Broken Melting Pot Is No Alternative To Canadian Multiculturalism | Jack Jedwab

Good commentary by Jedwab.

Reality in many parts of USA is closer to multiculturalism than melting pot, given strong ethnic communities and identities, despite political discourse and posturing:

Those driving the melting pot rhetoric might argue that it refers to the immigrant experience and is therefore not about the American-born black population. That observation however makes illusory the melting pot objective of creating a harmonious whole. As regards immigrant acceptance in the American melting pot, the success of Donald Trump’s campaign has also served as a reminder of the high levels of anxiety and hostility towards immigration and diversity. Then again, perhaps the melting pot theorists were thinking about melting white European and not Hispanic immigrants. Well, so much for the idea that the American model of diversity seeks to make one out the many.

In a thoughtful essay in a 2012 edition of the journal National Identities , northeastern University political science professor David Michael Smith notes that the success of the melting pot rhetoric is attributable to the concept’s ambiguity. It simultaneously represents both uniformity in its end product and the presence of diversity which it must somehow incorporate. Smith observes that “…in the first instance, attention is focused on the creation of a ‘new race” or ”new compound’ which is nonetheless homogeneous in character.” It by virtue of this ambiguity that the concept it used across a spectrum of Americans that rally those who are favorable to immigration and those opposed to it.

Paradoxically, when it comes to describing cultural pluralism in the United States, the trend amongst several American thinkers is towards some variant on the idea of multiculturalism. For some time, the tired melting pot adage has been giving way to a depicting the country as a “salad bowl” with a mixture of various ingredients that keep their individual characteristics. Even the most ardent American proponents of the melting pot acknowledge that it is increasingly difficult to defend the idea.

Sure Canadian multiculturalism has historically and continues to confront a set of important challenges, but it’s difficult to give credibility to misinformed critics that point south of the border to offer a better alternative.

Source: Broken Melting Pot Is No Alternative To Canadian Multiculturalism | Jack Jedwab

Canada Deserves Better Than Those That Bash Multiculturalism | Jack Jedwab

Good piece by Jedwab:

Critics continue to insist that Canadian multiculturalism sends the wrong message to newcomers and their children by discouraging them from becoming more like the rest of us. The critics may however want to pay more attention to the message that multiculturalism is conveying to many non-immigrant Canadians. A March 2016 survey done by the firm Leger Marketing for the Association for Canadian Studies and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation reveals that some 52% of Canadians hold a positive view of Canadian multicultural policy, with 30% holding a negative view and 18% that do not respond.

At 63%, the youngest segment of the population surveyed aged 18-24 is most positive about multicultural policy compared with 46%, of those 65 and over who were the least positive. Those Canadians that are most positive about Canada’s multicultural policy are considerably more likely to have favorable views of indigenous peoples, immigrants, Jews and Muslims.

The most pro-multiculturalism were also far more likely to have contact with members of these groups. It is worth noting that some 85% of the most pro-multicultural have a favorable opinion of language duality in contrast with the 20% that share this favorable view amongst those most negative towards multiculturalism.

So the most negative towards multiculturalism are the most hostile to minorities, have the least contact with them and don’t like bilingualism. The most favorable value diversity, interact more frequently with diverse groups and appreciate our two principal languages. When it comes to my children, I’ll take the more forward-looking pro-multiculturalism message in a flash.

On Canadian multiculturalism day the Prime Minister’s multicultural message was bang on: “Our roots reach out to every corner of the globe. We are from far and wide, and speak over 200 languages. Our national fabric is vibrant and varied, woven together by many cultures and heritages, and underlined by a core value of respect. Today, let us celebrate multiculturalism as a vital component of our national fabric, and let us express gratitude to Canadians of all backgrounds who have made, and who continue to make, such valuable contributions to our country.”

Source: Canada Deserves Better Than Those That Bash Multiculturalism | Jack Jedwab

It Is Time To Redefine Canada’s Vertical Mosaic | Jack Jedwab

Interesting article by Jedwab on the ‘vertical mosaic,’ teasing with a brief discussion of cultural factors but not following up with any information about individual group disparities.

