We Just Can’t Handle Diversity: HBR

We_Just_Can’t_Handle_DiversityGood long read by Lisa Burrell at HBR and the difficulties in ensuring diversity given our implicit biases and automatic thinking:

Senior leaders need to recognize their organizations’ inequities—probably more than anyone else, since they have the power to make changes. But once they’ve climbed to their positions, they usually lose sight of what they had to overcome to get there. As a result, Rosette and Tost find, “they lack the motivation and perspective to actively consider the advantages that dominant-group members experience.” This is especially true of successful white women, who “reported [even] lower perceptions of White privilege than did highly successful White men.” It’s fascinating that their encounters with sexism don’t help them identify racial advantage after they’ve gotten ahead. Perhaps, the authors suggest, their hard-earned status feels so tenuous that they reflexively tighten their grip.

Beyond murkily defined concepts and somewhat defensive motivations, we have an even-higher-level conceptual obstacle to overcome: our bias against diversity itself. Recent research by Ohio State University’s Robert Lount Jr. and colleagues (Oliver Sheldon, of Rutgers; Floor Rink, of Groningen; and Katherine Phillips, of Columbia) shows that we assume diversity will spark interpersonal conflict. Participants in a series of experiments all read, watched, or listened to the exact same conversations among various groups. They consistently perceived the all-black or all-white groups as more harmonious than those with a combination of blacks and whites.

If we expect people to behave less constructively when they’re in diverse organizations or teams, how do we interpret and reward their actual performance? Under the influence of those flawed expectations? Quite possibly.

So, Is It Hopeless?

According to the renowned behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman, trying to outsmart bias at the individual level is a bit of a fool’s errand, even with training. We are fundamentally overconfident, he says, so we make quick interpretations and automatic judgments. But organizations think and move much more slowly. They actually stand a chance of improving decision making.

Research by John Beshears and Francesca Gino, of Harvard Business School, supports that line of thought. As they have written in HBR, “It’s extraordinarily difficult to rewire the human brain,” but we can “alter the environment in which decisions are made.” This approach—known as choice architecture—involves mitigating biases, not reversing them, and Beshears and Gino have found that it can lead to better outcomes in a wide range of situations. The idea is to deliberately structure how you present information and options: You don’t take away individuals’ right to decide or tell them what they should do. You just make it easier for them to reach more-rational decisions. (For more on this idea, also see “Designing a Bias-Free Organization,” an interview with Harvard behavioral economist Iris Bohnet.)

There’s still an element of manipulation here: The organization sets the stage for certain kinds of choices. But that brings us back to what most of us can agree on, at least in the abstract: Diversity improves performance, and people who apply themselves and do good work should be treated fairly.

If the members of an organization could get behind those broad ideas, would it bother them that they were being nudged to do what they wanted to do anyway? It might—and that would be another cognitive roadblock to clear.

Source: We Just Can’t Handle Diversity

Interesting that the recent public service discussions on diversity, judging by reports I have seen, show no evidence of this deeper thinking of the challenges involved (even if, judging by the numbers, the public service is reasonably diverse – see Diversity and Inclusion Agenda: Impact on the Public Service, Setting the baseline).

When making a presentation on multiculturalism and the government’s inclusion and diversity agenda this week at Canadian Heritage, my assigned ‘homework’ for attendees was to take the Harvard-developed Implicit Association Test to be more mindful of their internal biases and prejudices. It certainly was revealing to me, as it has been to those I know who have taken it:

Public Servants Get Real About Diversity in the Public Service

Amid Brexit anxieties, Trudeau and Peña Nieto miss the mark [Mexican visa removal commentary]

Good commentary by Steven Murrens on the removal of the Mexican visa requirement:

Secondly, on the travel issue, Canada agreed to lift a visa requirement on Mexican visitors, starting on Dec. 1. It was imposed a few years ago by the previous Conservative government, in response to a spike in Mexicans applying for refugee status in Canada. But the Canadian government made a point of stressing today that, when the visa is dropped, Mexicans would have to apply for a new permit, called an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), before coming to Canada.

