Editor’s Notes

Multiculturalism has seeds that
may disrupt the Canada we know

It’s been about eight years since the NATO attack on Yugoslavia. It ended in 1999 with the virtual surrender of Serbia, the heart of Yugoslavia. Central, was the agreement of Serbia to withdraw troops from its territory of Kosovo and to accept that the latter would be placed under United Nations control. Leaving aside disputed justifications for the war, and the historcal significance of Kosovo, I’ll take a moment to consider the central issue in Kosovo. The fact is that there had been a significant migration of Albanian Muslims into Kosovo. They reached the point where they had become the overwhelming majority. Their demand for separation from Yugoslavia coincided with the breakup of the country. Why not? Just about everyone else was abandoning the country that Tito built.

Yulia Latynina, co-host of a Moscow radio talk show, and brilliant commentator whose work may be found in The Moscow Times, a division of The New York Times, pointed recently to an agreement between Russia and China. The agreement allows China access to a country-size area of forested Russia. China will harvest the trees with Chinese forestry workers. The whole project will take decades during which urban centres will be established to complement the project. Good economic sense for Russia because China will pay for the access. Good for China because it needs the forest products that will result. But, Ms. Latynina wondered in a column published a few weeks ago in True North, once the Chinese have moved in will they want to move out. Will they, like Albanian Muslims in Kosovo, lay claim on the basis of population domination and say they have legitimate claim to the land and its other resources?

This brings to mind a running joke at home. Canadians of various ethnic backgrounds who assimilated as Canadians and enriched our culture — and here I include the French Canadians — have, because of the substantial Chinese population referred to Vancouver as Hong Couver. A Chinese student to Canada told me recently that on a visit to Vancouver she felt as if she was back home. She said she had to go to Victoria to get a real sense of Canada. I have heard Canadians of Chinese extraction talk with confidence that one day, on grounds of Chinese population domination, the name of Vancouver will be changed to satisfy the Chinese. “After all,” goes the argument, “it was the English who called it Vancouver, why can’t we, who are here now in growing numbers, change it again to suit us?”

Well, why not? Why not indeed, unless the Chinese immigrants prefer to assimilate with what Canada has become and leave to memory, with or without affection, that which they have left behind.

Canada, not without failings, has been good to and for its immigrants. Let’s hope they continue to respect our traditions and not try to impose theirs on ours. Besides, the rest of the country would have something to say about changing Vancouver to Hong Couver.

Read True North for a beacon on Canada past, present, and future.

Looking forward

Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher