“There has been a certain dilution of the use of the Portuguese mother tongue. Only approximately 53.7 percent (240,680) of the Portuguese in Canada declare Portuguese as their mother tongue”, stated José Carlos Teixeira.
Data from the 2021 census reveal that around 448,000 respondents declared to be of Portuguese ethnic origin.
The professor of geography at the University of British Columbia lamented that almost “half of the community does not speak Portuguese” (about 207,625), as a result of the “assimilation of the new generations”.
“The remaining 46.3 percent do not speak Portuguese, they no longer use this language. This is the result of integration, some would say that it is the result of the assimilation of the new generations”, he underlined.
That is why it is necessary "in the long term" for Portuguese immigration to Canada to increase. "The new Portuguese who will arrive here will be important for the maintenance of the Portuguese language, the Portuguese neighbourhoods themselves, the use of services, trade".
More than just football
José Carlos Teixeira, who has lived in Canada since 1978, justified that "this is a country of immigration", as he believes in the integration of all, having adopted a "policy of multiculturalism".
On the other hand, the teacher admitted to being confident in the younger generations who are “rediscovering Portugal”.
“It's not just football that connects and attracts more and more young people. It's football, it's music, it's the visits that many parents make to Portugal. Even at university, the students I have show an immense interest in Portugal. Even if it is to visit where their father or mother were born, but also to do tourism and get to know the land of their ancestors”, he highlighted.
At a time when official Portuguese immigration to Canada is marking its 70th anniversary, the second and third generations “are integrating well, not only in the labour market, but from a social and cultural point of view, they do an integral part of this complex but rich cultural mosaic that characterizes Canada”.
In 1952 Portugal and Canada, after signing a bilateral agreement, officially started diplomatic relations, which allowed the following year (May 13, 1953), the Pioneers to dock aboard the ship Saturnia, in the port of Halifax, on the east coast of Canada.
However, since the 15th century there has been a record of the Portuguese presence in the country, from the navigators João Fernandes Lavrador to Gaspar Corte Real.