Canada is characterized by extreme cultural diversity. This was
true from the start, with the presence of very diverse First
Peoples. Then there was the European settlement by two main groups, the French and
the British, resulting in a country which was said to be
bicultural. In addition to these two "founding peoples" as they
were long called, Canada's cultural
diversity also derived, and is constantly reinforced, by the
very diverse immigrant groups that contributed, and still
contribute, to its population.
result Canada developed institutional and governmental
strategies to accommodate the cultural diversity of its peoples,
whether they are national minorities, like the French Canadian
group and the First Nations, or immigrant minorities.
The demands of
national minorities can be met through federalism: the cultural
and linguistic needs of the French Canadians are the primary
reason for the adoption of federalism as Canada's institutional
framework in 1867. Today, the flexibility of the federal
structure makes it possible to grant a large measure of
self-government to the national minorities (the French Canadian
group and the First Nations (creation of the territory of
Nunavut under control of the Inuit group).
In the more
recent past, the special needs of immigrant minorities have been
accommodated by the great reform of immigration laws in the
1960s and the policy of multiculturalism, adopted in the 1970s.
The Canadian immigration system and the policy of
multiculturalism encourage the harmonious integration of
immigrant groups into Canadian society, while respecting their
special needs and customs.
Kymlicka, Finding our Way: Rethinking Ethnocultural Relations
in Canada, Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1998.