Forty-one per cent of Canadians fear racism is on the rise

While I am not sure regarding the soundness of Research Co’s methodology and how it formulates questions, the overall gender, regional, party affiliation and age differences broadly reflect other public opinion research.

Canseco recently did an op-ed (Metro Vancouver voters value issues more than ethnicity | Burnaby Now) where he largely discounted the importance of ethnic vote strategies, legitimately noting that ethnic groups do not vote as a bloc but discounting the electoral strategies (candidate selection, policies) of political parties and the overall tendencies within some groups (e.g., Chinese Canadians tend to the right, Canadian Sikhs to the left, Canadian Jews have shifted somewhat from being Liberal to Conservative supporters):

Over the past couple of years, concerns about racism have entered the realm of international politics. We have witnessed some electoral success by xenophobic parties in Europe, as well as the dreadful statements of a Republican presidential contender in the United States who is now the country’s head of state.

Just last weekend, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam got in trouble over a photograph allegedly taken when he was attending medical school, at a time when he was not young enough to rely on the “boys will be boys” defence. Several professional football players have protested police brutality and racial profiling in the United States.

In spite of what is happening down south and on the other side of the Atlantic, Canadians are not immune to racism. Individuals and organized groups have taken advantage of the anonymity of social media to push a remarkably divisive agenda.

Some politicians have attempted to ignore the controversy. Quebec Premier François Legault recently made an ill-timed remark – on the second anniversary of a shooting inside a mosque that left six men dead – claiming that Islamophobia does not exist in his province. In Ontario, just how and when to resort to the acrimonious practice of “carding” – the stopping and documenting of individuals by police even though no particular crime is being investigated  – is still a matter of debate.

In Western Canada, British Columbia’s provincial government is preparing to re-establish a human rights commission. On the Prairies, provincial administrations have been severely criticized for not doing enough to help First Nations. In Manitoba alone, 11 of the 19 people who have lost their lives in police incidents this century have been identified as Aboriginal.

When Research Co. asked Canadians about racism in the country last month, the results were not uplifting. Two in five respondents to the survey (41%) think racism has become a more significant problem in Canada over the past two years. Women (47%) and Canadians aged 18 to 34 (46%) are more likely to feel this way.

https://public.tableau.com/views/Multiculturalism/Story1?:embed=y&:embed_code_version=3&:loadOrderID=0&:display_count=yes&publish=yes

Quebecers appear to be in tune with their current head of government, with 55% of the province’s residents asserting that racism has not worsened. Conversely, there is one area of Canada where residents are convinced that racism is growing. In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, a whopping 55% of residents think racism has become a more significant problem recently. No other region of the country surpasses the 50% mark on this question.

That a sizable number of Canadians are concerned about racism should lead to a debate over the success of government policies. When Canadians were given a choice, just over two in five residents (42%) endorsed the multicultural concept of the “mosaic” and think cultural differences within Canadian society are valuable and should be preserved. A larger proportion of Canadians (49%) express a preference for the concept of the “melting pot” and want immigrants to assimilate and blend into Canadian society.

While women are equally divided in their assessment of the two concepts, most men (53%) favoured the “melting pot.” And while a majority of those aged 18 to 34 (60%) are fond of the “mosaic,” support for this idea falls to 39% among those aged 35 to 54 and 27% among those aged 55 and over.

On a regional basis, British Columbians are the most enthusiastic supporters of the “mosaic” (52%). A majority of Quebecers (53%) are in favour of the “melting pot.”

The survey shows two in five Canadians reporting an upsurge of racist behaviour and practically half desiring a “melting pot.” When asked directly about multiculturalism, 62% of residents think it has been “very good” or “good” for Canada, while 33% deem it “bad” or “very bad.”

While these numbers would imply success, support for the policy is half-hearted. Practically the same proportion of Canadians regard multiculturalism as “very good” (13%) and “very bad.” The difference in the total numbers amount to the 49% who claim the policy has been “good,” compared to the 19% who say it has been “bad.”

In an election year, it is important to analyze these findings by political allegiance. The voters who supported the Liberal Party or the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the last federal ballot hold similar views on two issues: multiculturalism has been good for the country and the “mosaic” is preferable to the “melting pot.” However, NDP voters are more likely to think racism has become a bigger problem recently (55%) than Liberal voters (40%).

