Election 2019: Ridings in which visible minorities, European ethnic ancestries, non-official languages most often spoken at home and religious minorities

As part of my background work for diversityvotes.ca, I have prepared the following comparative tables that highlight groups that form a significant portion of the population in ridings. These capture visible minorities, European ethnic ancestries, language most often spoken at home, Indigenous peoples  and religious minorities. All data is from the 2016 census, save for religious minorities which dates from the 2011 National Household Survey.

In general, a threshold of 10 percent of the population or more has been chosen, with lower or higher percentages where appropriate.

If interested in having this data in Numbers, Excel or Filemaker, please contact me regarding the cost.

Visible minorities

VM Ridings Arab 5 percent (20 ridings)

VM Ridings Black 10 percent (21 ridings)

VM Ridings Chinese 10 percent (37 ridings)

VM Ridings Filipino 10 percent (9 ridings)

There are no ridings where Japanese form more than three percent

VM Ridings Korean 5 Percent (3 ridings)

VM Ridings Latin American 5 percent (7 ridings)

VM Ridings SE Asian 5 percent (4 ridings)

VM Ridings South Asian 10 percent (47 ridings)

VM Ridings West Asian 5 percent (8 ridings)

VM Ridings VisMin 20 percent (134 ridings)

Ethnic ancestry, largest European, non-founding (excludes Indigenous peoples, British Isles, French, Canadian and Canadian provinces), single and multiple

EO Ridings Dutch 5 percent (75 ridings)

EO Ridings Dutch 10 percent (10 ridings)

EO Ridings German 20 percent (41 ridings)

EO Ridings Italian 10 percent (26 ridings)

EO Ridings Norwegian 5 percent (18 ridings)

EO Ridings Polish 5 percent (60 ridings)

EO Ridings Portuguese 5 percent (8 ridings)

EO Ridings Russian 5 percent (17 ridings)

EO Ridings Spanish 3 percent (6 ridings)

EO Ridings Swedish 4 percent (5 ridings)

EO Ridings Ukrainian 10 percent (35 ridings)

Language most often spoken at home (single), indicator of those more likely to follow ethnic media (5 percent or more)

Language most often spoken at home: Mandarin

Language most often spoken at home: Cantonese

Language most often spoken at home: Punjabi

Language most often spoken at home: Arabic

Language most often spokenat home: German

Language most often spoken at home: Persian

Language most often spoken at home: Tamil

12 other languages are spoken at home between five to ten percent of the population : Italian, Spanish, Cree, Tagalog, Inuktitut, Portuguese, Russian, Bengali, Korean, Polish, Urdu and Vietnamese.

The following table lists the languages and ridings (less than five ridings for each language:

Other languages most often spoken at home – less than 5 ridings – None more than 10%


Indigenous Ridings 10 Percent

Religious minorities (2011 NHS)

RM Ridings Aboriginal 1 percent (23 ridings, only 1 greater than 5 percent)

RM Ridings Buddhist 5 percent (12 ridings)

RM Ridings Hindu 5 percent (23 ridings)

RM Ridings Jewish 5 percent (14 ridings)

RM Ridings Muslim 5 percent (69 ridings)

RM Ridings Muslim 10 percent (24 ridings)

RM Ridings Sikh 5 percent (20 ridings)

Berlin professor: Contemporary antisemitism is not racism or xenophobia

While I am not convinced by the arguments to consider antisemitism as a completely distinct form of racism and discrimination, her points on its history, incidence and the distinctions between antisemitism and criticism of Israel are thoughtful:
Statistics indicate a dramatic rise in antisemitism everywhere in the world. The brutal murder of Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll last year in Paris and the murder of 11 worshipers in the attack on the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh last October are only the devastating peaks of this development. Germany’s antisemitism czar recently warned that it is not safe for Jews to wear kippot in certain areas.
In February, French President Emanuel Macron said that antisemitism has reached its highest level since World War II.
“We have predicted this development for a long time, but our warnings were dismissed as alarmism,” says Monika Schwarz-Friesel, a professor of cognitive science at the Technical University of Berlin and one of the world’s leading antisemitism researchers. She blames Israel-related antisemitism and the failure of politicians, scholars, civil society and the media to address it. In an interview with The Jerusalem Report, Schwarz-Friesel also talks about the results of her recent research on online antisemitism and her new book, Jew-hatred on the Internet: Antisemitism as cultural constant and collective sentiment. (The title is translated from the German.)
Where is the current explosion of antisemitism coming from?
We are waking up to a reality that has developed over a long time. Antisemitism was never really gone. There was a period after World War II when its open communication was suppressed, but that doesn’t mean that it was erased from people’s minds. It only mutated into new forms, among which Israel-related antisemitism became the most pervasive and influential. The latter, very prominently promoted, e.g. by the BDS movement, has been instrumental in making Jew-hatred respectable again by whitewashing it as criticism of Israel. That whole process was never really challenged. On the contrary, everything has been tried to deny and marginalize it. Now we are facing the consequences.
Are you saying that the present situation was predictable?
Indeed so. I can read out for you the minutes of a symposium in which I participated 10 years ago in Jena, Germany, and you would think that they were written today. We made it very clear, back then, that Israel-related antisemitism is increasingly promoting the dissemination, radicalization and social acceptance of Jew-hatred. We explicitly warned that lest decisive counter-measures are taken, there will be an eruption and normalization of antisemitism. No one heeded our warnings. Instead, they were dismissed as alarmism. The fight against antisemitism remained focused on the activities of right-wing neo-Nazis, who in fact have very little influence on society as a whole. In contrast, Israel-related antisemitism and its massive popular impact were ignored. I clearly blame politicians, civil society and the media for ignoring, belittling and sometimes even participating in the dissemination of Israel-related Judeophobia.
Recently, however, the German parliament passed a resolution against BDS and anti-Israel antisemitism.
That resolution was a right and important decision. But I am afraid it is too little too late. It should have been passed 10 years ago.
There are many who think that measures against the BDS campaign infringe on free speech. How do you respond to people who say that charges of antisemitism are used to silence criticism of Israel?
Plainly, that they are wrong. Their accusation is void of any empirical merit. We actually did check this in various corpus-based studies. There is no noteworthy actor or discourse that has ever claimed that it is forbidden to criticize Israel, or that has used the charge of antisemitism to silence rational and fact-based criticism of the Jewish state’s policies. The opposite is true. Barely any other country is criticized as much as Israel in the European media. Those who emphatically claim that criticism of Israel must be allowed oppose a taboo that in reality does not exist. And they usually do so to whitewash Israel-related antisemitism.

