President’s Letter to Maclean’s Magazine

Editor, Maclean’s

Dear Sir

The article headlined ‘Too Asian’? (November 10) purports to raise questions about the composition of the student body at Canadian universities, but does so in a manner that begs the thoughtful discussion that any serious treatment of this subject would require.

Racial stereotyping is an unfortunate Canadian historical fact. It is therefore troublesome to see it emerge again under the guise of shallowly observed social trends where anecdote masquerades as analysis.

The multicultural landscape of this country is evolving; of that there is no question. When I walk on my university’s campuses, I see cultural diversity at a scale far greater than when I was a student. It is no different when I walk the streets of my city. I don’t see cohorts in ethnic uniform. I see people – people pursuing their ambitions and contributing to our society.

Canada has much to celebrate for how we have welcomed successive waves of immigrants to help advance and enrich the country. Current economic and pay statistics suggest that we are not doing as well today in integrating immigrants as we have in the past. That reality certainly demands analysis and public discussion. Comparing Canada’s enviable record to the vastly different racial history of the United States and then fretting that we may be visited with the results of that far different history is a pointless exercise, not worthy of our national magazine.

Stephen J. Toope
President and Vice-Chancellor
The University of British Columbia