Steven Murrens, an immigration lawyer with the Vancouver firm Larlee Rosenberg, said the ETA is already proving an effective barrier against the sort of travellers the much-resented visa sought to discourage. The ETA will be required for travellers to Canada from all visa-exempt nations, except the U.S. That means Mexicans will be in the same category as, say, tourists from Europe and Japan, so they can hardly complain.

The online application for an ETA is much less onerous than applying for a visa. Still, Murrens says early experience suggests the ETA will be effective in weeding out problem travellers. “What we’re seeing, from people who are already starting to apply for it even though it’s not mandatory yet, is they do get refused for previous denials of entry to Canada, criminal issues, and…where people may have had previous issues in the United States,” he said.

In other words, on travel, Canada has found a less onerous system that still provides some additional screening. And, on trade, Mexico has finished a gradual process of phasing out trade restrictions. These are not headline-grabbing breakthroughs. They are the incremental signs of a normal international relationship, where friction is inevitable but doesn’t have to be permanently disruptive.

Source: Amid Brexit anxieties, Trudeau and Peña Nieto miss the mark

For the contrary perspective, former Conservative staffer Candice Malcolm, silent on the ETA requirement:

We attracted legions of human smuggling rings and known criminal networks, and spent billions of dollars propping up this charade.

We would get nearly 1,000 refugee claims per month from Mexico alone.

Hence why, in 2009, the Harper government brought in tougher laws and required people from Mexico to get a tourist visa before coming to Canada.

The policy worked. The number of asylum claims from Mexico fell sharply, and the Mexicans who did claim asylum in Canada were much more likely to be bona fide refugees.

But our Mexican counterparts didn’t like the visa. They found it embarrassing and inconvenient. And so, caving to international pressure, Trudeau announced this week he will remove the visa requirement for Mexican visitors.

When asked if the government had conducted a formal review of the Mexican visa policy, Immigration Minister John McCallum admitted it hadn’t.

Typically, Canadian rules only allow the government to lift a visa requirement for countries that make up less than 2% of the total refugee claims.

In 2008, the last year before we required a visa for Mexican travellers, Mexican visitors to Canada made up 26% of total asylum claims.

Scrapping Mexican visa a mistake


I worked in the CIA under Bush. Obama is right to not say “radical Islam.” – Vox

Reprinted in its entirety:

The recent verbal attacks by the Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump and his supporters on President Barack Obama for avoiding the phrase “radical Islam” in his public pronouncements are simplistic, racially inflammatory — and flatly misinformed.

Settling upon accurate and strategically nuanced terms to describe the post-9/11 enemy is not the product of “political correctness” (contra Trump) or a failure to understand the enemy (contra a much-discussed Atlantic cover story). Nor are objections to using overly broad terms like “Islamic radicalism” limited to Democrats. The Bush administration understood the power of words, too. It concluded that distinctions that may seem small to Christian-American ears make a big difference to the mainstream Muslims we need on our side.

When I [Emile Nakhleh] directed the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program at the CIA in the early 2000s, I frequently interacted with senior Bush administration policymakers about how to engage Muslim communities and, when doing so, which words and phrases to use to best describe the radical ideology preached by al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Always, the aim was to distinguish between radicals and extremists and the vast majority of mainstream Muslims, and to make sure the latter understood that we were not lumping them in with the former.

Like the Obama administration, the Bush administration correctly judged that the term “radical Islam” was divisive and adversarial, and would alienate the very people we wanted to communicate with.

Trump and those who echo his views must realize there is no such thing as one Islamic world or one Islamic ideology — or even one form of radicalism in the Muslim world. Many diverse ideological narratives characterize Muslim-majority and Muslim-minority countries and the 1.6 billion Muslims across the globe. To paint them all with the same broad brush of radicalism and extremism is absurd, dangerous, and politically self-serving.

Trump and those who share his views on this question may truly believe, as they insist when pressed, that “Islamic radicalism” describes only a subset of Muslims. But to Muslims, or for anyone familiar with the many strands of Islam, the phrase connotes a direct link between the mainstream of the Muslim faith and the violent acts of a few. What’s more, Trump appears to be recklessly pandering to the uninformed part of the American electorate that does believe in such a connection between the mainstream and the fringe.

