In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why

Interesting and relevant changes to how Canadians perceive attachment and belonging (Ekos more reliable than Leger’s web panel):

On a historic Remembrance Day, a century after the end of the First World War, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a Paris crowd that decaying trust in public institutions will lead citizens to look for easy answers “in populism, in nationalism, in closing borders, in shutting down trade, in xenophobia.”

The implication was clear: if nations turn in on themselves and treat outsiders as threats, we might again find ourselves in a bloody conflict with fronts all over the world.

But a series of surveys suggest the idea of being a nationalist, and nationalism in general, are viewed fairly positively by most Canadians.

What the data suggest is that Canadians don’t see the concept of nationalism the way people do in the United States, where the term is often linked with white-nationalist groups, and then with white supremacy and racism.

Rather, Canadians appear to have constructed their view of nationalism on the idea of feeling connected to our country and ensuring that others feel connected as well — even as we watch the term pilloried globally.

“It is used in different ways — when people are talking about the Trump nationalism, they would say (it’s) bad. But in Canada, they accept it because it is equated with certain communities and they see it as a way it’s helping vulnerable populations find their place in Canada,” said Kathy Brock, a political studies professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

“Canadians have just acclimatized to this dual view of nationalism.”

In the 1950s and 1960s, Canadians often reported feeling greater attachments to their particular communities or ethnic groups than they did to the country. In the intervening years, connection to country has strengthened while connection to community has faded, said Frank Graves, president of EKOS Research Associates, a polling and market-research firm. The opposite has happened in Europe, he said.

Research also suggests Canadians’ attachments to their ethnic groups have weakened over the last 20 years in favour of an attachment to country, Graves said, even as census data shows the country’s population is becoming ever more diverse.

“We don’t have a common ethno-linguistic homogeneity that produces a definition of ‘the people.’ It’s more civic nationalism,” Graves said.

“In Canada, national identity has been created through a dialogue between citizens and the state and the public institutions — medicare, the Mounties, Parliament Hill. It isn’t as much steeped in history or common race and identity, which probably inoculates it from some of the more disturbing expressions of nationalism.”

Newly released survey data from the Association of Canadian Studies says that 60 per cent of respondents hold a somewhat or very positive view of nationalism, compared with about 45 per cent in the United States. The results were similar in both English and French Canada.

There also appears to be an association between Canadians’ views on nationalism and their views on multiculturalism.

“In contrast to the European idea of nationalism, having that ethnic component to it, most Canadians don’t see nationalism as ethnically driven. They see it more as a form of patriotism,” said Jack Jedwab, the association’s president. “It doesn’t intersect as much as it does in the European context with anti-immigrant sentiment, or a sentiment against diversity.”

The Leger Marketing survey of 1,519 Canadians on a web panel was conducted for the association the week of Nov. 12. Online surveys traditionally are not given a margin of error because they are not random and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population.

A day after his Nov. 11 comments, Trudeau was asked how he defined nationalism and where he saw it in Canada.

“In Canada, we’ve demonstrated many times that identities are complimentary,” he said. “I’m an extremely proud Quebecer, I’m an extremely proud Canadian and like most Canadians, they don’t see a contradiction in that.”

Experts say the more negative forms of nationalism are nevertheless simmering in Canada. Jedwab’s survey data suggest that respondents who have positive views of nationalism are somewhat more worried about immigration and security along the U.S. border than those who have negative views of nationalism.

Part of what fuelled U.S. President Donald Trump’s political rise, and his populist rhetoric, was financial worry — or what Graves described as the idea of the everyman versus the corrupt elites. Brock said Canada has thus far avoided similar concerns about class and finances, particularly coming out of the recession a decade ago, and a similar rise of nationalist rhetoric.

“Now, we’re facing some really serious economic challenges and if they come to pass, then we could see a different manifestation of this,” she said. “So I don’t think those (polling) figures are necessarily set in stone.”

Source: In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why

Immigrants are most excited about Canada 150 celebrations; Quebecers — not so much

Not surprising that new Canadians, those who chose to come here, are more enthusiastic. Other polling on belonging and attachment to Canada generally shows comparable attachment to Canada between ‘old-stock’ and new Canadians:

The newest Canadians are the ones most pumped up to celebrate the country’s sesquicentennial in 2017 according to a survey on Canada 150 events and attitudes posted online this week by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Among people who weren’t born in Canada, 51.6 per cent said they strongly agreed with the statement they were looking forward to celebrating Canada 150 compared to 29.5 per cent of those who were born in Canada.

“This survey shows immigrants are very enthusiastic about Canada and they are looking to take leadership of the commemorations of our 150th,” said Jack Jedwab of the Association for Canadian Studies in Montreal. “That’s paradoxical when you think about it, because that anniversary is not part of their heritage.”

The difference between native Canadians and immigrants is greatest in Quebec, where many of the Canadian-born respondents were francophones who have the lowest interest in the celebration. But even in Ontario, there was a 20 percentage point difference between native Canadians and immigrants.

“I was expecting some difference, but 20 points is surprising,” Jedwab said.

The Leger survey was commissioned by Canadian Heritage and surveyed 2,191 Canadians aged 18 and over from all regions of the country. The purpose was to find a baseline of Canadians’ attitudes toward their country and the 150th anniversary of Confederation celebrations in 2017.

A majority of Canadians are proud of their country, plan to take part in Canada 150 events and approve of the government spending money on the party, according to a survey, which was conducted last June.

The exception, unsurprisingly, are francophone Quebecers whose strongest affinity is to their home province and who are the least likely to approve spending money on the Canada 150 celebrations, as well as least likely to volunteer or take part in events. The Quebec factor, though not unexpected, poses a problem for the federal government in promoting Canada 150 events in the province, Jedwab said.

“One of the big stories in this is the level of interest among francophones. There’s a risk here that you’re going to have a different level of celebration in Ottawa than you do in Gatineau. The government has got a challenge. On the one hand, if it wants to maximize involvement among francophones, there will be a pushback to manage as well. That pushback in Quebec risks undercutting the degree of interest among non-francophones.”

The survey found 95 per cent of Canadians say they feel attached to the country and that they identify as Canadians first, over their individual provinces or communities. Two-thirds of the respondents said they intended to participate in Canada 150 events and about one-third said they had seen or heard advertising related to the 2017 celebrations.

Affinity for Canada and support for a Canada 150 party was strongest among women and those aged 65 and older.

Source: Immigrants are most excited about Canada 150 celebrations; Quebecers — not so much | Ottawa Citizen