VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A former BC attorney general is out with some provocative comments today.
“By failing to assimilate and by living in ethnic ghettos and ethnic enclaves, immigrants do a disservice to themselves and that is often a cause of racism,” says Wally Oppal. “It becomes offensive to other people, moreover, if you don’t assimilate people don’t get to know you. It’s ignorance and the lack of knowledge in particular communities that breeds racism.”
Oppal is calling for community and religious groups to bring in more programs to educate immigrants about Canadian norms as soon as they arrive.
“I think that way too many immigrants that come here look inward at their own communities and they should be looking outward to assimilate.”
Oppal says those programs can also help them understand Canadian views on gender equality, which may help fight domestic violence and gang violence.
He agrees though, it is important to protect one’s heritage at the same time.
Former BC premier Ujjal Dosanjh says there needs to be a mandatory course offered by the government upon arrival to Canada. “The idea is to encourage people obviously by making it part of immigration, to attend the course and get to know the country as much as they can in a couple of days of a course,” says Dosanjh.
But Oppal doesn’t think we should rely on governments and Queenie Choo with SUCCESS agrees.
“I really truly believe the value of having a welcoming community and likewise the newcomers need to understand what Canadian living is all about so I think we could do more an emphasize more on that,” says Choo. “Whether it’s church groups or community organization, I think everyone needs to understand the importance of taking on an active role.”
Choo says a mandatory program isn’t the way to go. “By making it mandatory sometimes it could have a negative affect.”