Multicultural hogwash

TorontoSun.com – comment/columnists – Our immigration plan is flawed, so here’s how to revamp it to serve Canada best
Wednesday, February 9, 2011.   By Gurmukh Singh, Guest Columnist

Why is Canada always referred to only as a multicultural society? Why is there reluctance to call it a multi-ethnic or multiracial society?

There is nothing impolite about the latter description because numerous immigrant groups bring not only their cultures but also race, ethnicity and deeply ingrained religions.

But for those bitten by political correctness, armchair immigration experts in universities and ethnic vote-seeking politicians, “ethnicity” and “race” have become loaded words.

These people have the right to keep their head buried in the sand, but the fact remains Canada is now a multiracial, multi-ethnic society of disparate, segregated communities.

This so-called Canadian multiculturalism may ultimately lead to a crisis similar to the one facing Britain and Germany where Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor Angela Merkel have been honest enough to admit the failure of this policy.

Indeed, visitors to Britain and Germany today can clearly see unassimilated ghettos in major cities stick out like a sore thumb.

True, Canada may not have one large monolithic immigrant group like the 3.5 million Turks in Germany, but it has its multiple monolithic enclaves that are getting bigger by the year with the influx of new entrants.

Honestly, there is now no stopping this ghettoization because compared to these European countries Canada gets a much larger number of immigrants in proportion to its population of just 34 million.

No melting pot

In the long run, there is very little possibility that Canada, with its much smaller population but proportionately higher immigration, will ever become a melting pot like the United States where the English majority subsumed other major immigrant groups — Germans, Irish, Scots and others — into itself (read the mainstream) over a period of time.

Amidst all this, it is ridiculous when politicians describe multiculturalism as a celebration of this country’s diversity. They hop from a Chinese festival to a Pakistani enclave party and call it a celebration of diversity. But has anyone seen one ethnic group join another to celebrate this diversity?

When there is little social and economic interaction among various ethnic enclaves, what is there to celebrate about this so-called multiculturalism? It is pure segregation.

Some people could argue immigrant groups start assimilating into the mainstream only after their second or third generations. Yes, it happened in the case of earlier immigrants who came from the same ethnic and religious stock and got completely cut off from their ancestral lands.

But it has not happened with later immigrants who came from many different races and religions and are today wired 24-hours-a-day to their native lands thanks to the communication revolution. How much interaction do you see between the Chinese and the Indians, though both groups have been here for about a century?

Since Canada can’t do without immigration, the way to address the issue is to rejig immigration policies which have been on autopilot for too long.

It is time to delink immigration from the politics of vote bank and gear it towards creating a knowledge society for the 21st century. Let in more foreign students. They will bring not only badly needed cash for Canadian universities, but also become much better immigrants if they are willing to stay here.

Semi-skilled or unskilled immigrants are needed to run Tim Hortons, Walmarts and cabs, but stop importing people whose culture and way of life is a sure recipe for future conflicts. Overhaul the family-class category to stop its rampant misuse.

Since spousal and parental categories are full of malpractices, prune their numbers and prolong wait times. If a marriage with an imported spouse doesn’t last three years, deport her or him immediately.

Turn off the tap on those who have picked up pensions abroad and now want their children here to sponsor them so Canadian taxpayers pay the bills for their care in old age.

Immigration should be need based. Period.

— Singh is Canada correspondent with Indo-Asian News Service

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