TORONTO, January 22, 2003 - The Chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF), the Hon. Lincoln Alexander, said that the recent release of figures from the 2001 Census indicating the extent of immigration and ethnic diversity in Canada should provide all Canadians with a sense of pride.
''These numbers speak to the way Canadians work to ensure their country fits the image and ideals we all have of Canada. The full incorporation into Canadian society of nearly two million newcomers over the past decade is really a tremendous testament,'' said Mr. Alexander. ''This development has taken place peacefully and in a period of economic and employment growth. Let us forever rid ourselves of the notion that immigrants take away jobs. When they come, the country gets stronger. It's because we are multicultural that we have some of the world's most vibrant cities and one of the world's strongest economies.''
However, Mr. Alexander pointed out that while the country needs immigration, an increasingly diverse society needs to remain vigilant.
''Multiculturalism is not a meaningless notion or an abstract idea. We are multicultural, and the numbers prove it. However, it is easy to become complacent, and systemic discrimination continues to put up barriers to newcomers. It is essential that policies be enacted to remove these barriers in order to permit them to make a full contribution.''