Pulse of Canada: Should immigrants be expected to abandon their culture?

Matthew Coutts

Apparently Canada isn't the welcoming multicultural paradise we once fancied ourselves.

A new survey from Forum Research, for the National Post, found that 70 per cent of Canadians are in favour of limiting immigration.

Even more notably, the survey also found that most approve of immigrants accepted into Canada bringing their spouses and dependent children, but not grown children, parents or grandparents.

Mixed into this debate is how those who move to Canada should be expected to acclimate themselves to our society. Should they abandon their heritage and declare themselves Canadian, or should they be free to maintain their own cultural identity.

The Forum Research poll found that we were split on whether Canada should accept immigrants only from like-minded countries. But 62 per cent of respondents felt immigrants should abandon their native cultural values when moving to Canada.

You would suspect that we felt those cultural differences were a problem, we would only want to take immigrants from places that would mesh seamlessly with Canadian society. But to expect a complete assimilation is an insult.

Canada’s immigration system has recently shifted to benefit those applicants who are deemed a benefit to Canada. We are not doing those people a favour, it is a symbiotic relationship.

Yes, immigrants should want to mesh with Canadian culture. But you can’t ask or expect them to abandon their own culture entirely.

What is your take? Should immigrants to Canada be expected to abandon their cultural values when they conflict with the Canadian way of life?