About Multiculturalism

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Multiculturalism is described as the idea of appreciating all cultural, religious, and racial backgrounds equally, as well as their legal acknowledgment and allocation. The arrival of British explorers in the 18th century, followed by the gold rush in the 19th century, and later settlements in the west all contributed considerably to Canada becoming one of the most immigrant-receiving societies in the world. The official languages of Canada act, which recognized French and English as the other official languages of Canada, had a significant influence on the multicultural act. The decision was made due to an increase in the number of native English and French speakers. The two groups dominated Canada till the late 1960s when other groups of people started to pour into Canada. The new groups of immigrants comprised of Lebanese, Italians, Portuguese, Latinos, Middle Easterners and Asians. A vast majority of the immigrants ended up settling in the urban areas like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal (Kymlicka, 1998).  As the minority groups established themselves, they started demanding their rights to be free from the bondage of Canadians and the French.

All societies in the world can be said to be multicultural in the sense that they comprise of two or more groups that are different on religious, ethnic or racial grounds thereby allowing the coexistence of many traditions and value systems. However, not all countries qualify to be classified as multiculturalist societies: in order to be considered an authentic society, they should exhibit neutral attitudes about cultural diversity. In addition, there exists broad public support that is dedicated towards the maintaining cultural identity and practices, and most importantly, capability to remove any social inequalities that may be associated with cultural backgrounds. Kymlicka further expands on the issue of multicultural citizenship based on the former lines of argument that was based on liberalism, community, and culture. Kymlicka appeals to the support of liberal values of equality and autonomy to defend cultural minority groups’ special rights.

Cultural diversity caused by relocation and the position of immigrants did not get much consideration in the national social strategy until the mid-1970's. Some initiative activities had at that point been completed earlier. In the mid-1980's, a particular commission (CCM) was set up to fortify and enhance the social and cultural expressions of minority groups. At the same time, the commission created an action plan that primarily concentrated on cultural groups and their way of life, and the opportunity of minorities to find and resurrect their cultural foundation.

The multiculturalism policy has elicited diverse opinions from the politicians, academics, and critiques.  The major concerns raised were based on the future and sustainability of multiculturalism. The current international contexts have increased assault and retreated from the multiculturalist ideology. The multiculturalism practices now may not be the same type of multiculturalism that was envisioned by Trudeau at the time of enactment.  In my personal opinion, multiculturalism is an essential act taking into consideration the state of immigrants and the need for equal recognition and treatment (Jamil, 2014).

Kymlicka’s Theory of Minority Rights

 Kymlicka depicts his hypothesis as though it was "most importantly about growing new models of citizenship that is democratic...to replace former versions of undemocratic and uncivil relations of exclusion and hierarchy" (p. 8), while in fact the hypothesis has never been about the past yet constantly about what's to come (Kymlicka, 2013). 

Kymlicka's "theory of minority rights" has scarcely been about rights for minority groups’ dialects, indigenous groups’ self-government, or even about the equivalent treatment of "settled" immigrant worker minorities. He realizes that "in most Western nations, express state-supported victimization ethnic, racial, or religious minorities had to a great extent stopped by the 1970s" (p. 6). He likewise understands that between the 1970s and 1990s, Western countries were at that point legislating, an assortment of policies and laws intended to provide social self-assurance and territorial rights to minority groups, for example, the Basques, Quebecois, Welsh, Catalans, and Aboriginals. 

Surely, a theory is "deliberately transformative" in calling for Western countries to accept extensive immigrations and sanction policies intended to make the integration of numerous races into Western countries "productive." The approach parts of Kymlicka's theory are about "community integration" measures, not for minorities and immigrants that settled a long time ago but rather for masses of new immigrant predicted as the group that will drastically reproduce the age-old White characters. The policies he proposes are tied in with giving help and broad dialect preparing programs for approaching immigrants, urging the media needs to consider the expanding social diversified program varieties that accompany expanding migration, offering stipends to ethnic groups and governmental policy regarding minorities in society, and, in addition, a citizenship tests to show learning of multicultural liberal esteems. 

Kymlicka argues that "a wide variety of people have an extremely solid cling to their cultural way of life," and that multiculturalism is closely connected with managing newcomers with rights to encourage their integration into Western culture through such strategies as confirmed enlisting and financing of ethnic gatherings. Kymlicka portrays the greater part of European and Canadian culture in vilifying terms, never considers the substantial connections they may have to the modern Canada. However, he sees this larger role of culture as a general setting for the certification of individual rights by people over the world, and as a multicultural place for the assertion of unique gathering rights for settlers and native regional rights. 

