There is a very insightful opinion piece in the Globe and Mail by Catherine Little who is described as “a Toronto-based educator, consultant and writer,” and is, apparently, of Asian (Chinese?) origin. In it Ms Little describes how she learned that being a good Canadian is about leaving many “old country” customs behind and choosing to become Canadian:
- “Growing up, I would often sit quietly and listen to the adult conversations. I remember one particular day when my parents and their guests were discussing some aspect of protocol. I can’t recall what it was that was done differently back home in China, but I do remember the oldest of the group replying, “But we’re in Canada now.” It was a wise acknowledgment that the choice we had made to adopt Canada as our new home necessitated some changes on our part, too. It would be a lost opportunity to live the same life we had left in different location;”
- “From as young as I can remember, I knew I would acquire a university degree despite the fact (or maybe because) neither my mother nor either of my grandmothers had been afforded the opportunity to complete their educations. Although I knew not everyone in the community felt the same way about educating their girls because they would eventually marry out of the family, my parents chose not to abide by this aspect of the culture;” and
- “At one point, when I was still in high school, my mother told me she had received a phone call from the mother of an acquaintance, asking about marriage. When she told me about it, she wondered what I wanted her to tell the family. I had met my potential suitor a handful of times and she thought – incorrectly – that we might have made a connection. She seemed relieved the proposal caught me completely off guard and I told her to reply that I wasn’t interested because I was intent on finishing my education. It was not (and is still not) uncommon for some immigrant families to introduce or arrange potential matches, but I knew the options available to me were much greater because I was Canadian.“
She concludes by saying that “Recently, I have been puzzling over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments during his interview with CTV’s Your Morning co-host Anne-Marie Mediwake. Ms. Mediwake described her family’s journey to Canada and the Prime Minister stated that he sometimes felt “jealous” of immigrants. His reasoning was that immigrants got to choose Canada while those born here were Canadians by default … [because] … I don’t think there is anything to be jealous about. No matter how we came to be Canadian, our role in strengthening this country is dependent on the choices we make everyday. As an immigrant who did not personally choose Canada but has gratefully lived here for more than 90 per cent of my life, my perspective is this: I don’t believe the diversity of the population is our country’s greatest strength. Canada’s greatest strength is the diversity of the choices the population is free to make once we are here. Our future is dependent on enough people making wise ones.“
She is so right!
This, in my opinion, needs to be the cornerstone of the Conservative Party’s immigration, refugees and citizenship policy: we welcome “new Canadians” and we rejoice in the worthwhile additions you will make to our culture, but the onus is on you to adapt to us, not to demand that we adapt to you. You came here by your own choice ~ even if it was because you needed refuge ~ and, therefore, the second choice you must make is to obey all our laws, in letter and spirit, and then you must choose to squeeze many of your own “old country” customs into our (already comfortable) “mosaic,” and to leave some of them, especially the inter-communal hatreds and consequential violent actions, behind.