People don’t see difference between multiculturalism, interculturalism: poll

Largely, because the differences are small and nuanced. Both are policies that aim to facititate integration while recognizing identities, the major difference being that interculturalism makes explicit reference to integrating into Quebec francophone society whereas multiculturalism aims at integrating into either (or both) anglophone or francophone society:

Fully agree with Jack here. Debate is more semantics rather than substance:

Canadians, including Quebecers, do not see the difference between multiculturalism and interculturalism, a poll shows.

Even if Quebec’s Liberal youth wing this weekend will attempt to make interculturalism party policy, leading to an eventual provincial law should they take power, for most people it’s just semantics.

“People don’t understand this stuff and are not making the distinction,” said Jack Jedwab, president of Association for Canadian Studies, which commissioned the poll back in May.

“The Liberal youth will make no traction whatsoever on this. You are not going to distract people with academic rhetoric and lofty terminology to try and rebrand yourself.

“This is nothing more than intellectual camouflage. It’s a lot of semantics.”

According to the poll, conducted by Léger, relatively few Quebecers and other Canadians see the difference between the two concepts.

If you ask Quebecers their views of the terms, a total of 66.2 per cent they have a “very or somewhat positive,” perception of the term interculturalism.

But a total of 72.3 per cent also have “very or somewhat positive,” view of multiculturalism.

On the other hand, people who don’t like muliculturalism don’t like interculturalism either, the data reveals.

And whether the person is for multiculturalism or interculturalism, the views on immigration or issues like the wearing of the hijab (the Muslim head covering) are the same.

The data arrives just as the Liberal youth wing enters its annual summer policy convention in Quebec City this weekend.

Up for debate is a plan to ditch the concept of multiculturalism and pledge support for a plan to enshrine interculturalism in a law should the Liberals take power.

Interculturalism would become the guiding principle the government would use to welcome and integrate new arrivals.

While multiculturalism refers to a society in which people of different cultural backgrounds live side by side without much interaction, the youth say interculturalism would specify the existence of a francophone majority in Quebec.

Critics of the plan — which the youth hope will improve the party’s nationalistic branding in the eyes of francophones — have complained it would create a hierarchy of citizens and condemn minorities to assimilation.

The Léger poll is based on a web survey of 1,212 Quebecers 18 years or older. It was conducted from May 3 to May 7, which was before the youth wing made public their vision.

While the focus of the convention has been about multiculturalism, the youth wing also wants to pass a motion saying Quebec should write up its own constitution.

Part of that document should specify Quebec’s economy is green, the youth wing says.

Source: People don’t see difference between multiculturalism, interculturalism: poll

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

2 Responses to People don’t see difference between multiculturalism, interculturalism: poll

  1. A Leahy says:

    I find very hard to reconcile Leger’s claim that 72.3% of Quebecers have a somewhat or very positive view of multiculturalism with the everyday comversation on this issue – even on Montreal.

    • Andrew says:

      Does go against public discourse. I think, however, if one asked People’s opinions on the fundamental objectives, rather than the word itself, more likely.

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