Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Diabetes Plus Urban Sprawl.

I hope the contributions of "new Canadians" to our society never cease.

From the Toronto Star:

New immigrants in Toronto’s low-income neighbourhoods are 50 per cent more likely to develop diabetes than long-term residents in areas that are more walking- and cycling-friendly, says a new study. 
For recent newcomers, environment is a crucial factor in accelerating the risk of obesity-related conditions such as diabetes, says the study by St. Michael’s Hospital endocrinologist and researcher Dr. Gillian Booth, published in the Diabetes Journal on Monday. 
Least walkable neighbourhoods are often newly developed areas characterized by urban sprawl and heavy reliance on cars. 
“Adding poverty to the mix, new immigrants in less walkable neighbourhoods have a far higher risk of developing diabetes than those in highly walkable, high-income neighbourhoods,” said Booth, an adjunct scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
In response to the above a reader to the Star had this to say:

Re: Newcomers face higher risk, Sept. 18
The article by Nicholas Keung on the relationship between unhealthy immigrants and the walkability of neighbourhoods is an issue that strikes close to home. I am a daughter of immigrants, and I live in Richmond Hill, near Markham. 
My family chose this neighbourhood for a whole host of reasons, including cultural homogeneity — the surrounding area is dominated by Chinese businesses, restaurants, and similar residents. 
Unfortunately, our neighbourhood has suffered from some of the worst symptoms of urban sprawl: big-box stores in centralized locations, infrequent and undependable public transport, and an astonishing lack of bike lanes. As a result, we are a four-car household, drive nearly everywhere, and I feel our health and community has suffered for it. 
However, things are starting to change, and the original nature of the urban sprawl development does not have to define a neighbourhood for good. 
Markham has advanced its transit system by leaps and bounds with the new upgrades to the VIVA system, upgrades to bus shelters and pedestrian walkways, and the new construction of the Markham downtown. 
But as drivers are swearing all up and down through the construction traffic along Highway 7, only time will tell how a community so entrenched in its car-use will react to these transformations. 
Jennifer Ng, Richmond Hill
How about that!

Chinese nationals move to multicultural Canada so that they can live in a culturally homogeneous Chinese neighbourhood.

From this we can deduce that 1) that immigrants too don't care for the multiculturalism Canada has to offer, 2) Canada has well established Chinese colonies on Canadian soil, 3) Chinese are racists since they prefer to live among their own in a multi-racial society.

If they wanted to stay in a culturally homogeneous Chinese neighbourhood they should have stayed in China.  Since they didn't and immigrated to one of China's colonies in Canada instead it seems to me they're not here to live in Canada but live off of the country.  That being the case their relationship to Canada is not symbiotic but parasitic but isn't that how it is for most immigrants to Canada these days?

Also, what she wrote reinforces what should already be apparent: mass immigration is to blame for the culture-less, ugly, banal, big-box store infested, urban sprawl wastelands surrounding Canada's major cities devastating prime agricultural farmland and destroying Canada's natural heritage in the process.  If immigrants have made any real cultural contributions to Canada it is this.


Anonymous said...

Dear writer;

I'm the author of the letter to the editor. If you'll give me a moment, I'd like to respond to your concerns.

In case it wasn't clear through the letter to the editor, my native tongue is English. I have a conversational handle on French (admittedly it could use some brushing up!), I attend a Canadian university, and have had many different jobs throughout my high school and university career.

Both my immigrant parents also speak excellent English - it wasn't always the case. They came here and made a life for themselves and for us (their children) working hard and contributing to this economy. To point out how incredibly insulting your blog is, I think, might be lost on you. But I don't need to. I can point out, with facts, with logic, and my own pride to live in this country, that we have not only integrated well, but have excelled. We still celebrate our own culture, eat our own food, and invite Canadians to share it with us.

We do not shut the world out. We do not close our doors to our Canadian neighbours, because we know the real spirit of this country is to give everyone a chance, regardless of the colour of their skin, or if they have a funny accent, or if they dress differently.

This is the Canada we have grown to embrace and love - I'm more than happy to proudly say I am Canadian. I don't know if you can say quite the same.

