Celebrating Canada’s Culture of Accommodation
Is Canada the most tolerant place in the
world because Canadians are more enlightened
than others? The answer is no. Accidents of
geography and history account for our blessings.
[...] I do believe that Canada can make an
honest claim to being the most open-minded
and open-hearted place on earth. For two
decades now, a land once occupied by descendants
of European settlers has been importing just under
1 per cent of its population annually – 258,000 in
2012, more than five million in total – with most
new arrivals coming from Asia and the Pacific. No
other country on earth has done such a thing. No
country brings in as many immigrants as we do, on
a per capita basis, from as many different places. And
we all get along with each other amazingly well.
Many developed countries have a pro-immigration
party and an anti-immigration party.
In Canada, each of the national parties claims to be more pro-immigrant than the other two. [...] Our
tolerance goes beyond race. Not only was Canada
among the first countries to legalize gay marriage,
Ontario just elected Canada’s first lesbian first
minister. Far more important, Kathleen Wynne’s
sexuality wasn’t an issue in the election. [...]
So how did we get this way? We lucked out.
Canada is bordered by three oceans. We are very,
very far away from anywhere except the United
States. [...] It’s easier to be tolerant when you don’t
have millions of people next door, desperate to get
in, as the United States and Europe do.
We are as lucky in our cultural geography as we
are in our physical. Canada was originally a union
of French and English [...]. Multiculturalism is the
greatest gift of our Constitution.
“Celebrating Canada’s Culture of Accommodation”,
John Ibbitson, Centre for International Governance