There can be no doubt that a couple of decades ago racialist philosophies were widespread in Western world that influenced citizenship issues, laws, cultural movements and created difficulties for certain races, especially for immigrants from the Third World. All things considered I do concur that a nation can't be said to be liberal and equitable if some races have privileges of citizenship over others. Similarly, a nation can't be said to be acting as indicated by liberal standards on the off chance that it underwrites the oppression of "second rate races" and blocks diverse societies and countries from getting a charge out of the flexibility of national self-assurance. If multiculturalism somehow benefited the prohibition of laws that treat people unequally and the dismissal of colonization, it would be steady with radicalism.

Multiculturalism Alternatives

The increasing of international immigration has led to the conversion of Canada into a heterogeneous society, what places even a greater challenge to the cultural policy development and national self-understanding. Canada’s cities have grown to become super diverse entities that give support to multiple languages, religions and various ethnic identities and backgrounds. Global immigrants have also constrained nations to create policies to address the issues of immigrants as they endeavored to settle and incorporate. In the meantime, the topic of their social and cultural rights must be attended to. One fundamental approach has been the needs for assimilation into the host society. However, assimilation can be viewed as an uneven procedure of adjustment in which immigrants have to surrender their particular cultural and social qualities and wind up plainly vague from the majority's share populace. The symbolic instance of assimilationist approach towards immigrant and furthermore towards conventional minorities has for quite some time been in Canada which formally recognized the presence of chronicled minority dialects. 

Another model that can be outlined by Canada is where migrants without Canadian plummet had scarcely any political rights or the likelihood to be recognized as Canadian nationals. In such immigrant case, the social and monetary privileges of outsiders were practically the same as those of the residents. The maintaining of culture, dialect, and the ethnic character was viewed emphatically as an advantage for individuals who were later expected to go back to their nations of the source.

Cultural Policy and Cultural Diversity in Canada

Before the enacting of the multicultural act, Canada was a white supremacy country. However, several massive waves of immigration stimulated the diversification of languages and cultures. A vast majority of the immigrants were Chinese, Europeans, Philippians, Eastern Indians etc. In the mid-1900s, the policies towards immigrant ethnic groups started changing significantly with increased concerns about equal treatment and a shift in the views that related to how the ethnic groups were being treated (Pal, 1993).

The lasting outcomes of migration to Canadian society were perceived in the late 1970's. Against the division of society into generally isolated ideological groups, Canadian multiculturalism began to develop from that particular point. Such approach emphasized the full and equal representation of the interest of individuals from minority groups in the society and the concurrent right to keep up their own ethnic as well as social identities. 

Domestic and International Support and Influence

Despite the increased criticism of multiculturalism in the recent years, the international community still approves such processes, and the significance of this accomplishment as one of the key factors that distinguish the Canadian identity elements. Ambrose and Cas Mudde carried out an empirical survey which proved that a vast majority of the Canadian population opt for a society that is more accepting to immigrants and other native cultures. Most of the Canadians agree with the statement that the immigrants have contributed to their country’s economic development and basically helped make it a better place to live. Canada was also reported to have quite a low level of job competition among the immigrant population and in public resources (Fleras & Elliott, 2002). 

  Unique multiculturalism policy of Canada is primarily based on a selective combination of comprehensive integration, selective immigration and low rates of dissenting of these policies. The mentioned combinations of policies have led to drastic reduce of the opposition to the multiculturalism. Canadian supporters of multiculturalism have raised public awareness on the matter through propagating the idea of foreigners’ input into social, financial and political development of the country. Supporters proclaim that multiculturalism approaches help in uniting foreigners and minorities in the nation and pushes them towards being a piece of the Canadian culture in general. In addition, they contend that social valuation of ethnic and religious assorted qualities elevates a more prominent eagerness to endure political contrasts.

The adoption of the multiculturalism policy was due to a series of historical events that contributed to its enactment both directly and indirectly.


There has been acknowledgment for a few types of assorted ethnic qualities in Canada. Canada has the 'two establishing countries' and its unique people groups. From the mid twentieth century, migrants originated from numerous nations and districts, for the most part from Europe. Notwithstanding, such populace difference was frequently connected with the unjust treatment of a certain groups, and English mastery described a significant proportion of the financial, political and social arrangement of Canada from 1800-1950s, with huge changes just over the most recent couple of decades (Siemiatycki, 2011).


In the 1960s, there happened a rediscovery of disparity, destitution, and local contrasts. Various sociologists and associations endeavored to archive the information and recognize what the key issues related to Canadian culture. The examinations drove the Canadians to scrutinize the social structure of Canadian culture. Despite the fact that there were no progressive changes in Canadian social structure, a large number of the issues of disparity started to be tended to – Canada Pension Plan, Medicare, unemployment protection, and other social welfare programs were set up (History of multi-culturalism in Canada, 2004). 

