It was May 10, 1534, early in the 16th century, when a little squadron of "first immigrants" set foot on "Canadian" soil in an expedition mission. The new arrivals consisted of two small vessels, with crews amounting to about one hundred and twenty men, led by the Frenchman Jacques Cartier (or Quartier), a mariner originating from the small French seaport St. Malo, who arrived off Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland.
Kanata, or Canada, meaning "village" or "settlement," became the newly discovered land for the Europeans, mainly the French and the English. As the years passed, French migrants started flooding into Canada, settling in colonies and enhancing the power of what was then considered "the new France." The second wave of "immigrants" came after the British conquest in the 18th century. Thousands of English speaking settlers arrived to reside in "Canada."
A couple of years after the Confederation, under the reign of Prime Minister John A. Macdonald, Canada issued its first Immigration Act of 1869. The main objectives of the act were to ensure the safety of immigrants and protecting them from being exploited. Throughout the years, the nation of Canada, as we are aware, became a land of immigration, a home to millions of people from different lands, ethnicities, cultures and religious beliefs. Every new comer that has settled in Canada in the last few hundred years and those who will settle in the future share one common name: "immigrants."
Canada, proudly, was the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy.
A land that houses millions of citizens on its soil, all from various backgrounds, definitely searches for some sort of inclusive concept that brings all their varieties under one accepted human model. The people who have settled since the French arrival in the 16th century strived to have the uniqueness of their identities protected, their dignities respected and their civic rights valued and not violated.
Multiculturalism, as a comprehensive communal doctrine, came to be the right answer for the nation of Canada to create its unique, coherent and inclusive society which guarantees equality, freedom, fairness and reverence to all its citizens. The various cultures, religious doctrines, social values and ethnicities merit equal respect. For the most part, Canadian origins are from every corner of the world, reflecting a wide range of cultural environments that carry a collection of values and doctrines. Having the rights of aboriginals, the natives of Canada and all other citizens in mind, multiculturalism becomes the precise recipe of a healthy country.
In 1971, Canada officially adopted multiculturalism as "an inclusive citizenship" policy. This policy was enhanced in 1988 by the Canadian Multiculturalism Act. The Act was designed to create equality, before all authorities and at all levels, for all citizens with respect to their differences and origins. It emphasized that discrimination was prohibited by Canadian laws and regulations. All citizens are entitled to the protection of their identities and beliefs. Canada, proudly, was the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy.
There are voices, now and then, which object to multiculturalism as a social formula. These anti-equality calls are considered by many to be coming from either people who may be racist by nature, for electoral political reasons, or from those who believe that they are supreme over certain other citizens. Needless to say that the wide majority of Canadians believe in, support and enjoy the bounties and rewards of multiculturalism. All "immigrants" that landed in Canada starting from Jacque Cartier until now, enjoy the livelihood of peace, harmony, freedom and fairness amongst all citizens.
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