New Canadians, representing many lands and widely separated sections of Old Europe, have contributed to the Prairie Provinces a variety in the way of Church Architecture. Cupolas and domes distinctly Eastern, almost Turkish, startle one above the tops of Manitoba maples or the bush of the river banks. These architectural figures of the landscape, apart altogether of their religious significance, are centers where, crossing the threshold on Sundays, one has the opportunity of hearing Swedish music, or the rich, deep chanting of the Russian responses; and of viewing at close hand the artistry that goes to make up the interior appointments of these churches transplanted from the East to the West…It is indeed a mosaic of vast dimensions and great breadth, essayed of the Prairie.
Another early use of the term mosaic to refer to Canadian society was by John Murray Gibbon , in his book Canadian Mosaic.
Gibbon clearly disapproved of the American melting-pot concept. He saw the melting pot as a process by which immigrants and their descendants were encouraged to cut off ties with their countries and cultures of origin so as to assimilate into the American way of life. Porter's book showed that some groups e. For example, groups of eastern and southern European origin tended to fare less well by these measures. The worst off were the First Nations and Inuit. Porter saw this vertical arrangement as being related to power and influence in decision-making. Thus those of British origin tended to be overrepresented among the elites in government , economic and political spheres.
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For example, the economic disparity between ethnic groups has narrowed somewhat and Francophones are better represented in politics and government. However, the socio-economic elites in Canada remain dominated by people of British origin. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Canada has been one of the world's major immigrant-receiving societies. Until the s immigrants were expected to assimilate into the mainstream society. Arriving as it did at during a time of social upheaval, Porter's work had a marked influence on Canadian social policy.
The making of the mosaic : a history of Canadian immigration policy /
The view of Canada as a mosaic of cultures became the basis for the Trudeau government's multiculturalism policies in the early s. The Canadian government established the Official Multiculturalism Act in and appointed a minister responsible for multiculturalism in The "cultural mosaic" theory is not without critics.
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