Anyone who knows me, knows I am proudly Canadian.
I get pretty passionate about the things I love and I scare some people off with that passion.

Well, if you are faint of heart go read someone elses blog today because I am about to get really passionate. If you are of ethnic origin and do not want to hear the truth about what living in Canada means - go read someone elses blog...

I got a copy of an article that appeared in the Calgary Sun in March of this year.
I can not find the original article to link to, but it is such a powerful, eloquent and thoughtful article on being Canadian that I am going to share it with you, along with my thoughts on this subject - section by section... Thanks to R. Dean of Wembley AB for sending this article to me.

Mahfooz Kanwar, PHD, is a Sociologist and an Instructor Emeritus at Mount Royal College.   This very wise, educated gentleman is a first generation Canadian whose parents immigrated from Pakistan.  He is also Muslim, but truly understands what it is to be Canadian first, even though he and his parents are from another country.

By Mahfooz Kanwar, For The Calgary Herald, March 30, 2009 Copyright (c) 
The Calgary Herald

Canada's Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is getting flak from the usual suspects, but he deserves praise instead.

Recently, Kenney pointed that out while at a meeting in Toronto.  Members of Canada's Pakistani community called on him to make Punjabi one of Canada's official languages.  It makes me angry that such an idea would enter the minds of my fellow and former countrymen, let alone express them to a Minister of the Crown.

(I am with Mr Kanwar here, it is unthinkable, yet people are and have tried)

A few months ago, I was dismayed to learn that Erik Millett, the principal of Belleisle School in Springfield, N.B., limited playing our national anthem because the families of a couple of his students objected to it.  

(I was not dismayed by this teacher's behaviour, I was totally incensed - Our National Anthem is a beautiful one and EVERY child who lives here, who is raised here should know it and sing it PROUDLY!)

As a social scientist, I oppose this kind of political correctness, lack of assimilation of new immigrants to mainstream Canada, hyphenated-Canadian identity, and the lack of patriotism in our great nation.

(Again, I am in 100% agreement, You are either a Canadian, about to become Canadian or a visitor)

Increasingly, Canadians feel restricted in doing things the Canadian way lest we offend minorities.  We cannot even say Merry Christmas without fear of causing offence.  It is amazing that 77 per cent of the Canadian majority are scared of offending 23 per cent of minorities.  We have become so timid that the majority cannot assert its own freedom of expression.  We cannot publicly question certain foreign social customs, traditions and values that do not fit into the Canadian ethos of equality. Rather than encouraging new immigrants to adjust to Canada, we tolerate peculiar ways of doing things.  We do not remind them that they are in Canada, not in their original homelands.

 (It is high time we start reminding them as to why they moved here - in MANY cases what was going on in their country of origin wasn't working for them so well...)

In a multicultural society, it is the responsibility of minorities to adjust to the majority.  It does not mean that minorities have to totally amalgamate with the majority.   They can practice some of their cultural traditions within their homes -- their backstage behavior.  However, when outside of their homes, their front stage behavior should resemble mainstream Canadian behavior.  Whoever comes to Canada must learn the limits of our system. We do not kill our daughters or other female members of our families who refuse to wear hijab, niqab or burka which are not mandated by the Qur'an anyway.  We do not kill our daughters if they date the "wrong" men.  A 17-year-old Sikh girl should not have been killed in British Columbia by her father because she was caught dating a Caucasian man. 

(Again - the traditions and culture that many have moved to Canada to get away from should not be being relived and reaffirmed here in this country - 100% behind you so far Mr Kanwar)

We do not practice the dowry system in Canada, and do not kill our brides because they did not bring enough dowry.  Millions of female fetuses are aborted every year in India, and millions of female infants have been killed by their parents in India and China.  Thousands of brides in India are burned to death in their kitchens because they did not bring enough dowry into a marriage.  Some 30,000 Sikhs living abroad took the dowries but abandoned their brides in India in 2005. This is not accepted in Canada.

(We Canadian women have a lot to be thankful for - I wished more of the women who move here really embraced the freedoms we have here.)
In some countries, thousands of women are murdered every year for family or religious honour.  We should not hide behind political correctness and we should expose the cultural and religious background of these heinous crimes, especially if it happens in Canada. We should also expose those who bring their cultural baggage containing the social custom of female circumcision.  I was shocked when I learned about two cases of this barbaric custom practiced in St. Catharines, Ont.  a few years ago.

(I agree, whole heartedly with this man thus far, women should not be marginalized in these ways)

I have said it on radio and television, have written in my columns in The Calgary Herald, and I have written in my latest  book, Journey to Success, that I do not agree with the hyphenated identity in Canada because it divides our loyalties. My argument is that people are not forced to come to Canada and they are not forced to stay here. Those who come here of their own volition and stay here must be truly patriotic Canadians or go back.

(HERE, HERE to that! If you don't like it here, if you want to live the way you did in the Old Country or the Mother Country - then go BACK!)

