Friday, January 2, 2009

RESPECT BEGINS AT HOME---Many Immigrants Respect Canada more than Canadians do

Radio commentator Bruce Allen, who serves on the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Committee, has faced the wrath of Indo-Canadian voices demanding his firing for comments critical of their wish to sing the Canadian anthem in Hindi at the Games. We are losing 60,000 acres of prime farmland alone in Ontario due to immigrant-driven population growth, and pushing more than 500 species to the brink of extinction in the process, and generating some ten million metric tonnes of green houses gases per year from this growth and Mr. Allen is worried about how our national anthem is being sung. Must be nice to have something that trivial be the centrepiece of your worry. Species extinction, especially ours, is what grabs me. What about you? One ardent Allen supporter encapsulated a broad sentiment by saying that "Immigrants should adapt, not us." One question, adapt to what? Here was my answer:

“Immigrants, not Canadians, must adapt”. Yesterday afternoon I took a walk at our beautiful provincial park. It is a local treasure. The receding snows revealed that some local residents had littered the beaches, the bushes and the trails with empty beer cans. They were obviously just tossed with complete carelessness and disregard. I picked up as many as my pack could accommodate, but I believe I saw at least 50 in a 45 minute walk. I have witnessed similar displays in other trail locations on the island. My experience tells me that it is not the newcomers who do this, but the young men who grew up in this island community. Newcomers from Quebec, America, Europe and especially from Germany consistently exhibit an appreciation for nature and for this region far in excess of those who took it for granted from birth.
My dispute is not with immigrants, obviously. They seem if anything, on average, to me more worthy of this sacred place than we are. My problem is primarily with population growth. Don’t you think it is about time that the Canadians who were born here adapted to Canada first before we insist that newcomers adapt? What culture should immigrants adapt to, the culture of rednecks and boors chucking beer cans and wrecking the forests with ATVs and snowmobiles? Or should not we adapt to their appreciation of what we have got----space, natural beauty, solitude---precious things that we destroy every day more and more. This was the Canada my grandparents and great grandparents readily and eagerly adapted to. Canada to me is not really about language and culture, its identity issues from the land. Respect for the land is what will unite us. I feel more kinship toward an immigrant who respects my local Provincial Park but can’t speak my language than an English-speaking lout who doesn’t.

So should I been concerned, as Mr. Allen's most ardent supporter phrased it, about how a New Canadian group sings our anthem? I think I should be more concerned that he and others would consider the loss of their mother tongue to be the greatest tragedy to befall the universe, when we are facing biodiversity collapse and peak everything because we won' t oppose mass immigration. No culture on a dead planet.

If only we could keep the good apples and expell the bed, and all live in multicultural unison in a steady state economy.

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