Today we travel to Canada. Canada's culture is a product of its ethnicities, languages, religions, political and legal system(s). Being a settler nation, Canada has been shaped by waves of migration that have combined to form a unique blend of art, cuisine, literature, humor and music. Today, Canada has a diverse makeup of nationalities and constitutional protection for policies that promote multiculturalism rather than cultural assimilation.
In 1971, Canada was the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy to protect and promote diversity, recognize the rights of Aboriginal peoples, and support the use of Canada’s two official languages.
Multiculturalism is used to refer to a society that is characterized by ethnic or cultural heterogeneity; to refer to an ideal of equality and mutual respect among population’s ethnic or cultural group’s; and to refer to policies implemented by the federal government in 1971 and subsequently by a number of provinces.
The declaration of Canada as a bilingual and multicultural nation resulted in an explosion of multicultural research. Publications and literature were developed, many national research surveys were launched, ethnicity identity research escalated, and organizations were established to support diversity. Multiculturalism was celebrated as a new vision of Canadian identity, which would foster a global understanding of all ethnic communities.
Despite the official policies, segments of the Canadian population are critical of the concept(s) of a cultural mosaic and implementation(s) of multiculturalism legislation. Quebec's ideology differs from that of the other provinces in that its official policies focus on interculturalism, which involves moving beyond mere passive acceptance of a multicultural fact of multiple cultures effectively existing in a society and instead promotes dialogue and interaction between cultures.
Leonard Cohen, the legendary Canadian Singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist, is an example of this country shaped by waves of immigrants. Born in an English-speaking area of Montreal, Quebec, of a Lithuanian Jewish decent mother, and of a Polish decent father, here a beautiful song of his, So long, Marianne,
Enjoy the song and the weekend!
- Alba Serrano-Miro