Andrew Faiz

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Immigration, Multiculturalisme et diversité, Adaptation à la vie au Canada


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Andrew's family didn't want to come to Canada, but they felt it was the right thing to do. Canada create a number of unexpected "culture shocks" for Andrew, and he describes them in this clip.


My name is Andrew Faiz, and I was born in Pakistan. Came to Canada at the age of ten. It wasn’t something that my parents really wanted to do, but it was something they felt forced to do in many ways. All of our family… well, a lot of my parents’ friends had been leaving Pakistan in the mid-sixties, and they would say to my parents: “Why don’t you leave this country?” And my father particularly always said: “Why would I ever leave? I’ve got a great job. I’ve got history, culture, community, family, property. Why would I ever leave?”

And then in the late ‘60s, something happened that made my father re-think his position, and he began to work towards immigration. And the thing that happened was that he didn’t get a promotion that he had been counting on for a very long time, and there’s a back-story to this. We are Christians, and therefore represent something like three percent – or less than three percent – of the population of Pakistan. And as a Christian, my father was denied a promotion that he had expected, felt the promise of, for many years. He was, in many ways, a self-taught man, and had worked… he was a senior vice president with Pakistan Airlines. He always expected he would be one of the senior executives, if not the president of the company in due time.

When we arrived in Canada, we moved after a short while after staying with some friends. We moved to a neighbourhood that, in many ways, has become my obsession. A neighbourhood called Flemingdon Park, and Flemingdon is today a very multi-ethnic, multi-cultural neighbourhood. In the early ‘70s, when we first moved into it, it was just beginning to turn into this multi-ethnic neighbourhood. It had previously been sort of a middle-class, WASP-y neighbourhood, but a lot of the WASPs and the middle-class were moving out, but immigrants like myself were moving in.

In Canada, we suddenly land in this neighbourhood, which is incredibly multi-ethnic, and it was a very radical shift. But, again, I was just a boy. I was only ten years of age, and my siblings were eight and six at the time, so we just sort of absorbed that, and it wasn’t such a big deal. In many ways, the biggest cultural shock of my life was not coming from Pakistan to Canada. It was when I was eighteen, going from the multi-cultural world of Flemingdon Park, and the schools and the environment there, to a very white-washed world of Victoria College at the University of Toronto. That was my huge cultural shock, because I suddenly went from this new Canada – this futuristic Canada, Flemingdon – to this old, ancient Canada of Victoria College.