The two charts below, taken from INSERT, indicate the persistence of income differences in second-generation immigrants, both more generally and the university-educated young.

For all second-generation, the disparities with non-visible minorities and among different visible minorities groups are greater.

While for most groups, median incomes for the university-educated are broadly comparable to non-visible minorities, that is less the case for Latin American and Black Canadian men.

The redefinition of the ‘vertical mosaic’ needs to look more at both the overall and the group differences to assess the ongoing impact of external bias and discrimination along with any internal cultural factors and preferences that may also contribute to these disparities:

Median Income G2 VisMin


Porter made several significant observations about the economic inequality between people of British and French origins and “others” (what he called “minority ethnics”). Porter carefully documented the French population’s lower-income status and disagreed that their situation could be blamed entirely upon the British desire for economic dominance. He insisted that French-Canadian under-representation in the country’s economic elite was as much related to their values as it was to cultural discrimination.

A major part of the problem in French Canada was the dominance of the Catholic Church, which Porter felt reinforced cultural difference, encouraged separateness and diminished educational opportunity. Much has changed since the 1960s with the onset of Quebec’s Quiet Revolution and the ensuing rise to relative economic parity between French and English Canadians. Regrettably Porter said relatively little about the condition of indigenous peoples in Canada’s class structure, a persistent concern that 50 years later still badly needs national attention.

Porter was persuaded that persistent minority ethnic attachments were the principal obstacle to immigrant and minority economic advancement. This conviction was central to his ultimate objection to multiculturalism adopted by the Trudeau Liberal government in 1971. If the Canadian mosaic was vertical, Porter largely blamed it on the encouragement that multiculturalism offered to newcomers and their descendants to retain their ancestral identities. Most European origin post-war immigrants and their children would probably disagree with Porter’s assessment of multiculturalism as constituting such an obstacle.

Canada is now a much larger and more ethnically diverse country than the one Porter studied in 1965. The 1961 census reported that there were approximately 18.5 million Canadians compared with nearly 34 million in 2011.

Prior to the 1970s, immigrants from European countries accounted for over three-quarters of those coming to Canada. For many European origin groups, the story of their place in the vertical mosaic over the past fifty years ended up being one of noteworthy upward mobility. The groups that Porter saw as being locked into some lower status (Ukrainians, Italians, Poles, Finns and Czechs and Slovaks) have generally moved up the socio-economic ranks. The children of Southern and Eastern European immigrants who came to Canada in the late 1940s and 1950s are in retired age and, for the most part, they witnessed the erosion of the ethnically defined barriers to economic mobility.

Today, over three-quarters of immigrants to Canada hail from non-European countries and are defined as visible minorities. The growth in the visible minority population has seemingly changed the nature of the vertical mosaic and the portrait of inequality in Canada. The question that preoccupies researchers is whether the upward mobility experienced by most European origin groups can be replicated by non-European immigrants and their children. Several analysts are decidedly pessimistic about such prospects and argue that “race” has replaced ethnicity as the new dividing line within the Canadian mosaic.

But there are some important caveats to keep in mind when making observations about the economic dream of recent newcomers to Canada. Unlike the post-war immigrants that often came to the country with little formal education, most recent arrivals are a highly educated bunch. Data from Canada’s 2011 national household survey reveal that immigrants that arrived in Canada between 2001 and 2009 were twice as likely to have a university degree as a person born in Canada. Hence in most cases newcomer expectations for their own personal success is higher than was the case for the immigrants in the era Porter documented. While many newcomers want their children to do better than them, an increasing number will be satisfied if they do as well. That’s also a concern for many non-immigrants.

The contemporary version of the Canadian dream for many of us is perhaps more modest. It’s something akin to owning a home and staying out of debt (these two things may seem contradictory to many Canadians).

Recently, the earning power of many university degrees has stagnated. According to Statistics Canada’s 2012 Survey of Financial Security, student debt rose by 44.1 per cent from 1999 to 2012, or 24.4 per cent between 2005 and 2012. So too has the cost of owning a home in Canada. In the final quarter of 2015 Statistics Canada reported that the ratio of household credit-market debt to disposable income, the key measure of the debt load, rose to 165.4 per cent.