End of Anglo-Congruity

The diminishing notoriety of the Anglo similarity or the predominance of British prompted the requirement for a multicultural approach. The fall of British imperialism was stimulated due to strong influence of the other ethnic groups in Canada.

Inactive resilience is not a concept many individuals are familiar with. However, "latent resilience" is one of the most discussed terms among academic and scientific researches. The thought is mainly living in a zone of different high qualities interactions with a person, making one more tolerant of ethnic differences (Kinnvall, & Nesbitt-Larking, 2010).  Each of the common and usual daily collaborations between various ethnic gatherings on a normal British city road, the corner shop, between the conveyance driver, the postman, kids on the playground can be a perfect example. Such routine situations can create uninvolved resistance. One doesn't need to be a subject of the association oneself: simply seeing is sufficient to have a critical effect – practically identical to the impact passive smoking has on person’s well-being.


The multiculturalism concepts plat a significant role for the Canadian society since Canada was the first nation to establish policies on multiculturalism in 1971. The primary focus of these policies was to help different groups to maintain their language, heritage and culture thereby overcoming barriers as they integrated into the Canadian society. The policies developed by Canada have endured and enjoyed recognition on international levels as the pioneers who affected multiculturalism. Multiculturalism was intended to ensure that all people kept their identities, increased a sense of belonging and allowed the people to maintain connections with their ancestry and traditions (Légaré, 1995).

However, the changes have resulted into different opinions, supporting and opposing the Canadian Multicultural Act. In the first place, the idea multiculturalism primarily declares that ethnic gatherings are capable of holding onto cultural heritage and improve it. Although, critics of the multiculturalism contend that the ideology can provoke bad consequences. In their opinion, for a country to be steady, common personality aspects and purposes of attachment group points are necessary. Natives need to consider themselves to be just Canadian and, in doing so, discover aligned states of mind and bonds among each other. Multiculturalism makes disruptiveness as long as it enables nationals to stay inside their ethnic, social gatherings. In that capacity, nationals will see themselves not as Canadians, but rather as Ukrainian, Eastern Indian, French, English or Chinese. Supporters of multiculturalism frequently express that the multiculturalism approach has positive as opposed to negative impacts. The main point of concern in this case is the thought that allowing measure up to regard to all ethnic groups will prompt lower levels of ethnic and racial pressure (Sharma, 2014). Besides, there’s the idea, which the very routine with regards to multiculturalism itself will make national personality and connections to the Canadian country state. The Canadian national character is settled in the possibility that natives can hold their social legacy as opposed to converted into a solitary culture. Further, the possibility that every ethnic gathering will esteem their participation in the Canadian country state given this reality. As a conclusion, the advantages of the multicultural demonstration exceed the disadvantages.


Elliott, J. L. (1992). Multiculturalism in Canada: The Challenge of Diversity. Scarborough, Ont.: Nelson Canada.

Fleras, A., & Elliott, J. L. (2002). Engaging Diversity: Multiculturalism in Canada. Nelson Thomson Learning.

Jamil, U. (2014). National minority and racialized minorities: The case of Pakistanis in Quebec. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 37(13), 2322-2339.

Kallis, A. (2015). Islamophobia in Europe: The radical right and the mainstream. Insight Turkey, 17(4), 27.

Kinnvall, C., & Nesbitt-Larking, P. (2010). The political psychology of (de) securitization: Place-making strategies in Denmark, Sweden, and Canada. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 28(6), 1051-1070.

Kymlicka, W. (1998). Finding our way: Rethinking ethnocultural relations in Canada (Vol. 19, p. 20). Toronto: Oxford University Press.

Kymlicka, W. (2013). Multicultural Odysseys: Navigating the New International Politics of Diversity. Oxford University Press.

Légaré, E. I. (1995). Canadian multiculturalism and aboriginal people: Negotiating a place in the nation. Identities Global Studies in Culture and Power, 1(4), 347-366.

Pal, L. A. (1993). Interests of State: The Politics of Language, Multiculturalism, and Feminism in Canada. McGill-Queen's Press-MQUP.

Sharma, S. (2014). The conflict and challenge of integrating the" others" in Europe. European Research Studies, 17(4), 67.

Siemiatycki, M. (2011). Governing immigrant city: Immigrant political representation in Toronto. American Behavioral Scientist, 55(9), 1214-1234.

May 02, 2023

Culture Sociology

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