Like the Obama administration, the Bush administration knew words matter

The project of choosing words carefully must begin with knowledge. Al-Qaeda, and more recently ISIS, have mostly drawn on the radical Sunni Wahhabi-Salafi ideology, which primarily emanates from Saudi Arabia. How to describe that narrow ideology to a broader audience was the focus of many conversations and briefings I attended after 9/11.

Many in the West, including some senior policymakers, have had only a scant knowledge of this type of ideology, which has wreaked deadly violence against Muslims and non-Muslims alike. I recall a conversation I had with a senior policymaker in which he asked me to explain “Wahhabism.” Since he had very limited time, I told him, “Wahhabists are akin to Southern Baptists.” That is: They read the holy text literally and are intolerant of other religious views. Wahhabists, like some Baptists, also abhor reasoning or “ijtihad” that would encourage them to question their religious brand. (Further complicating matters, Saudi Arabian officials, who generally embrace Wahhabi Salafism, describe those who use this ideology to justify their attacks on Saudi Arabia and other Muslim states as “deviants” from the faith.)

The roots of this radicalism go back to the Hanbali School of Jurisprudence, one of the four Schools in Sunni Islam, dating to the ninth century. Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, an 18th century Saudi theologian, adopted the teachings of the Hanbali School as the authentic teachings of Islam. This Saudi strain of Islam has been further radicalized by Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other Sunni terrorist groups. The other three, generally more liberal, schools are the Shafi’i, the Maliki, and the Hanafi — also named after their founders in the eighth and ninth centuries. Adherents of these more tolerant schools live across the wider Muslim world, from Morocco to Indonesia, from Turkey to South Asia.

Any terminology that the commander in chief of the United States settles on ought to reflect that we are speaking of Sunni-based radicalism — a strain that takes a particularly intolerant, exclusive, narrow-minded view of Islam and its relations with other Muslims and the non-Muslim world.

But there are at least two reasons why speaking of Wahhabism, while accurate, won’t fly in most public pronouncements: The word means little to the US domestic audience, and it could alienate Saudi Arabia, a complicated partner (to say the least) in anti-terror efforts. This is the one area in which the charge of “political correctness” carries some weight (although “political realism” may be a more reasonable way of describing the phenomenon).

Beyond ruling out “radical Islam” as overly broad, policymakers and advisors under both the Bush and Obama administrations have been careful not to accept the characterizations that violent extremists give to themselves, which inflate their role within their faith. That is why we don’t call them “jihadists” or, more obviously, “martyrs.”

The decision to avoid “radical Islam” is a strategic one

In short, both the Bush and Obama administration officials have refrained from using “Islamic radicalism” and its variants not because of “political correctness” but because of their nuanced knowledge of the diversity of Islamic ideologies. The term doesn’t enhance anyone’s knowledge of the perpetrators of terrorism or of the societies that spawn them, and it might hurt us in the global war of ideas. Policymakers refer to members of al-Qaeda and ISIS as “hijackers” of their faith in order to signal their support for mainstream Islamic leaders in an alliance against minor radical offshoots, not because they are unaware that some members of al-Qaeda and ISIS are theologically “sophisticated” (or “very Islamic,” as the Atlantic provocatively put it).

As our interest in Saudi Arabia’s oil wanes, some expect future administrations to take a tougher approach toward Saudi Arabia on the question of radical religious ideology. We may yet begin to hear talk of Wahhabi Salafism from a future White House.

But more likely, the next administration — I expect it will be the Clinton administration — will continue the policy the Bush administration began of referring to terrorists by the names of their organizations: Hezbollah, Ahl al-Bayt, the (Iranian) Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Quds Force, ISIS, and so on.

Using such terms avoids demonizing majorities of Sunni Muslims who just want to follow their faith, devoid of politics or activism. Simple terms like “terrorists,” “killers,” and “criminals” are also quite effective.

Source: I worked in the CIA under Bush. Obama is right to not say “radical Islam.” – Vox

Swiss deny citizenship to Muslim girls who balked at swimming with boys

Forced integration rarely works and in general a more flexible approach facilitates integration, a less flexible one strengthens exclusion.

