Nearly two-thirds of Canadians think our peaceable country is increasingly threatened by ethnic problems imported by immigrant groups. Even more support tougher immigration standards to screen out terrorists.
But we also worry that measures to combat terrorism could violate the rights of innocent Arab and Islamic Canadians.
Those are some key findings of a wide-ranging public opinion survey called The World in Canada: Demographics and Diversity in Canadian Foreign Policy. It was commissioned for the annual Ottawa conference of the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute today and tomorrow at the National Arts Centre.
Among those surveyed, 63 per cent agree that Canada is having increasing trouble with ethnic groups bringing problems from their home countries to Canada. First-generation Canadians -- those born here to immigrant parents -- were the most concerned, with 70 per cent holding that view.
Though 19th-century groups like the Irish Fenians carried their old-world conflicts with them to Canada, Mr. Bercuson says the import of ethnic disputes is new to recent Canadian experience. "In the post-9/11 world, it strikes a lot of people as being somewhat dangerous."
The World in Canada poll found a whopping 83 per cent of Canadians think the country needs stricter immigration standards to control the presence of known terrorists.
"The survey shows a hardening of Canadians' stance towards new Canadians in the context of public fears, largely unjustified, that increased levels of immigration represent a security risk," says Mr. Griffiths.
But with ethnic voters gaining ever greater influence, Mr. Bercuson predicts political parties will be reluctant to act. "Politicians will walk there only with great trepidation."
If Canada's official policy of multiculturalism encourage immigrants to hold on to all aspects of their native culture without taking on any of ours, should we be surprised that they will continue to hold on to old ethnic hatreds and political grudges?
The problem is not just limited to immigrants from Islamic countries looking to impose sharia law and continue the jihad against the infidel in Canada. Jamaican immigrants have brought their country's bloody gang wars to the streets of Toronto, and will keep doing so with impunity, secure in the knowledge that the authorities are too afraid of being accused of racism to confront them.
It is naive to think that new Canadians will always keep the folk dances and cuisine while dropping the old prejudices.
Source: Ottawa Citizen