He was leaving with a smile on his lips. Matthew Loken, Minister Counsellor of the Canadian Ambassy for the Political and Economic Affairs and Public Diplomacy who visited our project for the fourth time in a row. This visit was the last one, though. After four years in Prague he is moving back to Canada.
“I really like to come back to the Prague Student Summit. There is a great atmosphere and I always get great questions.” Nothing changed about that this Season – Mr Loken had a lecture about multiculturalism in Canada for the participants of the Model NATO.
Canada welcomes refugees
“Our country is the country of immigration,” stated Mr Loken at the beginning of his lecture. “At first they were Francophone and Anglophone immigrants, later – for example in the years 1948 and 1968 – Czech refugees and now they are people from Asia, Africa or elsewhere. Besides immigrants we also accept refugees – since November 2015 to the end of February 2016 Canada has committed to accepting 25 000 Syrian refugees. Their acceptance in Canada is mostly very warm. We have managed these waves a couple of times before, therefore I have no doubts whether we can make it now,” he mentioned.
Even the Canadian Prime Minister talks frequently about how it is an advantageous for Canadian economy and the whole society to be so diverse (in ethnicity, religion or race) because it strengthens international competitiveness of the country.
What happens to the refugees after they arrive?
Acceptance of the Syrian refugees to Canada is hardly a simple process. “We send our people to refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan where screening interview take place,” explains the Minister Counsellor. Canada accepts preferably families, married couples and people of sexual minorities. What happens with them after they arrive? After the first examination they are transferred to particular places all over the country where they start to build new life. They get an immediate support for basic needs and a long term integration support in order for them to integrate with the Canadian society. This is how Canadian multiculturalism in practice looks like.