
It's too easy to immigrate here and we give away citizenship too readily and this creates those attitudes and sense of entitlement. We need to toughen the immigration laws, citizenship requirements, and be more selective while decreasing intake quotas but that goes without saying.
So as another Canada Day comes and goes and we anticipate the arrival of the next one we should pause and reflect on what kind of country immigration is creating. Canada has been described as a "nation of nations" but I think a nation of colonies is more accurate. If you speak Chinese all day and everyday and live among other Chinese doesn't make you a Canadian. You're a Chinese national living among other Chinese nationals in a Chinese colony on Canadian soil. You're a colonizer, not an immigrant, no matter how long you lived here. Same can be said of Italians, south Asians, or Portuguese and so on. Being a Canadian is a choice expressed by one's acts, loyalties, and emotions and not by what some words on a piece of paper say. You may say you're Canadian but your actions tell us otherwise and on a subconscious level we know the difference. You may say you're Canadian and have all the legal documentation that says so but can you truly say you're a Canuck?