Multiculturalism In Canada

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Canadian Multiculturalism, Same as it ever Was? (an essay by Kathleen Hoyos)

Abstract: After the Second World War ended, Canada was no longer mainly composed

of its two dominant ethnocultural groups, French and English, but rather constituted by

polyethnicity; meaning, Canadian culture was made up of many different ethnic groups.

Since then, Canada has actively embraced multiculturalism and on 12 July 1988, the

House of Commons passed Bill C-93, ‘An Act for the preservation and enhancement of

multiculturalism in Canada’. The Canadian multicultural experience has been much

portrayed as a celebration of ethnicity where different cultural groups share their

customs and learn from each other. However, it is recently being rumoured that the

multiculturalism hype is not all it is cut out to be and segregates communities rather

than integrate. According to Canadian authors Keith Banting and Will Kymlicka, “in

much of the world and particularly in Europe, there is a widespread perception that

multiculturalism has failed” (44). In this paper, I examine some recent common issues

of concern, especially, racism and discrimination, through the literary expression of

Canadian playwrights and writers such as George F. Walker, Cecil Foster, and

Mordecai Richler. These writers are not meant to represent any ethnic group as a whole,

but rather try to project a general feeling about the nation in individual ways. I will

finally explore the idea of how perhaps multiculturalism in Canada is evolving into

another state since migratory patterns and the social circumstances that Canada is facing

in the 21st century have changed. Today, the idea of celebrating different ethnicities and

customs is no longer as important as celebrating the transcultural or “transnational”

aspects of relations between individuals and groups of immigrants.

Keywords: multiculturalism, transnationalism, transnational literature

The use of Multiculturalism, as a term, within the Canadian perspective, is best stated

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