Andrew Coyne: Why does Andrew Scheer find it so difficult to say the right thing?

Coyne nails it:

Hours later, Andrew Scheer said the things he should have said the first time.

Responding to the horrific massacre of Muslims at prayer in New Zealand, the Conservative leader issued a statement Friday afternoon expressing his “profound condemnation of this cowardly and hateful attack on the Muslim community” along with “the type of extreme and vile hatred that motivated this despicable act of evil.” He added: “To the Muslim community around the world and here at home in Canada, we stand with you.”

It was spot on: straightforward, fitting and right. It was also about 15 hours too late, coming as it did only after Scheer had come under intense criticism for the inadequacy of his first response, which spoke vaguely of an attack on “freedom” and unspecified “worshippers.” The appositeness of the second only highlighted the strange, withholding coldness of the first.

We cannot know exactly what explains that initial, catastrophic choice of words. But neither is Scheer automatically entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Politicians are in the business of being politic, of saying the right thing at the right time, and nothing goes out over their name without a great deal of thought, not to say calculation.

Other party leaders managed to name the victims — Muslims — and the beliefs — white supremacism, Islamophobia, the familiar, toxic mix of racism, xenophobia and hatred that so often finds Muslims as its target — involved in what was self-evidently an act of terrorism. Why on earth couldn’t Scheer?

The suspicion that this was no accident is not unreasonable, given Scheer’s past statements and actions. Perhaps he truly did not hear the questioner at a recent town hall who invoked “pizzagate,” the lunatic conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton was connected to a child sex ring supposedly operating out of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria.

But nothing required him to speak at last month’s “United We Roll” rally on Parliament Hill, whose stated purpose — to protest federal environmental policies on behalf of unemployed workers in the oil industry — may have been legitimate, but which had clearly been infiltrated by anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant elements. At the very least, he might have taken the opportunity of his appearance to denounce these views. He did not.

Just as disturbing was Scheer’s recent endorsement of conspiracy-minded interpretations of a United Nations document called the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, an unenforceable statement of good intentions with regard to the handling of immigrants and refugees to which most of the world’s nations agreed last year.

This, on top of his party’s unceasing alarmism on the subject of the asylum seekers entering Canada illegally via our southern border — a legitimate issue, to be sure, and one on which the government may deserve criticism, but nothing like the existential “crisis” of so much Conservative rhetoric.

And before that there was the hysteria over M-103, a non-binding motion — not a bill — condemning Islamophobia that was somehow elevated, via the panic mills of the populist right, into an assault on freedom of speech worthy of a police state. The motion passed two years ago. Not one person has since been carted off for criticizing Islam or faced sanctions of any kind because of M-103.

And before that there was the gratuitous ban on face-coverings at citizenship ceremonies. And the “barbaric practices” snitch line. The federal Conservatives are not by any means the only party to pander to racial and religious intolerance — Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals won an election in Ontario in 2007 on a coded anti-Muslim fear campaign, while the government of Quebec’s baiting of the province’s religious minorities enjoys near all-party support — but they are surely the most consistent. Or were, until Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party came along.

And it seems to be growing worse: as xenophobic and anti-Muslim rhetoric is normalized by repetition on social media and other online sites — most notoriously The Rebel — so a certain section of the public has been radicalized, persuaded that only “globalists” and other elites could oppose such disgraceful sentiments. Exploiting public fears of immigrants and minorities has a long and dishonourable tradition in this country. But exactly what kind of voter did Scheer worry would be put off by explicitly naming the sole victims and declared targets of a mass murderer?

That all of this is happening in the wake of the 2017 murders at a Quebec City mosque — the New Zealand attacker cited it as a model — makes this winking indulgence of the worst elements of the populist right particularly reprehensible.

Obviously neither Scheer nor The Rebel is responsible, in themselves, for the actions of terrorists. But they can be held to account for their part in creating the climate of opinion in which extremists flourish and madmen find inspiration. After Christchurch, after Quebec City, after Brevik and other atrocities, this is hardly a theoretical concern.

None of this is to justify further limits on free speech: we lack the kind of certainty about cause and effect that would even begin to make a case for legal restrictions, and we know from long experience how such laws can be abused. But all of us are morally responsible for the things we say, or do not say. Each of us is part of a moral order it is our duty to sustain — political leaders most of all.

This isn’t about censorship, or political correctness. It’s about judgment, and choices. Scheer has been too eager to appease, or too afraid to offend, a section of opinion that is at best filled with fear and at worst filled with hate. Now would be a good time for him to stop.

Source: Andrew Coyne: Why does Andrew Scheer find it so difficult to say the right thing?

Our Brother, Our Executioner

Good commentary by Aziz:

Whenever someone used to ask me if I was Muslim, I often gave an evasive answer, something like, “I was born Muslim” or “My parents are Muslim.”

It was a strange way to phrase it. I told myself that the purpose of this hairsplitting was intellectual clarity, despite the fact that I had attended a mosque my entire childhood, that I had read the Quran in both Arabic and English, and that I felt personally connected to the history of Islam. Perhaps this was the natural recourse for someone who came of age after 9/11 and was taught to retreat into invisibility because of the dangers of being Muslim. I knew, in my heart, that I was drawing the distinction only to appear safer to white people, to show that I was one of the good ones, worthy of belonging.

This was not just respectability politics: It was an act of self-erasure.

On Friday, nearly 50 of my fellow Muslims were massacred in cold blood in New Zealand. Not murdered but lynched, their deaths live-streamed to the sound of laughter. I long ago ceased to feel shocked at the violence directed against my community. But the heartbreak still comes.

The killer knew which day to pick. Friday is the Islamic Sabbath, when Muslims gather in the mosque to bow their heads in devotion to the divine. As they prayed, they might have been thinking about their children at school or what to make for dinner, unaware that soon their loved ones would be washing their bodies in accordance with Islamic tradition, preparing for the funeral prayer, the only one in Islam that has no Athan, or call to prayer, because the Athan was recited into their ears when they were born. When these Muslims saw the white stranger enter the mosque, they would have had the Islamic greeting on their tongues: “Assalamu alaikum.” Peace be upon you.