In stark contrast, Canadians who voted for the Conservative Party in the 2015 federal election are unequivocally more likely to say that multiculturalism, as a policy, has been bad for Canada (42%), to express that racism has not become a significant problem in the country (56%) and to choose the “melting pot” (62%). Centre-right parties have never wholly embraced multiculturalism, which is often regarded as a legacy of the Pierre Trudeau era. They are not expected to do so now.

The survey suggests that while Canadians may not love everything about multiculturalism, they are signalling that they can be trusted to handle newcomers in a “melting pot” scenario better than the Americans. In any case, the fact that two in five residents feel that racism is intensifying should be disturbing for policy-makers.

Source: Forty-one per cent of Canadians fear racism is on the rise

Metro Vancouver voters value issues more than ethnicity

I would be cautious in drawing parallels between municipal and federal/provincial elections. The former tend to under-represent visible minorities and other minority groups whereas federal and political parties tend to recruit candidates from the larger visible minority or ethnic groups, as well as developing policies to attract minority voters (e.g., the Conservatives Chinese head tax historical recognition program when they first formed the government).

And nobody I know is suggesting that groups vote as a block. However, exit polls do suggest that groups have overall political leanings (e.g., Chinese Canadians lean conservative, Canadian Sikhs Liberal or NDP).

So the reality is more complex than presented here.

Byelection campaigns can be extremely complex events.

Voter turnout tends to be lower than in a regular electoral contest, when all the seats in a particular legislative body are at stake. Potential voters are often disengaged and disenchanted, and the lack of deep media coverage leads to citizens not even knowing that they have a chance to exercise their franchise.

In the case of the federal vote that will take place on February 25 in British Columbia’s Burnaby South constituency, the presence of the leader of the federal New Democratic Party (NDP) in the ballot has certainly added some interest. Jagmeet Singh seeks to be the first leader of the main three Canadian federal parties to represent a B.C. riding since Stockwell Day headed the Canadian Alliance.

The Burnaby South byelection was supposed to be an early test of strength for the NDP leader, as well as an indicator of whether the newly created People’s Party would eat into some traditional support for the federal Conservatives.

The race took a wild swing earlier this month, after a poorly worded statement from Liberal candidate Karen Wang was posted to social media platform WeChat and uncovered by the staff at Star Vancouver. In a span of 32 hours, Wang resigned, asked to be reinstated and flirted with a run as an independent. The Liberals have now named former provincial lawmaker Richard T. Lee as their standard bearer.

Wang’s demotion by the Liberal Party has precipitated a much-needed debate on the way political campaigns in Canada operate when it comes to courting so-called “multicultural” voters.  Political consultants charge fortunes pretending to create a magic potion to engage with particular ethnic communities, and messages are crafted to make candidates appear more in touch with voters who immigrated to Canada. This can backfire quickly, as demonstrated in British Columbia by the 2013 “quick wins” scandal.

In elections of all types – municipal, provincial and federal – there is a tendency to make assumptions based on the demographic characteristics of a particular population. These assumptions are usually incorrect.

Just last year, we were treated to illusory media commentary that suggested that being married to a Filipino woman would propel a Vancouver mayoral candidate to victory. The candidate finished in fifth place, as the supposed Filipino constituency that seemed discernible looking at census data never materialized.

In first-past-the-post elections, the futility of this misleading analysis becomes evident. There is more to a community than the origin of its residents. In Richmond, where 53 per cent of residents are of Chinese descent, three Chinese-Canadian candidates garnered 4,794 votes together. Incumbent Mayor Malcolm Brodie was re-elected with 30,452 votes.

The ability of an electoral contender to connect with voters of a particular ethnicity cannot measured by a last name, origin or ability to feature foreign languages in campaign paraphernalia.

A survey I conducted a few weeks before the 2015 federal election showed that voters in Metro Vancouver of East Asian, South Asian and Southeast Asian descent placed “the candidate’s ethnicity” as the least important motivator for their vote. These “multicultural” voters were moved primarily by two issues: the candidate’s position on issues and the political party they represented.

