May 27 2009 by Ranjan Chakraborty
Canada, idealistic melting pot?
William Kymlicka, a leading expert on Canadian immigration and the research chair of political philosophy at Queen’s University, says that Canada has been more successful than most countries at integrating immigrants into society.
Kymlicka points out that most immigrants who move to work in Canada become citizens and their children outperform non-immigrants’ children in education, a trend which is unique among Western democracies.
He also argues that visible minorities, both first and second generation, claim to feel a great sense of pride in Canada, which is on par with that felt among white Canadians.
Political integration is also an area where Canadian immigration is succeeding. Kymlicka says that political parties try hard to reach newcomers and the political system makes it easy for them to become involved in politics and the democratic process.
Social integration is also, generally speaking, succeeding, with the vast majority of Canadians feeling comfortable with immigrants as neighbours and co-workers. According to research, Muslims feel more welcome in Canada than in other countries, says Kymlicka.
He defends the fact that immigrants often chose to live within their own communities, arguing that, unlike in other countries where such areas are becoming ghettos, the behaviour does not lock people into poverty or breed anti-Canadian feeling.