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Managing cultural diversity: the Canadian experience. Tzvetana Guerdjikova, Ph.D. (Toronto, Canada) NOTE: The presentation is based on the following publication:

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Managing cultural diversity: the Canadian experience

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Managing cultural diversity the canadian experience l.jpg

Managing cultural diversity: the Canadian experience

Tzvetana Guerdjikova, Ph.D.

(Toronto, Canada)

NOTE: The presentation is based on the following publication:

Tzvetana Guerdjikova -“The Canadian Mosaic: Milestones of the Canadian Multicultural Policy.” IN: ‘Canada: a view from without.’ Sofia, 2007.


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Conceptual Frame

  • The Diversity - main characteristic of the Canadian society

  • The Canadian approach to managing cultural differences: historical overview

  • ‘Mosaic’ vs. ‘Melting Pot’: two ways of managing cultural diversity

  • Canada’s policy of Multiculturalism: ‘pros & cons’ summary

  • Concluding Remarks

Tzvetana Guerdjikova ([email protected])


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[1] The Diversity - main characteristic of the Canadian society

Canada is a country of immigrants:

  • 1600s: the first overseas settlers came from France, followed later by other Europeans

  • 1775-1783 (during the American Revolution):thousands of American loyalistscame

  • 1900s (before the WWI): a substantial number of Italians arrived

  • 1950-1970:the secondwave of Italian immigrants

  • today: 220 000 - 250 000 immigrants per year from all over the world

Tzvetana Guerdjikova ([email protected])


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Canada today

  • the second largest country in the world, covering an area of 10 million km2

  • about 32 623 500 people from all over the world, representing more than 200 groups of different ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic heritage;

  • two official languages (English and French), but more than 80 languages, spoken ‘at home’ by various groups and communities

Tzvetana Guerdjikova ([email protected])


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Conclusion:

  • the diversity is a fundamental and enduring characteristic of the Canadian society;

  • the mutual tolerance and respect are some of the core values of the Canadian identity;

  • these values are embedded in the Canadian social and political model.

Tzvetana Guerdjikova ([email protected])


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[2] The Canadian approach to managing cultural differences

Canada = the first country in the world to proclaim and pursue the multiculturalism as an official policy of the government

Tzvetana Guerdjikova ([email protected])


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Milestones of the Canadian Multicultural Policy (1)

(1) First steps

  • 1960: the Canadian Bill of Rights

  • 1962: important changes in the immigration regulations (originated the amendments to the Canadian Immigration system in 1967)

  • 1963:the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism

  • 1969:the Official Languages Act

Tzvetana Guerdjikova ([email protected])


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Milestones of the Canadian Multicultural Policy (2)

(2) the official announcement of Canada's Policy of Multiculturalism

October 8, 1971: the speech of the Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, delivered to the House of Commons

Tzvetana Guerdjikova ([email protected])


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Milestones of the Canadian Multicultural Policy (3)

(3) Next Steps

1971: legislative ‘ catch-up’

1982: constitutional recognition in the newly adopted

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

1988: the Canadian Multiculturalism Act

Tzvetana Guerdjikova ([email protected])


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Milestones of the Canadian Multicultural Policy (5)

Recent steps

  • 1999 : the Government of Canada officially declared its commitment to "…develop a new approach internationally to support the diversity of cultural expression”

  • 2005: Canada was the first country to accept the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Tzvetana Guerdjikova ([email protected])


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[3] ‘Mosaic’ vs. ‘Melting Pot’: two ways of managing cultural diversity

  • The Canadian ‘Mosaic’approach

    = each cultural group is preserving their cultural and religious heritage, while contributing to the development of the country as a whole.

  • The American ‘Melting pot’ approach

    = the newcomers should give up their specific ethnic identities, cultural characteristics and traditions in favor of some new, universalized, set of values and symbols (a policy of assimilation)

Tzvetana Guerdjikova ([email protected])


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Comparison:

When dealing with social diversity issues, any polarized concept is incomplete and insufficient:

  • The Canadian ‘mosaic’ approach does not imply that the newcomers will keep absolutely everything from their country of origin (i.e. the early years of the Canadian nation can also be compared to a ‘melting pot’).

  • The American ‘melting pot’ approach does not mean that all the immigrants will automatically acquire a new look and identity (i.e. the contemporary American society looks more like a ‘mosaic-type’ society, rather than a ‘melting pot –type’ one).

Tzvetana Guerdjikova ([email protected])


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Conclusion

The policy of multiculturalism should ensure that in the public sphere every cultural group is treated equally, while in theprivate sphere they are free to keep their diverse traditions and religious beliefs (as long as those traditions/beliefs are not in violation of any law).

Tzvetana Guerdjikova ([email protected])


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[3] Canada’s policy of Multiculturalism: ‘pros & cons’ summary

  • Acceptance:

    multiculturalism = tolerance

  • Criticism:

    • the multiculturalism promotes separateness & privileges (Gwyn,Granatstein, Granatstein,etc.)

    • certain ethnic groups are still marginalized(Henry)

  • New liberal Pluralism (Kymlicka, Opalski, etc.)

    The multicultural policy should satisfy at the same timethe interests of the society and the groups.

Tzvetana Guerdjikova ([email protected])


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Pros & cons (2)

But, the social and political democratization does not provide an ‘automatic’ solution to the diversity problems. The diversity issues persist and some of them even intensify in a democratic and prosperous society.

(Examples:Quebec nationalism; privileges for

some groups, etc.)

Tzvetana Guerdjikova ([email protected])


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Concluding remarks:

The ‘Canadian mosaic’ cannot be implanted ‘as is’ in any other country. But Canada’s experience can provide important lessons about a modern social policy, based on tolerance and mutual respect – lessons that may help some newly emerged democracies (incl.: those in Eastern-Europe) find their own way to respond to the local ethnic tensions and other cultural diversity challenges.

Tzvetana Guerdjikova ([email protected])


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