Accommodation for separate swimming lessons appears more reasonable than for refusal to shake hands: the latter is a more fundamental matter of respect and acknowledgement of the host society and its norms:

In the latest move to deny citizenship to those who balk at Swiss culture, authorities rejected the naturalization application of two Muslim girls who refused to take school swimming lessons because boys were present.

The girls, ages 12 and 14, who live in the northern city of Basel, had applied for Swiss citizenship several months ago, but their request was denied, Swiss media reported Tuesday.

The girls, whose names were not disclosed, said their religion prevents them from participating in compulsory swimming lessons with males in the pool at the same time. Their naturalization application was rejected because the sisters did not comply with the school curriculum, Basel authorities said.

“Whoever doesn’t fulfill these conditions violates the law and therefore cannot be naturalized,” Stefan Wehrle, president of the naturalization committee, told TV station SRF on Tuesday.

The case shows how those who don’t follow Swiss rules and customs won’t become citizens, even if they have lived in the country for a long time, are fluent in one of the national languages — German, French or Italian — and are gainfully employed.

In April, members of an immigrant family in the Basel area were denied citizenship because they wore sweatpants around town and did not greet passersby — a sure sign that they were not sufficiently assimilated, the naturalization board claimed.

Another recent case sparked widespread outrage in Switzerland when two Muslim brothers refused to shake hands with their female teacher, also citing religious restrictions. Shaking hands with a teacher is a common practice in Swiss schools.

After that incident was widely publicized, authorities suspended the naturalization request from the boys’ father, an imam at the Basel mosque.

The swimming case involving the two girls is the first to deny naturalization applications for not complying with a school program, setting precedence for future cases, Wehrle said.

This is not the first time Switzerland’s Muslim community has stirred controversy over swimming lessons. In 2012, a family was fined $1,500 for forbidding their daughters to participate in swimming classes.

The matter eventually ended up in the Supreme Court, which ruled that no dispensations from swimming lessons should be made on religious grounds.

In Switzerland, unlike in the United States and many other countries, integration into society is more important for naturalization than knowledge of national history or politics. Candidates for citizenship must prove that they are well assimilated in their communities and respect local customs and traditions.

In Switzerland, local town or village councils make initial decisions on naturalization applications. If they decide a candidate is not an upstanding member of the community, the application will be denied and not forwarded to canton (state) and federal authorities for further processing.

Source: Swiss deny citizenship to Muslim girls who balked at swimming with boys

Why the PQ isn’t so eager to celebrate the Brexit vote: Martin Patriquin

Worth reading – some uncomfortable truths by Patriquin:

First, there’s history. Britain has long been the subject of fevered nationalist nightmares, and the antagonist in Quebec’s narrative of subjugation and suffering. There are real, live human beings in the province who believe this country remains Britain’s useful idiot in the latter’s war with France, fought nearly 260 years ago. Most Quebec nationalists have dialed back on the lingo since the days of White Niggers of America. But in the nationalist mindset, the idea that Britain might be slave to anything is absurd at best and an insult at worst.

Second, there’s demographics. Several polls foundsupport for the “Yes” side in the 2014 Scottish referendum to be highest among younger age brackets. The ruling Scottish Nationalist Party was favourable to increased immigration, and a sizeable swath of Scotland’s cultural communities supported exiting the U.K.

Scottish nationalism was young, inclusive, and above all relevant to every facet of society. For the PQ, this example was worth celebrating because it was what the Parti Québecois used to be, and what it could aspire to.

The Leave campaign was a reflection of what the Parti Québécois has become. As the Financial Times (amongothers) demonstrated, the biggest support for the Leave campaign came from older, less-educated rural voters. In the 2014 election, the PQ attempted to target this very demographic in Quebec with its so-called “Quebec values charter,” which aimed to strip religious symbols from the heads, necks and lapels of anyone receiving a government paycheque.

The PQ suffered the worst electoral drubbing in its history, and has spent much of the last two years trying to forget the failed experiment. Endorsing the successful Leave campaign would only remind people of nationalism’s darker impulses.