I am a first-generation Canadian from Pakistan.  I left Pakistan 45 years ago. I cannot ignore Pakistan, because it is the homeland of my folks, but my first loyalty should be and is to Canada.  I am, therefore, a proud Canadian, no longer a Pakistani-Canadian.  I am a Canadian Muslim, not a Muslim Canadian.

(Wow - if we could get everyone of any ethic origin to feel that way - to feel that kind of pride, wouldn't that be fabulous? Our children might again feel some pride in being Canadian) 

I do not agree with those Canadians who engage in their fight against the system in their original countries on Canadian soil.  They should go back and fight from within.  For example, some of the Sikhs, Tamil Tigers, Armenians and others have disturbed the peace in Canada because of their problems back home.  Recently, a low-level leader of MQM, the Mafia of Pakistan, came to Canada as a refugee and started to organize public rallies to collect funds for their cause in Pakistan.  On July 18, 2007, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that MQM is a terrorist group led by London-based Altaf Hussain, their godfather.  As a member in the coalition government of Pakistan, this terrorist group is currently collaborating with the Taliban in Pakistan. That refugee was deported back to Pakistan. 

(If you love your home country so much that you want to see change, he's right, go HOME and effect that change from within, don't fight your wars and bring your ageless feuds with you here)

Similarly, I disagree with newcomers who bring their religious baggage here.  For example, Muslims are less than two per cent of the Canadian population, yet in 2004 and 2005, a fraction of them, the fundamentalists, wanted to bring Sharia law to Canada. If they really want to live under Sharia, they should go to the prison-like countries where Sharia is practiced.

(This man is on the mark. I agree with every word he has said so far...and you? How does this article make you feel so far?)

I once supported multiculturalism in Canada because I believed it gave us a sense of pluralism and diversity.  However, I have observed and experienced that official multiculturalism has encouraged convolution of the values that make Canada the kind of place people want to immigrate to in the first place.
Here, we stand on guard for Canada, not for countries we came from.  Like it or not, take it or leave it, standing on guard only for Canada is our national maxim. Remember, O Canada is our national anthem which must not be disregarded by anybody, including the teacher in Springfield, N. B. 

Mr Kanwar, I tip my hat to you for telling it like it is. I wished that more people, naturalized or otherwise loved Canada the way you obviously do. Many immigrants come here for a new life. What they left was not working for them. Embracing something new, something different HAS to be part of changing your life and coming to a new country - why else would you come here? To live more of the same but have indoor plumbing and other mod cons while doing more of the same?

I am with Mr Kanwar - you need to be CANADIAN first if living here in a country of relative freedom and abundance is at all important to you.

Thank you sir for having the guts and the pride to tell it like it is!

Mahfooz Kanwar, PHD, Is A Sociologist and an Instructor Emeritus at Mount Royal College.

If you are fortunate enough to be riding today, please ride like everyone around you is blind and can not see you.

Belt Drive Betty
National VP A.I.M.Can

Post a Comment

  1. I too came from another country.
    My parents wanted a better future for themselves and their children. We came from Germany 51 years ago.
    I totally understand and agree with Mr. Kanwar.
    I have also worked for a few years in Hong Kong in the mid 80's. I quickly learned that you have to live by the laws of the land in whatever country you are in, or you can be in serious trouble. For example, pedestrians have no rights there. Can you imagine 8 million people living in 400 square miles, where 200 of it is in outlying islands. Will you wait for the light to turn amber before inching into the intersection hoping you don't hit someone in the throng of hundreds trying to cross the street?
    Too many times we hear of immigrants trying to change Canada's laws to be similar to the way they are in their country.... Read More
    I have to agree with you in saying, "If you love your homeland so much, why are you here?"
    I am Canadian! I am proud of my country!
    If you come here to become a Canadian, hurrah! Welcome!
    If not, go back home the soonest possible way.

  2. whatever written at this page by Mr. Mahfooz Kanwar is right except the facts about MQM and its relation with Taliban.
    you should correct the information you have because i m not from Canada i m from Karachi, Pakistan.
    and i want to clear the whole world that the MQM has done a great job to restrict the Taliban and MQM is trying at level best to defeat the Taliban at every level in Karachi, that is why Karachi is safe.
    Further if the crietera of terrorism on which MQM was declared the terrorist organization is applied to every political party in Pakistan then the whole Pakistan become terrorist because each and every politcal and religious party have Arms due to the weak government writ.
    plz see the documentary program of Front Line "Pakistan under seige"
    and following links of local newspaper:

    Monthly Herald Sep 08 issue(Dawn Group)
    Monthly Herald Oct 08 issue

  3. Ahmed JN - Please note that I myself did not write the article I only commented on the multicultural aspect.
    If you want to dispel the information on the MQM then I suggest you get a hold of Mr. Mahfooz Kanwar - I can not alter what he wrote.

    I appreciate your getting involved in this discussion though - thank you. BDB