Canadians open to quotas to boost indigenous representation in government

Interesting and significant. Of note that opposition is highest in the two provinces with the largest percentage of Indigenous people, Saskatchewan and Manitoba:

The majority of Canadians are open to designating seats for the country’s indigenous people to boost their representation in Parliament and on the Supreme Court.

A recent survey by Environics Institute and the Institute on Governance found that two-thirds of Canadians are open to improving the representation of indigenous people in federal institutions.

They are divided, however, when it comes to how that representation would be achieved.

When asked about hypothetically designating a specific number of seats for indigenous representatives in the House of Commons, Senate or Supreme Court, one-third backed the idea; one-third opposed, and one-third said it “depends” on how it was done or were unsure.

Maryantonett Flumian, president of the Institute on Governance (IOG) , said the nearly 30 per cent who said they could support quotas depending on how they are handled suggests an “openness” among Canadians and a significant shift in attitude.

 “We don’t have comparative data but I … think these numbers represent an evolution in public opinion and in the minds of many Canadians. I would bet that we wouldn’t have had those responses five years ago and that attitudes have evolved that far.”

She also said Canadians seem to recognize that we can’t fix the country’s relationship with indigenous peoples “with good intentions (only) — they have to be in the positions driving it.”

Scott Serson, a former deputy minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, said the survey suggested Canadians are more open today than when a group of seven organizations conducted a major survey of non-aboriginal Canadians in 2014.

That survey was conducted by Environics as a baseline to track changing public attitudes towards reconciliation. It found Canadians increasingly recognize the historic and current challenges indigenous people face, with many indicating support for reconciliation and finding solutions.

“We have always said that First Nations must be at every table where decisions are being made that affect us, including the cabinet table, the boardroom table, the Supreme Court of Canada and beyond,” said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde.

“I am encouraged that many Canadians have confidence in the ability of First Nations leaders, and support the need for us to be fully involved in setting the path forward as partners.”

Emmett Macfarlane, a political scientist at the University of Waterloo, called Canadians’ openness to increased indigenous representation in government a “turning point” in attitudes.

He said the intense media attention around the Truth and Reconciliation Report into the residential school system, coupled with the Idle No More movement and the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, have all helped increase Canadians’ knowledge and understanding.

“This is an important development that puts them at the top of mind for non-indigenous people. It’s a bit of a surprise because it’s a departure from historical norms where non-indigenous Canadians have not given a lot of thought to indigenous Canadians.

…According to the survey, 46 per cent of Canadians support more indigenous representation while 16 per cent are opposed. Nearly 30 per cent responded with “depends” how it was done and nine per cent had no opinion.

The level of support, however, divided along East-West lines.

Support to expanding representation was strongest in Eastern and Central Canada, especially in Quebec where 56 per cent said they supported the idea. Opposition was most evident Manitoba and Saskatchewan where 26 per cent were opposed.

The survey asked Canadians who opposed expanding indigenous representation to give reasons for their objections. The most common reason, given by 35 per cent of them, was that all Canadians are equal and no group should be given preferential treatment.

About 10 per cent said indigenous peoples are adequately represented; nine per cent said they were over-represented; nine per cent said they were irresponsible and might abuse the system, and that representation should be based on qualifications not background.

About 28 per cent offered no specific reasons for their objections.

Source: Canadians open to quotas to boost indigenous representation in government | Ottawa Citizen

Environics Institute: Do students with immigrant backgrounds in Canada do as well in educational achievement as non-immigrants students?

PISA Math ScoresGood study from the Environics Institute on education outcomes. Excerpt from Chapter 8, immigrant backgrounds:

Yes; Canada is one of only a very few countries that combines overall high achievement, a larger than average immigrant population, and no significant achievement gap between immigrants and non-immigrants.

One of the main reasons that explains Canada’s good overall performance in education is that it is successful in ensuring the educational achievement of children with immigrant backgrounds. Given the comparatively large proportion of students in Canadian schools, colleges and universities that are first and second generation immigrants, the country simply could not post high overall achievements scores if there was a significant gap between these students and non-immigrants.

