There has a fair bit of talk about the possibility of Americans flocking to Canada in the event of a Donald Trump presidency. At present, a Trump victory is a long shot. Yet, even if many Americans were contemplating some escape to Canada in the wake of "Trumpism," doing so would be more complex than might be assumed.
There are multiple ways to identify as a minority in Canada with language, ethnic, religious and/or racial/racialized status amongst the principal basis. Even if in certain situations you identify as a minority, that may not be how you're seen by others and/or how you feel in day-to-day interaction.
Donald Trump's apocalyptic acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland was easily the scariest political event I've ever witnessed outside of 1930s newsreels. As CNN's Anderson Cooper summed up: "He painted a dark and frightening picture of America, he talked about people being attacked by criminals, attacked by terrorists, betrayed by their leaders, the game is fixed. And he said he can be their voice." The thing about this tactic -- a far cry from conservative saint Ronald Reagan's inspirational "shining city on a hill" much less Obama's hope and change optimism -- is that it captures (and, yes, fuels) the zeitgeist of white America.
Late on Tuesday afternoon, minister Goodale -- or likely his staff -- issued a press release that appears as a blog on the Huffington Post Canada. In it, the minister says he has heard the concerns and is working swiftly to remedy the problem -- but he just needs more time. Yet, under his watch as minister of public safety, three people have died in immigration detention in the last five months. This is a tragedy and a political crisis. These three, Francisco Romero Astorga, Melkioro Gahungu and an unidentified man, all ran out of time. And so has the minister.
CBSA carries a serious and difficult responsibility under the law - to protect the integrity of Canada's borders and to keep Canadians safe, while also facilitating the free and legitimate movement of both people and trade. The vast majority of border encounters are brief and routine. But a few present serious problems.
These days you don't hear a great deal of praise for the American melting pot. Perhaps it's because there is a growing realization amongst Americans that historically the melting pot was more virtual than real. A frank look at the evolution of the race relations across America's history throws the melting pot idea into question.
This Canada Day we are reminded that our country is a nation of immigrants, many of whom took risks similar to yours to create a better life for themselves and their children. And, like you, they came to the right place. I am proud to be Canadian. I am proud to be Polish. And I am proud to live in a country where those two things are actually one and the same.
Anti-immigrant xenophobia is usually tied to nationalism, and nationalism tends to spike during independence celebrations. So here's something to think about this Canada Day: everyone in this colonized land that is not First Nations or Inuit is an immigrant. I'm fourth generation myself. Three of my four grandparents were born here. My wife's relatives immigrated to North America from Denmark and Scotland. Every single other citizen that is not indigenous immigrated here, too, be it from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, South America or wherever else.
This past week, the Toronto Ward Museum initiated the "Dishing Up Toronto" program with three walking tours in Toronto and its suburbs. Immigrants served as guides and shared their stories and the stories of their neighbourhoods. Rather than use inanimate displays for their history lessons, the guides introduced audiences to their culture through visits to local hotspots and by sampling their favourite dishes.
On Canadian multiculturalism day the Prime Minister's multicultural message was bang on. Justin Trudeau declared that "Our roots reach out to every corner of the globe. We are from far and wide, and speak over 200 languages. Our national fabric is vibrant and varied, woven together by many cultures and heritages, and underlined by a core value of respect.
To those politicians today with the power to compel people to your will with fear and anti-immigration sentiment -- stop blaming immigrants for neoliberal policies that relentlessly concentrate wealth at the top while leaving the majority with weakened social programs, poverty, uncertainty and fear.
Until recently, some of my American friends continued to urge me to return "home'. They said I must find it boring to be in Canada. Or that I must get tired of the cold; or the high taxes; or the dipsy-doodle currency we affectionately call the loonie. The truth is, I am home. And it feels pretty good.
We should never get over it. With the apology, we risk the ability to raise the issue of the Komagata Maru with "old stock Canadians" who likely would not want to hear the issue brought up again. With this, we potentially lose the ability to make the point that the Komagata Maru continues to be as relevant today as it was in 1914.