Contrary to what data-less pundits believe, voters of a particular ethnicity do not cast their ballots as a block. In addition, the efforts of politicians to appear inclusive and mindful do not always move the needle. Last year, 69 per cent of British Columbians said that politicians who show up at ethnic festivals and celebrations are merely pandering for votes and are not truly interested in engaging with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

The proportion of voters who are not amused by public servants suddenly showing interest in ethnic celebrations included 76 per cent of residents of South Asian descent, 70 per cent of Europeans and 62 per cent of East Asians – something to ponder the next time politicians don traditional garb for Vaisakhi.

Regardless of the result in Burnaby South, a conversation about treating “multicultural” voters as a commodity has started. It will be interesting to see if political parties learn from Wang’s demise and work harder on policy development and meaningful community outreach, instead of trying to score points with their last names or birthplaces.

The political climate of the country has evolved to a point where candidates do not need to advertise themselves as “the only [insert ethnicity here] in the race.” Let’s hope that situations like the one that led the Liberals to replace their Burnaby South byelection candidate are the exception – and not the norm – in the next federal campaign.

Source: Metro Vancouver voters value issues more than ethnicity

February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (1-18 January 2019)

As some of you may be aware, I have been working through census data to develop profiles of all 338 federal ridings that focus on key demographic, economic, social and political indicators.

I have been  working with Canada’s multilingual media monitoring service, MIREMS (www.mirems.com) to test out matching their ethnic media coverage with the census data.

The current by-elections provide an ideal opportunity to test out this approach and to assess how useful this could be for this year’s October 19th general election.

Table 1 contrasts some of the key indicators for the three ridings, two urban and one rural. Burnaby South has the greatest number of immigrants and visible minorities, York Simcoe the least, with Outremont in the middle. None of these ridings have a significant Indigenous population. Outremont has the youngest population with the least number of married or common law relationships and the lowest average household size.

York Simcoe, given its lower number of immigrants, has the highest number of citizens of voting age.

Outremont has the highest number of men and women with university degrees, York Simcoe the lowest. Unemployment rates for men and women are highest in Outremont. Median total annual income is highest for men in York Simcoe and lowest in Outremont; for women, it is also highest in York Simcoe but lowest in Burnaby South. The percentage of low income individuals (Low income measure after tax) is lowest in York Simcoe and highest in Outremont for both men and women.

Burnaby South and Outremont elected NDP MPs in 2015, York Simcoe a Conservative. 

The detailed riding profiles are here: 59003 – Burnaby South24054 – Outremont, and 35119 – York Simcoe.

The language most often spoken at home, the indicator that correlates most closely with ethnic media readership, is captured in Table 2. Predominate non-official languages are Mandarin and Cantonese (about 25 percent) whereas Outremont and York Simcoe have few non-official languages most often spoken at home.

Ethnic Media


As one would expect, Chinese and South Asian media dominate in the by-election coverage  given riding demographics, mainly Chinese Canadians, and the highly visible candidacy of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. The ill-advised remarks of former Liberal candidate Karen Wang, her forced resignation and replacement by Richard Lee have further increased the riding visibility.

As a result, of the 97 media articles monitored 1 to 18 January, one third of ethnic media coverage is in Punjabi, with an additional 8 percent in the South Asian English media. Written Chinese media forms one fifth, with radio and TV in Cantonese forming 8 percent and in Mandarin, three percent.

In terms of candidate specific coverage, NDP leader Singh was covered in about two-thirds of the media, with many articles focussed almost exclusively on his campaign and related challenges (e.g., his inability to answer questions regarding the detention of Canadians in China). His Liberal and Conservative opponents were only mentioned in about 15 percent of media, with of course the controversy over former Liberal candidate Wang’s divisive remarks being mentioned. PPC candidate Tyler Thompson was mentioned by close to six percent.  

There was only one article (reprint really of her website bio) focussed on Outremont, a profile of Liberal candidate Rachel Bendayan in Arabic, with no coverage of the Conservative and NDP candidates (Jasmine Louras and Julia Sanchez respectively). Outremont has a significant Jewish population (11 percent in 2011). Bendayan is Jewish (likely Sephardic given her surname) as appears is Louras. Overall voting preferences of Canadian Jews have shifted from Liberal to Conservative reflecting the previous government’s focus on combatting antisemitism and a more overt pro-Israel policy.

