Immigrants in Canada are turning to faith for settlement, support and sociability

Interesting research and findings on the generational shifts, with appropriate nuance on trends:

Upon arrival in Canada, newcomers often look to spiritual communities for support, whether for help learning a new language, locking down a job or simply to find a social circle as they make their way in a new country.

And, while some new immigrants find spiritual fulfilment in addition to material help from these communities, firmly held religious views — such as the role religion ought to play in public life — tend to sag over subsequent generations, says new research by the Angus Reid Institute, a non-profit opinion research organization, and Cardus, a non-partisan, faith-based think tank.

“I’m not sure Canadians appreciate the story of what faith communities do,” says Ray Pennings, Cardus’s executive vice-president. “They actually play a pretty significant role in our day-to-day life.”

The report says nearly one-half of those born outside of Canada received material support from a faith-based group, while 63 per cent relied on them to form a social network.

“They don’t know anyone, so they go to their church, synagogue, temple or whatever, and that’s where they find people,” says Angus Reid, chairman of the Angus Reid Institute. The survey, Reid says, didn’t differentiate between services from religiously based organizations and those provided directly from congregations.

“You’re going back to the history of settlement in Canada. Churches always, always played a big role,” says Fariborz Birjandian, who heads the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, which provides services ranging from child care and transitional shelter to employment services. He says many agencies, including his, started as specifically faith-based organizations and are now more religiously diverse, serving a wide array of religious and cultural backgrounds.

Ray Pennings is vice president of research for the Work Research Foundation, a think tank dedicated to the study of Canada’s social architecture.

“If you look at it deeply, the faith groups, part of the mandate is to help those (who are) vulnerable,” he says.

Birjandian, a Baha’i refugee from Iran, says he was helped by the Baha’i community when he arrived in Canada. “That’s was actually an amazing place for us to go, because we were accepted when we went to our faith group with no questions,” he says. “You want to be accepted … and definitely a faith group plays a big, big role.”

And, yes, 65 per cent of respondents — the sample included 1,509 adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum, a community of opinion-givers, and 494 members of Ethnic Corner, a research group focusing on ethnic groups and new Canadians — said they found a spiritual home among Canada’s religious communities. The polling includes both refugees and those who immigrated for different reasons.

But the data suggest there is a change in religiosity between generations of immigrants: 20 per cent of those newly arrived, for example, say religion should have a major influence on public life. But among second-generation immigrants, it drops to 14 per cent and, among those the survey calls “third generation+” (those who trace their roots to their grandparents at least – so, most of the rest of us) that percentage drops to just 10 per cent.

Reid says that while “the political implications of all this remain something you can only speculate on,” the belief in the importance of religion in the public sphere could pose a challenge on issues such as abortion or public funding of religious schools.

On other metrics, too, some views fade, such as the importance of a formal welcoming into religious life, such as baptism. 60 per cent of those born outside of Canada say this is very or somewhat important, dropping to 50 per cent for second-generation Canadians and 47 per cent for everyone else.

As for believing in God or a higher power, 65 per cent of immigrants believe this is very or somewhat important for their children, while 57 per cent of the second generation and 51 per cent of the third generation say that’s the case.

Among those surveyed born outside of Canada, 57 per cent said religion has more positive than negative effects on Canada; by the second generation, 54 per cent say it’s a mix of good and bad and just 33 per cent agree with their parents on its positive effects.

Peter Beyer, a University of Ottawa professor who’s researched religion and migration, says these trends aren’t surprising, although he says some research suggests, among certain demographics, trends of declining religiosity among each generation doesn’t always hold true.

Still, he says, “in the history of migration studies … this has been noted again and again: Immigrants do not stay the same.”

Source: Immigrants in Canada are turning to faith for settlement, support and sociability

UK Immigration Scandal Offers Tories a Shot at Redemption – Bloomberg

Good overview with some polling data regarding UK attitudes towards immigration:

The resignation of U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd on Sunday is bad news for the Conservative government on several fronts. A close ally of British Prime Minister Theresa May who had her boss’s back on a number of occasions, Rudd was seen as a rising star in the Conservative Party, a potential prime minister herself and the most articulate opponent of Brexitin the cabinet.

The real problem her resignation raises, though, isn’t the damage to May’s already weakened government or the shifting cabinet balance toward more euroskeptic members. It is yet more confirmation that the Conservative Party’s immigration policy is a mess. It embraces a “target culture” that not only hurts Britain’s economic interests but damages its global reputation.

For most of the last decade Conservative immigration policy has been populist and ineffective. Officially and unofficially, the name of the game was keepy-outy. Rudd’s attempts to uphold the policies of her predecessors descended into the grotesque.

