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An open-minded country...

Activity 1

An open-minded country...

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 Innovation, 2014.

Get ready! Find words in the text to match each definition.

1) wise, knowing (adj.) ➜
2) give reasons for (exp.) ➜
3) fortune (n.) ➜
4) immigrants (n.) ➜
5) a problem (n.) ➜
6) surrounded (adj.) ➜
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Present the article. Make suppositions about the narrator.

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True or false? Justify with a quote from the text.

1) Canada is one of the most tolerant countries in the world.

2) There is not a lot of immigration in Canada.

3) The main political parties in Canada are not xenophobic.

4) Canada only shares a border with a developed country.

5) The founders of Canada were all English.

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Explain in your own words what “accidents of history and geography” (first paragraph) the author might refer to.

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How would you define the tone of this article? How does it make you feel?

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Let's recap! Sum up the document. Do you agree that Canada is lucky? Why? To what extent do you think Canadians are responsible for the freedom and tolerance in their country?

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