Anti-Semitic posters on UVic campus abhorrent

Canada welcomes all

The federal Liberal government is set to welcome one million new immigrants to Canada by 2020, through a three-year plan that will slowly increase the number of immigrants each year.

In light of the recent anti-Semitic posters being spread across UVic, this message couldn’t be more important than it is right now.

“Defend Canadian Heritage and fight back against anti-White hatred — a message from the Alt-Right,” read the sign posted in the Cornett building on campus earlier this month.

We live in a scary world, where people will go out of their way to write hate messages denouncing certain racial groups. Yet, it’s not just UVic that is seeing an increase in racial hatred. The wave of alt-right racism is spreading throughout the country.

“Race war is inevitable,” said one neo-Nazi sign hung up at the University of Northern British Columbia.

“Fu*k Your Turban,” was the heading of another poster seen at the University of Alberta last year. As if that heading wasn’t vulgar and gross and enough, the message underneath was worse: “If you’re so obsessed with your third-world culture, go the fu*k back to where you came from!”

That phrase is horrifying. It’s not that simple, as many immigrants can’t just go back to their countries. Many of them flee their homes and come to Canada as an escape — bringing their home culture with them.

Immigration should be celebrated. It leads to diversity, helps combat the aging population, and often gives families fresh starts in a new country.

It’s no secret that Canada’s population is aging. For the first time ever, seniors aged 65 and up make up more of the population than children aged fourteen and under: 16.9 per cent to 16.6 per cent respectively.

Many immigrants come to Canada relieved for their fresh start. They help to replace the current aging population and bring new perspectives to many jobs.

Liberal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen mentioned that the current aging workforce is a significant point the government takes into consideration about immigration.

“Five million Canadians are set to retire by 2035, and we have fewer people working to support seniors and retirees,” Hussen said.

Therefore, the arrival of immigrants should be celebrated, instead of shunned through posters at many Canadian universities.

But immigration is important beyond just the economics. Canada is often referred to as a cultural mosaic, a reference to the differing cultures that represent our country. Each person fits together to create an image of Canadian cooperation. That phrase is evident now, with a 2016 Census report saying 21.9 per cent of Canadians are immigrants — the highest percentage in 85 years.

Every immigrant brings their own sense of identity for other Canadians to learn from.

For example, think of all the different types of food you’ve eaten from different cultures here in North America. Spicy pad Thai at a street vendor, sushi with tangy wasabi from an Asian restaurant (where, if you’re like me, you’re still learning to use chopsticks as the sushi rolls crumble in between the two sticks), to a hearty tomato chilli. Each meal contains a sense of identity that a cook brought from their old country.

Without immigration, I may not be in Canada today.  My family immigrated from Portugal to Vancouver in the 1970’s, after they saw a postcard of Vancouver and immediately said “I want to live there.” A photo is the sole reason I am lucky to call Canada home, and I am forever grateful to the government for allowing my family into Canada and the Canadian citizens that welcomed my family to Canada.

It breaks my heart to see hate speech posters spread across Canada — especially here at UVic.

Every time I see a poster or picture referencing how someone who is different (with darker skin for example), should not be allowed in Canada, I look down to my tanned skin and think what the creator of that message would say to me. What makes me any more or less valuable than another person?

Canada should be shared with everyone: white skin, dark skin, or tanned skin. It doesn’t matter where you came from or what your background is. We are all Canadians.

Leave a Reply