Wednesday, April 02, 2008
South Asians Most Visible In Canada
According to the latest census, South Asians are now the top visible minority group in Canada, outnumbering those of Chinese descent. Canada also has more South Asian Members of Parliament than from any other minority group, and politics in Canada has also become "browner", as evident by this BBC article.
Of course when Canadians talk of South Asians, they are talking mostly about peple with Indian, Pakistani or Sri Lankan origin (curiously the Star article references a country called "Tamil"). Bangladeshis are statistically insignificant (for now) even though we have our own town in Toronto, something Pakistani-Canadians cannot say!
What does all this increase in numbers mean for us? Does Canada now get more 'brownie' points? For the moment, beyond more samosa and halal stores, beyond more shops selling pirated DVDs, beyond more Desifests and cricket clubs, at the moment I don't see much changing.
Yes, it will be talked about for a while but in the end, what matters is action. And as the Star article correctly notes after the first few paragraphs, employment conditions for immigrants and those with foreign degrees in Canada remains abysmal. None of the foreign degrees are recognized and one could spend years trying to achieve accreditation. All this potential is lost to Canada. If you are a Muslim hibabi immigrant, you have a triple whammy.
I have been to Bangladeshi organizations where any meaningful cooperation is impossible because the top people are hung over their political differences. And this is not even politics in Canada - it's about who is a Awami League and who is a BNP supporter! These are political parties in Bangladesh! It is said if there's three Bangladeshis in a room there will be two political parties with one independent.
Numbers don't mean a thing unless people can get organized and united in demanding change. After all, Muslims are now the top religious group in the world (according to the Vatican), and fat lot of good it is doing to us!