Canada has become a nation of diasporas. Rather than wrapping ourselves in a common flag, we huddle in our enclaves: Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Jewish, Chinese, Black and the list goes on. Faith, color and country of origin divide the nation. Everyone is the “other,” and increasingly, the enemy. Violence and acts of hatred are multiplying in our streets.
In a country built by immigration, this is sadly not a new phenomenon. In 1878, Toronto banned the St. Patrick’s Day parade for 110 years after feuding Catholic and Protestant Irishmen turned the event into “one of the wildest nights in the city’s history.” In 1914, violent demonstrations prevented the docking in Vancouver of the Komagata Maru, a ship carrying South Asian migrants considered a threat by the local population. In 1970, Front de libération du Quebec terrorists murdered provincial cabinet minister Pierre Laporte in their fight against Anglophone dominance in Quebec.
In 2023, however, there is a new wrinkle: the importing of larger geopolitical conflicts to Canada.