Basic news reporting and reprinting of mainstream media news article form the majority of ethnic media articles. However, close to 40 percent of the Punjabi and South Asian English, and about 13 percent of the Tamil media  media are commentary. Only Punjabi talk shows featured by-election coverage (Burnaby South).

Out of the 16 commentaries analyzed, 12 were in Punjabi, three in South Asian English and one in the Tamil media. For the most part, these were more in the form of neutral analysis than presenting opinions. Only three commentaries expressed opinions. All were negative, two were in the Punjabi media (NDP leader Singh’s ignorance of China’s arrest of Canadians in relation for the extradition case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, former Liberal candidate Wang’s divisive ethnic appeal on social media) and one in the South Asian English media (the same critique of NDP leader Singh).

Next week will likely feature more commentary on ethnic politics given the debate is has provoked among many Canadians, including those in the language groups covered.

See the MIREMS blog for some of the stories being covered: Karen Wang and the ethnic vote: Multilingual media weighs in.

In related election coverage, the Supreme Court of Canada’s striking down the five-year limit for Canadian expatriate voting received coverage, particularly in Cantonese, Chinese and Mandarin media but also with significant coverage in Tamil media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Douglas Todd: Jagmeet Singh’s byelection battle in super-diverse Burnaby

More on Burnaby South:

The Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha gurdwara in Burnaby was packed recently for a speech by Jagmeet Singh, the federal New Democratic Party leader.

About 800 people squeezed into the Sikh temple, in the heart of the ethnically super-diverse riding of Burnaby South, where Singh is fighting for the first time win a seat as a federal MP. The Punjabi-language Sach Di Awaaz newspaper ran 12 photos of the event featuring the Ontario-based politician.

At the gurdwara this week, Sikhs said they want Singh to win, hoping he’ll make moves to improve education and the job market. A variety of ethnic Chinese and Caucasians walking in the vicinity of the temple also said they intend to vote for Singh, with one man remarking he hoped it will “shake things up.”

Ethnicity has already been highlighted as a factor in the crucial Burnaby South byelection.

A member of the Burnaby gurdwara holds a copy of the free bi-weekly Sach Di Awaaz newspaper that shows NDP candidate Jagmeet Singh at to speak to hundreds of people.

This week, media reported on the way Liberal candidate Karen Wang said in a WeChat post that, as the only Chinese candidate, she could beat Singh, who she noted is of “Indian descent.” Wang said the post was written by a campaign volunteer, but she took responsibility for it and apologized to Singh. Under pressure from the Liberals for her remark, Wang dropped out of the race, although she hinted Thursday there is a slim chance she’ll run as an independent.

Burnaby is known as one the most diverse cities in Canada, if not the world. An earlier Vancouver Sun study found there’s a 73 per cent chance that two randomly chosen people from Burnaby will be of a different ethnicities. For comparison, the chance is just 34 per cent in Ottawa.

The riding of South Burnaby is almost 40 per cent ethnic Chinese, 30 per cent white, eight per cent South Asian (a category that includes most Sikhs), six per cent Filipino and three per cent Korean.

Given the riding’s eclectic ethnic makeup, the proportion of South Asians and Sikhs within it is not nearly as large as it is in other pockets. The modest Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha gurdwara is the only Sikh temple in South Burnaby, whereas there are many gurdwaras serving the large Sikh populations concentrated in places such as Surrey and the western suburbs of Toronto.

The successful campaign of Singh, a turban-wearing orthodox Sikh, for the 2017 NDP leadership relied significantly on him visiting gurdwaras and drumming up support from Sikhs, who almost all have roots in the Punjab region of India.

Such South Asians were tremendous financial supporters of Singh during the leadership race, which he surprisingly won with 54 per cent of the vote on the first ballot.

Elections Canada data shows Singh collected $603,000 in the year of the NDP leadership convention. More than nine out of 10 of his donors in that year had South Asian names, specifically Punjabi and Sikh (Sikhs often include “Singh” or “Kaur” as one of their names).

Donors to Singh’s leadership campaign — which boasted about signing up a dramatically high number of new NDP members — hailed heavily from the western Toronto suburbs of Brampton and Mississauga, and from Surrey. More than a third of Singh’s 2017 campaign funding came from those three municipalities alone.