So how do you distinguish between criticism of Israel and Israel-related antisemitism?
In fact, this is very simple. The line is crossed when statements about Israel reflect antisemitic stereotypes rather than the reality on the ground.
Can you give an example?
Let’s take the recent Israeli Nation-State Law. Criticizing this law as counterproductive, unnecessary or discriminatory is certainly not antisemitic. But when people, as we have seen, label it the “new Nuremberg race laws” or a “diabolic Zionist crime,” then they demonize Israel in a way that is antisemitic. Such statements are not based in reality. Instead they project stereotypical ideas of Jews as an absolute evil, by rendering the Jewish state a Nazi-like regime.

Outbursts of antisemitism often coincide with Israeli military operations, such as the 2014 Gaza War. What role does the Middle East conflict play in promoting Jew-hatred?
Crises in the Middle East often trigger antisemitic outbursts, but they are not their root cause. We can conclude that from our observation. Most antisemitic communications reproduce stereotypes that are much older than the Israeli-Arab conflict on which they are often projected. This also applies to antisemitism among Muslims. Mantras such as “child murderer Israel” target the Jewish state, but in fact replicate the classic antisemitic blood libel that has been around for centuries.

Your current book covers, among other things, the results of your much acclaimed new long-term study on antisemitism online.

What are your findings?Throughout the last decade, antisemitism on the Internet has been growing significantly. In some data sets we found an increase as high as 22 percent. In the online talkback sections of quality German newspapers, the number of antisemitic comments multiplied by four. This is accompanied by a radicalization in terms of semantics. In contrast to survey data, the Internet communications that we have reviewed are authentic, meaning they were not produced in response to the question of a researcher, but rather express the genuine impetus of their authors. So far, our study is the first of its kind in antisemitism research.

Is there any social group that stands out in particular among the producers of antisemitic speech online?
Our findings confirmed once more that antisemitism is not the exclusive problem of political extremists or of people with a low level of education. In fact, most antisemitic communications are authored by normal everyday users. That means that we encounter Jew-hatred everywhere on the web, and not only in confined spaces specifically dedicated to radical ideas.
A few weeks ago YouTube announced that it would ban videos that promote Holocaust denial. Shortly before that, Facebook said it would delete the profiles of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Islamist Louis Farrakhan. Did these measures make a difference?
According to our observations of the past five years, things only got worse. We regularly conducted spot checks to see whether certain contents have remained or disappeared. Also after Germany’s so-called Network-entrenchment law took effect in October 2017, imposing fines on social media providers who don’t comply with regulations for the restriction of hate speech, nothing substantial changed. The only thing that happens is that specific extreme cases of Holocaust denial get deleted. However, usually these contents just reappear later somewhere else. Eliminatory antisemitism expressed in mantras such as “Bomb Israel!” “Destroy Israel!” or “Jews are the biggest scum on earth” is still widespread all over cyberspace. The old anti-Jewish eliminatory hate is unbroken, as if Auschwitz never happened.
How is that possible?
There is a very simple explanation: 2,000 years of Jew-hatred are met by no more than 50 years of very ineffective education against it. In addition, large parts of society are in denial when it comes to facing the actual scope of antisemitism. Influential people, among them also scholars, continue to oppose measures against BDS. They falsely claim that criticism of BDS is an infringement of free speech and disseminate the fairytale that charges of antisemitism are used to silence criticism of Israel. Such arguments are void of any empirical corroboration. They not only sabotage the struggle against antisemitism, but actually promote the respectability of modern Jew-hatred.
So what can be done?
The political world has to face the facts and base the struggle against antisemitism on scholarly research rather than on empirically unsubstantiated fantasies. This will lead us automatically to the conclusion that Israeli-related Jew-hatred has to be targeted much more decisively.
By the same token, we have to dismiss the wrong but popular idea that contemporary antisemitism equals racism or xenophobia. Antisemitism is rooted in Christianity’s attempt to dismiss the Jewish basis it evolved from. As such, it has been an integral part of Western civilization for 2,000 years, deeply shaping the ways in which people think and feel. Comprehending this unique character of Jew-hatred as a cultural category sui generis rather than as one form of prejudice among others is a precondition to challenging it successfully.