We know from the terrorist’s recording that one of his first victims welcomed him with the words “Hello, brother.” Muslims have long been depicted as an uncivilized, warlike people, but the opposite is true. We want to belong, to be good neighbors, to call the white man who enters our place of worship our brother. Instead he turned out to be our executioner.

The Muslims at the two New Zealand mosques were liquidated not just by a man filled with hatred, but by the ideas that he clung to, ideas about racial superiority and who his country belonged to. This was true in Quebec, when Muslims were gunned down in their mosque in 2017. It was true in Pittsburgh, when Jews who had been helping Muslim refugees were murdered in their synagogue in 2018. It was true in Norway, when 77 people were killed by a white bigot. It was true in Charleston, when black churchgoers were mowed down by another radicalized white man. A pathology of hatred has spread around the world, and it has put all our lives at risk.

Islamophobia is not a fringe problem: It is embedded in much of Western society. For over two decades now — the span of an entire generation — the whole Muslim community has been forced to accept collective guilt and punishment for every act of terror or violence committed by one of its members. Never would, or should, this standard be applied to white people, who seem to have kept the privilege of individual differentiation for themselves.

This is what those who are suspicious of Muslims cannot grasp: that the definition of racism is an inability to discriminate between the old man with the skullcap and beard before you and the suicide-bomber you saw on TV.

And yet people with millions of online followers have been incessantly preaching that Islamophobia is not the problem; Islam is. The Canadian intellectual Jordan Peterson has said that Islamophobia is a “word created by fascists.” The neuroscientist Sam Harris called it an “intellectual blood libel” that serves only to shield Islam from criticism. After I wrote a series of articles critical of Mr. Harris, a young white man from California emailed me to tell me he carried a gun — what kind did I carry? he asked.

If Islam is the problem, perhaps we should keep an eye on these Muslims. Send patrols into their neighborhoods. Make them prove that they are not terrorists. Ban them, as President Trump wanted. Ideas are not harmless: They are taken seriously by thousands of people. If only one person applies these deranged ideas about the other to the real world, we get a mass-murder like the one we just witnessed.

I greet a neighbor; he smiles and wishes me a good day. How do I know that once he turns on his computer, he isn’t pumping himself full of hatred of me and my people, raging in the dark cesspools of the web, venting his frustration that we even exist, and how dare we try and belong? Racism begins with ideas. It ends with violence.

When I saw the news from New Zealand, and thought of the number of times I have erased my Muslim identity, I shook with anger. When I thought of the number of times I have let casual racism toward Muslims slide, so not to come off as threatening, I shuddered in anguish. There was a time when I was ashamed of my religion, ashamed of my heritage. Now I am ashamed only of having once felt this way.

“If one is attacked as a Jew,” Hannah Arendt wrote, “one must defend oneself as a Jew.” When you are attacked as a Muslim, you must respond as a Muslim. And today, we are all Muslims — all of us who are committed to the light of our civilization, to peace, to saving our society from the primitive barbarism of such poisoned, inadequate minds.

Omer Aziz is the author of the forthcoming “Brown Boy: A Story of Race, Religion, and Inheritance.”

Global Opinions of Immigrants | Pew Research Center

On a more cheery note, the latest Pew Research:

Majorities of publics in top migrant destination countries say immigrants strengthen their countries, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey of 18 countries that host half of the world’s migrants.

In 10 of the countries surveyed, majorities view immigrants as a strength rather than a burden. Among them are some of the largest migrant receiving countries in the world: the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Canada and Australia (each hosting more than 7 million immigrants in 2017).

By contrast, majorities in five countries surveyed – Hungary, Greece, South Africa, Russia and Israel – see immigrants as a burden to their countries. With the exception of Russia, these countries each have fewer than 5 million immigrants.

Meanwhile, public opinion on the impact of immigrants is divided in the Netherlands. In Italy and Poland, more say immigrants are a burden, while substantial shares in these countries do not lean one way or the other (31% and 20% respectively).

Countries surveyed hold half of the world’s migrants

Table showing the 2017 size of immigrant populations in the countries included in Pew Research Center's survey. The 18 nations surveyed contain more than half (51%) of the world’s migrant population, or some 127 million people, according to United Nations and U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

Countries with some of the world’s largest immigrant populations were surveyed, including more traditional destinations like the United States, Canada and Australia that have seen waves of immigrants arrive since at least the 19th century. Also surveyed were more recent destination countries in the European Union such as Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Greece, all of which experienced immigration waves after World War II.

Japan and Israel were also surveyed. Japan is making efforts to attract more migrants due to its aging population. Israel has been a destination for immigrants since it enacted its 1950 Law of Return for Jewish people worldwide. Russia was surveyed since it has one of the world’s largest foreign-born populations. At the same time, South Africa continues to be a top destination country for many Africans.

Also included in the survey were some newer destinations. Mexico, for example, has become an increasingly important destination and transit country for migrants fleeing violence from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Similarly, Hungary became an important transit country for migrants entering Europe during the refugee surgethat peaked in 2015. And although Poland for many years was a country of emigration, it has seen a recent wave of immigrants from Eastern Europe.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are top immigrant destinations that were not surveyed. Pew Research Center does not have a history of conducting surveys in these countries.

Table showing that views on the impact of immigrants in Europe have shifted since 2014.In the U.S., the nation with the world’s largest number of immigrants, six-in-ten adults (59%) say immigrants make the country stronger because of their work and talents, while one-third (34%) say immigrants are a burden because they take jobs and social benefits. Views about immigrants have shifted in the U.S. since the 1990s, when most Americans said immigrants were a burden to the country.

