Canadian Specific ®

Canada began as a French and then as an English colony. Multiculturalism was a 1970’s idea that downplays Canadian culture to make everyone feel equal. Right?

Let’s look at the facts:

  • Our First Nations, from the Micmac of New Brunswick to the Haida of BC, represent a cultural spread that is enormous. It’s only outsiders who tend to lump them all together.

  • The discoverer of Newfoundland, Giovanni Cabotti was an Italian who hired himself out to the merchants of an English city. (His descendent, American actor Sebastian Cabot, moved to Vancouver Island to retire.)

  • The British monarchy, which has shaped our development, is a multicultural institution. French, Dutch, Scottish and Germans have sat on the British throne. It’s only outsiders who confuse “English” and “British.”

  • The other powers that colonized Canada were ethnic mixtures too. France was made up of southern Gauls and Northern Franks. Spain was a union of Castile and Aragon. The ideal of a single national cultural is a myth.

  • Our coat of arms contains the symbols if Ireland, Scotland, England and France—the multicultural mix of Confederation. These peoples did not get along well in their homelands and often fought with each other.

  • The railways that brought Canada together geographically also made the country more ethnically diverse. The CPR imported American and Chinese labour the Grant Trunk recruited Irish and other European workers.

  • Names of our towns, most adopted before 1920, show our origins: Surrey (England) and Sorrento (Italy) in BC; Vilna (Poland), Barrhead (Scotland) and New Norway, in Alberta; Esterhazy (Hungary) and Stockholm (Sweden) in Sask.

  • British born John Murray Gibbon, CPR’s Public Relations Director in the 1930’s, saw multiculturalism as one of our great untapped resources. He organized folk festivals in Canadian Pacific Hotels to celebrate this.

Multiculturalism a recent concoction? It’s been with us from the beginning—as Canadian as maple syrup! It’s only our recognition of it that’s come late.

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