The federal Liberals have also long been aware of the political power linked to the related issues of ethnicity and immigration status. They could be major factors in the riding of South Burnaby, since six in 10 residents of the riding are either immigrants or non-permanent residents. That’s triple the national average of two out of 10.

The Trudeau Liberals frequently highlight how they are increasing Canada’s annual immigration levels to 340,000, from 250,000 in 2015 under the Conservatives. And Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has recently been goading the Conservatives on Twitter for not being as supportive of family-reunification programs, which are especially important to many extended South Asian families.

At the gurdwara in South Burnaby this week, some visitors supported the Liberals’ moves to increase the number of sponsored spouses, parents, and grandparents permitted into Canada under the family-reunification program. People interviewed at the gurdwara, who did not want their names used, said they had relatives in the Punjab they would like to bring to Canada.

How much is ethnicity, culture, immigration status and religion a factor in Canadian politics? Some people on social media found it controversial in 2018 that Caucasian candidates for city councils in Metro Vancouver appeared to be relatively more successful than candidates from other ethnic groups, leading to the derogatory Twitter hashtag #councilsowhite.

Data have not been made publicly available in Canada, however, on the extent that people of any particular ethno-cultural group vote for candidates of their own ethnicity. Privately, though, Canadian political party strategists often target voters based on which group they belong to. The federal Conservatives, for instance, have over the years won many votes from evangelical Christians.

But since the NDP candidate for Burnaby South won the riding in 2015 with only 500 more votes than the Liberal candidate, Singh will need to work hard to appeal to voters outside his own ethno-cultural-religious group if he is to hold onto the seat for the party he now leads.

Source: Douglas Todd: Jagmeet Singh’s byelection battle in super-diverse Burnaby

Visible minorities form majority in 41 federal ridings, but experts say immigrants are politically diverse

Overview of some of the issues:
Abdikheir Ahmed vividly remembers casting his ballot for the first time in Winnipeg’s 2010 municipal election. Not only was he excited, he had an entourage.

“I brought my family. I brought my kids. I brought everyone,” Ahmed said. “It was the first time in my life that I voted.”

The 39-year-old Winnipeg resident arrived in Canada from Somalia as a refugee in 2003. It took several years before he could legally vote as a Canadian citizen, but he was eager to do so.

“I feel that I have a responsibility to decide the direction that this country goes in,” said Ahmed.

Now, he runs Immigration Partnership Winnipeg, an organization that helps immigrants and refugees get settled in that city. Visible minorities make up one-quarter of the population in Winnipeg, according to Statistics Canada, though not all are recent immigrants.

Volunteers with Immigration Partnership Winnipeg launch the ‘Got Citizenship? Go Vote!’ campaign in August 2018. (Submitted by Immigration Partnership Winnipeg)

It’s become conventional wisdom in Canadian politics that immigrant voters can have a powerful influence in elections.

According to Ahmed, immigrants — new or long-settled — are a potentially powerful block of voters.

“It actually makes sense to court the so-called immigrant vote because that is the determining factor, and it’s a growing population,” said Ahmed.

But as the battle begins for this year’s federal election, experts say no party has a monopoly on any particular ethnic group or religious minority.

Myth or reality?

Canada’s major parties have been competing for immigrant voters since the 1960s, according University of Toronto political science professor Phil Triadafilopoulos.

“The main sources of immigration were different then, but the dynamics were very similar. It’s an urban Canadian story,” said Triadafilopoulos.

In the 2019 federal election, ridings in Toronto and Vancouver are considered key battlegrounds that can make-or-break a party. Both have high Chinese and South Asian populations.

But they aren’t the only cities where politicians are courting ethnic voters.

Certain very racist policies, like the Barbaric Cultural Practices Act and tip line … woke up communities to actually say, ‘We cannot tolerate this in our country.’– Abdikheir Ahmed, Immigration Partnership Winnipeg

Andrew Griffith, a fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and the Environics Institute, says data on immigration and ethno-cultural diversity from the 2016 census shows many Canadian communities now have a larger percentage of visible minority residents than in 2011.

Of 338 federal ridings in Parliament, 41 have populations where visible minorities form the majority, compared with 33 five years earlier.

