Canada. Originally advertised as a place of wonder, with tons of space available for those who weren’t fortunate enough to get a piece of land in the United States, targeted towards white European immigrants. If that was the case, what about the other immigrants? Back then, Canada didn’t really care about the other immigrants. What about now? Have we become more accepting, in terms of immigrants and cultures? These are some of the questions related to the main focus of this essay, but the main question still remains.
Will Canada ever achieve multiculturalism? To find an answer, there needs to be more information, as it is a thinking-based opinionated question. What sides can you take when answering? Looking at it from a black-and-white perspective, there are at least two sides. Canada will achieve multiculturalism, or Canada will not achieve multiculturalism. Of course, there could be others.
Some might believe that we have already achieved multiculturalism. Now, this essay is trying to convey the opinion that Canada will achieve multiculturalism. Although there have been cases of discrimination in Canada’s past, the Canadian society are definitely taking steps towards achieving multiculturalism, and we can achieve multiculturalism with time and effort after refining the current systems that make up Canada, along with creating new ones that can help lead Canada in the right direction. To prove this, there will be four subtopics that will be covered in the essay.
The first of these subtopics will be all about the Komagata Maru incident. The second will be the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Reasonable accommodation and the Ontario Human Rights Code will be the third and fourth subtopics, respectively.To begin, the Komagata Maru incident will be discussed.
The Komagata Maru incident will highlight one of the many “cases of discrimination in Canada’s past” that was referred to in the thesis statement. Now, what was the Komagata Maru incident, anyway? It was considered a “dark chapter” of Canada’s past. Essentially, at that time, Canada was only looking for white European immigrants to settle there. They didn’t particularly like the amount of Asians arriving in Canada, so they created laws and barriers to prevent their immigration, or at least make it considerably more difficult for Asians, which is clearly racist.
“As a nation, we should never forget the prejudice suffered by the Sikh community at the hands of the Canadian government of the day,” he said. “We should not and we will not.” (Li, 2016). There is clear proof of the racism present in Canada’s past, with events such as the Komagata Maru incident. However, what can be debated is the progress we’ve made since then.
It is almost certain that if an event such as the Komagata Maru incident occurred now, it would be met with extreme backlash and protest. Canada has come far, with a public apology from two prime ministers (Stephen Harper in 2009, and Justin Trudeau with a formal apology in the House of Commons in ___) for those affected by the Komagata Maru incident. Again, although the Komagata Maru incident is indeed a very discriminatory event, there were many others in Canada’s past.
However, Canada has made progress, and the first indicator of that progress will be shown in the next paragraph.Fast-forwarding in Canadian history, the first spark of multiculturalism is seen, with the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It shows how Canada has achieved progress, as stated in the thesis statement.The Universal Declaration of Human Rights “declares” basic rights that every human should have, regardless of gender, race, etc. The purpose of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is to allow every human to enjoy equal opportunities without discrimination.”As “one of the world’s most profound and far-reaching international agreements,” the Universal Declaration proclaimed the inalienable rights of every human being regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages.
” (UN News Centre, n.d.)As the most translated document in the world, it shows how significant anti-discrimination and basic rights is to every country, including Canada. Not only is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a stand against racism, it also supports multiculturalism, as these rights apply to every human regardless of language or national/social origin. This document was achieved not that long after the Komagata Maru incident, which is definitely a display of progress towards multiculturalism.
In summary, we can see that as time goes on, Canada starts moving towards multiculturalism and abiding by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It’s not much, but again, it’s a step in the right direction.Moving on, there are more examples of Canada’s journey towards multiculturalism as time goes on. For example, this next paragraph is all about the Ontario Human Rights Code. The code battles against discrimination in certain areas, which is a positive change.
The Ontario Human Rights Code basically bans most types of discrimination in Ontario. Ontario was the first province to protect human rights. The code bans discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, and more. It is supported by Ontario’s human rights system, which consists of three agencies, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Ontario Human Rights Commission, and Human Rights Legal Support Centre. These three agencies help resolve issues involving discrimination, and try to protect and advance human rights as a whole, all with the help of the Ontario Human Rights Code.”The code, as it stands now, has a lot of gaps that need to be filled in, and I think the purpose behind this bill is to fill in some of those gaps,” said Halum, who went on to say that the adding of discrimination based on social condition would fill a significant legislative hole.” (Davidson, 2017)As you can see, the Ontario Human Rights Code can definitely be perceived as a positive influence towards multiculturalism.
That being said, the code still has its faults. It was made some time ago, and the times may be changing, which calls for a change in the Ontario Human Rights Code as well. The good thing is, this signifies another step towards multiculturalism, because Canada itself is establishing anti-discrimination, and taking a step further than the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is because the declaration only protected and gave everybody basic rights free of discrimination, whereas the Ontario Human Rights Code takes it a step further by banning discrimination in areas such as finding a job, finding a house, or using services and facilities. Yes, the code is still a work in progress, but Canada is trying to improve.The code is definitely an advancement towards multiculturalism for Canada, but this isn’t where Canada stops changing for the better. The last example being shared in this essay involves a concept called “reasonable accommodation”.
This specific example is quite recent, but nonetheless supportive of minorities and undoubtedly multiculturalism, especially in workplace scenarios.Reasonable accommodation is the idea of accommodating the needs of minorities (as long as it is reasonable, hence the name). It helps minorities and those with religious/physical needs by providing a simple solution that can save them a lot of grief and allow them to work without worry of their special needs. “The region is so cut off from the rest of Canada, and even Quebec, that it calls itself the Kingdom of the Saguenay. Only 0.
7 per cent of the 275,000 residents are immigrants, and the leading source for them is France.” (Peritz, Ingrid, 2007)Although the concept of reasonable accommodation seems very appealing, there are flaws. An example is the “Kingdom of the Saguenay” in Quebec, which is very isolated from the rest of Canada. This shows that, although Canada is trying to achieve multiculturalism, there are still issues with various systems in Canada.
However, with enough polishing, Canada can be well on its way towards achieving multiculturalism.Essentially, reasonable accommodation is able to assist minorities by allowing little changes to be made that may help fulfill religious/cultural/physical needs. An example would be the RCMP allowing Dhion to wear a turban on the job since it did not affect his job.
Although there have been cases of discrimination in Canada’s past, the Canadian society are definitely taking steps towards achieving multiculturalism, and Canada can achieve multiculturalism with time and effort after refining the current systems that make up Canada, along with creating new ones that can help lead Canada in the right direction.Albeit the discrimination present in Canada’s past, it is shown multiple times in this essay of the progress towards multiculturalism Canada’s made, and Canada should be able to achieve multiculturalism after a while of polishing up some of Canada’s laws and systems.Back in the earlier days of Canada, there was discrimination present in events such as the Komagata Maru incident. However, there has been significant progress in the creation of anti-discriminatory documents and laws. One example is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which sets basic rights that every human should have, regardless of ethnicity, culture, religion, etc.
Another example is the Ontario Human Rights Code. This takes it a step further, by putting legal barriers and banning discrimination based on age, religion, ethnicity, etc. Lastly, there is the concept of reasonable accommodation, which helps minorities work without being limited by religious/physical/other needs.In the future, we may see more explosive progress towards the complete disappearance of discrimination.
Technology is advancing quicker and quicker every day, who knows what solutions may be invented? To sum it all up, Canada has the likely outcome of successfully achieving multiculturalism, and the proof is the explosive progress mentioned earlier.