(Likewise, the Canadian comedy circuit, it must be noted, as proved a fertile stomping ground for future Saturday Night Life alumni such as Dan Ackroyd and Martin Short, amongst others.)
Australia remains condemned by the international community for its treatment of its native populace, again, another irony in a nation founded by cast-off English convicts, condemned by their own people -- who now condemn others, so it is alleged. However, recently, the Australian government issued a report stating "Australia's Indigenous people and their culture have made and continue to make a unique contribution to this country. Their contribution together with the significant contributions of the early settlers and more recent migrants has helped build the nation we belong to today." (New Agenda for a Multicultural Australia, 2003) it has renewed its efforts to better integrate aboriginal life into a livable national community, without outright assimilation.
The similarly of culture has provoked trade conflict between the United States and Canada, however, as many filmmakers sought to use Toronto as a 'cheap' version of New York, to much controversy. But much of the current cultural conflicts with Canada, and between Canada's neighbors have involved differences of culture, rather than similarities. For instance, the health Toronto's burgeoning Asian population caused widespread panic in the American financial district during the SARS epidemic, as many of New York's traders often traveled to Canada or used Toronto as a hub before hopping off to do business in Hong Kong.
Within these nation's borders, there has been a great deal of conflict as to how to create a society that is tolerant of local populations, yet is still modern. While, Australia's native aboriginal population has raised international cries, demanding their full basis of rights, Canada has had to accommodate the cultural needs of native populations across "five broad cultural regions, defined by common climatic, geographical and ecological characteristics. Each region gave rise to distinctive building forms that "reflected these conditions, as well as the available building materials, means of livelihood, and social and spiritual values of the resident peoples." (Kalman & Mills, "Native Architecture," the Canadian Encyclopedia, 2004)
Thus, Canada and Australia presents some particular problems for the social historian, since it is such a complex mosaic of ethnic groups, cultures, traditions and institutions. In Canada's history the French and English cultural backgrounds made themselves felt in political institutions, in the "established" Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and in elite cultural activities; but at the popular level of entertainment, architectural styles, marriage customs, etc., the social forms and institutions have come from the United States, Ireland, Ukraine and elsewhere. (Cross, "Social History," the Canadian Encyclopedia, 2004)
Canada, officially, is a mosaic rather than a melting-pot culture, and a stroll through a Canadian Chinatown will yield sign after sign only in Chinese characters.
This mosaic like culture was originally designed to accommodate the French-speaking populace of the land, but has since by necessity expanded to accommodate all imported cultures, including the dominant Asian populations that had concentrated in Canadian cities. "Once imported, these diverse forms have sunk roots into the different regions of Canada, there to develop in ways that have been sometimes markedly, sometimes subtly, different." (Cross, "Social History," the Canadian Encyclopedia, 2004)
Both nations have grown increasingly urban in nature, and concentrated in cities, where jobs tend to be more plentiful. With 43% of the population born overseas or with at least one parent born overseas, Australia remains most cosmopolitan populations in the world, with Canada a close second, supplemented by its linguistic diversity. Yet while both nations, in the spirit of multiculturalism celebrate their traditions, recognizing that our culture is vibrant, multifaceted, living and constantly evolving, and have sought to accommodate immigrant populations form the Pacific rim who bring Buddhism, Shinto, and other foreign faiths, the negotiation of past and present between these two nations still remains tenuous at best.
Australia Year Book 2003. Published by the Australia Tourist Council, 2003.
Cross, Michael. "Social history." Canadian Encyclopedia 2004.
Sanderson, Marie. "Climate." The Canadian Encyclopedia 2004.