“Parties, when they’re developing their electoral strategies, take that into account in terms of how they advocate policies and programs to attract them,” said Griffith.

What’s more difficult is pinning down whether immigrant voters have partisan preferences.

New Canadians could once be counted on to vote Liberal, ever since Pierre Trudeau opened the door to more immigration in the 1970s, but that unwavering endorsement became less pronounced over the past decade.

Griffith says recent polling data suggests some ethnic communities still lean toward certain parties. Sikh-Canadians, for example, have a “general tendency” to vote Liberal and NDP, while Conservatives enjoy more support among Chinese-Canadians.

But, Griffith cautions, “We should never make the assumption that all members of the community are identical and behave the same way, whether it be in the polling booth or in other aspects.”

Encouraging newcomers to vote

In Winnipeg, Ahmed says it shouldn’t even be assumed new immigrants will exercise their franchise. He’s working to mobilize visible minority and newcomers who have earned citizenship to vote in this year’s federal election.

“Many newcomers have never voted in their own countries or have engaged in electoral processes that are not transparent, so do not actually trust the process and don’t see the importance of voting in it,” said Ahmed.

To encourage refugees and immigrants to vote in last fall’s municipal election, Ahmed’s non-partisan group launched a electoral campaign with the slogan “Got Citizenship, Go Vote.”

Immigration Partnership Winnipeg developed posters and videos on how and where to vote that were translated into 12 different languages, and concentrated on ethno-cultural community organizations to get the message out.

Ahmed’s impression is that immigrants don’t vote in blocks, but he says ethnic communities will respond electorally if they feel targeted by an issue.

For example, when the federal Tories campaigned in 2015 on policies such as banning the niqab at citizenship ceremonies or setting up a “barbaric cultural practices” tip line, Ahmed says it spurred newcomers to vote against them.

“The messaging from the Conservative Party came across as anti-immigrant,” said Ahmed.

“Certain very racist policies like the Barbaric Cultural Practices Act and tip line … woke up communities to actually say, ‘We cannot tolerate this in our country.'”

It’s a point echoed by Triadafilopoulos, who suggests large numbers of immigrant voters is one of the reasons Canada has not experienced the same kind of xenophobic populism sweeping Europe and the United States.

“The demographic and institutional facts [in Canada] just make it a losing proposition,” he said.

Source: Canadian politicians will court the ethnic vote, but will it benefit any one party?For years, the Liberals could count on votes from immigrant communities, but with visible minorities a majority in 41 federal ridings, experts say that newcomers are politically diverse — and offer no guarantees for any one party.Cross Country Checkup |3 hours ago|

The politics of 2036, when Canada is as brown as it is white: Ibbitson

Good column by John Ibbitson on the political implications of the 2036 projections on Canada’s demographics (and a much more likely prediction than his earlier one in his book The Big Shift, although he still sticks to the Jason Kenney line that immigrants are inherently more conservative, which the 2015 election indicated was overly simplistic, given the diversity among immigrant groups and the wide margins the Liberals enjoyed in 33 visible majority ridings):

…The transformation of Canada is already far advanced, and continuing. By 2036, the agency predicts, as many as 30 per cent of all residents will not have been born in Canada. Another 20 per cent of the population will be native-born, but with at least one immigrant parent. Since the vast majority of immigrants come from Asian or Pacific nations, within 20 years Canada will likely be as brown as it is white.

Some old-stock Canadians, as Stephen Harper called them, will resent this. No one asked them, they will say, whether they wanted the European, Christian country they grew up in to be transformed into something so cosmopolitan. They lament the loss of traditional values and social solidarity. Some of them look with envy to the United States, where Donald Trump surfed nativist resentments all the way to the White House.

But a Canadian Donald Trump – at least one who wins a general election – is unlikely. There is no future courting the angry white vote. There just aren’t enough angry white voters.

Some Conservative leadership candidates are flirting with nativism nonetheless, because the Conservative Party membership is older and whiter than the general population. But, in fact, Conservatives should welcome immigrants. The Philippines, India and China accounted for 40 per cent of new arrivals in 2015. They are economically and socially more conservative than many of the native-born; many of them voted for Mr. Harper in 2011, and they are a natural constituency for the Conservative Party.

