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Canadian Identities in Their Diversity

Introduction

Canada is geographically located to the south of the United States and it borders America’s Alaska province in the North-West. According to the Commonwealth (n.d.), Canada is the second largest nation in the world, closely located to the Arctic, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. It contains diverse geographical features, including highland plateaus, lowlands, mountain ranges, prairies, plains, and deep lakes and rivers (The Commonwealth, n.d.). The country also has numerous islands in the arctic region, making it an incredible tourist attraction site. From a social perspective, Canada’s public opinion has recently focused on language learning and acquisition. The emphasis is directly linked to the current attempt to find a social identity to encompass all groups residing in the state. Canada has a complex identity that resulted from its growing process and geographical settlement, and multiculturalism politics may be the only option to accommodate its particularities.

Definitions of Identity

Social identity refers to a group’s membership, providing people with a sense of belonging and describing their appropriate behavior. The groups could be nations, clubs, tribes, schools, or religious organizations that provide members with a sense of who they are and determine how individuals evaluate and define themselves. According to the theory behind social identity, prejudice arises from the discrimination against non-members of a particular group, due to varied goals (Jezak, 2017). The affected group develops lower self-esteem, surrendering authoritative powers to the majority. In social psychology, the subject focuses on specifying the circumstances under which people perceive themselves in a particular group. It also provides the consequences of a community’s behavior and personal opinions. The Canadian government is seeking a civic identity that will accommodate everyone living in the state. Language loss and acquisition have become the country’s major symbols relating to people’s statuses and their responsibilities within the state’s framework.

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The genesis of the Complexity

Immigration is the leading theme in Canadian history, and the past federal immigration policies introduced a civic admission system in the state. The framework was introduced in 1967 and it led to the abolition of racial and ethnic discrimination. Adopting and integrating new members into the host society largely depended on their familiarity with official languages. Canada’s immigration regulations led to an increase in the existence of other languages, apart from English and French. In the early 20th century, close to 90 percent of the state’s population spoke English and French as their primary languages. At the same time, the country saw an increase in the number of European natives speaking Italian, Ukrainian, German, and Dutch. Non-European members have also increased since 1970, for instance, Indo-Pakistani speakers have multiplied from 33000 to 900000 by the 20th century (Jezak, 2017). By 2011, the Canadian population of allophones rose to 20% and more than six million citizens were speaking other languages than French and English. The greater diversity in tribes created the need to introduce language training, especially in the regions dominated by immigrants.

At the same time, community organizations and local administrations coordinated services to enhance language training in certification and curriculum levels. The state introduced the Anglophone-Francophone duality, which eliminated tribal issues related to allophone immigration. A significant matter arose from the policy in multicultural Canada other than the native speakers. Even official statements showed that non-English and non-French speakers were regarded as cultural groups in the state, manifesting language bias.

Detachment of Canada from the US dates back to 1783 when the treaty of Paris was signed. It ended the American Revolution and established a territory between Great Britain and the United States of America. The former maintained its control over Canada and tensions between Britons and Americans increased, culminating later when American sought to establish Canadian territory and outflank their rivals. Great Britain granted Canada self-governance but it retained authority over diplomacy and defense. With time, peace prevailed, allowing immigration and trade to increase. The United States and Great Britain later signed a treaty to demarcate the region between Canada and the United States as the former boasted of its national status.

Immigration: Endless Process and Paradoxes

Paradoxes arise from the difference, divergence, and connection between universal human rights and national citizenships. The paradoxes are understood by relating them with the diverse cultural systems that heralded them. Globalization is seen as the leading paradox, apart from dual citizenship. It can be examined through linguistic inclusivity, which focuses on the human rights revolution, and the creation of language policies. Tribal issues are common in Canada’s debates and sociologists have paid less attention to immigrant affairs. Cultural belonging and nationalism originated from regional demarcation (Jezak, 2017). Canadian immigration paradoxes exclude who and what heralded the foundation of the state, working without significant histories and denying information such as displacement of other people. Citizenship should not focus on territorial belonging, but rather on the ideology of national homogeneity. Additionally, it should not be linked to the powerful reterritorialization yet Canada’s gender and race have guided citizenship themes and people’s social participation. Another progressing paradox is the relationship between accepted citizenship and verification. Proof of belonging is often demanded in the state to access the nation’s benefits.

Immigration is significant economically and socially although it is associated with disparate challenges. Economically, immigration has increased the sources of labor, as most newcomers are more likely to shift to work in the new state. They have also posed economic threats such as population exponential in urban centers, which strains available resources. Socially, globalization, which is evaluated through immigration in this context, has significantly impacted social structures (Jezak, 2017). For instance, newcomers live in improved housing structures and the welcoming nation teaches them their native language; hence, improving cultural diversity. Programs developed to assist minority groups and disadvantaged immigrants contribute to economic development. They also encourage newcomers to maintain their social identity and help them to reestablish their cultural statuses upon returning home. It has increased refugee issues among the guests, especially due to illegal migration.