Source: Berlin professor: Contemporary antisemitism is not racism or xenophobia

How White Nationalists See What They Want to See in DNA Tests


On the hate site Stormfront, one of the largest online discussion forums dedicated to “white pride,” sharing DNA results with fellow members has become a rite of passage for some members.

But what happens when users’ results show that they fail to meet their own genetic criteria for whiteness? Are they still willing to post them? And if so, how do other users respond?

Such questions have long intrigued the sociologists Aaron Panofsky, who studies the social implications of genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Joan Donovan, whose research at Harvard University focuses on how information is manipulated on the internet.

“We had a puzzle,” Dr. Panofsky said in an interview this week. “If Stormfront says, ‘You’ve got to be all white or we’ll kick you out,’ how do they deal with these anomalies?”

Esi Edugyan: ‘Where are you from?’ In search of my Canadian identity

Great piece by Edugyan on identities:

Back in 2006, I went to live for a year at an artist colony on the outskirts of Stuttgart, Germany, a city nearly obliterated during the Second World War. I remember the blue thread of the Neckar River running along it in the fine bright air, so that from our residence overlooking the city, we could almost imagine only wilderness lay below.

It was the year Germany played host to the FIFA World Cup. Among the young artists who had arrived from all over the world, an excitement had taken hold. We were eager to be a part of things, to take in as much as we could of this moment.

There was among the German artists, especially, a kind of mild shock at their countrymen’s outpouring of emotion for their nation. For the first time since before the war – which is to say, since before their lifetimes – it had become socially acceptable to hang the national flag from windows, to fly it from cars, to drape it over shoulders in the streets. Visual symbols of patriotism were something I took for granted in Canada, so that I was surprised when, walking the Stuttgart town centre with a friend, I heard her draw a sharp breath at the sight of a child turning a tiny plastic flag in his fingers. For her, it was truly a new era.

I remember so much about those days. How a group of us would spend hours in the beer gardens dotting the city to watch on massive screens matches taking place in all parts of the country. How lightly the sun fell, cupping our foreheads in a warmth that was like the touch of a human palm. How, sometimes, the air in the gardens would reek sharply of shredded grass. And how one evening, during a match between Germany and France, the weather suddenly turned black and churning and vicious, slinging thick braids of water into our faces, so that we opened our mouths.

There was so much beauty in those hours. I recall us all walking home after that rainy match and hearing a damp susurration from beyond the path. My friend, Eugen, parted the long grasses to discover an enormous frog. We passed the frog from hand to hand, and I remember so vividly the feel of it in my careful fist – a pulsing damp shudder, like a living heart. The wonder that came over me then was like a physical shock – I felt as if anything could happen in that moment, as if the world was made of the strange and the unexpected, that it was a place of great openness and possibility.

Then, as we continued on, something happened that drew me up short. We had all been complaining about the French soccer team, but Eugen began to mock them viciously, beginning with their names. His biggest complaint was the fact that so many of them were brown or black men, children no doubt of immigrants who’d settled in France from its former colonies. “How were any of those people actually French?” he said, and then he met my eye: “And you, Esi, how are you Canadian?”

It had been a question that had defined my life, although I would not then have expressed it so. For years I had travelled in search of the place I would feel most at home – indeed, my time in Germany was part of that search – but it was slowly dawning on me that the answer had been clear from the moment I first left home, that I had been stubbornly refusing to look at it.

What became so clear to me with Eugen’s question was how much I had taken a certain kind of multiculturalism for granted, and how much, until those years of travel, I’d come to surround myself with people who also took that plurality for granted. I had always believed that there were many different pathways to citizenship and fealty and belonging beyond the single one suggested by him, which was, of course, blood. In a country in which the population of black people has never exceeded 3.5 per cent (and in British Columbia, where I’ve lived for 20 years, it is less than 1 per cent), the idea of my being able to claim anything like true Canadian-ness was, to him, ridiculous.

My parents were Ghanaian immigrants who’d met, not in Canada, but in San Francisco, as students; A mutual friend was hosting a party to watch the moon landing on his black and white television. Six months later they were married, and my brother was born a year after that. They settled eventually in Alberta, first in Edmonton, where my sister was born, then in Calgary, where I was born. They often used to joke that they stopped moving to avoid having more children.

Migration is rarely a clean narrative. Alongside the joys, stories of migration often contain the loss of treasured things, and also the gaining of things not wanted. At the centre of these stories is often risk. And indeed, when I think of my mother’s case, what I’m struck by is how much she had to risk to gain an education. She was a young woman in an African society where women did much of the work and held little of the power, and as her secondary school years were coming to an end, she was left floundering at the starkness of her choices. She chafed at the expectation that she would keep her father’s house until she found a husband. She wanted to become a nurse. In order to do so, though, she would have to leave home. And what amazes me is that she managed to do it.

