Canada is considered a multicultural society. Essentially, multiculturalism existswhen people from different ethnicgroups and backgrounds live and work in harmony. Multiculturalism enables citizens to better understand each other, fosteringcohesiveness in the process. Justin Trudeau, theCanadian Prime Minister and leader of the country’s Liberal Party acknowledges the uniqueness of Canada’s diversity as the focal strength in the country’s development agenda. Today, Canadians of different backgrounds live in harmony with one another. However, diversity has also been known tonurtureconflict and the socially motivated grouping, showingdeep flaws in the Prime Minister’s narrative.
The Nature of Diversity in Canada
Canada has always been home to people of different cultures and backgrounds. More specifically, the country’s immigration policies continue to welcome individualsthat flee persecution, political instability, and poverty. Additionally, Canada is home to a large number of international students. According to Statistics Canada(1), 21.9% of the country’s population are immigrants or permanent residents. Compared to an all-time high of 22.3% in 1921, this evidence shows that the country’s leaders continue to foster the concepts of open immigration and nationalization. In the six years after 2011, a total of 1,212,075 new immigrants settled in Canada under the economic, family class, and refugee policies (Statistics Canada 1). The acceptance of Canada as a multicultural society goes back to the year 1971 under the leadership of the Liberal Party (Bukhari 1). Under Pierre Trudeau, the government began recognizing Canadians of all religions, races, ethnicities, and languages. Today, Canada is home to a majority of immigrants from Asian and African countries.
As the leader of the Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau is a campaigner of strength in diversity. According to him, Canada is a stronger and more successful state because of its lenience towardsopen immigration and diversity (Prime Minister of Canada 1). More specifically, the prime minister asserts that cultural, political, and economicgrowth can directly be attributed to the historical diversity of the country’s population. Traditionally, the Liberal Party has been a champion of a wide range of governance issues such as multiculturalism, a centralized form of government, global free trade, a strong Canadian state, gun control, samesex marriages, and international diplomacy. In his capacity as party leader, hence, Trudeau continues to develop and sustain the party’s views regarding the need for a cohesive multicultural state. However, recent evidence shows that diversity can be a source of conflict and disintegration.
The Reality of a Fragmented Canada
Most immigrants chose Canada owing to its democratic and economically progressive nature. Canadians are generally considered as welcoming. Additionally, the country’s institutions possess an open and democratic style of leadership. However, Canada is a fragmented society. People generally identify themselves within social groups as opposed to seeing themselves as part of the same nation. In terms of ethnic fragmentation, Canada is second only to Sub-Saharan African countries and some Latin American counties (Mintz 1). This means that the presence of a wide range of social groups presents an ideal atmosphere for social strife and irregular voting patterns.
Historically, Canada is home to two major groups in respect to the languages spoken: the English-speaking and the French-speaking fragments of the population. Fragmentation affects voting patterns. For example, poor communities could sometimes vote for campaigners of regressive economic reforms as long as they can socially recognizethemselves with a given political candidate. In essence, these voting patterns go against the concept of democracy. The negative effects of fragmentation can also be studied by incorporating the social-identity theory. According to Mintz (1), fragmented societies generally possess slower per capita GDP growth and lower-quality public institutions. This facts goes against Trudeau’s opinion that diversity is key to Canada’s growth as a country. Instead, studies indicate that diversity is regressive and is a fundamental course of slower economic and social development.
Canada’sMinimal Immigrant Absorptive Capacity
Although immigrants continue to enter Canada from numerous countries around the world, evidence shows that the country’s immigrant absorption is failing. An in-house government reports points out that immigrants continue to struggle with housing, finding work, access to quality health care and education (Murray 1). Additionally, immigrants were found to be more unsettled by current religious and ethnic tensions in the country. These factors have led to immigrants preferring to settle in neighborhoods and cities that they can ethnically and racially associate themselves with. Essentially, public institutions in Canada accommodate entrants based on their opinions regarding key social issues such as forced marriages and domestic violence issues. As a result, immigrants are finding it hard to travel across the country. Moreover, more language barriers are coming up, presenting learning institutions with potential learning and teaching obstacles.
The Case for a Diverse Canadian Society
Regardless of the facts that fragmentation and the lack of a convincing immigrant absorption capacity continue to affect the country negatively, the Liberal party’s push towards a more diverse Canada has reaped a number of benefits. More specifically, large corporates continue to profit from the presence of a diverse workforce (Momani, et al.3).Investing in diverse workforces has directly led to substantial increases in company profits within the transportation, information, and warehousing industries. In 14 Canadian industries, a 1% increase in ethno cultural diversity has been shown to carry subsequent 2.4% and 0.5% growths in revenue numbers and productivity, respectively. In the workplaces, diversity is directly attributed to upturns in the number of innovative and creative ideas. Owing to the presence of diverse experiences that these individuals have gone through in their past years, there is an added advantage when these ideas and concepts are integrated within the Canadian economic system. Thus, ethno cultural workplaces ensure that decision making processes are simplified, that businesses are able to enter new markets, and that more client’s needs are met. In relation to Trudeau’s vision of an economically progressive and inclusive Canada, the benefits that diversity affords the corporate industry can be seen to have direct impacts on the Liberal Party’s global free trade and diplomatic agendas. These ideas have been shown to breed economic growth and progress. Therefore, the Prime Minister’s focus on enabling diversity and inclusion can also be seen as based on tangible and applicable evidence.
The Canadian political scene is home to a number of political parties. Nevertheless, the Liberal Party is considered one of the oldest and most influential political bodies. In the bid to drive their agenda, the party’s leadership mainly focus on pushing reforms towards a more inclusive, accommodative, and multicultural Canada. However, as much as diversity has had tangible positive effects within the country’s corporate structure, the effects of a fragmented society and the presence of a marginal immigrant absorptive capacity have dented the party’s diversification agenda. Immigrants continue to struggle with access to public services while more and more social divisions continue to manifest. In order to achieve the party’s vision of a harmonious society driven by its unique diversity, the party’s leadership ought to ensure that the country’s public institutions become more accommodative to the country’s immigrants. Additionally, Trudeau and his fellow party leaders should strive to focus on key societal issues by focusing more on facts rather than continuing to develop their party’s agenda based on theoretical and traditional perspectives.
- Bukhari, Iman. “A Multicultural Canada.” Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation, 20 Oct. 2015, www.canadianculturalmosaicfoundation.com/blog/a-multicultural-canada.
- Mintz, Jack M. “Jack Mintz: Actually, Evidence Shows ‘diversity? Makes Countries Weaker? Not Stronger.” Financial Post, 29 Aug. 2018, business.financialpost.com/opinion/jack-mintz-actually-evidence-shows-diversity-makes-countries-weaker-not-stronger.
- Momani, Bessma, et al. “Why the Benefits of Diversity Are Not Theoretical.” Policy Options, 24 Apr. 2017, policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/april-2017/why-the-benefits-of-diversity-are-not-theoretical/.
- Murray, Tim. “Justin Trudeau Isn’t Correct That Diversity Is Canada’s Strength – Eurocanadian.org.” Eurocanadian.org – Promoting Canada’s European Character, 11 Oct. 2017, eurocanadian.org/2017/10/justin-trudeau-isnt-correct-that-diversity-is-canadas-strength/.
- Prime Minister of Canada. “‘Diversity is Canada’s Strength?” Prime Minister of Canada, Government of Canada, 25 Sept. 2017, pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2015/11/26/diversity-canadas-strength.
- Statistics Canada. “The Daily — Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity: Key Results from the 2016 Census.” 25 Oct. 2017, www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/171025/dq171025b-eng.htm.