Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment
- Elgar original reference
Edited by Alain Klarsfeld
1 Rana Haq and Eddy S.W. Ng Introduction Canada is and has been a diverse nation composed of a wide variety of different peoples. Beginning with the 50 distinct aboriginal nations which were the original inhabitants of the country, and adding the French, the English, other European groups, Black Loyalists in 1776 and 1812, and the Chinese in 1858, Canada was a racially and ethnically diverse society even by Confederation in 1867. (McDonald, 1990, p. 2) Immigration and multiculturalism have been the backbone of Canada’s approach to nation-building, with the former being a source of Canada’s ethnic, religious and racial diversity, and the latter representing the Canadian ideological construct for accommodating diversity (Breton, 1986). These realities have remained unchanged over time, but what is changing are the attitudes and policies governing how the diverse groups of individuals are treated within the social, economic and legal systems in Canada. Socially, Canada has often been referred to as a ‘mosaic’, reflecting the reality that Canada is a nation of immigrants and encourages immigrants to maintain their distinctiveness as Canadians. The mosaic metaphor, first used in 1922 by an American writer, Victoria Hayward, continues to be very popular today for describing the multicultural nature of the Canadian society. The term ‘mosaic’ refers to the overall image formed when unique pieces of tile are aligned in a unified and coherent pattern, presenting an overall picture of unity and coherence (Fleras and Elliott, 1996). The mosaic metaphor is in contrast to the ‘melting pot’ image...
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