April 03, 2008 18:24 ET
Statement by the Hon. Jason Kenney, PC, MP, Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity) on Statistics Canada 2006 Census Releases on Ethnic Origin and Visible Minorities
OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 3, 2008) - According to statistics in Canada's Ethnocultural Mosaic, 2006 Census, Canada's visible minority population has risen from 13.4 per cent in 2001 to 16.2 per cent in 2006. These figures reflect what we have known for some time: diversity is alive and well in Canada.
As Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said "Generations of immigrants from all over the world have found peace and prosperity here. They have found equality of opportunity, appreciation for differences, and openness to change."
Each wave of immigration to Canada has increased our diversity. The number of different ethnic origins reported in the most recent Census has reached 215, compared to only 25 different groups reported in the 1901 Census.
A particularly interesting statistic from the 2006 Census shows the highest ever proportion of people reporting "Canadian" as ethnic origin. Almost 10.1 million people, one-third of the total population, reported Canadian as their ethnic ancestry. In addition, more than half of those reporting have multiple origins, better illustrating the living diversity in our country.
Our government is pleased to support initiatives that preserve and promote Canadian identity. For example, we are a partner in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, a powerful symbol of this country's commitment to recognizing, promoting, and celebrating human rights. We are also supporting the Aga Khan's Global Centre for Pluralism, which will serve as a cornerstone of good governance, the rule of law, and human development in the years ahead.
The Government of Canada is also fully cognizant of the need to have policies and programs that reflect our changing population. We have revised the Multiculturalism Program to focus on promoting integration, combatting radicalization, and encouraging collaborative projects between Canadians from diverse backgrounds. In fact, our annual report to Parliament underscored this new focus with its title, Promoting Integration.
As the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity, I am proud to represent a country that embraces the many cultures of the world. Diversity is one of this country's greatest strengths. It always has been and it always will be.