I sometimes ask myself what might have happened if she had never made the choice to leave. If my father had also stayed and by some whim of chance they’d met and married in Ghana? Her near-fate as an uneducated mother and wife could well have been my own fate, too. The life given to me is lived in the shadow of that other possible life. I marvel even now at the strange combination of circumstances that had to come about for me to be here.

To be a Canadian is to accept that the story has more than one thread, more than one character, more than one point of view. It has become a near cliché to say it, but it’s true: we are a nation of many narratives and histories, and it is in the attempts to harmonize our various stories that our culture lives.

These negotiations can sometimes be fraught, but they are ours. Within my own family, there are a multitude of stories: one of my sisters-in-law immigrated to Edmonton from Hong Kong when she was eight years old, while the other is from the Coast Salish tribes of Vancouver Island, whose people have lived on the land for generations. My brother-in-law is French-Canadian. My husband’s aunt, who was born and raised in Guyana, has commented that when we sit down to holiday dinners we look like a UN summit. I think, though, that the variety that strikes her as an international feature is actually a very national one. And it is in our struggle to forever negotiate and align these stories that our identity is made and shaped and reshaped. The failure to come to a consensus on a single narrative – the hesitation and uncertainty about having one dominant story – is what the culture has become.

What do we see as features of our future stories, going forward? What is it we can be? The image returns to me of that rainy walk home in Stuttgart, the feel of that tiny life in my hands – how unexpected and full of wonder that moment was, how much it made the world feel boundless and without limits, as if the miraculous lay within reach. That feeling is what we need to harness, it is what I want my children to feel. The sense that nothing is closed to anyone, not because of race or gender or religious belief, that everything is open and full of startling possibility, regardless of who we are.

Source:     ‘Where are you from?’ In search of my Canadian identity Esi Edugyan July 11, 2019     

Kelly Toughill: The corrosive power of “Where are you from?”

Part of the challenges in encouraging and retaining immigration to Atlantic Canada. Not unique to Atlantic Canada: my Russian-born mother always bristled when she was asked the question in Toronto in the 50s and 60s:
Opinion: If Atlantic Canadians are serious about boosting immigration and making newcomers feel welcome, writes Kelly Toughill, we need to find a way to have real conversations about regional culture and the come-from-away phenomenon.

“Do you feel like a Nova Scotian?” I asked the woman.

We had stumbled into the topic by mistake. It is not something we talk about here: not those of us who chose Nova Scotia nor those who are tethered to the province by ancestral DNA. We were cautious, hesitant, both aware of the danger surrounding the taboo.

She is a person of significant influence with a broad social and professional network who has lived here more than 20 years. No, she said, she does not feel like a Nova Scotian and knows she never will.

Neither do I.

“I moved to Nova Scotia 21 years ago and expect to live here until I die, but I have come to terms with the fact that I will always be treated like a guest.”

There is a stereotype about the “come from away” phenomenon in Atlantic Canada, but little deep, respectful discussion of how the tendency to divide people by origin affects the region and its future. If we hope to use immigration to bolster the flagging population, we must figure out how to have that conversation right now.

Where you are from means something very different here than in the other places I have lived. In San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Washington, D.C. or Toronto, when asked where I was from, the question really meant, “Where do you live? Where do you choose to make your home? Where can you best relax and let down your guard?”

Here, it means something else entirely. I have never seen a place so connected to its roots. That is a joyful thing. It is one reason this province has such a strong sense of identity, a distinct culture and a tradition of caring for its own. But traditions can be exclusionary.

“When I first moved to Nova Scotia, I travelled the Atlantic region extensively for work. In other regions, an opening social line might be, “What do you do?” But here it was always, “Where are you from?””

I would answer, “Halifax,” because that’s where I live or, if asked in Halifax, would say, “Here.”

And people treated me as if I were lying.

It took me a while to realize they were asking me to name a spot of earth that defines my identity. Where are my ancestors buried? Where do people remember my malevolent uncle, my grandmother’s affection for mathematics, my mother’s brilliant, eclectic career?

There is no place like that for me. There is no place like that for hundreds of millions of people around the world. And that is incomprehensible to many of my neighbours and, now, closest friends.

It was a union activist who helped me figure out how to answer that essential East Coast question. We were sitting on a wharf in Saint Anthony, Newfoundland, when he asked where I was from. I explained that I had no idea how to answer in a way that honoured the real intent of his question. After a long talk, he suggested I name the place that I was born.

Now, when people ask, I say “Washington, D.C.” My parents were newly arrived in Washington when I was born. I left when I was eight years old and I do not have a single relative or friend in that city. It feels a little bit like a lie every time I say it, but it is the closest answer to their truth that I can offer.

A recent article in the academic journal Ethnicities describes how that specific question can be part of a system of welcoming that leaves racialized newcomers as perpetual outsiders. Speaking welcome: A discursive analysis of an immigrant mentorship event in Atlantic Canada, by Kristi A. Allain, Rory Crath and Gül Çaliskan, examined an event in Fredericton designed to welcome newly arrived economic immigrants. They considered the language and structure of the event through the lens of Jacques Derrida’s theory of conditional hospitality. They found that the event designed to welcome newcomers actually reinforced their status as foreign and other. And it all started with, “Where are you from?”