Meanwhile, in six European Union countries surveyed, public opinion about the impact of immigrants has changed since 2014. That was the last time the Center asked European publics this question. It was also before hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers arrived on Europe’s shores in 2015. In Greece, Germany and Italy, three countries that experienced high volumes of arrivals, the share of adults saying immigrants make their countries stronger dropped significantly.

Chart showing that immigrants are viewed more favorably among those on the ideological left in the 18 countries included in the survey.By contrast, public opinion shifted in the opposite direction in France, the UK and Spain, countries surveyed that received fewer asylum seekers in 2015. In all three countries in 2018, majorities said immigrants made their countries stronger, up from about half who said the same in 2014.1

While majorities in many of the 18 countries surveyed see immigrants as a strength, this opinion is not equally shared across all groups within countries. In most countries surveyed, those on the left of the ideological spectrum are more positive about immigration’s impact on their country than those on the right. Similarly, in many countries surveyed, those with higher levels of education, younger adults, and those with higher incomes are more likely to say immigrants make their countries stronger because of their work and talents. (See Appendix B for group breakdowns.)

Also, in all countries surveyed, those saying they want fewer immigrants arriving in their countries are less likely to view immigrants as making their countries stronger.

Publics split on immigrants’ willingness to adopt their societies’ customs and way of life

Chart showing that views on immigrants’ willingness to integrate are mixed across the 18 countries included in the survey.Attitudes are mixed on immigrants’ willingness to adopt the destination country’s customs or wanting to be distinct from its society. A median of 49% among countries surveyed say immigrants want to be distinct from the host country’s society, while a median of 45% say immigrants want to adopt the host country’s customs and way of life.

In six destination countries – Japan, Mexico, South Africa, the U.S., France and Sweden – publics are more likely to say immigrants want to adopt the host country’s customs and way of life than say immigrants want to be distinct.

Japan is an outlier: A large majority of the public (75%) says immigrants want to adopt the country’s customs and way of life. This country, whose aging population and low birth rate make immigration relevant for its population growth, has recently changed its policies to attract more foreigners. Views about immigrant integration in Japan could be linked to the low number of immigrantsthe country hosts and that many immigrants in Japan are ethnically Japanese.

By contrast, in eight destination countries – Hungary, Russia, Greece, Italy, Germany, Poland, Israel and Australia – more people say immigrants want to be distinct than say they are willing to adopt the host country’s customs. Majorities hold this view in Hungary, Russia, Greece, Italy and Germany. In addition, sizable shares of people in most of these countries refused to choose one option or the other when asked this question.

In many countries surveyed, younger adults, those with higher levels of education and those on the left of the political spectrum are generally more likely to say immigrants are adopting the country’s customs and way of life (see Appendix B for group breakdowns).

Publics are less concerned about immigrant crime than the risk they pose for terrorism

In recent years, security concerns about immigration have become part of the public debate in many countries. Some of these concerns are about crime and immigration, while others are about terrorism and immigration.

Chart showing that in many of the 18 countries included in the survey, half or more of the public say immigrants are no more to blame for crime than other groups.Immigrants and crime

In several immigrant destination countries, large majorities say immigrants are notmore to blame for crime than other groups. This is the case in Canada, the U.S., France and the UK. Among other countries surveyed, only in South Africa, Sweden and Greece do majorities believe that immigrants are more to blame for crime than other groups.

In the Netherlands, Japan, Israel and Germany, opinions are split on the impact of immigrants on crime. In four other countries where views were mixed, substantial shares refused to choose either of the two statements offered – Italy (26%), Hungary (17%), Poland (15%) and Russia (14%).

In countries where majorities see immigrants as a strength, majorities also tend to say immigrants are not more to blame for crime. Notable exceptions are Germany and Sweden, where majorities say that immigrants strengthen their countries, but pluralities of adults say that immigrants carry more responsibility for crime.

Chart showing that majorities in many European migrant destinations think immigrants increase risk of terrorism.Immigrants and terrorism

Publics across top migrant destination countries are split on whether or not immigrants increase the risk of terrorism in their countries.

In seven countries, majorities believe immigrants do not increase the risk of terrorism in the host country. These include all surveyed countries in North America (Mexico, Canada and the U.S.), as well as South Africa and Japan. Publics in France and Spain, two European countries that were not at the center of the 2015 refugee crisis, also hold this view.

By contrast, majorities in seven European nations – Hungary, Greece, Italy, Sweden, Russia, Germany and the Netherlands – believe immigrants increase the risk of terrorism in their countries.

Views on the topic are divided in the UK, Australia and Israel. In Poland, half (52%) of the public says immigrants increase the risk of terrorism, while 28% say they do notincrease the risk of terrorism. But a substantial share in Poland (19%) also refused to respond one way or the other.

Majorities in many countries think immigrants in the country illegally should be deported

Chart showing that half or more of the public in several countries included in the survey support deporting immigrants living in their country illegally.Majorities in most immigrant destination countries surveyed support the deportation of people who are in their countries illegally.

In seven of the 10 EU countries surveyed, majorities support the deportation of immigrants living in their country illegally. In 2007, between 1.7 million and 3.2 million unauthorized, or irregular, migrants were estimated to be living in the 10 EU countries surveyed. The number of asylum seeker applications has increased following the 2015 refugee surge. Since then, the number of rejected asylum applications has increased substantially. Many of these rejected asylum seekers may continue to reside illegally in Europe.

Similarly, majorities in Russia, South Africa, Australia and Japan also support deporting immigrants living in those countries illegally.

Chart showing that more people on the ideological right support the deportation of immigrants living in their country illegally.In the U.S., public opinion is divided on the issue. About half (46%) of the public supports deporting immigrants residing there illegally, while the other half (47%) opposes their deportation.2 The Center estimates 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants lived in the U.S. in 2016, which represented less than a quarter (23.7%) of the U.S. immigrant population. The number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. has been falling since 2007 and is now at levels last seen in 2004.

In Mexico, fewer than half (43%) say they support the deportation of immigrants living there illegally. In recent years, Mexico has experienced an increasing number of migrants entering the country without authorization from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Mexico has historically been a migrant-sending country: About 12 million people born in Mexico live outside the country, nearly all in the U.S. Among those in the U.S., nearly half are unauthorized immigrants.