The PIRLS study of Grade Four students does not report data regarding immigrant students, but does examine results for those who did not speak the language of the test prior to starting school (in Canada, this would be those whose spoke a language other than English or French). While internationally the average gap between students who did and did not speak the language of the test prior to starting school was 37 points, Hong Kong, Australia and Canada all had gaps of 5 points or less (and in each case, the gap was not statistically significant). This demonstrates the ability of schools in high immigration countries such as Australia and Canada to quickly integrate students from immigrant families in the early years of schooling.

PISA - Literacy ScoresThere is extensive data from PISA regarding students with immigrant backgrounds. The proportion of students with immigrant backgrounds in Canada is much higher than average, and indeed higher than in almost all other OECD countries.

  • 29 percent of Canadian 15-year old students have an immigrant background (meaning they are either first or second generation immigrants), compared to the OECD average of 11 percent. Among OECD countries, only Luxembourg (46 percent) has a higher proportion. New Zealand (26 percent), Switzerland (24 percent), Australia (23 percent), and the US (22 percent) are the other OECD countries where the proportion of students with immigrant backgrounds is greater that one in five.
  • 13 percent of Canadians students are first-generation immigrants, compared with the OECD average of 5 percent. Among OECD countries, only Luxembourg and New Zealand (17 percent each) have a higher proportion.
  • Among OECD countries, Canada (14 percent) has the second highest proportion of students who have an immigrant background (first or second generation) and who speak a language at home that is different from the language of the PISA assessment, after Luxembourg (32 percent). The average for the OECD is 6 percent.There is no significant gap between the academic achievement of immigrant (first and second generation) and non-immigrant students in Canada, as measured by PISA 2012 (mean math scores).
  • The two point gap in favour of non-immigrant students in Canada is not statistically significant, and compares with an average gap for all OECD countries of 34 points. New Zealand and Ireland resemble Canada in having no gap between immigrant and non-immigrant students, while in Australia there is a significant gap in favour of immigrant students.
  • There is also no noticeable gap between students in Canada who are first-generation immigrants and non-immigrant students (in fact, the former group has a slight 6 point edge).
  • Similarly, students in Canada who have both an immigrant background (first or second generation) and who speak a language at home that is different from the language of the PISA assessment perform about as well as non-immigrants with the same language as the assessment (again, the former group has a slight 7 point edge).In fact, Canada is one of only a few OECD countries that combine a number of important attributes: high overall performance, a high proportion of students from immigrant families, and a low or non-existent performance gap between immigrants and non-immigrants. This is illustrated in Table 6.37

Canada’s success in this area is also evident by the fact that even those first generation immigrant students who arrived in Canada after age 12 perform relatively well: in fact, the PISA math scores for this group are no different than those of non-immigrant students. As Chart 6 illustrates, there is no significant drop-off in scores for immigrants students based on how long they have been in the country, in marked contrast to the international average.

Immigrants in Canada have also been successful in postsecondary education.

  • Of course, data on educational attainment for first- generation immigrants generally reflects the educational backgrounds that immigrants had before arriving in Canada rather than their education experience in this country (immigrants to Canada on the whole are more likely to have a university degree than domestically born Canadians).
  • The experience of second generation immigrants is more revealing. 84 percent of second generation immigrants in Canada enroll in a postsecondary education course by the age of 21, including 54 percent who pursue a university degree, compared with 72 percent for non-immigrants (38 percent for university).
  • Not all immigrant groups are equally successful, however. While over 80 percent of second generation immigrants whose parents came from Africa or China pursue university studies by the age of 21, only 36 percent of those from central and southern America and the Caribbean do.

Economy? Health care? No, the deciding factor of this election was Canadian values: Adams

Good reflections on the deeper values of Canadians by Michael Adams:

While polls in this election may have indicated that the economy and health care were the campaign’s top issues, Stephen Harper wasn’t defeated last week because he was seen as a poor steward of the economy or an enemy of Canadians’ beloved public health care system. Rather, he offended the values of two-thirds of Canadians. Despite some suggestions to the contrary, these values did not change much during Harper’s time in office. Canada’s political centre of gravity has not shifted.

