Volume 95, Issue 89

Thursday, March 21, 2002
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The power of immigration

Editorial Cartoon

Editorial Board 2001-2002

The power of immigration

Canada as an immigrant nation has been in the news lately.

A recent poll taken in Canada has shown that 54 per cent of the respondents said Canada needs tighter immigration laws. In a more local twist, the City of London has unveiled its new, yet awkward slogan, "All mixed up" in reference to its cultural diversity.

Canada, according to recent statistics, is experiencing its lowest birth rates their ever. Many say there is a need now more than ever for immigrants to fill the gaps, in order to avoid a sagging national population.

Immigration should be considered one of the most sacred aspects of the Canadian national culture. Canada was made by immigrants, from the first American Indians to the European settlers, right up to the immigrants entering our nation today.

But they aren't the only ones – refugees seeking sanctuary within our borders also remind us that Canada is a great place to live.

Although some may criticize Ottawa's lax refugee policies – saying refugees aren't properly tracked – it's important to emphasize that many of our ancestors were once refugees as well.

These people, who are brave enough to start anew in a foreign land, have contributed immensely to what we know as Canada today.

We are a multicultural nation – it's enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As a nation, we have many people from all over the world living peacefully and doing business together under one flag.

Having this global mosaic in one nation makes for a richer, more vibrant atmosphere. The average citizen can experience the world without leaving Canada's borders simply because no one who arrives on our shores has to give up their mother culture.

Many critics of our nation's immigration policy say this blurs the already vague definition of what is "Canada." They say some immigrants don't subscribe to the term 'Canadian' and are eroding the already fragile Canadian culture.

What these critics fail to see is that Canada is still a young country. Canada has a fragile culture because, as a nation, it is still developing. We need more pieces to complete the puzzle of our identity and the last remaining pieces are only going to come from one place – abroad.

People arrive in our nation, they settle, they learn one (or both) of our languages, their children attend our public schools, they learn our history, they make friends and neighbours – they become a part of Canada.

Canada was built by change. It was built by those who were unsatisfied with their lives at home and came here to start fresh.

If Canada changes – so what? It won't make us poorer. Hopefully, those who criticize immigration will realize that it's what keeps Canada kicking – breathing new cultural life into our country with every family who decides to call it home.

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