Lastly, there is the gong show that is post-Brexit U.K. The PQ has long suggested, as the Leave campaign did repeatedly throughout the campaign, that separation would be a painless affair. It hasn’t been. Britain’s credit rating has been downgraded, its economy sent into a tailspin; billions of dollars of capital have been wiped out.

Even if this is a temporary hiccup, there remains the social factor. During the campaign, a man shot Labour MP Jo Cox dead on the street while yelling “Britain First.” Reports of hate crimes increased by 57 per cent in the 36 hours following the Brexit vote, according to Britain’s National Police Chiefs’ Council. And while this too may be another of Britain’s temporary miseries, history suggests racial scapegoating only increases in times of economic strife.

No wonder the PQ has kept mostly quiet. Britain’s Leave campaign is a win it doesn’t need.

Source: Why the PQ isn’t so eager to celebrate the Brexit vote

Canada shouldn’t be smug looking at anti-immigrant sentiment of Brexit: Regg Cohn

Good piece by Regg Cohn on Canadian smugness:

People who prey on people’s fears and phobias about “the other” are nothing new in European or North American history. And Canada is not inoculated against that virus, however well we have resisted it of late.

Yes, we are good at both welcoming and integrating newcomers. We have resisted calls to decrease intakes of both immigrants and refugees. We make a virtue of diversity rather than rueing differences.

But we are only human. If Canadians persist in casting themselves as better than the rest of the world, ugly reality will soon set in. Remember the burqa debate in our last federal election campaign?

The splendid isolation we enjoy from our geographic perch far from poverty and conflict zones will not forever protect us from the upheavals that lie ahead. As we have seen in the Middle East, across Africa, and much of Asia, migrant movements are ever more volatile and overwhelming in an interconnected world.

If today our behaviour is better than that of our southern neighbours, whose presidential discourse demonizes Mexican migrants, it is largely because of where we sit — a safe distance from the frontier with Mexico, buffered by thousands of kilometres of American territory.

If our well-publicized impulse to resettle Syrian refugees is more orderly and dignified than what has beset Southern Europe’s barbed wire borders, it is because our roads and railways are not overrun by migrants clamouring for processing on our doorstep.

While it is tempting to disapprove of the debate in Britain, it is perhaps more prudent to ask why the anti-immigrant message was so well received in the first place.

The quick answer would be that it is human nature to fear the other. A more considered response might be that political leaders must be mindful of the limits of tolerance amid the changing rhythms of migration.

Who knows how Canadians would behave if geography did not insulate us from the human tide along the shores of the Mediterranean, or the porous border between Mexico and the U.S.

Consider a couple of recent Canadian responses:

When Mexicans surged to first place among refugee claimants to Canada a few years ago, the government of the day imposed visa restrictions to stem the flow. That 2009 decision is only now rescinded with the visit of Mexican President Henrique Pena Nieto to Canada this week.

And while we deride Trump for his anti-Mexico ravings, another populist politician by the name of Rob Ford campaigned against the boatloads of Tamil migrants turning up off the coast of B.C. a few years ago: “Take care of the (Canadian) people now before we start bringing in more.”

Ford’s brand of xenophobia was borne out by an Angus Reid poll showing 55 per cent of Ontarians would deport the Tamils even if their refugee claims proved legitimate — and he was elected mayor a few weeks later. Torontonians may dismiss Trump, but don’t forget Ford Nation.

Mindful of our well-documented history of ethnic intolerance and internment, let alone our recent inconstancy, Canadians dare not be smug. And our leaders cannot be complacent.

While appealing to our better natures, politicians must also be mindful of our worse natures, and practical realities, lest they get out too far ahead of themselves. The immigration and refugee challenges of today are only a taste of what lies ahead for Canada.

There but for the grace of demography go we. And geography.

Source: Canada shouldn’t be smug looking at anti-immigrant sentiment of Brexit: Cohn | Toronto Star

Refugee system reform at risk as asylum numbers keep climbing: report

Like any such major changes, takes time to assess the results. Overall, a fairly positive evaluation is my take, with recommendations more in the nature of incremental improvements (Evaluation of the In-Canada Asylum System Reforms).

