The reality is that Canadians talk about multiculturalism but don't
practise it. That does not mean we don't embrace diversity. Both Canada
and the United States, because of high levels of immigration, are
diverse societies, but diversity and multiculturalism are not synonyms.
Diversity encompasses a variety of characteristics that differentiate
people, including dress, culinary and musical styles. An example is
Toronto's hugely successful Caribana festival. Such events are hardly
unique to Canada; several major U.S. cities have Caribbean festivals
Diversity is not divisive in secular democracies that respect individual freedom, such as Canada and the United States. On the other hand, culture is not just about superficial differences but also about core values. The people who were attending cock fights in Cloverdale simply don't understand our tender feelings toward animals. This is a difference in values and there is no room for compromise.
The notion that Canada is a mosaic while the United States is a melting pot does not survive scrutiny. In 1994, a study by two University of Toronto sociologists, Jeffrey Reitz and Raymond Breton, found that language retention of third-generation immigrants was less than 1 per cent in both countries. This was significant. One would expect foreign languages to dissolve into the American melting pot. But Canada is supposed to be a mosaic: a set of separate and distinct cultural entities. If it really were a mosaic, ancestral languages would survive through the generations. But they don't, because the offspring of immigrants are quickly absorbed into the dominant language milieux of North America.