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The 32 million inhabitants of Canada give a reflection of the diversity within the country. According to the Canadian heritage website (2009), Canada has got a make up of ethnic, cultural and linguistic which is unmatched anywhere on earth. The Canadian heritage website records that an approximate of two hundred thousand immigrants flows to Canada annually. The reason given for the popularity of Canada among the immigrants is, “its quality of life and its reputation as an open, peaceful and caring society that welcome newcomers and values diversity” (Canadian Heritage Para. 1).
The Canadian heritage was set up to foster the growth of diversity in Canada. There is a strong recognition of cultural diversity among the Canadians. This paper looks at the diversity in Canada from a broad perspective. The diversity issue in Canada stands out as a unique feature and the paper makes an effort to bring out that uniqueness. This paper will show the roots of the diversity of Canada experiences and consequently show the impacts cultural diversity has had on the lives of the Canadians.
The SFU (n.d.) argues that the Canadian Diversity is not a recent occurrence but rooted deep in the history of Canada long before it was Canada. The SFU website records that the colonies which were to become Canada and originally inhabited by the Aboriginal people experienced continued waves of immigration. Immigration to the colonies which were to become Canada started as early as the 17th century with the French and British colonization. Throughout the 18th and the 19th centuries there was continued immigration. By the time the United States was being created, the United Empire Loyalists fled to Canada. There were further immigrations to the land from Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. The last six decades has seen many immigrants flowing in to Canada from different countries (SFU Para. 2).
The SFU (n.d.) argues that diversity has been a cornerstone to the development of Canada. This has prompted the institution of a number of policies in support of diversity development. An example is the Quebec Act of 1774. This Act was instituted to recognize the legitimacy of the French language. Roman Catholic Faith and the French Civil law in Quebec. However it should be noted that the Aboriginal people did not enjoy that privilege but all the same it was a big step forward towards encouraging diversity (SFU Para. 3).
In 1971 Canada set a record as the first country to enact an official multiculturalism policy. This was affirmed by the multiculturalism Act in 1988. The Canada government has held various constitution debates and evolution which are centered on the accommodation of diversity within Canada. These debates include the Charlottetown Accord and Meech Lake proposals (SFU Para. 4).
There are a number of programs which are used to foster the growth of diversity in Canada. The department of Citizenship and Immigration (2010) listed a number of such programs which are used to ensure that the country of Canada grows in diversity. The first on the list is multiculturalism. This program is used by the Canadians and the new comers to develop a lasting relationship. This is done by helping communities make contributions to the society by ensuring that their economic status makes it possible for them to do so. The program is based on the Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988 (C.I. Para. 1).
The Community Historical Recognition program (CHRP) assists in the funding of community based projects that have got a keen interest on the ethno-cultural communities which are affected by the historical wartime measures (C.I Para. 3). Grants and Contributions is another program which provides funds purposely for projects which are aimed at facilitating and strengthening social, economical and cultural integration in Canada. The Chinese Head Tax Redress Program is used to enable the young people learn about the cultural diversity of Canada (C.I Para. 1).
‘Racism. Stop it’ is yet another program in form of competition which gives the youth chances of expressing their views on how racism can be stopped. Paul Yuzyk Award for multiculturalism, the Black History Month, Annual Report and Holocaust Task Force are among the many initiatives of the Canadians to strengthen their diversity (C.I Para. 5).