But there appears to be little explanation for the reasons of the increase, only discussion of the possible effects of the increase:

Changes made to Canada’s refugee system in 2012 resulted in faster decisions on asylum claims, but an internal government study warns those improvements may now be at risk.

Several asylum targets weren’t met following the implementation of reforms, despite the fact the government had set aside money to cover twice as many claims as were ultimately received, the study found.

Now, the number of claims is on the rise again.

“If claim intake continues to increase, there is a risk that there may be further challenges meeting targets, that backlogs may grow, and the overall average claimant time in the system may increase,” said an internal evaluation of the reforms posted online by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The latest evaluation comes with Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government poised to put additional pressure on the system by undoing another of the changes made by the previous Conservative government.

The primary goal of the changes had been to get claims decided faster, to ensure those in need of asylum were approved more quickly, and those who did not qualify were promptly deported.

The evaluation examined the implementation of two laws that — among other things — created timelines for certain steps in the process and limited avenues of appeal for claimants from certain countries.

Prior to that, however, the Tories also sought to cut off claims at the source by imposing visa restrictions on countries whose nationals were to blame much of the backlog.

One of those countries was Mexico: about 9,000 of 36,759 claims lodged in 2008 came from Mexicans. After visas were imposed in 2009, the number of Mexican claims fell to 1,199.

But this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and announce a plan to lift that visa requirement.

It will come despite objections from departmental officials who fear a new spike in claims and a precedent being set with regards to visas in place on other countries.

The evaluation doesn’t explicitly address the implications of a Mexican visa lift on the system. It was carried out prior to the Liberals winning the election.

But in general, it found, claims are already rising.

The year the reforms were introduced, 20,456 claims were lodged. In 2013, it was only 10,322. In 2014, 13,410 claims were filed, in 2015 over 16,000 and further increases are forecast in the next two years, the evaluation said.

The $259 million spent on the reform project means those seeking asylum now receive a decision on their file about five times faster than those who applied prior to 2012.

Despite that, targets for hearing dates and removals continue to be missed. Among them — the goal of getting 80 per cent of failed claimants out within 12 months of the decision. Just over half were actually removed.

In a formal response to the evaluation, both Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency said they were working to plug the gaps.

“Successful delivery of a decentralized asylum system requires close co-operation between independent organizations, while remaining mindful that each organization is independent in delivering on specific decision-making targets,” the government wrote in its response.

“Despite efforts to ensure the smooth management of the asylum system, there are factors that are beyond the control of IRCC and other organizations, such as unpredictable intake and challenges in obtaining travel documents from recalcitrant countries.”

Source: Refugee system reform at risk as asylum numbers keep climbing: report – The Globe and Mail

Quebec: Contre la radicalisation, le «vivre ensemble»

Quebec’s first series of projects to reduce radicalization:

Pour lutter contre la radicalisation menant à la violence, le gouvernement Couillard vient de donner le feu vert à cinq projets qui cherchent à développer l’esprit critique des étudiants du secondaire et du collégial.

Ces projets visent à canaliser les idées radicales des jeunes avant leur éventuelle conversion à la violence, a expliqué la ministre de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion, Kathleen Weil, lundi à Montréal. Ces initiatives se veulent complémentaires au resserrement de la surveillance policière et à d’autres mesures mises de l’avant depuis qu’une douzaine de jeunes Québécois ont fui ou tenté de fuir en Syrie pour combattre les « ennemis d’Allah », au cours des derniers mois.

« Ces mesures visent à bâtir une société inclusive, à développer l’esprit critique des jeunes. On n’est pas en train de vous dire que les jeunes qui vont participer à ces projets de dialogue sont à risque de se radicaliser », a expliqué le ministre Weil.

Le mot d’ordre commun aux cinq projets est la promotion du « vivre ensemble », une expression citée abondamment par le maire de Montréal, Denis Coderre. Ils visent aussi à développer l’estime de soi et l’appartenance au Québec des étudiants.

Le théâtre Parminou montera une pièce faite par et pour des élèves de troisième, quatrième et cinquième secondaire. Ces jeunes pourront exprimer dans leurs mots leurs aspirations et leurs craintes. Une quinzaine de représentations sont prévues sur une période de deux ans.

