Liberal changes [moving #multiculturalism back to Canadian Heritage] will strengthen multiculturalism: expert

Further to my earlier post on the machinery and related changes (Ministerial Mandate Letters: Mainstreaming diversity and inclusion, and point of interest from a citizenship and multiculturalism perspective):

The moves suggest the Liberals want to make Heritage “more of a Canadian unity and identity department,” said David Elder, a former senior official at the Privy Council Office, which manages the machinery of government.

Multiculturalism is at the heart of Trudeau’s goal to defuse security concerns about bringing in 25,000 Syrians in the aftermath of the Paris attacks. In London, he said Canada has a history of taking those fleeing conflict who go on to help build stronger communities and more opportunities.

“I know when those 25,000 new Canadians begin to integrate into families and homes over the course of the winter, and as people get to know the extraordinary individuals who are working hard to contribute to Canada and our future, then many of the fears that come from not having personal connections and contacts with people will simply evaporate,” Trudeau said.

Changes to the structures, processes and accountability of departments can be highly disruptive in the public service, taking huge amounts of time and energy. This can mean moving people, carving up budgets and bringing together different work cultures.

Many say Trudeau wisely made few machinery changes that affected the structure of departments. Most of the changes amounted to tinkering, moving around responsibilities and changing some names to signal his priorities and the realigned portfolios of his cabinet.

“My take is that they did it brilliantly,” said Andrew Griffith, a former director-general of multiculturalism at Citizenship and Immigration. “They signalled change, put in strong ministers and strategically it means bureaucrats don’t have an excuse to fight over resources, and have to deliver on the government agenda.”

Kenney was the Conservatives’ multiculturalism minister for eight of the nine years the party was in power. He took it on as a junior minister – secretary of state for multiculturalism and Canadian identity in 2007 – and brought the file with him when he became minister of Citizenship and Immigration in 2008. He retained the responsibility later at Employment and Social Development Canada and at National Defence.

His political job was to court ethnic minorities across the country to back the Tories in the 2015 election. He promoted a brand of integration that promoted “social cohesion” rather than the “social inclusion” encouraged by the Liberals, said Griffith.

But Griffith said moving multiculturalism back to Heritage, rather than attaching it to a minister who bounces from post to post, should revitalize the issue. Most programs dealing with inclusion and diversity will now be in one department, meaning a broader national approach.

The Liberals also created the first cabinet committee for diversity and inclusion, Griffith noted. And mandate letters to ministers drove home that Canada’s values include “diversity” and “bringing Canadians together.” Ministers were told all appointments must reflect gender parity and “that Indigenous Canadians and minority groups are better reflected in positions of leadership.”

“They have mainstreamed the diversity and inclusion agenda so now all ministers have responsibility for it,” said Griffith.

“They have to include it in their policies, consider diversity in appointments, and having a cabinet committee to provide focus says these aren’t little boutique issues but should be government-wide issues.”

Griffith, who moved multiculturalism to CIC in 2008, long argued it had withered and gotten lost at Citizenship, a highly operational department that focused on the process side of immigration, refugees and citizenship.

Griffith said it will be difficult to tease out the jobs and funding at CIC that should be returned to Canadian Heritage because they were dispersed throughout Citizenship and Immigration. The two departments will have to duke it out over which resources will move.

Multiculturalism also faced a significant cut under the Conservatives. When Griffith moved it to CIC, the program had a $13-million budget: $12 million for grants and contributions and 73 full-time positions. The last departmental performance report showed 29 full-time positions with a $9.8-million budget. Money for grants and contributions fell to $7.9 million.

Source: Liberal changes will strengthen multiculturalism: expert | Ottawa Citizen

#Multiculturalism Transferred Back to Canadian Heritage: Impact

CM_Table_12_Transfer_to_CICThe Order in Council announcing the reversal of the 2008 transfer to CIC as part of then Minister Kenney’s Package:

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, pursuant to paragraph 2(a) of the Public Service Rearrangement and Transfer of Duties Act, transfers, effective November 4, 2015,

(a) from the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to the Department of Canadian Heritage the control and supervision of those portions of the federal public administration in the Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch within the Department of Citizenship and Immigration that relate to multiculturalism; and

(b) to the Minister of Canadian Heritage the powers, duties and functions of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration relating to multiculturalism.

The PCO press release indicates that responsibility for the Canadian Race Relations Foundation is also transferred but makes no reference to either the Global Centre for Pluralism or the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (the previous government gave the head of the Office for Religious Freedom the lead responsibility).