In most countries surveyed, those on the right of the ideological spectrum are more likely to support deportation. Similarly, older people in several countries surveyed are more likely to support the deportation of immigrants living illegally in their countries (See Appendix B).

Source: Global Opinions of Immigrants | Pew Research Center

In Australia, Anti-Immigrant Racism Is Everywhere

While we often, in immigration and citizenship policy, compare ourselves with Australia, the political culture and overall dynamics are quite different, even if we also see mainstream Canadian politicians flirting with the far right or presenting their positions in a somewhat xenophobic manner:

Words from a vile manifesto, written by an Australian, have been floating around the internet following the New Zealand terrorist attack that saw 49 people killed at mosques during Friday prayers.

It calls Islam a “savage belief” and the “religious equivalent of fascism.” “Worldwide, Muslims are killing people in the name of their faith on an industrial scale,” it reads. “The entire religion of Islam is simply the violent ideology of a sixth century despot masquerading as a religious leader, which justifies endless war against anyone who opposes it and calls for the murder of unbelievers and apostates.”

But it wasn’t written by the alleged shooter, Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant. It was written by an Australian politician.

Sen. Fraser Anning also tweeted, even before Friday’s death toll was public, “Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?” That link is Fraser Anning, and people like him.

Anning—the Aussie Steve King, perhaps—is a now-independent senator who is too racist even for the extremely racist party that elected him. Elected in 2017 as a One Nation party replacement candidate (after “free speech” crusader Malcolm Roberts was caught up in the citizenship debacle), Anning chose to sit as an independent, then opted to join another fringe party, until he was kicked out of that one too, for his infamous speech calling for a “final solution” to the Muslim immigration problem.

His latest comments have been roundly condemned by everyone in Australian politics—by the prime minister, the recent ex–prime minister, the soon-to-be prime minister. Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted that Anning’s comments were “disgusting” and “have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian Parliament.”

Anning and Tarrant may be extremists, but they are extreme representatives and undeniable products of a racist Australian culture—one that is at best quietly tolerated and at worst wildly stoked by politicians, not to mention a Rupert Murdoch–fueled mass media. Whether it’s demonizing asylum-seekers, demonizing African youths, demonizing Indigenous Australians, or demonizing Muslims, racism is insidious in the mainstream culture.

Note that while Anning’s 2018 final solution speech was condemned, he wasn’t removed from Parliament over it. A man who made an approving Hitler reference remains an Australian senator, a tacit endorsement of his bigotry. Politicians are falling over themselves to condemn Anning now, amid another open show of racism, but there seems to be no rush to condemn the dog whistle kind going on in the media every single day.

The alt-right has a strong presence Down Under, inviting figures like Milo Yiannopoulos to speak and holding fascist rallies—one of which Anning defended attending earlier this year. (Anning was also expected to address a meeting of neo-Nazis with Hitler fan Blair Cottrell later this weekend.) It’s alive and thriving online, a community that Tarrant was reportedly a part of. This report dives into one of the favorite memes of the Australian far right, one recently used by Tarrant both on the forum 8chan and on Twitter. It shows a highly stereotypical Aussie bloke, wearing Outback get-up, brandishing the bottle of a popular Aussie beer, with the caption “hold still while I glass you.” The same meme is frequently used by the Dingoes, an online group known for anti-Semitic views. Lest you think this is a murky subculture, a onetime Labor Party leader has appeared on the Dingoes’ podcast. That leader, Mark Latham, is now a One Nation candidate.

Latham, admittedly, has fallen far in the years he has been out of politics. But this excellent tweet thread from Guardian columnist Jason Wilson, who covers the far right, chronicles the horrific racism even mainstream figures have engaged in. “Remember when the Australian Senate almost passed a literal white nationalist meme?” he tweeted. “Remember all the free media Milo and Lauren Southern got? Remember ‘African Gangs’? Remember ‘white farmers’? Remember the Soros conspiracy theories during the SSM referendum?”

I don’t speak for all Aussies when I say I was not surprised to learn the shooter in the mosque attack was an Australian—but I do speak for many. Tarrant may have been radicalized online, but he was emboldened by the words surrounding him on national platforms, by right-wing commentators writing in major newspapers that a “tidal wave of immigrants sweeps away our national identity” (this from one of the most well-known “journalists” in Australia). His article was called “The Foreign Invasion.” Tarrant’s manifesto is called “The Great Replacement.”

Other parts of Tarrant’s manifesto echo words by other public figures. Australia, you may recall, is not in Europe, but Tarrant refers to himself as European and treats Australia as an outpost of Europe. One recent former prime minister seems a little obsessed with Australia being part of “the Anglosphere,” while Anning was ultimately kicked out of his second party for continuing to distinguish between “European” and “non-European” migration.

The nationality of the other suspects has not yet been revealed, so it’s hard to speculate on any extent to which New Zealand’s own alt-right was involved. I often tell Americans that New Zealand is Australia’s Canada, a better, more progressive version of Australia with a reputation as a welcoming place. The relationship between white and indigenous New Zealanders is much better than that of many colonial societies, but it still leaves a lot to be desired. Ironically, the National Front, a far-right group with only about 1,000 members, is said to have been influenced by the Canadian alt-right—the Lauren Southerns and Stefan Molyneuxes and Jordan Petersons—to adopt a “pseudo-academia, clean-cut appearances.” New Zealand journalist Paula Penfold spoke to i24 on Friday, saying that while New Zealand is not known for hate crimes or mass violence, “there has been knowledge of white supremacy in Christchurch for some decades now. We’ve never seen violence like this, but there is a sense now that this is a situation that has been building.”

As Joshua Keating noted Friday, “New Zealand has had one of the fastest-growing immigration populations among developed countries in recent years, much of it from Asia. This has led to at least some political backlash, with [Winston] Peters’ New Zealand First party calling for immigration restrictions and accused of fomenting racism. Police clashed with right-wing nationalists who rallied outside the Parliament in Wellington in 2017.”

The world is again in shock, but it’s no surprise that Tarrant was Australian. After all, as he wrote in his manifesto, he was a “regular white man from a regular family.” So true.

Source: In Australia, Anti-Immigrant Racism Is Everywhere

Nepal is among 25 countries that deny women right to pass on citizenship to children independently

Good reference list:

In Nepal while there is a debate ongoing over whether to grant the women the right to confer citizenship to their children without any exception and limitation. South Asia Check has examined the citizenship laws and gender equality in the global context.

According to a survey report on Gender Equality, Nationality Laws and Stateless 2018 prepared by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), equality between men and women relating to conferral of nationality upon children has not yet been attained in 25 countries. The majority of these states are in the Middle East and North Africa (twelve countries) and Sub Saharan Africa (six countries). In Asia and the Pacific there are five countries and in the Americas two countries that do not grant mothers equal rights as fathers to confer their nationality on their children. It is important to note that an additional group of states grants equality to men and women with regard to the nationality of children but not with regard to acquisition, change or retention of nationality upon change in civil status.

The classification of countries that limits women to confer nationality to their children

The table below uses a color scheme to divide the laws of the 25 countries into three categories. The laws of the first group of countries (red) have nationality laws which do not allow mothers to confer their nationality on their children with no, or very limited exceptions. These laws create the greatest risk of statelessness. The laws of the second group of countries (orange) have made some exceptions for mothers to confer nationality if the father is unknown or stateless. The laws of the third group of countries (yellow) also limit the conferral of nationality by women but additional guarantees ensure that statelessness will only arise in very few circumstances.

Table: Courtesy of UNHCR report

The law in Qatar doesn’t allow mothers to confer nationality on their children, without exception. According to the law of Kuwait, if a Kuwaiti mother has a child with a father who is unknown or whose paternity has not been established, the individual concerned may apply for Kuwaiti citizenship at majority. In such cases, nationality is granted by decree based on the discretionary recommendation of the Minister of Interior. However, this is an extraordinary measure that occurs rarely in practice.

The nationality law of Lebanon also allows only Lebanese fathers to confer their nationality on their children in all circumstances. Women can only confer their citizenship if the child is born out of marriage and recognized while a minor by the Lebanese mother.

The nationality laws of Jordan, Libya, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates do not allow women nationals married to foreign nationals to pass their nationality to their children. However, they do permit women nationals to confer their nationality on their children in certain circumstances such as where fathers are unknown, stateless, of unknown nationality or do not establish filiation.

In Iraq, although the Iraqi Constitution of 2005 establishes gender equality by providing that nationality is acquired by descent from either men or women, Iraq’s 2006 nationality law limits the ability of Iraqi women to confer nationality on children born outside the country. For such births, the child of an Iraqi mother may apply for Iraqi nationality within one year of reaching majority, providing that the child’s father is unknown or stateless and the child is residing in Iraq at the time of the application.

According to the nationality law of Syria, mothers can only confer nationality if the child was born in Syria and the father does not establish filiation in relation to the child. The law of Bahrain allows mothers to confer their nationality on their children born either in their home countries or abroad if the fathers are unknown or stateless. Under the law of Oman, mothers confer nationality on their children born either in their home countries or abroad if the fathers are unknown or are former Omani nationals.

In Mauritania, mothers can confer nationality on children when the father is unknown or stateless. Children born in Mauritania to Mauritanian mothers and foreign fathers, or to mothers who were born in Mauritania themselves, also acquire Mauritanian nationality. Children born abroad to Mauritanian mothers and foreign fathers can opt for Mauritanian nationality in the year before majority.

The laws of Somalia and Swaziland do not allow mothers to confer their citizenship on their children under the same conditions as fathers. Under the 1962 Somali Citizenship Law, only children of Somali fathers acquire Somali citizenship. Swaziland’s Constitution of 2005 stipulates that any child born inside or outside Swaziland prior to 2005 to at least one Swazi parent acquires Swazi citizenship by descent. However, children born after 2005 only acquire Swazi citizenship from their fathers, unless the child was born out of wedlock and has not been claimed by the father in accordance with customary law.

In Burundi, the 2000 Nationality Code does not allow mothers to transfer nationality to children except when maternal filiation is established when they are born out of wedlock to unknown fathers or if disowned by their fathers.

In Liberia, the Aliens and Nationality Law of 1973 allows children born in Liberia to acquire Liberian citizenship at birth. Children born abroad to Liberian mothers, however, are excluded from acquiring Liberian citizenship. In case of Togo, the 1978 nationality grants citizenship to children born in its territory who cannot claim the nationality of another state, it only allow mothers to confer their nationality on their children if the father is stateless or of unknown nationality.

In Sudan the amended law in 2005 allows a child born to a Sudanese mother to acquire Sudanese nationality by birth by following an application process.

In Brunei Darussalam and Iran, only fathers can confer their respective nationalities on their children in all circumstances.

In Kiribati, children born in the country to an i-Kiribati father or mother can acquire nationality of Kiribati; however, only children born abroad to i-Kiribati fathers, not mothers, acquire the nationality of Kiribati. In Malaysia, children born in the country to either Malaysian mothers or Malaysian fathers automatically acquire Malaysian nationality. But children born to Malaysian mothers outside of Malaysia may only acquire Malaysian citizenship at the discretion of the Federal Government through registration at an overseas Malaysian consulate or at the National Registration Department in Malaysia.

In Nepal, children born to Nepali fathers acquire Nepali citizenship in all circumstances. Children born in Nepal to Nepali mothers and foreign fathers can apply to acquire citizenship through naturalization, provided they have permanent domicile in Nepal and have not acquired the foreign citizenship of their fathers.

In The Bahamas, children born in the country to either a Bahamian father or mother acquire Bahamian nationality; however, only children born abroad to Bahamian fathers, not mothers, can acquire Bahamian nationality. The same applies in Barbados, where children born in Barbados to either Barbadian mothers or fathers acquire Barbadian nationality, but Barbadian mothers cannot confer nationality on their children born abroad, whereas Barbadian fathers can.

Source: Nepal is among 25 countries that deny women right to pass on citizenship to children independently

Birthright Citizenship: Plurality of Canadians see it as good policy, but also say some changes are needed


I was really pleased to see this detailed Angus Reid survey on attitudes towards birth tourism. Timing perfect as will be discussing birthright citizenship with Audrey Macklin next week at Metropolis (see my deck Birth Tourism – Metropolis 2019).

Appears by the efforts by activists like Kerry Starchuck, Richmond area MPs Alice Wong and Joe Peschisolido, my health financial data-based research (Hospital stats show birth tourism rising in major cities) and the related media coverage helped encourage the government to take the issue more seriously in its commitment to study the issue and, I suspect, encourage Angus Reid to conduct this study.

The poll has breakdowns for region, gender, age, income, education, and political orientation but not, curiously, for immigrant/non-immigrant.

Most of the differences of opinion reflect overall difference of opinion on immigration and citizenship issues: younger, female, more educated and those with higher tend to be more supportive, whereas the opposite is true with respect to older persons, males, less education and lower income.

The political orientation divide is the most striking with the biggest surprise to me is the relatively high support (one-third) among Liberal and NDP leaning voters to support birthright citizenship for those on tourist visas, the classic example and practice.

Hard to explain are Conservative leaning voters who make greater distinctions between situations of both parents being citizens or permanent residents and those when only one parent is a citizen or permanent resident.

The breakdown into eight different scenarios is both helpful in its providing a more nuanced understanding of attitudes but, of course, would complicate any possible policy measures being considered beyond a citizen/permanent resident non-citizen/temporary resident distinction:

Which babies born on Canadian soil should be granted automatic citizenship?

It’s a question that has appended itself to the Canadian political and policy narrative in this election year; and one on which Canadians share some areas of consensus and others of deep division, according to a new public opinion poll from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute.

Today, most Canadians feel this concept – that anyone born in Canada is a citizen – goes a bit too far. Almost two-thirds (64%) say a child born to parents who are in this country on tourist visas should not be granted Canadian citizenship, and six-in-ten (60%) say changes to Canada’s citizenship laws are necessary to discourage birth tourism.

That said, more Canadians are inclined to believe birthright citizenship is a good policy (40%) than a bad one (33%).

More Key Findings:

  • Canadian opinions of when to grant citizenship are nuanced, changing with various scenarios offered. For example, 55 per cent say a child born to two parents in Canada on work visas should be conferred citizenship. This drops to 40 per cent if both parents are in Canada on student visas.
  • Canadians considering the Conservative Party in the coming election, as well as older residents (those ages 55-plus), are inclined to say that birth tourism is serious problem for Canada. Those considering the Liberal and New Democratic Parties – and those under 35 years of age – are more likely to say the problem is not serious.
  • In the same vein, while three-quarters of Canadians in the Conservative political sphere* say changes are birthright citizenship are necessary, majorities from the Liberal and NDP spheres disagree, and say no changes are needed

Source: Birthright Citizenship: Plurality of Canadians see it as good policy, but also say some changes are needed

Full report: Click here for the full report including tables and methodology

Note to David Frum: Americans Actually Really Like Immigrants

Pretty effective counterpart to Frum’s earlier missive by Jordan Weissman. His footnote is particularly strong:

Earlier this week, David Frum, the former George W. Bush speechwriter turned never-Trump scribbler, published a long article in the Atlanticarguing that the United States should massively reduce legal immigration by cutting the number of green cards it issues each year by about half. How come? Mostly because he thinks it might mollify white working-class voters, whose anti-immigrant rage he believes led them to back the authoritarian galoot who now occupies the Oval Office. “If liberals insist that only fascists will enforce borders, then voters will hire fascists to do the job liberals refuse to do,” Frum, who immigrated from Canada, writes.

Oddly, in all 7,800-ish words of his piece, Frum never once mentions that Republicans have introduced a piece of legislation that would do exactly what he’s recommending. It’s called the RAISE act. It was written by Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue in 2017 and backed by the president himself. Frum may not admit it out loud, but he’s basically arguing that the best way to defeat Trumpism is to cave on some of its most extreme policy demands. It’s Clintonian triangulation, but for white nationalism.

There are many reasons a reader might object to Frum’s argument.

One could object on moral grounds. If you believe that Trump’s immigration stance is racist and repugnant at its core, then accommodating it in the name of political expediency probably doesn’t sound like a hot idea.

Or one could object on economic grounds. Frum tries to downplay immigration’s benefits to growth, but the bottom line is that mainstream analyses of the RAISE Act have shown that it would make the country modestly poorer over the long term. (By 2040, the Penn Wharton Budget Model shows per capita GDP would be 0.3 percent lower.)

One could also object on political grounds. After all, Frum doesn’t actually provide any evidence that cutting immigration would make white working-class voters less likely to vote for demagogues like Trump in the future. He simply asserts that it might. Yet his own piece offers reasons to think otherwise. Early on, he cites academic evidence showing that white voters become more authoritarian in the face of ethnic change. Later on, he admits that ethnic change is already inevitable, even if we slash how many green cards Washington issues annually. “Under today’s policies, the U.S. will become majority-minority in about 2044,” he writes. “Even cutting immigration by nearly half would postpone that historical juncture by only one to five years.” Will giving caucasians an extra half-decade in the majority really be the magic bullet that saves us from being overrun by MAGA hats? Count me skeptical.

And finally, one could object to Frum’s piece on the simple grounds that most Americans really like immigration. Frum might think the whole Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor”thing is just “nostalgia,” as he puts it, but just Thursday, the Pew Research Center released polling showing that 59 percent of Americans think immigration makes us a stronger country, while only 34 percent think it’s a burden. Most Americans also think immigrants want to assimilate culturally; only 19 percent think immigrants are more to blame for crime than native-born residents. You want an anti-immigrant country? Check out Poland, or Russia, or Greece, not the U.S.

