Monday, 16 March 2015

Immigrants Must Integrate Into Canadian Society

The last post I wrote was about multiculturalism and how it is out of control in Canada because a lot of people think it means that we must tolerate all cultural practices regardless of whether or not they run counter to our democratic values.  I warned that in the future, proponents of multiculturalism may use the ideology as an excuse to tolerate uncivilized practices like polygamy and female genital mutilation.  But there's something else for which multiculturalism has become an excuse: the failure of newcomers to integrate into Canadian society.

Back in the 1990s, I used to work on a construction site in Markham, a suburb of Toronto.  One day, I went along with a handyman to do a service call in one of the new houses that had been built on the site.  The occupant that met us there was a young Chinese man.  I remember I had some issues communicating with him because he said he spoke very poor English.  Now of course, when someone is new to the country, like many of the folks living in the new houses on my site were, he or she cannot be expected to speak fluent English right away.  The problem was that this particular person was not new to the country.  In fact, he had lived here for ten years.  TEN YEARS!  Can someone please tell me why someone who has lived in Canada for ten years can barely speak English?  There could be a legitimate explanation.  Maybe the person had a learning disability or something like that.  I don't know about this particular person, but I mention him as an example because I hear all too often about people living in Canada for years and not making a concerted effort to learn our official languages.  And what upsets me more is that there are people out there that will use multiculturalism as an excuse to apologize for these people and imply that they don't need to learn Canada's official languages because Canada is a multicultural country.  In fact, if you complain about people not being able to speak one of our official languages, you will likely be labelled by multicultists as a racist.

I'm sorry, but insisting that newcomers to this country learn our official languages does not make me or anyone else a racist.  In fact, I don't know any country on Earth in which a person coming to live there would not be expected to learn the local language.  So unless an immigrant to this country has a learning disability or some other legitimate impediment to learning Canada's official languages, he or she has no excuse not to learn them.  But of course, integration is not just about learning the local language.

Being part of a society also means accepting society's values.  In Canada, we value principles like democracy, gender equality, and the rule of law, so it is important that newcomers to this country be prepared to accept and uphold such principles.  The problem is that many immigrants to Canada come from places that do not espouse Canada's values.  This doesn't mean, of course, that they will automatically reject our values.  Some will and some will not.  For those newcomers who do respect and uphold our values, we should welcome them with open arms.  But as for those who refuse to accept and abide by our values, they should immediately be shown the door and multiculturalism be damned.    

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