Breaking down why that Vancouver Sun op-ed is racist in its first two paragraphs

The Vancouver Sun published an op-ed by Martin Collacott titled “Opinion: Canada replacing its population a case of wilful ignorance, greed, excess political correctness.” It is, explicitly, racist.

Here’s a couple ways this is displayed within the first few paragraphs.

1. The headline photo

Here’s the image used to illustrate a piece arguing Canada is replacing its population with people whose “values and traditions that may differ in key respects from those of most Canadians.”

Here is the image caption:

This is a bunch of people who came together to celebrate Canada. Look closer and you see people with Canadian flags painted on their face and maple leaves on their shirts. But… they aren’t white, and so they are used to illustrate a piece that is ostensibly about the erosion of Canadian values, as if the mere act of not having white skin precludes you from being fully Canadian even if you quite literally wear your patriotism on your face.

2. It uses “visible minority” as a synonym for“non-Canadian”

Here is the opening paragraph:

“According to University of London professor Eric Kaufmann, almost seven out of 10 Vancouver residents will be ‘visible minorities’ within two generations and 80 per cent of the Canadian population (compared to 20 per cent today) will be non-white in less than century.”

Wait, sorry, what? I thought we were reading an article about Canada replacing its population? Why are we talking about visible minorities? There have been visible minorities in Canada since before it was Canada. The first Governor of British Columbia was a visible minority. And yet Collacott immediately raises the spectre of a world in which there are more non-white people as somehow non-Canadian.

Paragraph two:

“Kaufmann notes that, with its continuing high immigration intake and the fact that four out of five newcomers are visible minorities, Canada is undergoing the fastest rate of ethnic change of any country in the Western world.”

So are we talking about ethnic change or population change? Because, again, you can be non-white and a Canadian with deep roots in Canada.

Also, as an aside, we should go back to paragraph one and note that we are talking about two generations from now, as if two generations isn’t enough time for people to become sufficiently Canadian despite many walking examples to the contrary.


I’ve had to re-read these first two paragraphs many times because I cannot quite believe they were printed in a major, mainstream Canadian newspaper (one with many good reporters and whose work does not deserve to be judged based on the decision someone else made to print this editorial).

There are different opinions to be had on immigration itself but that is not what’s discussed in the opening lines of this piece. Instead, non-white is used interchangeably with non-Canadian and people explicitly celebrating Canada- people who could well have roots dating back generations- are used to illustrate “replacement populations”.

And that is racist, plain and simple.