Immigrants essential, says Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

By Jan Dean

Naheed Nenshi became the poster boy for diversity and successful immigration/integration in Canada when he was elected the mayor of Calgary a year ago.

Although his ethnicity and Muslim religion triggered international curiosity, that issue hardly came up during the campaign, he told attendees of a Mississauga Board of Trade (MBOT) breakfast event this morning. He said his single status was raised a lot more.

Nenshi did 34 interviews with national and international media the day after his election about his ethnicity and religion, and he did them because he believed it was important to showcase how successful multiculturalism has become in Canada, especially at a time when political leaders in Britain, Germany and France had all gone on record suggesting that multiculturalism was a failure in their countries.

What makes it work in Calgary, he said, is that the city is a meritocracy where the focus is on what you bring to the table and how hard you’re prepared to work — not where you came from or where you worship.

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