Multiculturalism In Canada

1070 Words5 Pages
Canada is a nation that prides itself on being open and tolerant to racial and ethnic diversity. According to the Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988, the government recognizes that “multiculturalism is a fundamental characteristic of the Canadian heritage and identity”. In a country where 20% of the population is foreign born, these words are a powerful emblem of national unity; the official position of the Canadian government is that different races and cultures are an asset to Canadian society, not a liability. However, the history of Canadian immigration policy and racial ideology remains preserved in sharp contrast to this modern ideal of acceptance. Differences in race and culture were perceived as a threat to society, most notably in British Columbia, which was especially vulnerable to Asian immigration. Anti-Asian sentiment expanded throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, eventually erupting into a series of violent incidents that would be known as the Vancouver Race Riots of 1907. These riots are difficult to reconcile with contemporary Canadian values, and are often understood as a terribly unjust but brief incident that was caused by an isolated group of racist British Columbians. In reality, the riots were the physical manifestation of decades of racial prejudice that permeated Canadian society and the federal government. This brief moment would have powerful and lasting effects on Canadian history as it spurred the government into pursuing
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