This is not just a matter of manners and personal feelings. Atlantic Canada will need tens of thousands of new immigrants to maintain its population, tax base and public services over the next few decades. There is much public debate about how to structure immigration pathways, how to improve economic outcomes and how immigrants can best be supported for long term success. But there is little discussion of local culture and how that can work for – and against – the retention of newcomers.

The woman and I were hesitant because we both know that this topic relies exclusively on personal experience as evidence, and that can very easily be misunderstood as a blanket criticism of the region. It takes trust even to talk about the phenomenon.

I sent her a draft of this column and asked if she was comfortable being named. She thought about it for a day and then declined. She said was afraid of discouraging other newcomers and also afraid of hurting the feelings of her Nova Scotian colleagues.

I know what she means. My Nova Scotian friends have been hurt or angry when I tried to describe my experience, so now I just don’t. After all, the Atlantic region is known for its tremendous hospitality. There is even a hit Broadway musical about how Newfoundland welcomed strangers stranded on 9-11. But being treated well as a guest is not the same as being included, for guests are expected to leave.

I asked the woman if she feels Canadian. The answer was instant and affirmative: of course, absolutely.

Me too. I am Canadian through-and-through. My inclusion in the body Canada does not feel conditional in any way, unlike my status in Nova Scotia.

I still wince every time I hear someone ask, “Where are you from?” It reminds me that I will always be a stranger in my own home province. I’ve come to accept my outsider status as the price of living in this magnificent place, but it is sad. If we want to draw people here, not everyone will make the same choice that I have.

So, here’s a suggestion: No matter how much it might feel right, no matter whether your intention is to welcome, or simple curiosity, don’t ask a stranger, “Where are you from?” Wait until you get to know them to probe that specific identity marker. Wait until you have forged a bond. Wait until that question will not be seen as a signal that your new friend will never really belong.

Source: The corrosive power of where are you from

Will Your Job Still Exist In 2030?

More on the expected impact of automation and AI:

Automation is already here. Robots helped build your car and pack your latest online shopping order. A chatbot might help you figure out your credit card balance. A computer program might scan and process your résumé when you apply for work.

What will work in America look like a decade from now? A team of economists at the McKinsey Global Institute set out to figure it out in a new report out Thursday.

The research finds automation widening the gap between urban and rural areas and dramatically affecting people who didn’t go to college or didn’t finish high school. It also projects some occupations poised for massive growth or growing enough to offset displaced jobs.

Below are some of the key takeaways from McKinsey’s forecast.

Most jobs will change; some will decline“Intelligent machines are going to become more prevalent in every business. All of our jobs are going to change,” said Susan Lund, co-author of the report. Almost 40% of U.S. jobs are in occupations that are likely to shrink — though not necessarily disappear — by 2030, the researchers found.

Employing almost 21 million Americans, office support is by far the most common U.S. occupation that’s most at risk of losing jobs to digital services, according to McKinsey. Food service is another heavily affected category, as hotel, fast-food and other kitchens automate the work of cooks, dishwashers and others.

At the same time, “the economy is adding jobs that make use of new technologies,” McKinsey economists wrote. Those jobs include software developers and information security specialists — who are constantly in short supply — but also solar panel installers and wind turbine technicians.

Health care jobs, including hearing aid specialists and home health aides, will stay in high demand for the next decade, as baby boomers age. McKinsey also forecast growth for jobs that tap into human creativity or “socioemotional skills” or provide personal service for the wealthy, like interior designers, psychologists, massage therapists, dietitians and landscape architects.

In some occupations, even as jobs disappear, new ones might offset the losses. For example, digital assistants might replace counter attendants and clerks who help with rentals, but more workers might be needed to help shoppers in stores or staff distribution centers, McKinsey economists wrote.

Similarly, enough new jobs will be created in transportation or customer service and sales to offset ones lost by 2030.

Employers and communities could do more to match workers in waning fields to other compatible jobs with less risk of automation. For instance, 900,000 bookkeepers, accountants and auditing clerks nationwide might see their jobs phased out but could be retrained to become loan officers, claims adjusters or insurance underwriters, the McKinsey report said.

Automation is likely to continue widening the gap between job growth in urban and rural areas

By 2030, the majority of job growth may be concentrated in just 25 megacities and their peripheries, while large swaths of the country see slower job creation and even lose jobs, the researchers found. This gap has already widened in the past decade, as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell noted in his remarks on Wednesday.

Source: Will Your Job Still Exist In 2030?

Douglas Todd: What would happen to Canadian housing if immigration stopped?

Good range of perspectives covered in this thought experiment:

What would happen to Canada’s housing market if immigration to Canada was substantially reduced or even cut to zero? It’s a crucial question for the public, and for real-estate developers who start new construction projects on the basis of predictions of future sales.

Surprisingly, however, the answers are all over the map.

Some specialists suggest virtually nothing would happen to Canadian housing prices if immigration slowed or ended. Others say the impact would be lower prices and hard times for the powerful real-estate industry.

