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Minorities and the Media; Latvians in Canada
|1.||The Ethnic Composition of Population in Canada||3|
|2.||The Minority in Canada – Latvians||4|
|2.1.||How long do they live on the territory of the given state?||4|
|2.2.||Do they preserve their own language, culture and religion?||4|
|2.6.||Role and place defined for Latvians by the host state – Canada||7|
|2.7.||Are they part of my nation?||7|
|3.||Strategies of acculturation prevailing among Latvian minority in Canada. Official measures on the support of the minorities||8|
|4.||What media serve the Latvian minority interests in Canada?||9|
1. The Ethnic Composition of Population in Canada
Canada is a multicultural society whose ethno-cultural composition has been shaped over the time by different waves of immigrants and their descendents. Each new wave of immigrants has added to its diversity, therefore, the diverse population is now one of the distinctive features of Canadian society. Of course, not all parts of Canada have the same population mix. In the 2001 census more than 30% of Canadians reported an origin other than British or French, which are supposedly the biggest “other” ethnical groups in Canada. This number might have increased due to the time frame of the statistics.
After the British, French and Canadian group together (approx.46%), the next largest proportion of Canada’s population comprise the descendants of other Europeans (approx. 19%). This group includes Italians, Germans, Dutch, Portuguese, Ukrainians, Polish, Latvians and others.
People of non-European descent account approximately for 13% of population. The most frequent origins are Chinese and East Indian, Filipino and Vietnamese. This group includes also Punjabis, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and others. (Non-Europeans have origins in such places as Asia, Africa, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Australia and Oceania).
A portrait of population also varies of generations living in Canada.
The minority that is going to be discussed in this paper is Latvians. This minority group, as mentioned above falls under the division of Europeans in Canada. Latvians in Canada have received very little attention mainly because they are numerically a small group: there were only 20,445 people claiming sole or mixed Latvian ethnic origin in 1991. While this total surpassed that of certain other groups who have been studied by scholars, Latvians have not attracted much academic interest, perhaps because they have not displayed any unusual or unique social, demographic, or cultural traits. As well, Latvians are comparatively recent arrivals without a long or eventful immigration and settlement history in Canada, but looking closer at this minority group from its “homeland” perspective might be interesting, because the Latvian community in Canada constitutes one of the largest and most influential Latvian communities outside of Latvia.
2. The Minority in Canada – Latvians
2.1. How long do they live on the territory of the given state?
Latvian immigrants were registered as a distinct group in Canada approximately from 1921 on, and 409 arrived between 1921 and 1945, but some Latvians may have come to Canada from the United States or left the country after a few years.
Later, there were Latvians who came to Canada after World War II. These post-1945 immigrants followed a different pattern. In 1961 Ontario accounted for over 70 percent of Latvians and Quebec for over 10 percent. The Prairie Provinces had also received new Latvian settlers, but their share had decreased to 11 percent.
By 1991 two-thirds of the 20,445 persons claiming Latvian ethnic roots resided in Ontario, 14 percent in the Prairie Provinces, 12 percent in British Columbia, 5.9 percent in Quebec, and 1.8 percent in the Atlantic region. Further, there has been other wave of migration around 90’s. Metropolitan Toronto had over 7,700 Latvians in 1991, or 38 percent of Canada’s total, and is the base for most Latvian-Canadian organizations. In addition, 3,000 Latvians live within 120 miles of Toronto, in Niagara Falls, St Catharine’s, Hamilton, London, Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, and Oshawa. Such a demographic and cultural dispersion has created strains within Latvian communities further from Toronto, which sometimes feel neglected by Toronto-based central organizations. In 1991 Vancouver had the second-largest concentration of Latvians (1,425), followed by Hamilton (1,130) and Montreal (1,010). Montreal experienced a 39 percent reduction of Latvians between 1961 and 1991, buffered somewhat by the fact that Montreal activists have been able to cooperate with Latvians in the Ottawa-Hull area, whose population doubled from 364 in 1961 to 745 in 1991.
There have never been Latvian districts in any Canadian city. Latvians are sociable but prefer to make independent choices of residence, except in cottage areas, where many Latvians have clustered. As already mentioned before, Latvians are comparatively recent arrivals without a long or eventful immigration and settlement history in Canada.
2.2. Do they preserve their own language, culture and religion?
Latvian Canadians have strong sense of community and they have been integrating a lot into the society in a sense, that they have integrated into education acquiring aspects, which, later used to maintain their own community abilities to gather people of Latvian nationality. This is in order to attract more young people and maintain language and cultural issues.
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