Personally  interesting,  given that I managed the transfer to CIC in 2008, and have consistently written that multiculturalism was atrophying at CIC given its more operational focus on citizenship and immigration.

As I wrote two years ago in my conclusion to Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism on the longer-term impact of CIC’s departmental structure and culture on the multiculturalism program:

A functional model like CIC has advantages in creating greater clarity between the policy and operational functions, but tends to reinforce the centre of gravity and allocate resources accordingly. A business line model like PCH provides more focused policy and program integration at the business line or program level, but increases rigidity and coordination issues between business lines. While the PAA structure acts as a counterweight, over time the centre of gravity will dominate. Arguably, for integration, citizenship and multiculturalism, the lines between pure policy and pure operations (e.g., citizenship ceremony design, G&C management) are less clear than for admissibility and immigration selection. Additionally, one of the legacies of the Cullen-Couture agreement transferring immigration selection and integration funding to Quebec meant CIC was largely uninterested in using the levers in citizenship and multiculturalism to highlight federal presence in Quebec. A sharp contrast to PCH which had, and viewed itself as having, a strong role in Quebec.

In many ways, the collective impact for multiculturalism will, over time, become closer to the original Reform Party objective of 1996-97 of abolishing multiculturalism and strengthening a strong, common narrative of citizenship. The Cabinet shuffle of July 2013 and the separation of the political function, which remained under Minister Kenney, from the departmental function, under Minister Alexander, is significant in that context. While political, community-based outreach is central to electoral strategies (the “fourth sister”), as evidenced by Minister Kenney’s ongoing responsibility for this critical outreach, the substantive policy and program focus on long-term integration issues will continue to decline. This is a legitimate policy choice but it is striking just how little debate this change has provoked.

The Liberal government’s decision to reverse the transfer and restore the broader Canadian Heritage identity mandate (and no longer have the file ‘travel’ with a minister), with a strong diversity and inclusion emphasis, will reinvigorate multiculturalism, both within the department and across government more generally.

However, given the dispersal of and reductions to multiculturalism resources at CIC (now IRC), considerable rebuilding will be required.

The above table highlights the FTEs and Operations and Maintennance resources transferred in 2008 (about $12 million in Grants & Contributions funding was also transferred).

Chapter 6 of my book describes the process, resource transfers and impact (available at, direct link My Author Spotlight).

Source: Orders in Council – Search – Privy Council Office

Confusion reigned at CIC after Kenney kept on multiculturalism

Embassy article on how CIC had to scramble to figure out the implications of Minister Kenney retaining responsibility for the multiculturalism file, including my quotes:

The Conservative government owes its current majority in part to strong support from ethnic communities in suburban Canada, and Mr. Kenney has led the party’s efforts to appeal to immigrant diasporas.

Prime Minister Harper credited Mr. Kenney for turning “small-c conservative” immigrants into “big-C conservatives” and urged United States conservatives to learn from his party’s example during a recent sit-down interview with the Wall Street Journal in New York.

“This is a huge transformation. It’s why we’ve come to office, and have stayed in office,” Mr. Harper commented, according to a report by the Canadian Press.

Andrew Griffith, a director general for citizenship and multiculturalism at Citizenship and Immigration Canada from 2007 until 2011 and now retired, said that the decision to keep Mr. Kenney on the multiculturalism file was “a political point.”

“He engaged the communities, he developed the contacts there, he recruited candidates for the party and he played a major role in the electoral strategy of the party,” said Mr. Griffith, author of the book Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism.

“It didn’t make any sense for them to switch to another minister who would have to build up the relationships. I suspect that Kenney probably didn’t want to give it up either, because it’s part of his political base.”

Even in situations where Mr. Alexander is responsible for signing off on multiculturalism decisions, Mr. Griffith said that the documents make clear that the minister for multiculturalism is responsible for the substance of those decisions.

“From a bureaucratic point of view, I don’t like it because it’s messier and I think it impacts the ability to do good policy work. But from a political point of view, I understand why the prime minister made that decision,” said Mr. Griffith.

“If I were him, I probably would have made the same decision.”

Message to current public servants: be careful what you say in emails. “Confusion reigns!” may be accurate but may also be too vivid for the public!

Confusion reigned at CIC after Kenney kept on multiculturalism | Embassy – Canadas Foreign Policy Newspaper.

Earlier blog posts and reporting: