Doug Saunders: Immigrants’ children find multiculturalism obsolete
“I think it’s a bit unfair that I have to be multicultural, while you get to be whatever you want to be.” That was said to me a few days ago, with an ironic smile and no trace of anger, by a young, dark-skinned woman in a hijab who spoke with a more pronounced Canadian accent than mine.
I mention this not because her words surprised me, but because they have become so familiar. Over the past couple of years, when I have found myself hearing sharp criticism of multiculturalism in this country, it is very often coming from a Canadian-born child of religious-minority immigrants. “Multiculturalism was fine for my parents’ generation,” a Bangladeshi-Canadian radio producer told me, “but I have no use for it – it just makes me feel like a second-class Canadian.”
What he means is that he wants to be Bangladeshi first, last and always and “Canadian in passport only”. The take away from Dougie’s column, though he would be the last to acknowledge it, is that multiculturalism is a divisive policy that has encouraged a settler mentality rather than immigration and integration. Dougie seems just fine with that of course.