Justin Trudeau, however, won suburban ridings with large immigrant populations across the country in 2015. Politically, keeping those voters loyal is his first and most important task. Winning them back should be the first and most important task of the next Conservative leader.

The massive demographic shifts under way in Canada speak to both growth and decline across the country. In 2036, StatsCan predicts immigrants will make up at most 10 per cent of the population in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. About a third of Montreal’s population could be immigrant, but in the rest of the province they will be hard to find. In Ontario and British Columbia, about a third of the population will be foreign-born, and Alberta should be near 30 per cent.

In terms of both population and politics, Canada will be a country of large, growing, young, diverse cites, with everything in between older and whiter and continuing to decline.

Quebec will struggle to make its voice heard: those whose mother tongue is French will decline from 21 per cent of the population today to 18 per cent in 2036. The number speaking English as a native language will also go down, but up to 30 per cent of Canadians will have a mother tongue that is neither English nor French.

Canada is losing its old-time religion. Ninety per cent of Canadians identified as Christians in 1970. Today, it’s two-thirds, and will be just over one half by 2036. Christianity is not being displaced by other religions – only 7 per cent, at most, will identify as Muslim by 2036 – but by no religion at all. A quarter of all Canadians today identify with no faith, and that number could reach a third by 2036.

The fact that this country has deliberately transformed the makeup of its population in a way no other country has managed, or even attempted, speaks to the tolerant, diverse society in which we live. Multiculturalism works and Canada is proof.

If you’re grinding your teeth at this, if you long for the Canada that was, it’s easy to understand your frustration. That Canada has gone away. By 2036 it will be barely a memory.

Source: The politics of 2036, when Canada is as brown as it is white – The Globe and Mail

Conservative Party’s fortunes hinge on immigration policy: Ibbitson

Good overview by Ibbitson of the varied immigration positions of the Conservative leadership contenders (the Harper support mentioned below reflected in part the weakness of the other parties as well as the strong outreach by former Minister Jason Kenney):

Under Stephen Harper, the Conservatives enjoyed broad support from immigrant Canadians, many of whom are economically and socially more conservative than many native-born Canadians.

But when the party promised during the 2015 election campaign to root out “barbaric cultural practices,” it made Conservatives look anti-immigrant.

New Canadians will support the Conservatives, but only if they believe that Conservatives support them.

Source: Conservative Party’s fortunes hinge on immigration policy – The Globe and Mail

Jason Kenney on life after Ottawa and uniting Alberta’s right [comments on ethnic vote and Leitch]

Worth noting:

Q: Within the Conservative party, you were known as someone who connected with multicultural voters. But most recently, support for the party has melted away in those communities. What do you think is going on there?

A: I would challenge that assertion: it has not melted away. When we started this project in the 2004 election, the Conservative party was at just over 20 per cent of support of new Canadians, and by the 2011 election we were at about 42 per cent—a higher share of the vote than of native-born Canadians. We are the only centre-right party in the world of whom that is true. But I never had the hubris to imagine that we would have a kind of permanent lock on the plurality of that share of Canadian electors. I think what we’ve done through our hard work in cultural communities is to create a competitive political environment. No longer can any party, such as the Liberals, take for granted the support of new Canadians or cultural communities, as though they are some kind of a passive vote-bank.

Q: With the federal Conservative leadership race, you’ve made a few critical comments about Kellie Leitch’s immigrant-values test proposal. What’s your take on the screening people have to go through?

A: I have an enormous amount of experience in this area as multiculturalism minister for 10 years, then being minister of immigration responsible for screening and selection, and minister of citizenship. I find her approach to be disingenuous. I don’t think she’s ever thought deeply about these questions. She never raised these questions in Parliament, in public, in caucus or in cabinet. She seemed only to latch on to this as a theme after her campaign was circulating some questions on an online poll that was probably designed to generate email addresses. I just find the whole approach a bit slapdash. What concerns me is that these are extraordinarily sensitive questions that must be addressed with a great deal of nuance and prudence. Having said that, I do believe there is absolutely space for legitimate debate in a liberal democracy about immigration selection, screening and integration.

Q: You previously spent a lot of your time touring and campaigning with multicultural groups, and now you’re visiting smaller, rural areas in Alberta that must be a lot more homogeneous. What are you taking from those communities and hearing from people?

