According to Statistics Canada, immigrants make up about 20% of the Canadian population. People from around the world migrate to Canada because they are encouraged to maintain their cultural heritage, while being a part of the Canadian culture as well. Culture is an important part of people’s life, as it influences one’s beliefs, values and basic ways of conducting life.
Many countries expect immigrants to forget about their cultural heritage and to adopt the cultures of that country, a process which is referred to as the “melting pot theory” (Unknown, 2008) however, in Canada, the term “cultural mosaic” (Rasul, 2008) is used to describe Canada’s support of different cultures. Canadian culture consists of various cultures from all over the world coexisting together. Canadian multiculturalism is effective because it overcomes cultural barriers, it introduces intercultural exchange and it also encourages a sense of unity in the country.
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Cultural diversity in Canada is an effective way to overcome cultural differences, because through the exposure of different cultures, people become more tolerant of each other. Multiculturalism is not only spread through the media but more importantly it is practiced in schools and workplaces. Small events such as doing projects on ones native country, or having an organized lunch with traditional foods from various countries, reinforces peoples culture and exposes them to new cultures at the same time.
Canada supports diversity and allows immigrants to not only maintain their own culture, but also allows them to hold a part in the Canadian culture. Multiculturalism encourages a sense of harmony among people and brings people of different races together through cultural events. Multiculturalism introduces intercultural exchange in all aspects of lifestyles, allowing people to come together as a community. It helps with social factors like interracial marriages, a unique creation of cultural music and our exposure to various national foods.
In the past, interracial couples were not welcomed easily, however due to the encouragement of multiculturalism; people of various races are able to marry each other. Also, various aspects of life are heightened with the exposure of different cultures’ through the event of Multiculturalism Day. It is an event held on June 27th and “is an opportunity to celebrate our diversity and our commitment to democracy, equality and mutual respect and to appreciate the contributions of the various multicultural groups and communities to Canadian society. (Stats Can) The equal acceptance of all races brings Canadians together as a whole, giving them a unique culture to embrace. Canada being an ethnic mosaic encourages a sense of unity in the country because people are able to get together as Canadians while expressing their individual culture. In Canada, “Cultural expression is strongest in the areas relating to pride and support of heritage identity. We have been become sophisticated in our understanding that the validation of a person’s identity is important to their well being.
This is reflected in our policy of multiculturalism. “(yigit) Since people are encouraged to maintain their cultural traditions, they feel a sense of pride in themselves, as well as their country. A good grasp of different cultures also strengthens Canada as a whole because it is able to have so many different cultures coexist. Multiculturalism is an effective means of embracing various ideas, beliefs and social norms while at the same time making people more tolerant of each other through the exposure to different cultures.
It overcomes cultural barriers bringing people closer together as a community. More importantly multiculturalism is about equality among all citizens with the right to be able to embrace one’s own culture while being proud Canadians at the same time. Multiculturalism in Canada is working because our schools promote it. Our people embrace it. And it’s what makes our country unique.