Sure interest rates are at record lows and there is fear that a slight rate hike will make the dream of personal debt reduction more elusive. The gap between the highest paid Canadians and others has widened in recent years. The wealthiest 20 per cent of Canadians hold 70 per cent of the country’s wealth.

Source: It Is Time To Redefine Canada’s Vertical Mosaic | Jack Jedwab

No Community Should Have To Publicly Denounce Extremism | Jack Jedwab

Good piece by Jack Jedwab, quoting Rima Elkouri:

When I was employed by the Jewish community, I would occasionally be asked by the media to disassociate myself from individuals or groups that identified with the community. There is a need for greater empathy with members of communities for whom such disassociation is commonplace.

In September 2014, La Presse‘s Rima Elkouri decided to disassociate herself from barbaric acts taking place in Syria. In a climate where the failure on the part of individuals of the Muslim faith to denounce such action is deemed a tacit endorsement, Elkouri chose to respond to such a request on the part of an obnoxious reader of the newspaper.

Paradoxically, Ms. Elkouri is not Muslim. In her response, she noted that it’s never enough for the broader population when large Muslim organizations denounce the Islamic State. Hence, she pointed out that “sometimes it’s our citizens of the Muslim faith that feel compelled to denounce barbaric acts with greater vigour than the rest of us so as not to be seen as guilty by association.”

Elkouri added: “… Muslims, we tend to forget, are the principal victims of jihadists. They are no more likely to have ties with the Islamic State than do Christians with the Ku Klux Klan. Why this persistent societal demand for Muslims to break ranks with a group with which they do not associate? Why this hunting that regards silence with suspicion.” (Editor’s note: blogger’s translation.)

Elkouri concludes by disassociating herself publicly from this absurd logic.

As a solution to the real problem of terrorism in our society, it is counterproductive to collectively accuse persons of being complicit because they happen to share the same faith as a perpetrator of a heinous act. For the time being we can be thankful that in Canada when it comes to such forms of collective stigmatization, it’s the cooler heads that continue to prevail.

Source: No Community Should Have To Publicly Denounce Extremism | Jack Jedwab

Immigrants Feel As Canadian As The Rest Of Us | Jack Jedwab

Jack Jedwab reviews some of the attachment findings of the General Social Survey, contrasting Canadian and foreign-born, along with the particularities of Quebec. Identity is more multifaceted than binary:

Critics of multiculturalism outside of Quebec believe that this undocumented lack of newcomer attachment — however defined — is an integration problem. If attachment to Canada is used as integration criteria, for some Quebec observers the newcomers in the province will appear too well integrated!

But contrary to what some Quebecers assume, those immigrants in the province that possess the strongest degree of attachment to Canada also exhibit a strong sense of attachment to Quebec. It might be said they feel at home in the province and the country, and refuse to see a contradiction in this regard.

You don’t have to live somewhere for a particularly long period of time to appreciate your home. Independent of how long you’ve lived somewhere it may feel as though you’ve always belonged there. Certain immigrants are especially grateful for the opportunity to reside in Canada and this can act as a catalyst for a relatively instant feeling of attachment to the country.

It’s quite possible that the strong initial connection to a place can diminish over time if an immigrant’s expectations are not met. But the same feeling about the country can apply to someone born here across their life cycle.

The 2013 General Social Survey confirms that there is no difference in the level of attachment to Canada between Canadians aged 15 to 24, whether they are domestic (rooted) or foreign-born (less rooted). Surveys repeatedly reveal that the youngest Canadians have the lowest sense of attachment to Canada, but this grows on many of us as we get older. In sum, it is one’s age and not immigrant status that is perhaps the most important predictor of the sense of attachment to country.

Source: Immigrants Feel As Canadian As The Rest Of Us | Jack Jedwab

Is Canada A Nation Of Immigrants? | Jack Jedwab

Jack and I have a disagreement here, with significant policy implications.

The issue is not, in a labelling sense, of creating multiple classes of Canadians. We are now back in the world of “a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian,” whether born here, born abroad or children of immigrants.

