The Relationship between Intermarriage and Assimilation: Patterns, Correlates, and Determinants
Canada's official emphasis on multiculturalism has tended to divert attention from the normal problems of acculturation and assimilation that most immigrants must resolve in order to establish themselves successfully in this country. Politically and demographically, Canada has been bilingual and bicultural. Whatever their ethnic or cultural origins, immigrants must come to terms with either one or the other of the two major linguistic and cultural groups that dominate Canadian society.
While it is true that Canada has offered refuge to a number of religious minority groups that have been victims of persecution in the past and has allowed them to continue their unique cultural and religious life styles, this has not been the general expectation for most immigrants coming to Canada. Immigrants most similar to either of the two charter groups have always been encouraged to believe that they would experience the least difficulty in achieving acceptable levels of social and economic integration ( Manpower and Immigration 1974b). Those who were from ethnic or cultural origins other than northern and western Europe were expected to make whatever adjustments might be required to adapt successfully to the new social and economic conditions.
Studies of immigrants and their descendents have produced a considerable body of evidence showing the nature and extent of the considerable adaptations immigrants have in fact made ( Richmond and Kalbach 1980). It is also clear that there are significant variations between ethnic origin groups in their individual members' capacity to become acculturated and economically integrated into Canadian society ( Kalbach and Richard 1985a, 1985b).
The purpose of this chapter is to present an overview of the