In addition to a divided centre-left, Stephen Harper’s success could mainly be traced to deft riding-by-riding tactics and to the use of wedge values issues to build out incrementally from his base (not very far, but enough for a majority in 2011). In addition to customized offerings for specific groups of voters (such as targeted foreign policy gestures and boutique tax cuts), our outgoing PM did find a few issues on which he could appeal to large majorities of Canadians.

On crime, Harper took populist positions that were out of step with the evidence about crime reduction and represented sharp departures from both Liberal and Progressive Conservative policies of the past. Public opinion has historically been more punitive than government policy. Mr. Harper saw an opportunity and took it: his government gave the people (especially his base) what they wanted: a tough stance on bad guys.

During this campaign, another values issue came to the fore when a decision by the federal court of appeal enabled Zunera Ishaq to swear her citizenship oath while wearing a niqab. A government-sponsored poll had shown that 82 per cent of Canadians agreed with the Conservative government’s attempt to prevent her from doing so – including 93 per cent in Quebec, where secularism and gender equality have become religion. While Ms. Ishaq exercised her clear Charter right to cover her face, the government put its impotent – but widely shared – objection on prominent display.

Crime and punishment, the niqab, revoking the citizenship of convicted terrorists, establishing a “barbaric cultural practices” hotline, foot-dragging on Syrian refugees (and, earlier, revoking refugees’ health care) – all these symbolic gestures appealed to the Conservative base, but some in fact appealed to large majorities of Canadians.

If some of these moves were so popular, why didn’t they gain Conservatives more traction in the election?

The reason is that other Canadian values run deeper. Research by the Environics Institute tells us that Canadians deeply value their pluralistic society; they believe government has a role to play in building a fair country; they believe in empathy and compromise as social habits.

Many Canadians might be uncomfortable with the niqab, but they take the Charter seriously and in the grand scheme they want a just, inclusive society. Most Canadians’ thinking on sentencing for offenders might be driven more by emotion than by reviews of criminology literature, but traditionally most have not objected when governments have acted on data rather than gut. Over time, a collection of wedge-politics gestures, however cleverly designed, were no longer able to hold back the tide of public sentiment that wanted another kind of big picture.

American poet Walt Whitman wrote: “Do I contradict myself?/Very well then, I contradict myself/(I am large. I contain multitudes.)” Like Whitman, the Canadian public contains multitudes. We have lesser angels and better angels. When we are not fearful we try to be inclusive, fair, and generous. And perhaps even when we are fearful, we try to find our way back to being otherwise.

Source: Economy? Health care? No, the deciding factor of this election was Canadian values – The Globe and Mail

ICYMI: Mistrust between bureaucrats and politicians bad for Canada: survey

doing their best 1224-survey2-ps04-grInteresting survey. Above chart I found particularly striking and worrisome.

While it is unlikely that a new incoming government will be much more trusting and reliant on public servants for broader policy advice given some of the macro-trends at play, some of the more fundamental distrust and ideology regarding the role of government may improve the relationship:

About 66 per cent of Canadians think public servants should “actively” provide expert advice and recommend policies, compared to the 18 per cent who say their job is simply to implement the desires of politicians. This view is evident across the country but is strongest among older, more educated people and higher-income earners.

And nearly three-quarters of those asked believe the best policies would come from a “collaborative” working relationship between public servants and politicians. Only 10 per cent believe “tension” would generate better policy.

The survey provides Canadians’ perspective on an issue that has been hotly debated in Ottawa for several decades, as power shifted to the Prime Minister’s Office and public servants lost their onetime monopoly on providing advice to ministers.

The findings are also at odds with the view of the current Conservative government, which, after nearly a decade in power, doesn’t particularly trust the public service and sometimes finds its advice obstructionist.

Public servants complain their advice isn’t actively sought or is ignored if offered on big issues and direction. They say ministers come to the table with ready-made policies that public servants are told to implement. The rising stars among public servants are issue-managers and fixers, not big-idea thinkers.

This view of policy advice was recently illustrated when Finance Minister Joe Oliver gave a $550-million tax cut to the small-business lobby without his department — once the bureaucracy’s crème de la crème of policy analysts — conducting any analysis of its own.