Meanwhile, Gallup’s most recent survey results show that only 31 percent of Americans think immigration levels should be reduced, versus 30 percent who think they should be increased and 37 percent who believe they should be kept the same. Immigration restrictionists don’t even make up a plurality of this country, yet Frum thinks we should cater to them, largely on the hunch that it might make white voters less likely to back the next Fox-addled demagogue who runs for president.1 The U.S. electoral system might hand disproportionate power to a minority of voters in this country. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us should cave in on our values to them.

1 Frum does try to make a wider case about the downsides of immigration, but it is astonishingly weak—and mostly shows that once you strip away the Ann Coulter–style bile, there’s little left in the restrictionist position. He admits up top that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or indulge in substance abuse than native-born Americans. He tries, halfheartedly, to cast doubt on the economics literature that has consistently shown that the arrival of new immigrants doesn’t hurt the wages of other workers much, if at all (other immigrants, or people without high school degrees, may see their wages drop slightly in the short term), before suggesting the issue isn’t that important. (“Neither the fiscal costs nor the economic benefits of immigration are large enough to force a decision one way or the other,” he writes.) He tries to claim that immigrants are lowering Americans’ average education and skill levels, but fails to mention that today’s new arrivals are now more likely to have a college or graduate degree than native-born Americans. In the end, he’s left arguing that the presence of unnaturalized immigrants has encouraged companies to abuse their employees—blame the victim, much?—while making the U.S. more hierarchical, sort of like Dubai. There’s also an odd Malthusian aside about how bringing more people to the United States could hasten global warming. Suffice to say, once you’ve given up on economics, public health, and public safety as battlegrounds for this subject, there isn’t a whole lot left to stake an argument on.

Source: Note to David Frum: Americans Actually Really Like Immigrants

Douglas Todd: Who cares about ‘winning’ the immigration debate?

Good for the Conference Board for inviting some more critical or sceptical voices like Todd (whose articles, as you know, I always find interesting).

On polling data, the picture is more complex than simply presenting one polling firm where the timing, question phrasing and methodology may somewhat skew results (e.g., Environics and Pew present a more positive portrait than IPSOS).

And not sure that immigration policy is developed in any less transparent manner than any other area of government policy, and where stakeholder groups, who follow the issues carefully, have more influence:

Politicians and corporations that want more immigrants in Canada are mounting marketing campaigns to “win the immigration conversation.”

At least the CEOs, think tanks and civil servants are upfront about aiming to promote higher immigration levels, which aligns them with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.

Where, however, does this leave all the Canadians in the mushy middle? That’s where most Canadians are at, according to immigration department officials and other migration experts who spoke at a Conference Board of Canada event held last week in Vancouver. The gathering was titled, “Winning the Immigration Conversation.”

Not many Canadians are extremists, either for or against current immigration policy or rates, polls suggest. The bulk of the population seems hazy about Trudeau’s plan to continue to increase immigration levels to 350,000 people a year by 2021, up from 260,000 when he was elected in 2015.

My sense is most Canadians are not eager to either “win” or “lose” the immigration discussion. Most of us don’t think immigration boils down to an either/or option. Some of us mostly want to know what’s going on, so we can be informed at the ballot box.

But as some speakers at the Conference Board event noted, Canada’s politicians and mandarins are almost unique in the obscure way they dictate the country’s powerful immigration policies from behind closed doors.

Kareem El-Assal, the senior immigration director for the Conference Board, asked me to speak at the “Winning the Immigration Conservation” conference so participants would not end up in the usual echo chamber, in which everyone basically agrees with each other.

El-Assal had seen my 2017 story on the clubby atmosphere that reigned among the more than 1,000 Canadians who work with immigrants, refugees and international students and attended Montreal’s Metropolis Conference. My article on that gathering was headlined, “The narrow view from the migration sector bubble.”

So I give credit to the corporate-sponsored Conference Board, a booster of high immigration levels, for welcoming diversity of opinion. It turned out some scholars, and even some civil servants, had their own skepticism about Canada’s immigration levels, which are arguably the highest per capita in the world.

I told participants I’m intrigued by philosophy’s two foundational questions: What is real? And how then shall we live? And I bring those questions to immigration matters.

What I’ve discovered in recent years on the migration beat is the vast majority of native Canadians (and to a lesser extent immigrants) don’t have a grasp on what is real about the increasing global migration of people, particularly into Canada. And it’s understandable.

Even though the Conference Board has launched its own campaign for increased immigration, El-Assal revealed data showing most Canadians don’t have the foggiest idea about a basic issue: How many immigrants come into Canada each year.

Only nine per cent of Canadians knew correctly it is between 150,000 and 300,000 annually. What’s worse, El-Assal said, when Canadians learn how many immigrants are actually entering the country, their support goes down.

“The populists may have a point,” Antje Ellerman, a political scientist at UBC, told the Conference Board gathering.

“Canada has a high degree of (immigration) policy-making behind closed doors.” The immigration agenda has “traditionally been dominated by the government and civil servants, and rarely engaged the public in meaningful ways.”

In addition, the complexities of immigration rules are not often covered by the media. That is the unfortunate case even though, for instance, almost half the populations of Toronto and Vancouver are foreign-born.

One concern is that if Canadians are purposely being kept in the dark about immigration developments, and even opposition politicians are afraid of raising the subject for fear of being labelled xenophobic or racist, how can the host society make wise choices about an issue that has defined the country?

Turns out many Canadians are concerned. Only 45 per cent believe immigration is “good for the economy,” according to a new Ipsos poll. Another 57 per cent believe “immigrants place too much pressure on public services,” be that health or transit systems. And almost 60 per cent say government is “hiding the true costs to taxpayers and society.”

