Sunday, June 26, 2011

Multiculturalism Day 2011


"We Are All One" Illustration by Spirit Walker

"My art speaks and will continue to speak, transcending barriers of nationality, language and other forces that may be divisive, fortifying the greatness of the spirit that has always been the foundation of the Ojibwa people." - Norval Morrisseau

Canadian Multiculturalism Day was established in 2002 and first celebrated on 27th June 2003. It is a day of awareness and recognition and not a national holiday.

It is one of four "Celebrate Canada" days which commence with National Aboriginal Day on 21st June, to be followed by St. Jean-Baptiste Day (24th June) and culminating with Canada Day on 1st July.

The day was created to recognise the economic, social and cultural benefits of multiculturalism, and to assist in the integration of immigrant people into the wider community, emphasising democracy, equality and mutual respect in all areas of life.

The Canadian government provides funds to individuals, charitable organisations, community groups, schools, colleges and universities, and businesses (on a non-commercial basis) to establish and run multicultural activities.

Multiculturalism has not always been evident in Canada. The indigenous population have long held grievances (many now addressed), and there have been tensions between the French-descended communities (in Quebec) and the British descendent population for many years.

In 1923 the Chinese Immigration Act (repealed in 1947) excluded most Chinese from entering Canada as immigrants, and became known as the "Humiliation Act" or the "Exclusion Act" as a result. The Chinese community within Canada was recognised as having made a significant contribution to Canada during World War II – a major factor in triggering the repeal of the legislation.

Since the 1950s, in particular, immigration from nations around the world and awareness of multiculturalism have increased hand-in-hand, to the extent that the Canadian economy now relies upon many immigrants and their descendents if it is to continue to prosper.


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