re: Open dialogue needed on racial, cultural issues – Pete McMartin
Monday, March 28, 2005
Pete McMartin wrote a column today
stating that with the projected growth patterns of visible minority
immigration to Canada, that we need to take another look at
multiculturalism and ask if it is working.
He asks questions like:
What happens when the visible minorities are no longer minorities?
What pressures will be brought to bear
on the Western cultural tradition when immigrant numbers rival (in the
big cities at least) native-born populations?
Will the education system begin to
fracture along ethnic, linguistic and religious lines? Will the
same happen to our politics and voting patterns, with a clannish
loyalty o an ethnic community before the greater community?
What will unite us as a people? Will multiculturalism engender a choheseive future or a muddled one?
Canada was once a country of Two Solitudes: Are we about to become the country of Many Solitudes?
The following is my friendly response (short form – longer to follow).
Dear Vancouver Sun
I invite Pete McMartin to be a special guest at Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish
McWong’s Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, and to experience the joy shared
recently by Mayor Larry Campbell, and MLA’s Joy McPhail and Jenny Kwan who wore
each other’s tartan plaid and Chinese cheong sam. Over 3,000 guests have now
been served at this annual event that has inspired a regional CBC TV performance
special and a “Canadian Games” event at Simon Fraser University – all named Gung
Haggis Fat Choy.
Canada is now post-multiculturalism. Like inter-racial dating, and
inter-racial marriage, we are inter-cultural, sharing and mixing. We are now
beyond the solitudinal behavior of racism, protectionism and “otherness” and
embrace today that Canada as a nation, and shares a variety of heritages from
around the globe, as people marry into “our family”. Indeed, my own family
descended from Rev. Chan Yu Tan who arrived in 1896 is now seven generations
long in Vancouver. We have fought for Canada in WW2, had a Miss Canada finalist,
and even a First Nations Indian Chief. And we have welcomed people from all
around the world into the Chan decendents family – even the Scots!
Mr. McMartin’s answers will be found by experiencing life as a
multi-generational multi-ethnic Canadian – not by intellectualizing as a
Anglo-Gaelic-Canadian who doesn’t even own his own kilt, or does he?
When Canadian poet Fred Wah, who is ¼ Chinese, ½ Swedish, other parts Scots
and Irish, can read a poem about growing up in a hybrid culture to a loud
ovation, Chinese born bagpipers play along to a Scottish Canadian opera singer
singing in Mandarin – something special is happening. As our 2006 co-host
Shelagh Rogers would say, “Sounds Like Canada to me.”
Slainte, Todd Wong aka “Toddish McWong”
Larry Campbell, Shelagh Rogers @ Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2005 – photo Naoko