While there are no immediate signs immigration levels will be reduced — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has increased the immigration rate by more than 30 per cent, to almost 350,000 newcomers a year — the issue is central to the dreams and anxieties of Canadian residents who either own homes or want to imagine the possibility.

Two Ontario real-estate specialists recently wrote in the Financial Post that, based on studies, the “overall impact of immigration on housing markets is modest at best in most cases.”

The most startling research spotlighted by Murtaza Haider, of Ryerson University, and Stephen Moranis, a Toronto real-estate insider, maintained that immigration has virtually no impact on overall Canadian housing prices.

The authors of that contentious study, Ahter Akbari and Yigit Aydede of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, claimed immigration adds an insignificant $1 to every $1,000 people in Canada spend on housing.

Could that be true?

UBC geography professor emeritus David Ley, whose findings differ from the 2012 paper by the Saint Mary’s profs, said in an interview their study looks at the period from 1996 to 2006 and doesn’t focus on urban regions, which his analyses do. Ley has consistently found a close correlation between strong immigration and high housing prices in global cities.

In that way the Saint Mary’s paper sidesteps an increasingly plain-to-see phenomenon: Housing prices vary according to where immigrants choose to live. And for the most part they stream into major cities, especially sky-high Toronto and Vancouver.

Indeed, the authors of the Financial Post article that cites the Saint Mary’s study apparently contradict themselves at the end of their piece, after repeating the impact of immigration is “modest at best” on housing.

“The more important realization,” Haider and Moranis say in their last sentence, “is that an absence of immigration would result in a declining population and aging of the workforce, which could have a much larger negative impact on Canadian housing markets.”

So, which is it? Immigration has almost no influence on housing? Or the population growth it brings has a tremendous impact?

Simon Fraser University’s Josh Gordon, a specialist in public policy, says it’s crucial to follow through on the “counter-factual” question, to imagine a scenario not currently in the cards: What would happen to housing prices if immigration levels reduced to zero?

The real-estate industry, Gordon said, repeatedly says it must build more housing faster because the Canadian population is growing rapidly, predominantly because of immigration.

The development industry’s repeated warnings, Gordon said, that Metro Vancouver and Toronto property must be rezoned at higher density and that rents will continue to rise would be thrown into disarray with the ending of immigration.

“What’s revealing is that when certain members of the real-estate industry try to generate a fear-of-missing-out mentality (FOMO), as well as the expectation that prices will rise over time, their typical move is to emphasize how many people will be arriving on a yearly basis and how large the population will eventually be,” Gordon said.

“The actions of those organizations belie the idea that immigration is not likely to have much impact on prices.”

There is evidence housing prices would dramatically adjust if immigration stopped.

After all, the populations of Metro Vancouver and Toronto experience net growth of about one per cent a year, almost entirely from foreign-born newcomers, who need places to live. That does not include the  high portion the two cities take in of the roughly one million international students and temporary visa workers who are now in Canada at any one time.

And a recent study by Statistics Canada researchers found the detached houses bought by recent immigrants to Metro Vancouver are, on average, valued $824,000 higher than such homes owned by people born in Canada. In Toronto the cost of recent immigrants’ homes was about $50,000 higher than that of the domestic born.

UBC geographer Daniel Hiebert, in addition, showed in a peer-reviewed study that recent immigrants, especially those from China, show statistically greater determination than Canadian-born citizens to buy housing in Canada’s three major cities. “First and foremost,” Hiebert says, “immigration policy is, essentially, also a form of housing policy.”

The Urban Development Institute, which represents property developers, makes no bones about how housing supply must be expanded to support immigration.

“Over the next 25 years, our province is expected to grow by more than 1.4 million people, partly as a result of the federal government’s plan to raise immigration 13 per cent by 2020,” UDI president Anne McMullin recently wrote. “That means we must work together to create new homes if we want our children and grandchildren to have a future in B.C.”

A related June study by Gordon found a near-perfect correlation between housing unaffordability and foreign ownership in certain Metro Vancouver municipalities. Gordon discovered, for instance, that Vancouver, Richmond and West Vancouver are not only the most unaffordable municipalities, they are the one most attracting millionaire migrants and their wealth.

There is a complicating factor, however, as there often is when trying to understand the mass global movement of people and money.

Gordon emphasizes that immigration levels and foreign ownership, which he defines as “housing owned primarily on the basis of foreign income or wealth,” are related. But they’re different, too.

“There is some overlap to the extent that immigration, as it happens in Canada, involves many people arriving with significant amounts of wealth,” Gordon said. “But debates about immigration are largely distinct, though not entirely, from debates around foreign ownership, even while certain people have tried to conflate the two.“

How do the foreign-buyers taxes in B.C. and Ontario, as well as B.C.’s speculation tax, fit into the discussion of housing prices? Those measures are focused on foreign ownership, not immigration levels, Gordon said.

“The point of the measures in relationship to foreign ownership is to discourage the de-coupling of the housing market from the labour market, to discourage the use of large amounts of foreign capital to purchase property in Canada,” said Gordon.

“Measures around foreign ownership are about levelling the playing field for local working people. Measures around immigration are different. The irony is that measures to limit or curtail foreign ownership may in fact be beneficial for many new immigrants, because new immigrants who do not arrive with vast amounts of wealth are doubly disadvantaged in the housing market.”

