Critics of Canada's immigration policies have taken to using the term "European Canadians" to describe more than 20 million residents who trace their roots back to a multitude of countries.
Europe extends from the Ural and Caucasus moutain ranges in the east to the Iberian peninsula in the southwest and to Iceland in the northwest.
It includes 50 nations, including some that straddle the boundary with Asia, such as Turkey, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Azerbaijan. The population of this continent is a staggering 750 million.
The term "European Canadian" implies there's a commonality and a bond between those who trace their ancestry to Ukraine, Portugal, Greece, Finland, Germany, Romania, Turkey, Switzerland, Estonia, and England, to name just 10 of those countries.
There's even a Council of European Canadians that's been formed to promote "Canada's European heritage".
In reality, this term is a form of reductionism that has the effect of downplaying the multitude of differences between these 20 million-plus residents. These differences can encompass such things as their class, educational level, socioeconomic status, occupation, religion, number of generations in Canada, sexual orientation, urban versus rural dweller, political perspective, home province, hobbies, age, gender, or family status.
When you consider all these variables, it's likely that lots of "European Canadians" have far more in common with "Asian Canadians" or "South American Canadians" or "Israeli Canadians" in their own communities than they do with many of their fellow "European Canadians" in other parts of the country.
It's worth keeping in mind as Vancouver prepares for what could be an ugly showdown on Saturday (August 19) between white nationalists and diversity advocates at Vancouver City Hall.