The book has officially been rewritten. Literally. And a most important, and historic, rewrite it was. Canada’s 47-page immigration guide, currently called A Look at Canada, but newly named Discover Canada, and given annually to 250,000 new immigrants, has received a major facelift. Last updated in 19950 when the Liberals were in power, the new guide has apparently taken a less progressive position, which probably isn’t surprising given the current party in power. No longer will new immigrants learn that various cultural and ethnic groups live and work together in harmony, even though Toronto is the multicultural capitals of the world. No longer will newcomers be taught that all Canadians are free to maintain and share their cultural heritage and to participate fully and equally in the national Canadian life. They won’t understand the difference between what’s known fondly in Canada as the “cultural mosaic” and the opposite ideology that is the “melting pot” of the United States. Say goodbye to aving an understanding of Canada’s role on environmental issues, its land and, shockingly, health care1.
Instead, say hi to more information than you could ever want about the (British) monarchy’s role in the government of Canada, as well as the history of the Canadian military. I knew Canada had an army, but I thought he died last year2? All kidding aside, the new guide references the Canadian military’s role in Vimy Ridge and Juno Beach, as well as the significance of the poppy, which I always wondered about before moving to Canada. New immigrants will learn about the role of the aboriginal3 people, who Terry Fox was, the Exclusion Act and, that, in order of importance, you should have a complete and thorough understanding of hockey, Canadian football, and curling4. 😉
One of the coolest things I saw in relation to the announcement of Discover Canada was a wordle highlighting the featured words from the new guide (the top cloud) compared to the words emphasized in the old guide (the bottom cloud). Wicked cool for a word nerd like moi!
Naturally, Canadian Immigration practice tests were part of the articles accompanying the announcement of the new guide. Of course, priding myself on the fact that I have soaked up every bit of information about Canada that my already over-taxed brain can possibly manage, I elatedly took the test. and I think you’ll be pleased to know that I scored a 90% (!!).
Actually the only question I answered incorrectly was a question that was British Columbia specific — something about naming three city councillors in Vancouver — as the test was published by the Richmond Public Library. As if — I live in Toronto, for the sake of Pete! Scratch that question, though, and I would have scored 100%! And with that score, shouldn’t I automatically be granted citizenship? Seriously.
0 Disclaimer: I saw two dates for the current publication while researching — 1995 and 1997. Since I didn’t even know Canada existed then (kidding!!), I can’t say for certain which it really is. Let’s just agree on “late 90’s”, k?
1 Isn’t this sort of a Canadian hallmark and/or signature? How can this possibly be left out? To save trees?
2 A Canadian told me that quip, I swear!
3 Or what Americans call “Indians” or “Native Americans”.
4 I still have yet to see a curling match, but it’s my list of things to do. I better get crackin’ if I ever want to pass the immigration test!