What separates the U.S from Canada? Both the North American neighbours have been dream destinations for immigrants for a variety of reasons. While people choose the U.S for the ‘larger than life’ perception of every aspect of livelihood, Canada presents a serene and calm option for people who wish to settle there. As the world faces one of the biggest refugee crisis in human history, and the emergence of unconventional regimes like the U.S under the presidency of Donald Trump, on the other hand, Canada continues to embrace people from across the world especially Muslims and other minority groups, with their culture, lifestyles and faiths.
While hate mongering and xenophobic tendencies are spreading like an epidemic, Canada has proved to be a safe haven for people from different parts of the world. The country has been able to remain neutral to all its citizens and given them equal rights. Be it Hindus and Sikhs from India, Muslims from Pakistan and the Middle East, Jews from Europe, and many other communities from far off places, everyone feels equal and enjoys rights in the country without being threatened by the “majority community.” In fact, Canada has arguably the most multicultural cabinet of ministers in the world.
With U.S President Donald Trump at the helm of the affairs and banning Muslim immigrants coming to the U.S, Canada offers Muslim people a ray of hope in the country, in the process rendering the American dream achievable in Canada.
In 2016, almost at the height of the global refugee crisis, Canada welcomed 300,000 new immigrants and has the same quota for 2017, although the number of refugees it will take will decrease to 40,000 from 55,800.
So how did Canada establish itself as an open country with open borders for everyone?
Canada, in 1971 under the astute leadership of Pierre Trudeau became the first county in the world to officially adopt multiculturalism as a policy and by doing so reaffirmed to its people that it values the life and dignity of all people regardless of gender, race, or religion. But to say that multiculturalism spreads only through policy would be to say that one can become enlightened like the Buddha by sitting under a tree.
Unlike the U.S and Europe for example which has a conspicuous culture and history, this North American country is aware that culture is a fluid concept, and cannot be forced on people. By maintaining values and laws, Canada has been able to integrate many different languages, food, and cultures, into its periphery of multiculturalism.
Canada’s social inclusive policies have won many hearts, particularly those people who have seen nothing but violence in their native countries. People who are persecuted for being a religious minority in other countries are able to experience equality in social structure security, due to enforcement of laws safeguarding them in Canada. In addition to that, being a multicultural society Canada provides space for people to continue with their traditions and make themselves an integral part of the nation.
For example, even for students under a Student Visa in Canada are offered the opportunity to work in Canada after graduation and are also allowed to apply for permanent residency and eventually Canadian citizenship.
Education and job opportunities
People who immigrate to Canada have access to its excellent education system, which includes several of the world’s best institutions for higher education. There are also great employment opportunities available to eligible skilled foreign workers who move to Canada. Thousands of foreign workers are needed by Canadian companies and firms to fill job vacancies in a range of in-demand occupations.
Although many people have varying reasons for moving to Canada, chief of all is the need and desire of a better life. Whatever, your reasons, Canadian immigration can provide you and your family with wonderful possibilities of a bright future, including the option to become a citizen of Canada.
On the other hand, while Canada does not necessarily aim for homogeneity, its core belief in the value systems has given people room to combine their ethnicity while also being Canadian and believing in equality and justice for all. When new people come to Canada and become Canadians, what is asked of them is to abide by the laws of the land, respect its institutions, and contribute to the betterment of society as a whole. Canadians have often expressed their love for multiculturalism in polls and ranked it even higher than their beloved sport of Hockey.
Laws don’t ban religious expression
A few years ago France was the first country to ban the burqa because according to French constitution, wearing religious symbols in public harms the secular nature of the state. Following the burqa ban in France, several European countries followed suit and banned the Muslim face-veil, including Bulgaria and Switzerland. Canada, however, is a land where people are free to express their religion as they wish, whether that includes wearing the turban or veil.
Canada’s Minister of Immigration is Somali-born
It is to Canada’s credit that the Canadian Immigration Minister is a former Somali refugee and has now been placed to oversee Canada’s federal immigration policies. A figure of hope and everything that Canada represents as a country of acceptance and willing to grant opportunities regardless of origin.
Mr Ahmed Hussen is a Muslim who arrived in Canada as a refugee from Somalia at the age of 16, was sworn in as Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship after a cabinet reshuffle by Justin Trudeau the Canadian Prime Minister.
A symbol and a real manifestation of the openness of the Canadian government, Mr Hussen is one of 20 visible minority MPs elected in the Cabinet, a record in Canadian political history. Upon his appointment, MrHussen is quoted as saying “the story of Canada is the story of immigration, and I’m especially proud and humbled that the Prime Minister would task me with this important role.”
For individuals who want to live, study, or work in Canada filling in a visa application can feel like a full day’s work in itself and can be loaded with pitfalls where one erroneously ticked box can land you in the waiting category as opposed to the acknowledged and accepted one. This lengthy document process could leave you dazed and confused but don’t fret because Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) are there to provide assistance with every step of the way.
A leadership that embraces openness
The current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from 1969-1979 and 1980-1984 and it was he, who on October 8, 1971, said Canada would adopt policies that embrace the diversity of its people and cultures. He introduced multiculturalism as an antithesis to nationalism and also a way to balance the country’s two main languages – English and French. He also said there is no “official Canadian culture” and no ethnic group should assume centre stage.
Since it first adopted multiculturalism, Canada has continued to embrace it tightly. Last year on June 27, 2016, the country celebrated Canadian Multiculturalism Day and the Prime Minister issued the following statement: “As Canadians, we appreciate the immense freedom we have to show pride in our individual identities and ancestries. No matter our religion, where we were born, what colour our skin, or what language we speak, we are equal members of society.”
“Our roots reach out to every corner of the globe. We are from far and wide and speak over 200 languages. Our national fabric is vibrant and varied, woven together by many cultures and heritages, and underlined by a core value of respect. Multiculturalism is our strength, as synonymous with Canada as the Maple Leaf.”
It is important to note that these are not mere words looking to score political points, but the Prime Minister has expressed affinity to all cultures by participating in common life, from dancing the Punjabi bhangra on Indian Independence Day or standing shoulder to shoulder with the Chinese community on Chinese New Years Day.