Guests in Canada are the urban neighborhoods, that pose social threats through poverty and crime. The state laws and demarcation led to their existence following residential segregation, disparities in schools, and political leave-outs. Canadian guests are, therefore, groups of individuals, that the government has created as minorities and established boundaries towards them. They are situated in large urban centers and suburbs, and they commit many crimes due to poverty and lack of access to social benefits like their counterparts.

Multiculturalism Politics: Answers To Identity’s Definition

Canada’s multiculturalism can be understood in different ways, namely prospectively, sociologically, and politically. It is a sociological fact, meaning the state’s people originated from various ethnic and racial backgrounds, as well as a policy formulated to manage diverse initiatives in the federal, territorial, provincial, and municipal domains. Its success lies in all these facets as evident in community support, and anti-racism programs supporting the mandate of Canada’s heritage to establish a diverse, inclusive, and strong society (The Government of Canada, 2020). Multiculturalism initiative has supported communities to eliminate racism and discrimination. As a result, Canada has promoted intercultural and interdenominational understanding to foster equitable opportunities supporting full activism in the state. Moreover, multiculturalism has enabled people to engage and participate in discussions on cultural diversity, religious prejudice, and other forms of inequality at the domestic and international levels (The Government of Canada, 2020). The efforts have strengthened research and proves that promote the understanding of challenges and problems that minority and indigenous groups face.

Furthermore, multiculturalism’s success is underscored by its primary funding components, including events, projects, and community capacity creation. The first notion funds community-focused events, promoting mutual understanding among all cultural groups. It also unites people by supporting heritage months that promote cultural celebrations that the government recognizes (The Government of Canada, 2020). In summary, the event has increased Canada’s social awareness and acknowledgment of issues affecting explicit activism in the economy and communities. It has increased people’s capacity to recognize and attend to discrimination and racism.

The project’s component also supports cultural diversity by funding community developments and equality initiatives, which enable people to interact in various settings. Through this program, Canadians have increased awareness of multiculturalism, and the issue hindering their participation in societal and economic developments. Their capacity to address racism has expanded as well. Lastly, cultural diversity and capacity-building phenomenon have built projects that contribute to citizens’ ability to foster inclusion and support for the minority groups and indigenous citizens. Its visible results include string governance and partnership, which establishes the capacity to organize and promote collaboration among service providers and recipients (The Government of Canada, 2020). It has strengthened social media activism by supporting eligible organizations. The program has recruited and trained volunteers to contribute to communicating multiculturalism.

However, the program has partly failed immigrants as reported by most non-native speakers. It has not fully addressed racial discrimination in employment and other jurisdictions. For instance, selecting candidates for particular jobs require native Canadian credentials, apart from being biased against citizens without Canadian experience. Although multiculturalism promotes diverse civic integration policies, the primary concern is the level of coercion it poses and the failure to distinguish duties and rights. In other states, there are voluntary approaches emphasizing immigrants’ rights to collaborate, while other countries mandate integration, denying them the freedom of accessing social rights and renewing their residency in case they do not meet particular integration thresholds (The Government of Canada, 2020). This notion is illiberal and it cannot suit multiculturalism if it focuses on subjecting immigrants’ rights to duty fulfillment.

Moreover, cultural diversity initiatives have failed because they have not fully defined national identity. For instance, the state prohibits dual citizenship, apart from providing stringent naturalization procedures. Although citizenship seekers pass specific language tests, some states set higher standards forcing citizenship applicants to meet the proficiency level of native speakers (Jezak, 2017). Although the rules seek to promote assimilation, they prevent partly integrated citizens from gaining full membership in the state.

The future concern in multiculturalism is citizenship, which policymakers should critically evaluate. Multicultural citizenship only works at some point, requiring a certain degree of caution when making recommendations and judgments. Various states feel insecure that they do not accord powers to immigrants because they might collaborate with close enemies to invade their regions. Therefore, multiculturalism should securitize ethnic relations to ensure that they do not pose future threats (Jezak, 2017). Native speakers have a moral responsibility to promote multiculturalism without expecting reciprocation from immigrants. Thus, its future should focus on providing a visible means that will help them to manifest their goodwill through economic contribution. In summary, the days to come require liberal democracy, minority rights, and human rights in both domestic and international law.

Conclusion

Canada has a complex identity that resulted from its growing process and geographical settlement, and multiculturalism politics may be the only option to accommodate its particularities. Social identity refers to an individual’s membership defining their behavior. Immigration is the primary cause of multiculturalism in Canada and its accompanying policies have been successful as discussed. However, various social and economic impacts have been experienced, undermining multiculturalism advocacy.

References

Jezak, M. (ed.) (2017). Language is the Key: The Canadian language benchmarks model. University of Ottawa Press.

The Commonwealth. (n.d.). Canada. Web.

The Government of Canada. (2020). Community support, multiculturalism, and anti-racism initiatives program. Web.

 

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