Let Canada Not Lose Its Global Identity – OpEd


Those who live in Canada as Canadian citizens by birth or as immigrants (permanent residents) and non permanent residents as well as those who have been visitors to Canada and those who have heard about Canada from media reports and those who have studied Canada’s history , have all identified Canada as a peaceful country with high level of personal freedom and liberty and with goodwill towards all , as espoused by the liberal migration policy of Government of Canada.

The recent controversy between India and Canada that has been created by Canadian Prime Minister who accused India of murdering a citizen of Canada on Canadian soil and the strong refutal of this accusation by Government of India has received global attention.

However, some discerning observers think that this episode conceals more than what it reveals.

Canada has the reputation of a glorious country with huge landscape , scarce population density of 4 per square kilometre and comparatively small population of 39 million, enormous mineral resources and a robust democratic country .

Attracted by such positives, millions of people from other countries have migrated to Canada in the last several years . In 2021, more than 8.3 million people or almost one-quarter (23.0%) of the population, were, or had ever been, a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada.

While this is a good sign as far as it goes, the ground reality is that demographic structure of Canada have been constantly changing. This has created sort of cultural integration issues due to section of migrants with half loyalty to Canada and half loyalty to the country that they originally belonged. These migrants also now occupy a big space in Canada’s political scenario with substantial representation in Parliament.

For example, the Sikh population in Canada who have migrated from India over the last several years is 0.77 million and 15 members of the Sikh community are now elected members of Canadian Parliament.

With migrants increasingly playing a dominant role in Canada’s social and political life and a few migrants having twin loyalty to Canada as well as their own native country , separatist forces from other countries have now got entrenched themselves in Canada as permanent residents or citizens It is reported that the current net migration rate for Canada in 2023 is 6.094 per 1000 population and this migration trend is continuing with some of the migrants who could be part of separatist force from other countries.

Government of Canada gives extreme importance to freedom of speech and action and in such conditions, the separatist forces from other countries living in Canada are able to organise the separatist movement in other countries staying on Canadian soil. This situation has caused serious problems for other countries like Sri Lanka and India.

Sri Lanka went through extremely stressful period for more than a decade due to the internal war organised by LTTE seeking separate state for Tamil population and it is a fact that the LTTE has a very strong base in Canada to organise the war in Sri Lanka . Government of Canada closed it eyes and ears to the activities of LTTE militants and in the process, Sri Lanka suffered enormously. 

Now, a small section of migrant Sikhs from India staying in Canada want a separate Khalistan state for Sikhs by splitting India. Several meetings and demonstrations were held by Khalistan separatists in Canada and Canadian government remains unconcerned about such activities. This is causing serious problem for India now.

The migrant population now has such a strong hold in Canadian politics that the Government of Canada is forced to keep the separatist forces in good humour and even support their activities in discreet manner to enlist their support for the government.

With separatist force from other countries becoming a grim reality in Canada, it often happens that violence takes place on the Canadian soil too frequently these days , which was not so in earlier days. Clash happen between the separatist migrant groups within themselves and also assaults and disturbance caused by separatist forces on others. The net result is that Canada is losing its name and reputation as a peaceful country.

It appears that the present Canadian government does not have the wisdom or forethought to realise the shape of things to come in Canada , if such conditions were to continue.

In the case of the present controversy with India, Canadian Prime Minister has gone out of the way to support the member of the Khalistan separatist group who was killed and has blamed India for the murder of the Khalistani leader, without giving hard evidence and simply saying that intel shared the information. Government of India is repeatedly asking for concreate proof for the accusation. Further, Government of India says that it has provided the list of Khalistan militants staying in Canada and organising movement against India but Canadian government has done nothing about this.May be that India has not sinned but sinned against.

It is a wish of everyone that Canada should remain as a peaceful country and ensuring freedom for everyone. At the same time, it should be realised by the Canadian government that liberty to do anything cannot be a personal affair but it has to be a part of social contract. Excessive and unrestricted freedom is as harmful as severely restricted freedom. In this respect, Government of Canada should realise its role and responsibility and act in a holistic manner and act keeping the long term interest and global reputation of Canada in view.

Obviously, the Canadian government should not permit any section of migrant population to organise separatist movement in other countries. If such conditions are allowed to go unchecked, the harm would be for the interest of Canada too.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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