Saturday, September 27, 2008

'An integral part of the national wealth'

The presence in Canada of many people whose language and culture are distinctive by reason of their birth or ancestry represents an inestimable enrichment that Canadians cannot afford to lose. The dominant cultures can only profit from the influence of these other cultures. Linguistic variety is unquestionably an advantage, and its beneficial effects on the country are priceless. Integration, with respect for both the spirit of democracy and the most deep-rooted human values, can engender healthy diversity within a harmonious and dynamic whole.

The presence of the other cultural groups in Canada is something for which all Canadians should be thankful. Their members must always enjoy the right -- a basic human one -- to safeguard their languages and cultures. The exercise of this right requires an extra effort on their part, for which their fellow Canadians owe them a debt of gratitude. Their presence facilitates communication between Canada and the rest of the world. Their cultural values find expression not only in popular traditions but also in arts and letters. In our opinion, those values are far more than ethnic differences; we consider them an integral part of the national wealth.