In contrast to earlier waves of mainly white and Christian immigrants, with many similar integration challenges, today’s immigrants are largely visible and religious minorities.

Without looking a the different experiences between first and subsequent generations of immigrants, we overlook the very real differences in outcomes for different groups of the second-generation compared to non-visible minority Canadians (or “old-stock” Canadians).

2G_University_Educated_25-34In some cases (i.e., percentage university-educated), the second-generation does significantly better than non-visible minority Canadians. And those that find employment have comparable median salaries.

However, the second generation has higher unemployment rates than non-visible minority Canadians. Those that are not university educated have lower median incomes, as shown in the chart below:

2G_Non-Univ_Educated_25-34This is not to mentioned the well-documented instances of discrimination in hiring, police carding and other areas that show significant differences between visible minorities and others.

So while as a ‘value statement,’ one may prefer to refer second-generation immigrants as non-immigrants, this effectively masks some of the ongoing integration challenges that some elements face.

And while I fully agree with Jack that comparisons with Europe are often inappropriate given our differences in history, geography and identities, we do, like other ‘new world’ countries, view ourselves as countries of immigrants, unlike Europe. And this, with the exception of the USA, both reflects and influences how we deal with integration.

Measuring and contrasting the outcomes of both first and second generation outcomes provides useful international and internal benchmarks allow us to identify ongoing integration challenges with a view to overcoming them. Not making the distinction obscures them:

But there a significant segment of the Canadian-born population that sometimes wrongly gets labeled as immigrants. I refer specifically to persons born in Canada of foreign-born parents (a group to which I belong). Much social science literature in Europe refers to these children of immigrants as “second generation immigrants”. To many North American observers the term must seem like an oxymoron. It nonetheless gets employed by a number of Canadian scholars.

There are statistical breakdowns in the census of Canada on the basis of generational status. Immigrants are generally designated as the first generation, their children as second generation and there is a category for third generation or more. It’s inaccurate to refer to second generation Canadians as something other than non-immigrants with whom they are grouped in the census question on immigrant status.

The confusion that is created by designating them as “second generation immigrants” is sometimes influenced by European analysis with the practice in several EU countries of not automatically conferring citizenship on persons born in the country. For example, children born in France of foreign-born parents do not become citizens until reaching the age of the majority. Switzerland does not automatically extend citizenship to a child that is born in the country. Rather, a person is automatically Swiss if at least one of the child’s parents is Swiss.

Relatively few Canadian scholars that use the term second generation immigrants necessarily think of such individuals as immigrants. Rather most simply echo terminology that is used in some of the Canadian literature on immigration and citizenship and/or seek to engage with European policy-makers or scholars by employing a common vocabulary. But the Canadian-European comparisons can be problematic and regrettably they sometimes don’t make for good scholarly work.

Is Canada a nation of immigrants? It is certainly a nation with many immigrants who have played a critical role in the process of nation-building. But it is simply too limiting a concept when “the nation of immigrants” conveys the idea that immigration is the country’s principal defining characteristic.

Source: Is Canada A Nation Of Immigrants? | Jack Jedwab

Opinion: There’s no link between terrorism and multiculturalism – Jedwab

Jack Jedwab of ACS notes the many fallacies in Farid Rohani’s piece on multiculturalism and radicalization (Opinion: Multiculturalism should not be misused to justify divisions: Farid Rohani):

Yet Rohani makes a pernicious link between these heinous acts and Canadian multiculturalism. He establishes this false association by suggesting that the Canadian multicultural framework has seen “activists promote group traditions as having more importance than individual freedoms,” and suggests it creates an environment that enables terrorists to propagate their views. He further states that multiculturalism “is being used to create different groups that contest our tolerant democracy.”

It has been increasingly common for detractors of multiculturalism to make such claims without identifying the culprits. Rohani does precisely this and, regrettably, contributes to the spread of what he describes as “quiet intolerance,” the very thing about which he expresses concern. His observation will end up inviting unfair generalizations about minority religious groups that will fuel the divisions that he suggests he seeks to remedy.

