Unemployed? You fail at being Canadian.

Are you currently unemployed? According to the new Canadian citizenship guidebook for prospective immigrants, over 8.6% of unemployed Canadians are not fulfilling the Canadian responsibility of having a job, which now comes with the rights of having a Canadian citizenship.

The new Canadian citizenship guidebook was unveiled last week, redefining what it means to be Canadian. After all, new Canadian immigrants are more likely to be unemployed, which must mean—according to the authors of the guidebook—that their economic difficulties are a result of their failure adopt Canadian values. In addition, the new guidebook tells prospective immigrants, “Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, “honour killings,” female genital mutilation, or other gender-based violence.”

Firstly, earlier this year, a University of British Columbia study found that resumés with English names received 40 percent more callbacks from Toronto employers than identical resumés with Chinese, Indian, or Pakistani names. Canadian employers are engaging in name-based discrimination against job applicants, which has a substantial effect on the employment rate of immigrants, since most Canadian immigrants today originate from Asia (58.3%).

Secondly, the new guidebook suggests that non-Canadians who are thinking of acquiring Canadian citizenship are more prone to barbarism compared to people who were born inside Canada. Additionally, the authors of the guidebook make special mentions of “honour killings” and “female genital mutilation” among non-Canadian prospective Canadians, which normalizes the culture of post-9/11 Islamophobia into government documents.

Most Canadians seem to believe that the post-9/11 rise in news coverage of “honour killings” and “female genital mutilation” done by Muslims reflects an increase in “Muslim fundamentalism” post 9/11. According to their worldview, after September 11th, 2001, Muslims all over the world (separated by different languages and geography) collaborated together to further incense the global anti-Muslim anger by engaging in cultural practices that offended Western sensibilities, and it has nothing to do with U.S. propaganda using Orientalism to justify the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Sadly, the new Canadian citizenship guide for immigrants reflects what most Canadians fear the most about immigrants (i.e., that they might be Muslim or Arab, and that they might be “barbaric”), not what most immigrants are (i.e., Chinese, Indian, and Filipin@, of various faiths and non-faiths, and, of course, decent people of all ethnicities and religious/non-religious identities). Like before, the federal government under Conservative leadership entrenches more xenophobic attitudes into the institutional systems of Canada.

In 2007, Hérouxville, Quebec—a small rural town where almost everyone is white, French-speaking, and Catholic—created a code of conduct for immigrants, and it was widely criticized for being ridiculous and xenophobic. The code of conduct ruled that immigrants should not stone women in public, burn them alive, burn them with acid, or circumcise them.

Back in 2007, the world rightly recognized that the Hérouxville code of conduct for immigrants was xenophobic and absurd. However, in 2009, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney unveils an eerily similar Canadian code of conduct for immigrants, and very few Canadians recognize it as the very same xenophobic absurdity on a larger scale.

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7 Responses to “Unemployed? You fail at being Canadian.”

  1. gonzalee22 Says:

    I don’t think the 8.6% unemployed Canadians have much to say about not fulfilling their citizen duty. It’s rough all over the world trying to get employed.

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  2. Woman of colour Says:

    … What if you’re currently unemployed because you were fired in retaliation for whistle-blowing against racism and sexism at my Canadian game company?

    So that’s being anti-Canadian for whistle-blowing, and then anti-Canadian for being unemployed as a result of it. Right.

  3. 1stddevHuman Says:

    The name discrimination is wrong. My sister was an investigator for a civil rights law firm. Known in the mainstream as the firm represented the black US Secret Service agents against Denny’s. Forgot the name. Anyway, she’d tell me about sting operations for housing discrimination were they’d use black vs. white names with similar qualifications.

    On the other issue, I think that the message against the crazy stuff that is in the repressive expressions of Islam should be prominent. That may piss some people off. That is weird to me. Honor killings should be rejected more than a person using the wrong term of art for an identity group. Afghan school girls getting acid thrown in their face should be rejected more than the fact a store has a Christmas tree.

  4. 1stddevHuman Says:

    Good grief, I have a lot of typos. Time for bed.

  5. Janice Says:

    I am a 16th generation catholic canadian white woman (my family was one of the first settlers here) and I have been out of work for 2 years this June. I had to leave my home city and province in New Brunsick. THere was no work at all and they cut out social assistance in that province unless you have children. I was living in the YMCA and then had to move 6 times since last april in ottawa. I came on global recession EI cheques. I only found 12 weeks work but the money was stolened with e-health. Every day I went alone to the job centre and they only help non-whites there who are newcomers. I ended up homeless on my birthday last july for 2 days. I now have an ap t but can barely pay my rent. Im on welfare. They are cutting my bus pass next month. I Worked since since I was 15 in this damn country! I am very very very angry! No one care about my situation. I grew up middle class for god’s sake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Janice Says:

    And i neglected to state I am canadian. My culture is canadian. No other race can state they are canadian as canadian is my culture………I get very offended by this as well. If one moves to india does one become I NDIAN, I think not!!

  7. Exiled Says:

    I came to Canada as a child with my family and grew up in Ontario. My parents immediately started working manual labour jobs even though they were qualified professionals. Meanwhile, I remember many people from “our community” who were content living off of welfare and child benefits and even boasting of it.

    Work and labour are essential features of our values and should be instilled in newcomers if they seem to need them. I’m not entirely sure this method will work though – tougher welfare and benefits regulations might.


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