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In the early 1970s, concerned Canadians, government officials, and the mainstream press responded to the Canadian government’s implementation of an official policy of multiculturalism with expressions of support, concern, suspicion, and opposition. Meanwhile, the issues connected to multiculturalism that were published in the press ranged from national unity, Indigenous and ethnocultural representation in politics, the values of multiculturalism versus the ‘melting pot,’ and the place of ethnocultural identity in Canada.

This article is the result of an exploration of the Museum’s oral history collection to answer the question: why do some French-speaking people decide to settle in a majority English-speaking area? The reasons can be complex, but language is one major “pull” factor. Video clips from interviews with Ben Maréga, Saïda Ouchaou-Ozarowski, and Quitterie Hervouet help us understand how language influenced their decisions to live in Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Toronto.

In February 1998, widespread ethnic tensions led to an outbreak of armed conflict between the forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Some 350,000 Kosovars fled to neighbouring countries in search of safe haven. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) appealed to the international community to provide these refugees with temporary protection until they could return home. In 1999, over 7,000 Kosovar refugees arrived in Canada.

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