L’Institut du Nouveau Monde organisera des ateliers et des tables rondes sur la participation citoyenne dans les cégeps de 15 régions du Québec.

L’Institut Pacifique organisera des ateliers et un forum dans trois écoles secondaires des arrondissements de Montréal-Nord et de Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc Extension, qui sont parmi les plus multiethniques de Montréal.

L’organisme Ensemble pour le respect de la diversité aidera des jeunes du secondaire à s’engager dans des projets mobilisateurs qui auront un effet d’entraînement pour les autres élèves.

Équitas organisera des activités pour les jeunes de Saint-Laurent et d’Ahuntsic-Cartierville, avec l’aide de mentors issus des communautés culturelles.

Éducation à la démocratie

Ces projets sont pertinents dans le contexte de l’offensive plus vaste que mène le gouvernement contre la radicalisation, estime Frédéric Dejean, chercheur à l’Institut de recherche sur l’intégration professionnelle des immigrants, affilié au Collège de Maisonneuve. Il a dirigé un rapport sur la radicalisation d’une dizaine d’étudiants du Collège, rendu public le mois dernier. Le chercheur a justement recommandé une forme d’éducation à la vie civique pour les étudiants.

« Le problème, ce n’est pas d’avoir des idées radicales. On est toujours le radical de quelqu’un d’autre. Mais à cet âge, entre 14 et 19 ans, il faut aider les jeunes à construire leur propre pensée. Ce n’est pas inné d’apprendre à écouter les autres, apprendre à exprimer et changer son opinion, apprendre à accepter le désaccord », dit-il en entrevue.

Source: Contre la radicalisation, le «vivre ensemble» | Le Devoir

Bahrain Revocation Of #Citizenship: Both Tactic And Strategy – Eurasia Review

Changing demographics through citizenship policy:

Among Arab countries and also at global level, Bahrain ranks first in terms of revoking citizenship of its citizens under political excuses, especially in response to peaceful opposition against the government’s policies. This issue has made Bahrain subject to strong criticism from regional and global human rights bodies. Last April, Nidal Al Salman, a member of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, said 280 Bahrainis have had their citizenship revoked since 2012 and about 200 cases of revocation of citizenship have taken place in 2015 alone. He added that university professors, religious leaders, businesspeople and former parliament members have been among those people who have lost their citizenship. Meanwhile, the UN high commissioner for human rights has greatly criticized revocation of Bahrainis’ citizenship. According to an announcement by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, more than 3,000 people have been sent to jail on charges of taking part in anti-government demonstrations or inciting hatred against the ruling regime.

In its statement on March 7, 2016, Amnesty International said forceful expulsion of citizens from Bahrain and revocation of their nationality is a blatant violation of human rights and other rules of international law, especially the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Despite all the criticism, revocation of citizenship has apparently turned into a major tool for the suppression of political opponents in Bahrain. Amnesty International has added that revocation of citizenship has turned into the best weapon in the hands of the Bahraini government to suppress its opponents, while issuing warning about increased frequency of revocation of citizenship and forceful expulsion of the country’s citizens.

Systematic citizenship as opposed to revocation of citizenship

On the other hand, in parallel to revoking citizenship of opposition figures, the government of Bahrain follows the policy of systematic granting of citizenship and intentional acceptance of foreigners. It seems that the Al Khalifah regime has put the policy of changing the composition of the country’s population on top of its priorities in order to counter its opponents. Many analysts maintain that Al Khalifah is trying to implement the same policy in the country, which the British monarchy implemented in Palestine. They believe that by revoking the citizenship of Bahraini people and granting citizenship of Bahrain to foreign nationals and expulsion of Bahrainis from their homeland, Al Khalifah regime is actually implementing the same strategy that Britain implemented in the occupied Palestinian territories. Based on a plan by the British government, Israel started in 1967 to secretly change the composition of population in the al-Quds (Jerusalem). As a result, while in 1967 about 7,000 Palestinians lived in al-Quds with no Israeli citizen being present there, at present, there are 200,000 Israelis living in this city along with about 300,000 Palestinians.

