Multiculturalism and Intergroup Relations

By James S. Frideres | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

The increased interest of Canadian scholars in ethnic relations is partially a result of the development of state policy over the past two decades. The report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism ( 1967) was followed by the introduction of a multicultural policy in response to the issues and concerns of living in a pluralistic society. The major objective of the 1971 multiculturalism policy was to assist minority Canadians to full participation in Canadian society while at the same time allowing them to retain their distinct way of life (culture). This has been a difficult task, although the multicultural program has recently established a race-relations unit in an attempt to solve problems of prejudice, discrimination, and racism ( Connolly, 1969).

Canada has long prided itself on creating and maintaining its multiethnic composition as well as its "mosaic" approach to dealing with minority ethnic groups. Cultural pluralism (within a bilingual framework) has been the position that the federal government has taken in dealing with ethnic minorities. In order to create a colour-blind society, the point system was used to determine eligibility for entry into Canada. The procedure was to eliminate quotas by national or ethnic grounds. Entry into Canada was to be based upon the potential contribution the immigrant could make to Canadian society, regardless of his or her nationality, religion, race, or ethnicity. In 1971 the government proclaimed its official stand on how to treat ethnic groups by enacting a multicultural policy.

-vii-

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