By Baisakhi Roy | Canadian Immigrant Magazine | October 19, 2021
Even as this year’s annual Metropolis conference marked a momentous occasion – Canada’s multiculturalism policy turning 50 – the mood was sombre, even cautionary, as experts debated if the policy was actually working and the future for Canada as a multicultural mosaic.
Held online from 6-8 October 2021, the agenda at the recent Metropolis Canada’s 4th Annual Forum on Measuring Identities was quite clear. Titled Multiculturalism @50: Diversity, Inclusion and Eliminating Racism, the forum brought together leading thinkers in Canada and abroad to assess the state of multiculturalism domestically and in other immigrant receiving/pluralist countries.
The various debates and discussions between champions and critics made it was obvious that though seemingly perfect on paper, multiculturalism as a lived reality was different for different groups of people in Canada.
“In multiculturalism, the ideal is that everyone can retain who they are…But I think we need to have an evolution of this thinking, and I think we really need to think about how not all of us are experiencing the same reality,” said Anjum Sultana, national director of public policy, advocacy and strategic communications at YWCA Canada. Sultana was speaking at a workshop titled, “The Impact of Hate on Multiculturalism & Exploring Ways to Confront It”. Sultana and her co-panelists spoke about how hate crimes against racialized communities were an urgent threat against the basic principles of multiculturalism.