By following suit with that plan, the Al Khalifah officials are pursuing a purposive and long-term plan to change the composition of Bahrain’s population – most of whose residents are Shias – according to their will. Hadi al-Mousavi, a prominent member of Bahrain’s Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, says in this regard, “Since Shias account for a majority in Bahrain and Bahrain is the only member country of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council with a Shia majority population, the Al Khalifah regime is incessantly trying to change the population composition of the country.” Another noteworthy point about this policy, which is being followed diligently by the government of Bahrain, is that Bahraini officials, unlike officials of other countries in the world, give no figures on the number of people who have been granted the citizenship of Bahrain on an annual basis.

With regard to figures that have been released so far, a report by Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society can be cited here, which says, “The Al Khalifah regime granted citizenship of Bahrain to more than 95,000 foreign nationals between 2002 and 2014.” Sheikh Ali Salman, the secretary general of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, who is now doing time in Al Khalifah regime’s prison, made a speech in August 2014, describing as “catastrophic” the regime’s policy for granting citizenship to foreign nationals while calling on the people of Bahrain to seriously oppose this policy. In reality, the policy of revoking citizenship of political opponents in Bahrain has been used by Al Khalifah regime as both a tactic and a strategy and this reality can explain why Manama is resisting international protesters against the country’s recent suppressive measures.

Source: Revocation Of Citizenship: Both Tactic And Strategy – Analysis – Eurasia Review

Multiculturalism Day Statements

Statements by leaders on Multiculturalism Day (June 27th). Slight nuances between the three statements, but overall common thread of inclusiveness.

PM Trudeau:

“I join Canadians across the country today to celebrate multiculturalism, and our long and proud tradition of inclusion and diversity.

“As the first country in the world to adopt a policy of multiculturalism 45 years ago, Canada has shown time and time again that a country can be stronger not in spite of its differences, but because of them.

“As Canadians, we appreciate the immense freedom we have to show pride in our individual identities and ancestries. No matter our religion, where we were born, what colour our skin, or what language we speak, we are equal members of this great country.

“Our roots reach out to every corner of the globe. We are from far and wide, and speak over 200 languages. Our national fabric is vibrant and varied, woven together by many cultures and heritages, and underlined by a core value of respect. Multiculturalism is our strength, as synonymous with Canada as the Maple Leaf.

“Today, let us celebrate multiculturalism as a vital component of our national fabric, and let us express gratitude to Canadians of all backgrounds who have made, and who continue to make, such valuable contributions to our country.”

Leader of the Official Opposition Ambrose:

“Today Canadians from all across the country celebrate one of the long-lasting traditions of this country, multiculturalism.

“Every day, people from all around the world arrive in Canada seeking freedom and equality. They bring with them a variety of skills, a desire to succeed and commitment to hard work.

“In Canada, we believe that every citizen has value and something to contribute, regardless of where you were born, your heritage, or your religion. Whether you have recently arrived to this country or your family has been here for generations, you should have the equal opportunity to support your family, your community, and your country.

“As we approach Canada Day and its celebration of all those features that make Canada the best country in the world, it’s worth reflecting today on the many ideas and values that have helped shaped us as a nation.

“On Canadian Multiculturalism Day, I encourage all Canadians to celebrate and further strengthen the rich and diverse cultural mosaic that we have created.”

Leader of the NDP Mulcair did not issue a statement, leaving it to multiculturalism critic Rachel Blaney:

“Today, as we celebrate Multiculturalism Day, we take stock of the unity and coexistence of the many traditions and cultures that make up our great country. This is a heritage we can take great pride in.

The New Democratic Party is honored to highlight our nation’s diversity, but we cannot take it for granted. We cannot stand by silently when bigotry, discrimination and racism continue to be given platforms here at home and abroad. 

Let’s take a moment to discover, and rediscover, the many cultural riches of our communities and the contribution that many have made toward our shared values. The NDP is committed to the multicultural ideals of equality, tolerance and compassion.”

A summary article on these and other statements can be found here:

Canadians quietly celebrate Multiculturalism Day