News, Opinions and Issues

Reflections From A Canadian Wannabe

Chapter 1

Why Canada is All That and More

Having lived in Europe for nearly twenty years, it was refreshing to attend the  Edmonton Heritage Festival 2018 from 3rd August till 5th August. It was a celebration of multiculturalism at its best. The three-day event was to sample delicious food, see creative performances, and to celebrate Canada’s multiculturalism’ according to the Heritage website.

The event organizers boast you can ‘enjoy the tastes, smells, sights and sounds from 100 countries at 71 pavilions’. The concept of the Heritage itself is mind bugling and perhaps can only happen in a country like Canada.   In 2015, the Chancellor of Germany, “Angela Merkel infamously declared that multiculturalism remains a lie’’ and Multiculturalism leads to parallel societies and therefore remains a ‘life lie’ or a sham.

Canadian Flag/Facebook

The proliferation of right-wing groups led the United Kingdom to a referendum which eventually led to Brexit. In the United Kingdom, it is a view in some circles that ‘prejudice against immigrant communities helped drive the Brexit vote’. In a Guardian op-ed, June Sarpong MBE, a British television broadcaster and currently a panellist on the Sky News Programme The Pledge, wrote: ‘Yet diversity is necessary for the legitimacy of any representative democracy. Over the years we have seen low levels of voter participation and poor engagement among minorities and other overlooked groups. Women, black and minority ethnic communities, young people or those with disabilities – huge swaths of the electorate have felt uninspired to exercise their right to suffrage’.

It would seem then that Canada views multiculturalism differently. The Edmonton Heritage was attended by 345000 people. It is incredible that people are made to feel welcome in Canada. Can there be a land without bias? A people without prejudice?  Your guess is as good as mine.  This idea is what makes Canada the best place in the world for anyone to live in. The United Kingdom is known to be anti-immigration. Students, businessmen and just about anyone who is intimately related to anyone in the Commonwealth would have felt the pinch. At a wedding after party in March this year, black British citizens were heard narrating their ordeal with Immigration even though they have Brit passports. It would seem in 2018, having a British passport does not make you British anymore. Landlords are encouraged to call the Home Office/ Police if they suspect their tenant is an illegal immigrant. Banks and Surgeries are being made to do the same. The air of suspicion around England makes it ‘hostile’ for blacks and ethnic communities. This is what makes Canada such a great place to live. A festival with hundreds of thousands of people attending to celebrate their diversity? The British cultural icon the Nottinghill Carnival is nothing like this.  

The other day my family and I visited the Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park which was established in 1885. We spent a couple of days out there. We could not get enough of the natural beauty and stunning picturesque views. Canada is simply the most beautiful country in the universe. Having lived in Europe, you rarely get moments whilst driving that you feel you must get down to take pictures.  This happened as we drove through the Rockies Mountains. The Rocky Mountains stretch some 3000 miles from British Columbia and Alberta in Canada through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and down to New Mexico in the US. Its a rarity to stop on the motorway to take pictures in England. It wasn’t the writer’s experience.

The second reason why Canada is the best place is that unlike the rest of the first world, where immigrants are tolerated, Canada encourages immigration. With a population of just  36.95 million people. Canada is the world’s second-largest country by total area and the largest North American country. Canada extends from the Pacific to the Atlantic and north to the Arctic Ocean. Canada as a whole has a population density of just 4 people per square kilometres, which makes it the 228th most densely populated country. The population density is among the lowest in the world, mostly because a great deal of the country to the north is virtually uninhabited. Thirdly, Canada is still one of the best places in the world to raise children. For starters, you do not want to go to London where knife crime amongst ethnic minorities has skyrocketed.  In Calgary and Edmonton, the writer found families allowing their children to play in the streets like was done in the eighties in Africa. The writer has cousins who moved to Canada from the US. They insist that ‘Canada is the world’s best-kept secret’. They have had it safe in Canada such that you cannot convince them that the US has anything to offer them any more.

Photocredit: Banff National Park/Facebook

Fourthly, Canada has some of the best universities in the world. The following universities rank in the top 26 universities in the world. They are the University of Toronto, McGill University, University of British Columbia, University of Alberta and McMaster University. The mute point here is that most people are able to go to University here. Not sure what the statistics are of university admissions, but all my extended family have graduate children. They all immigrated to Canada. They all went to University. That is a big deal when you consider that in some parts of the UK, it is hard to keep over 16’s in school.

Finally, if you are looking for space, everything in Canada is just big. My aunt visited us recently from Toronto. She told us her son just bought a house on about two hectares of land. She described her own accommodation as such that her nearest neighbour is more than a stone’s throw. If you need space in your life, consider Canada. The beverage franchise  Tim Horton appears to dominate Canada. The Double Double is a staple here. You really don’t belong here if you don’t try the DD at some point. Also,  there are houses with basements are everywhere. This is what Canada looks like. You rent a three bedroom house, you get two extra rooms in the basement for free. It is ludicrous. 

In conclusion, it is an understatement that Canada is all that and more. The French say ‘see Paris and die’, you can not begin to live if you haven’t been to Canada. Come to Canada and live! In Chapter 2, we consider whether Canada’s multiculturalism brings people together or it divides and fragments the society into groups?

 

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