In order to clear up matters a little, I would like to show how multiculturalism as a social policy is defined in Canada and Australia. Contrary to Finland, both counties have been strongly influenced by immigration.
ADDITION (March 1, 2010): If there were a list of countries with liberal and conservative policies on immigration, Finland would end up at the bottom-end of the latter group. It has not only been in immigration policy (or the lack of it/Finland got its first immigration act in 1983!) but in its view of foreign investment (see Restricting Act of 1939, which was in force until 1992!).
What is incredible to note, and taking into account the ever-higher number of pensioners and thus a threat to our economic wellbeing, NO political party in Finland has an official immigration policy. This is, in my opinion, incredible taking into account the demographic threats that will either make or break us economically this decade.
Even though Finland is not officially a multicultural nation, its constitution and laws encourage the same values but not as passionately. In the Finnish Constitution and Equality Act there are, for example, no mention of the term “multicultural society.”
Moreover, in these countries I am certain that people do not go around describing their societies as multicultural every chance they get. However, it is kind of interesting that we in Finland, which has a very small foreign population, use this term liberally.
The concept of Canada as a “multicultural society” can be interpreted in different ways: descriptively (as a sociological fact), prescriptively (as ideology), from a political perspective (as policy), or as a set of intergroup dynamics (as process).
As fact, “multiculturalism” in Canada refers to the presence and persistence of diverse racial and ethnic minorities who define themselves as different and who wish to remain so. Ideologically, multiculturalism consists of a relatively coherent set of ideas and ideals pertaining to the celebration of Canada’s cultural diversity. Multiculturalism at the policy level is structured around the management of diversity through formal initiatives in the federal, provincial and municipal domains. Finally, multiculturalism is the process by which racial and ethnic minorities compete to obtain support from central authorities for the achievement of certain goals and aspirations.
This study focuses on an analysis of Canadian multiculturalism both as a demographic reality and as a public policy.
‘Multicultural’ is a term that describes the cultural and linguistic diversity of Australian society. Cultural and linguistic diversity was a feature of life for the first Australians, well before European settlement. It remains a feature of modern Australian life, and it continues to give us distinct social, cultural and business advantages.
The Australian Government’s multicultural policy addresses the consequences of this diversity in the interests of the individual and society as a whole. It recognises, accepts, respects and celebrates our cultural diversity.
The freedom of all Australians to express and share their cultural values is dependent on their abiding by mutual civic obligations. All Australians are expected to have an overriding loyalty to Australia and its people, and to respect the basic structures and principles underwriting our democratic society. These are: the Constitution, parliamentary democracy, freedom of speech and religion, English as the national language, the rule of law, acceptance and equality.