Immigration officials are not alone in finding in the past couple of years that there has been a shift among Canadians about immigration. That is part of the reason Ottawa has launched a promotional campaign called #immigrationmatters.

Its public relations effort is getting out stories about immigration successes, especially at the neighbourhood level. Not a discouraging word will be heard from #immigrationmatters, of course, since it will support a major plank in this year’s Liberal campaign.

However, Ellerman is among those who think it unwise for governments in Canada, Europe or elsewhere to ignore the populist voices that worry about immigration. To do so, she said, could feed anti-immigration radicalism.

UBC economics professor David Green offered the audience some data-based realities about immigration.

One finding takes issue with frequent claims by Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen that high immigration is the key to economic prosperity. Green highlighted how immigration has an almost imperceptible effect on long-term Canadian wages, not doing anything at all for per-capita income.

And although boosters of strong immigration frequently maintain it is absolutely necessary to counteract an aging Canadian labour force, Green’s studies show its effect is minimal, almost non-existent.

Immigration numbers would have to jump multiple times over to make even a small dent in the growing portion of seniors in Canada, Green said. In addition, most people who obtain citizenship status in Canada soon try to sponsor older family members to join them.

But immigration is not all about economics. Many of the speakers recognized reliable new opinion surveys show much of the public resistance to high immigration has mostly to do with culture.

Roughly one in two Canadians fear too many immigrants “do not adopt Canadian values.” Many in the host society feel they are losing command of their own cultural identities. Some migration specialists said such feelings should not necessarily be dismissed as xenophobic.

Give the swirl of powerful factors at play, what are we to make of efforts by Ottawa and its supporters to “win the immigration conversation”? Even though organizers of the Conference Board event said they came up with the title to be provocative, I’d say immigration policy needs more balanced attention than that found in win-lose campaigns.

In a democracy, the public could use as much information as possible about migration policy and trends. Who knows what would happen if Ottawa became more transparent? Reality has a funny way of surprising all of us.

Source: Douglas Todd: Who cares about ‘winning’ the immigration debate?

Canadians share most favourable view of immigrants, global study finds

Good summary of the latest Pew report (Global Opinions of Immigrants | Pew Research Center for full report):

Canadians have the most favourable opinion of immigrants among the world’s top migrant destination countries, viewing newcomers as a strength rather than a burden, says a new international survey.

The report by Washington-based Pew Research Center also found Canadians are the least likely to blame immigrants for crime or an increased risk of terrorism, among the respondents in 18 countries that together host half of the world’s migrants.

“Canada is on the top of the list in believing immigration is a plus to the country,” said Jeffrey Reitz, director of ethnic, immigration and pluralism studies at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, who is not involved in the survey.

“It also shows Canada is less polarized than the other countries on immigration as all Canadian political parties are on board with immigration. Even those on our right are more positive about immigration than the left in many other countries.”

Sixty-eight per cent of Canadian respondents in the survey believed immigrants make the country stronger while only 27 per cent said newcomers are a liability because they take jobs and social benefits, said the report released Thursday.

Canada was followed by Australia, where 64 per cent of respondents favoured immigration; the United Kingdom and Sweden, both at 62 per cent; and with Japan, at 59 per cent, rounding up the top five. In Mexico, currently a destination and transit country for tens of thousands of migrants fleeing violence in Latin America, 57 per cent of people welcome migrants while 37 per cent considered them a burden.

In six European Union member states surveyed, public perception about immigration has shifted since 2014 after the arrival of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers. In Greece, Germany and Italy, the share of adults in favour of immigrants dropped significantly.

“In most countries surveyed, those on the left of the ideological spectrum are more positive about immigration’s impact on their country than those on the right,” said the 24-page report.

“In many countries surveyed, those with higher levels of education, younger adults, and those with higher incomes are more likely to say immigrants make their countries stronger because of their work and talents.”

The survey interviewed 19,235 people in 18 countries, including 1,056 Canadians, with five questions focusing on public attitude towards immigrants, integration, crime, terrorism and deportation. The Canadian portion of the survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points

In Canada, people across the political spectrum share positive views of immigrants, with 81 per cent of left-leaning Canadians and 65 per cent of self-described conservative respondents in favour of newcomers. The 16 percentage-point gap was the second narrowest among the 18 countries.

In Greece, where the political gap was the narrowest, at just 13 percentage points, people were overwhelmingly opposed to immigration, with just 6 per cent of conservative respondents and 19 per cent of leftists in favour of migrants.

However, public attitudes are mixed on immigrants’ willingness to adapt to their new country’s customs and way of life, said the survey.

People in Japan, Mexico, South Africa, the United States, France and Sweden are more likely to say immigrants are inclined to integrate into their society, while their counterparts in Hungary, Russia, Greece, Italy, Germany, Poland, Israel and Australia all said the opposite. Canadians are split in their views on whether immigrants want to fit in or not.

Eighty per cent of survey respondents in Canada said immigrants are no more to blame for crime and 65 per cent said immigrants don’t increase the risk of terrorism, compared to 17 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively, who said otherwise.

The majority in most countries surveyed support the deportation of people who are in their homeland illegally, and Canada is no exception. While 53 per cent of Canadians said irregular migrants should be removed, only 37 per cent disagreed with the statement.

Percentage of people in various countries who supported the following statements:

Immigrants no more to blame for crime:

  • Canada: 80%
  • U.S.: 77%
  • France 76%
  • UK: 74%
  • Spain: 68%
  • 18-country median: 50%

Immigrants do not increase risk of terrorism:

  • Mexico: 65%
  • South Africa: 62%
  • Canada: 61%
  • Japan: 60%
  • France: 59%
  • U.S.: 56%
  • 18-country median: 48%

Immigrants are a strength:

  • Canada: 68%
  • Australia: 64%
  • UK: 62%
  • Sweden: 62%
  • Japan: 59%
  • U.S.: 59%
  • 18-country median: 56%

Source: Canadians share most favourable view of immigrants, global study finds