A: Rural Alberta is a lot less homogeneous than it used to be, partly because of my immigration policies. You go to a lot of small communities in rural Alberta and you’ll find a degree of diversity that probably hasn’t existed in terms of immigration for a century—you’ll find the Filipino grocery store, and the African Pentecostal church and maybe a mosque. Albertans are pro-immigration; they’re also pro-integration. In my years in this province I cannot recall more than a handful of expressions of xenophobia or nativism that I’ve encountered. It’s the land of new beginnings and fresh starts—it is rare Albertans who trace their roots here back more than a generation or two. It’s extraordinarily welcoming.

Source: Jason Kenney on life after Ottawa and uniting Alberta’s right – Macleans.ca

For the full, non-edited, comments on Kellie Leitch, see

Jason Kenney on Kellie Leitch’s values test

Election Watch: Attacks on Multiculturalism May Haunt Tories – New Canadian Media

Good overview by Phil Triadafilopoulos, Stephen E. White, Inder S. Marwah on some of the implications and tests of the Conservative electoral strategy with ethnic voters:

Verbal and physical attacks on Muslim women, graffiti on Muslim candidates’ lawn signs and the growing sense of unease among Canadian Muslims speak to the costs of the Conservatives’ strategy.

And yet, the response of Canadians to these assaults on fellow citizens has been muted.

Polls suggest that Canadians across the country are, in fact, supportive of the Conservatives’ positions. What does this tell us about the state of Canadian democracy?

Canadians’ support for multiculturalism is limited.

First, it suggests that Canadians’ support for multiculturalism is limited. Intolerant or merely opportunistic politicians can count on a reservoir of such support in advancing their agendas if they play their cards right.

The Conservatives have done exactly this: the relatively diffuse spread of Muslim voters, along with a broad-ranging antipathy toward the niqab, made this a worthwhile gamble.

By making the niqab an issue the Conservatives have harmed the NDP’s chances in the province Quebec, making it much less likely that the New Democrats – the frontrunner at the start of this campaign – will emerge with the most seats on Oct. 19.

The Conservatives’ ability to hold onto ridings in both the Greater Toronto Area and Greater Vancouver Area will provide the ultimate test of its strategy.

Second, if such bans become legislated, the ongoing battle between elected governments and the courts will continue.

While Stephen Harper has framed the NDP and Liberal parties’ resistance to niqab bans as being “on the wrong side of the electorate”, they’re on the right side of constitutional laws intended to shield minorities from the potentially unconstitutional preferences of democratic majorities.

We need only recall the overwhelming public opposition to Sikh turbans in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) 25 years ago to see how important the courts can be in preserving minority rights in the face of public pressure.

The coveted new Canadian vote

Finally, the election raises questions about the Conservative party’s longstanding efforts to replace the Liberal party as the “natural home” of new Canadian voters.  

The Conservative’s positions on the niqab currently enjoy support from a majority of Canadians, including new Canadian voters. But the extension of the culture wars into the final days of the campaign may be risky.

If the Conservatives’ strategy is successfully framed as an attack on Canadian multiculturalism and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it may come back to haunt the party.

The Conservatives’ ability to hold onto ridings in both the Greater Toronto Area and Greater Vancouver Area will provide the ultimate test of its strategy.

Source: Election Watch: Attacks on Multiculturalism May Haunt Tories – New Canadian Media

Here’s how Quebec’s immigrant vote differs from the rest of Canada

Here_s_how_Quebec_s_immigrant_vote_differs_from_the_rest_of_Canada_-_Macleans_caAs the analysis notes, difference entirely due to the effect of the Bloc:

After the last three federal elections, Ipsos has conducted exit surveys with tens of thousands of people across the country, more than 12,000 of whom were immigrant voters. The market research firm found that outside of Quebec, immigrant votes more or less mirror the votes of other Canadians. However, in Quebec, an interesting pattern emerges. Immigrant voters express significantly less support for the Bloc Québécois. Instead, these votes tend to go to the Liberals. Check out the chart below to see how the votes have broken down in Quebec and the rest of Canada over the last three elections.

Source: Here’s how Quebec’s immigrant vote differs from the rest of Canada – Macleans.ca