Rohani implies that such things as forced and arranged marriages, honour killings and teaching of hate toward other religions or toward homosexuals or death warrants against apostates are also to be attributed to flawed communications about what pluralism and multiculturalism entail. In general, such things are far more prevalent in non-democratic societies that reject diversity and multiculturalism. The individuals who engage in such egregious acts for the most part wish to erode multiculturalism and replace it with a model of society that would limit individual freedoms and undermine intercultural harmony.

Rohani specifically singles out newcomers to Canada as being particularly exposed to distortion about our national identity and values. So what would he make of the fact that the killings in Ottawa and St-Jean-sur-Richelieu were carried out by individuals born and raised in Canada? Indeed, newcomers value the opportunity to live in our democracy and there is no evidence that they are more likely than non-immigrants to want to undermine it.

Opinion: There’s no link between terrorism and multiculturalism | Montreal Gazette.

Clear case of ‘multicultiphobia,’ to use Phil Ryan’s phrase.

Jedwab also cites the recent polling done for the Canadian Race Relations Foundation as supporting this view (report-on-canadian-values), as do most polls that I have seen.

When Tim’s is more popular than the Queen, how to tell Canada’s story? – The Globe and Mail

Jack Jedwab of the Association of Canadian Studies on recent polling data on elements of the national narrative. Not surprisingly, the Charter still holds first place, probably to the chagrin of the government which has downplayed the Charter and given greater prominence to the Monarchy. In Delacourt’s Shopping for Votes, there is a good section on how Tim Horton advertising captures citizenship better than the government (here).

But the broader challenge remains:

In a regionally diverse and demographically pluralist country like Canada it is no simple task to establish an official or common narrative. It is essential to promote ongoing discussion and debate about the Canadian story that highlights its historic achievements and past failings. That many of us arrive at different conclusions about the meaning of our shared past is the sign of a healthy democracy far more so than a problem for societal cohesion. As we approach the 150th anniversary of Canada we should seize the opportunity to embark upon a national conversation about the nation’s past so as to enhance collective knowledge about ourselves.

When Tim’s is more popular than the Queen, how to tell Canada’s story? – The Globe and Mail.

Du bilinguisme au multiculturalisme – Selon qu’on est anglophone ou francophone…

Interesting poll comparing support for bilingualism, multiculturalism, biculturalism, and official languages. Fairly significant age and regional differences, but nothing too surprising:

Selon Jack Jedwab, ce sondage permet aussi de faire des recoupements fort révélateurs. « Par exemple, le sondage démontre que les répondants qui sont les plus favorables au multiculturalisme sont aussi ceux qui sont les plus favorables au biculturalisme. C’est que, dans leur perception, le multiculturalisme n’est qu’une extension du biculturalisme. À l’inverse, les répondants les moins favorables au multiculturalisme sont aussi ceux qui sont les moins favorables au biculturalisme, leur perception identitaire étant plutôt celle de la singularisation. Il est donc faux de prétendre que les tenants du multiculturalisme sont opposés au biculturalisme et au bilinguisme. Ce sont plutôt les opposants au multiculturalisme qui s’opposent aussi au biculturalisme et au bilinguisme. »

Du bilinguisme au multiculturalisme – Selon qu’on est anglophone ou francophone… | Le Devoir.

France’s ‘beautiful notion’ of secularism is not a model for Quebec – The Globe and Mail

Jack Jedwab of the Association of Canadian Studies on the empirical evidence on France’s secular model. Confirms other analysis, news reports, and general knowledge:

Unfortunately for Ms. Marois and Mr. Moscovici, the evidence on the French model points to a very different conclusion. Surveys conducted in June, 2012, by Eurobarometer (the polling arm of the European Commission) put France on top of the list amongst the 27 countries of the European Union as regards the extent to which its own population feel there is discrimination in society based on religion or beliefs. Two in three French citizens surveyed see such discrimination as widespread compared with half of the U.K. population. As regards discrimination outside the workplace on the basis of religion or beliefs France (55 per cent) records the highest percentage in the EU of people feeling it is widespread. France doesn’t do much better around the perception of ethnic discrimination outside the workplace with yet another EU record 76 per cent seeing it as widespread.

France’s ‘beautiful notion’ of secularism is not a model for Quebec – The Globe and Mail.