It can take a while to get one’s head around the global forces running through Canadian housing.

But no matter which way you look at the impact of large-scale immigration, and foreign capital, on key sectors of Canada’s vigorous housing market, it’s undeniable they’re profoundly connected — and that decisions made about immigration will indeed always be a form of housing policy.

Source: Douglas Todd: What would happen to Canadian housing if immigration stopped?

Tung Chan: Dialogue with Chinese consul at reception can promote Canada’s case

Valid argument. The test, however, will be how many municipal politicians will raise their concerns and how forcefully or not they do so. And dialogue requires a willingness on the Chinese side, not very much in evidence these days:

I read with amazement about the debate over whether municipal politicians should attend the reception to be hosted by the Consulate of the People’s Republic of China at the 2019 Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention, to be held Sept. 23-27 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

The central arguments against attending can be summed up in two points.

The first is that as a result of China acting in a hostile way toward our country, we should not have any contacts with its officials. The second is that if our politicians attend the reception, they will end up under the influence of the Chinese officials.

There is no doubt that China is acting in a heavy-handed way toward Canada. But this is precisely the time that more dialogue between our two countries is needed. Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping at the recent G20 meeting in Japan. The reception at the upcoming UBCM will give our municipal politicians the opportunity to talk to Chinese officials.   

As to the second point about being afraid that our municipal politicians would be influenced, as a former Vancouver city councillor and former president of the Non-Partisan Association, I have full confidence that our elected mayors and councillors would not be so easily influenced by a cocktail or two. To suggest otherwise is an insult to their intelligence and integrity.

If we truly believe that our politicians can so easily become “under the general influence” of the cocktail host and then “all of a sudden, decisions aren’t taken on the basis of the public good, but on the basis of” the preoccupations of the cocktail party’s host (to paraphrase a statement by Richard Fadden, former head of CSIS), then we should, on principle, also ban commercial sponsorship at all gatherings of our politicians. Otherwise they will all be making decisions on the basis of those commercial enterprises and not on the basis of the public good. 

The fact is influence can go both ways. Why is it that those who suggest boycotting the reception have so little confidence in themselves or other politicians who want to participate of their own power of influence?  Why won’t they consider using the interaction to impress, to the extent possible, to the hosts of the reception in question that Canada is acting the way we are because we are a country that believes in the rule of law?

The points of view of the Chinese consular officials may not be changed but at least there would be constructive dialogue and our local politicians would reinforce the message of our prime minister and the foreign affairs minister. 

I believe, with the best interest of our country in heart, we need to open up more channels of dialogue between Canada and China.

Common sense tells us that problems can only be solved through dialogue, not through avoiding contact. It is time for our local politicians to join in the effort to tell China via the Chinese consuls face-to-face the feelings of the people they represent about the actions of the Chinese government. Our local politicians cannot leave that job to our prime minister and the minister of foreign affairs alone.

Tung Chan is a former Vancouver city councillor and former president of the Non-Partisan Association.

Source: Tung Chan: Dialogue with Chinese consul at reception can promote Canada’s case

HASSAN: UN should press Islamic nations for more inclusive societies

Valid critique of many members of the OIC:

Last year, the United Nations Council on Human Rights passed a resolution acknowledging defamation of religion as a human rights violation. Pakistan led the delegation representing the 56-nation Organization of Islamic Conference and proclaimed that “Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.” Pakistan asserted that nations must “deny impunity” to those showing intolerance and ensure respect for religion.

But which religion, how and by whom?

Last Tuesday, the editor of a moderate Islamic website criticized the UN measure, citing freedom of speech issues. More important, he accused Muslim nations of expressing most of this so-called defamation of religion. He said reports from Muslim countries, such as Pakistan, not only tell horrific tales of local misogyny and terror but also reveal ways the rights of non-Muslim minorities are constantly violated. He cited many examples of this, including the publication of jihadi literature and laws that marginalize religious minorities and discriminate against women. In Pakistan, for example, Hindu girls continue to be forcibly converted to Islam and sold into marriage. This is the worst kind of intolerance based on faith.

New Age Islam editor Sultan Shaheen has tried hard in the past decade to salvage Islam from its darker manifestations and to encourage a more humane version of the faith. Like other South Asian moderates, such as Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, he has offered newer interpretations of religious precepts in an attempt to rid Islam of bigotry, violence and fundamentalism.

In drawing attention to these heinous practices in the Muslim world, Shaheen has identified the valid reasons for the bad reputation Islamic countries have earned. In a letter to the UN, he stated that, while this resolution seeks to protect Islam from defamation through any association with terrorism, other religions are routinely defamed in Muslim countries by radical Muslims. For example, propaganda is often published justifying violence against non-Muslim civilians. He cited a long essay in the Taliban mouthpiece Nawa-e-Afghan Jihad entitled Circumstances in which the Killing of Innocent People among Infidels is Justified.

Shaheen’s novelty is to interpret intolerance by Muslim extremists as defaming not only other religions but primarily distorting the essence of Islam itself. He urges the Council to “ask the Muslim countries to treat intolerance of minorities and jihadi literature too as defaming the religion of Islam.”