Anonymous said...

I think letter writer needs our help Pax, not criticisms. She clearly can't see her own ethnocentric/Chinese supremacist attitude.

I think she needs to attend a government course for diversity, multi-culturalism and cultural sensitivity.

PaxCanadiana said...

I'm the author of the letter to the editor. If you'll give me a moment, I'd like to respond to your concerns.

Wow! How'd you get here? Did your daily Google search for your name generate this page in the results? I was going to omit your name for privacy reasons but it was printed in the Toronto Star and thus made public so I published it.

That said your post is utter fluff and addresses none of the concerns I raise.

Case in point is the fact your parents decided to move to multiracial, multicultural Canada but decided to settle in a culturally homogeneous Chinese neighbourhood. What does this tell us about their motives and how they (and other immigrants) perceive Canada to be? What does this tell us about the nature of immigration today; about the apparent re-colonization of Canada by immigrant groups; about the importance of race (which is apparently important to your parents since they wanted to live among their own in a "culturally homogeneous neighbourhood" which is a polite way of saying all Asian neighbourhood); about the ethnic ghettoizing of Canada's cities; about social cohesion; about the displacement of the host society by an introduced one and the anxieties and conflicts that arise from it; about these being the apparent failings of multiculturalism and mass immigration run amok.

Your life story and that of your parents tells us nothing. It is another clichéd ridden immigrant story we've read about so many times before in lazily written newspaper puff pieces; my parents immigrated here for a better life, they worked hard, contribute to society, blah, blah, blah. Yawn!

But what if their pursuit of a better life means a worse life for us? The consequences mass immigration brings on the host society is never discussed outside of offering us frivolities like a variety of ethnic food to eat and colourful costumes to look at and ethnic festivals we don't go to.

So what if you and your parents speak English!? It's the lingua franca of Canada (outside Quebec) and the modern world. The language of business, science, film, pop music, art is primarily English. It's in your self-interest to learn it. But there are many immigrants who have lived decades in Canada and can barely speak English or French and the fact that they can do so is a problem with wider social issues.

And what do you mean by "we still celebrate our own culture, eat our own food, and invite Canadians to share it with us?" What is "our culture" and "our own food"? Is it Chinese culture and Chinese food? How is that Canadian? Then you say you invite "Canadians" to embrace your culture and food. Who are these Canadians you're talking about? What's this "our culture" and "our food" your talking about? You talk about "our culture" which I assume is Chinese but you later say you're Canadian. So are you saying you're Chinese? Or are you Canadian? I'm confused.

You then say you "do not close our doors to our Canadian neighbours" but what if all your neigbours are Chinese nationals living on Canadian soil? Are they still your "Canadian" neighbours?

See what I'm getting at? It's a complicated issue focusing primarily on identity where Canadians are not allowed to have one.

It is also an issue of colonization where immigrants are estranging the nation from it's European roots and replacing it with an apparent Asian one. It's one you might embrace but it's one I and many Canadians the nation over don't.

PaxCanadiana said...

I think she needs to attend a government course for diversity, multi-culturalism and cultural sensitivity.

The re-education camps of Trudeaupian Canada.

Anonymous said...

To the author of the letter cited:

You got the response you did on this blog because you made this statement in your letter:

"My family chose this neighbourhood for a whole host of reasons, including cultural homogeneity — the surrounding area is dominated by Chinese businesses, restaurants, and similar residents."

Basically you stated that you prefer cultural homogeneity, meaning other Chinese.

Now, you write to say you have assimilated well. So which is it?

Also, this is a necessary blog, despite your comments. The mainstream papers, politicians, etc. are too fearful to support anything at all suggesting we cut immigration to Canada. Canada had something good going, and it was built up before millions of Asians, Somalis, Jamaicans, etc. started arriving in strength post 1970s. We can absorb and assimilate a certain amount, but not the numbers coming in now; numbers large enough to close off into separate communities.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

I did indeed find it googling my own name (the letter to the editor is a school assignment).

I appreciate you publishing my response in full.

Have a good day.