Multiculturalism and Immigration in Canada: An Introductory Reader offers a solid introduction to the history and development of the ideology of multiculturalism in Canada. This ideology, which has become the primary designator of Canadian society today, began in the early 1970s when vocal elements in the population who were neither English nor French responded strongly to the investigations of the Committee on Bilingualism and Biculturalism.
Given Canada's early racist tendencies, the establishment of multiculturalism was a remarkable shift in public thinking. Many issues associated with immigration have arisen in the public debates around multiculturalism. Some people are convinced that it is a pernicious ideology that enforces the ghettoization of those different from the mainstream.
Others see dangers in the way some aspects of multiculturalism are merely tokens of an all-inclusive society. Still others contend that the voices of ethnicities aside from those of the two charter groups — English and French — are scarcely heard, and that worse, those marginalized voices are appropriated by mainstream writers.
About the author
Elspeth Cameron is the author of three award-winning biographies: Hugh MacLennan: A Writer's Life (1981), Irving Layton: A Portrait (1985), and Earle Birney: A Life (1994). Her 1997 memoir No Previous Experience won the W.O. Mitchell Literary Prize. She was the recipient of the UBC Medal for Canadian Biography in 1981 and the City of Vancouver Book Award in 1995. Her biography of Hugh MacLennan was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award. She has written numerous profiles of Canadian cultural figures such as Peter Newman, Jack McClelland, Veronica Tennant, Anne Murray, Howard Engel, Janette Turner Hospital, and Timothy Findley, winning several journalism awards. Her work has appeared in Saturday Night, Chatelaine, Maclean's, Leisureways, and in a number of academic journals. In addition, she has edited seven books, including Great Dames, a collection of biographical sketches, memoirs, and essays about twentieth-century Canadian women from all walks of life. She has taught English and Canadian Studies at Concordia University and the University of Toronto, and is currently an adjunct professor in the English Language and Literature Department at Brock University. Elspeth now lives in St. Catharines, Ontario, and is at work on a biography of Group of Seven member, A.Y. Jackson.