Shaheen quoted some jihadi literature in his letter, such as by radical Islamic scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al Abeeri, who has openly justified destroying American cities and killing enemy civilians. Shaheen characterized such literature as a tirade against Islam. He also highlighted the anti-Semitism of many of these radical scholars.

Sultan Shaheen has rightly identified the main reason for the negative image of Islam. It is the actions of radical Muslims more than anything else, coupled with the fact that moderates do not actively challenge them or distance themselves from their parochial ideas, that defame Islam the most.

The UN Council on Human Rights must look beyond its own naive resolution and urge Islamic nations to enact laws that enable freer and more inclusive societies. Instead of Pakistan urging consequences for those who supposedly defame its state religion, it should seek real consequences for those who openly and aggressively promote violence against women and non-Muslims.

Source: HASSAN: UN should press Islamic nations for more inclusive societies

In killing citizenship question, Trump adopts Census Bureau’s preferred solution to a thorny problem

After all the sound and fury, after all the lies and pretence:

President Donald Trump’s decision this afternoon to abandon plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census and instead rely on existing government records to generate citizenship statistics matches the Census Bureau’s preferred option for dealing with the politically explosive issue. It’s also a win for those who have wanted to keep such a charged question off the decennial headcount.

“This is Option C,” says former Census Director John Thompson, referring to a March 2018 memo in which Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross spelled out several options for developing a citizenship tally, and gave his rationale for deciding to include the question on the count that will begin on 1 April. Option C “is what the Census Bureau proposed to Secretary Ross,” adds Thompson, who stepped down in June 2017, a few months after Ross began his clandestine efforts to get the Department of Justice to request the question. Ross eventually chose what he called Option D, a combination of using information already in government agency files, known as administrative records, along with a yes/no question about citizenship on the census questionnaire sent to U.S. households.

The Supreme Court, however, blocked Ross’s decision, saying he had violated administrative law by providing a “contrived” rather than a “genuine” explanation for why he wanted to add the question. Critics of the question say it would have prompted many people living in the United States to decline to answer the census, leading to an undercount of the population, and was motivated by a desire to reduce the political power of regions that tend to support Democratic candidates.

Today, speaking at a hastily arranged one-way press conference in which he took no questions, Trump said he will issue an executive order telling every federal agency to “immediately” provide the Commerce Department with “all requested records regarding the number of citizens and non-citizens in our country.” He said the goal is to generate “an accurate count of how many citizens, non-citizens, and illegal aliens are in the United States of America. Not too much to ask.”

Census experts say that the agency should be able to satisfy the president’s request to develop data on the first two categories – citizens and non-citizens. And the Census Bureau already has agreements with a number of federal and state agencies that allow it to access administrative records that include some citizenship information, according to this 2018 analysis by bureau researchers. But using administrative records to determine the number of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. is not possible, the experts say. And that’s a good thing, believes Robert Santos, vice president and chief methodologist at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C.

“What this administration really wanted was a tally of those who are undocumented,” says Santos, who is also president-elect of the American Statistical Association. “But that’s not going to happen. They will fly under the radar.” As a result, he says, “now they can participate in the census without fear” of political repercussions.

It’s also good news for Census Bureau, he adds. Extracting the agency from the bitterly partisan national debate over immigration should allow it to do its job of carrying out a complete and accurate census, he says.

Civil rights groups opposing the question also hailed the president’s decision as a victory but said they hadn’t given up their fight against the administration’s policies. “This is a welcome reprieve of his partisan agenda, and a win for all communities,” says Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference Education Fund in Washington, D.C. “[But] we remain on guard to combat any attempts to sabotage a fair and accurate count.”

Source: In killing citizenship question, Trump adopts Census Bureau’s preferred solution to a thorny problem

And further commentary:

Donald Trump pretended he was doing something meaningful on Thursday after he was forced to cave in on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

But his post-cave bait-and-switch to push an executive order is also going up in flames almost immediately after it was issued.

Page said:

“So just saying it’s not a cave does not make it not a cave. Just the attorney general saying congratulations, Mr. President, does not make it a congratulatory moment. And the executive order, it is not at all clear that it’s necessary to have a new executive order to give publicly available data from federal agencies to the Commerce Department. That would seem to be something that would be easy to do. And in fact, as you noted, the government already calculates the number of illegal immigrants and the number of non-citizens who live in this country, and they’ve done that for some time.”

Trump is pulling out all the distractions after his census cave-in

Donald Trump’s executive order stunt that he announced on Thursday isn’t the only distraction he’s pulling out following his census loss.

It was also reported today that the administration would move forward with its raids on thousands of undocumented migrant families. According to The New York Times, “Nationwide raids to arrest thousands of members of undocumented families have been scheduled to begin Sunday, according to two current and one former homeland security officials.”

The raids, which had been delayed last month due to widespread backlash, will likely separate more families. Even the president’s acting DHS secretary has admitted as much.

Of course, none of these steps are being taken because they are sound policy solutions. They are just the latest in a two-year string of distractions meant to paper over an endless string of policy and political failures from this White House.

Source: Trump’s Citizenship Executive Order Is Already Going Up In Flames