…Maryantonett Flumian, president of the Institute on Governance, said she commissioned the survey to determine how Canadians feel their governments serve them.

She said the findings suggest Canadians still support a parliamentary democracy even though Canada has drifted towards a “Washminister” system — the name used for a hybrid of Washington’s presidential and Britain’s Westminster systems of responsible government.

“We see a mismatch in expectations and outcome from all the players: politicians, public servants, citizens, and we wanted to see how Canadians viewed this,” she said, “and they think the spirit of co-operation would have better outcomes and they understand who is accountable: the people who form the government and make the decisions,”

Although Canadians expect public servants to have a policy advisory role, they don’t necessarily think public servants of the future should have more influence on managing departments and agencies than they do now. About 28 per cent say they should have more influence; 17 per cent said less and 34 per cent were in the middle, happy with the status quo.

Mistrust between bureaucrats and politicians bad for Canada: survey | Ottawa Citizen.

Consumers More Borderless Than Multinationals – New Canadian Media – NCM

Environics Canada USFascinating market research and comparison between Canadian and American acculturation models and behaviours by Robin Brown of Environics.

The cliché of the melting pot versus the cultural mosaic appears to still apply, at least for those of Chinese and South Asian origin (two of the largest communities in Canada):

Our recent research compared Chinese and South Asian Americans and Canadians’ level of acculturation using Geoscape and & Environics Analytics CultureCodes see graph. These analytical tools classify the population into five categories of acculturation based on their home language, knowledge of English/French and period of immigration. We found much higher levels of acculturation in the U.S. than in Canada for both groups. This results from a number of factors, including the “melting pot” vs. multicultural culture of each country. Of course, this means that these populations will differ and marketing efforts to reach them must navigate that difference.

But, understanding the diasporas may not be the biggest challenge faced by multinationals. The current reality for many multinationals is that many of their consumers are in some respects more global than they are. There may be good business reasons why an Asian Canadian cannot find Nescafe iced coffee here in Canada, but consumers are not aware or don’t care about the constraints of separate business units, tariffs and supply chain logistics. They are connected globally and informed of products and services that are used by their ethnic diaspora across the world.

Consumers More Borderless Than Multinationals – New Canadian Media – NCM.

Immigrants don’t turn ‘blue’ the moment they arrive – The Globe and Mail

A useful counterpoint to the thesis of John Ibbitson and Darrell Bricker in The Big Shift, by Michael Adams and Robin Brown, nuancing the Ibbitson-Bricker argument that Canadian immigrants and new Canadians are inherently more conservative politically:

But the story is more complicated.

The idea that migrant attitudes are defined by a focus on economic mobility is outdated. These days, middle-class Chinese and Indians who are solely focused on material gain are better off staying in their home countries. Today’s migrants are often people who voluntarily accept a decline in status and even income to move to Canada. Young professional immigrants who choose Canada are often seeking gains in quality of life more than standard of living. Focus group participants have told us they want to raise their children outside the hierarchies and pressures of their home countries. South Asian immigrants, in particular, are attracted to Canada’s multicultural society, believing they and their children are enriched through exposure to diverse cultures. Many of the Chinese immigrants we speak to are tired of “striving” and are trading off more opportunity in China for less stress in Canada.

One of the success stories of Canada’s model of immigration, citizenship and multiculturalism is that all parties engage ethnic communities. Minister Kenney is the best illustration of this approach, given his extensive and energetic outreach.

Unlike in Europe or the US, there is no xenophobic political party. Immigration-related debates are over policy and program approaches, not the fundamental view of Canada as a diverse, multicultural society.

Immigrants don’t turn ‘blue’ the moment they arrive – The Globe and Mail.

The reply by Bricker and Ibbitson based upon a wider survey and the election results, showing gains for the Conservatives in ridings with a large proportion of ethnic voters:

 You have to figure immigrants out to win elections 

The counterpart to both articles is of course Susan Delacourt’s Shopping for Votes, which downplays macro trends given that parties, and the Conservatives have done that particularly well, are micro-targeting in terms of policies and programs, treating voters more as consumers than with fixed party preferences.