The first sign of serious trouble concerned a generation of immigrants who were invited between 1948 and 1971 to help rebuild Britain after World War II during a time of labor shortage. Members of the so-called Windrush generation (named for one ship on which many arrived) came from Caribbean countries and were told they could stay indefinitely. But the Home Office didn’t keep records of those granted a right to stay — by some estimates, about 500,000 people. And in 2010 the Windrush landing cards, proving arrival for many, were destroyed as part of a cull of old paperwork.

This shoddy management became a more serious problem when landmark changes to immigration law — overseen by May herself when she was home secretary — made the lives of the Windrush generation untenable.

Immigrants, even those who had been there decades, faced new requirements for detailed documentation in order to access employment or benefits and health care. May’s “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants was meant to encourage self-deportations. (Remember that idea, Americans?)

It didn’t seem to result in many self-deportations, but it did lead to widespread injustices. Migrants faced demands that they prove their immigration status; landlords and employers risked large fines for renting to or employing illegal immigrants. A Law Society report found “clear evidence of serious flaws in the way visa and asylum applications are being dealt with.”

Some Windrush immigrants faced inhumane treatment by the country that had been their home for decades. They were denied re-entry into the U.K., health care and other rights. A media and public opinion outcry in recent weeks forced by both May and Rudd to apologize and promise justice and compensation.

They looked likely to ride out the Windrush storm until it emerged that the Home Office had set targets for illegal deportations. Rudd denied the existence of targets to a parliamentary committee, before leaked Home Office documents confirmed them. Five public apologies in a week were too many. Either she wasn’t in command (something many suspected) or she simply misled Parliament.

In immigration control, when officials are ordered to meet deportation targets, ugly things happen. Asylum case workers have described a system that is arbitrary and rushed, in which workers are trained to find ways to say no.

British Conservatives may be more socially minded than their American counterparts — nobody questions universal health care here, for example — but they ostensibly stand for innovation, entrepreneurship, individual freedom and opportunity. And yet for years, dating back to David Cameron’s government in 2010, this party has made it harder — sometimes with just the sheer expense and bureaucratic hassle — for foreign workers, students and family members to settle in the U.K. with increasingly stringent immigration policy and populist rhetoric. In the race for global talent, Britain has slowed its pace to a languid walk.

It was left to Labour’s Diane Abbott to make the case for a more reasonable migration policy: “In trade negotiations our priorities favor growth, jobs and prosperity. We make no apologies for putting these aims before bogus immigration targets.”

Meanwhile, the government’s target to reduce net immigration to the “tens of thousands” is so unrealistic that very few Britons are under any illusion that it will be met. Net immigration has declined — but the biggest declineshave come from European Union citizens, without whom the health service and other parts of the economy couldn’t function. Migration from non-EU countries has continued to rise.

Sadly the government seems to be responding to a crude reading of public sentiment. Ask Britons if they want to see less immigration, and most will say yes — though notably views have softened somewhat since the Brexit referendum and the trend is toward greater acceptance.

But ask them about particular classes of immigrants — students, nurses, the Windrush generation — and their replies are far more magnanimous. They want border control and fewer immigrants, but also a system that is fair and humane and welcomes people who will contribute.

By many accounts Rudd, along with some other leading Conservatives, had been uncomfortable with the immigration targets; and yet she placed loyalty to her boss and the party first. Other Conservatives have challenged May over aspects of the Conservative immigration policy from the targets to the indefinite detention of immigrants that has led to appalling conditions.

The good news is that it’s never too late: The Conservatives now have an opportunity to clean up the mess. The new home secretary, Sajid Javid, is the son of a Pakistani immigrant and a Muslim; his father arrived in Britain with 1 pound in his pocket in the 1960s, according to Javid.

In his first remarks Monday, he promised to look into injustices at the Home Office and promised a full review of the policies that led to Rudd’s embarrassment. That review shouldn’t end with the Windrush scandal. An honest review will mean changing the policies that May and her party have been so closely associated with for years. That will not be easy, but the country will be better off if neither of them flinch. It just might save the Conservative Party from the embarrassment of more such scandals.

via Immigration Scandal Offers Tories a Shot at Redemption – Bloomberg

Poll: Discrimination Against Women Is Common Across Races, Ethnicities, Identities : NPR

Another in the series of NPR polls on discrimination, with the usual richness of data including the “intersectionality” between race and gender:

Discrimination in the form of sexual harassment has been in the headlines for weeks now, but new poll results being released by NPR show that other forms of discrimination against women are also pervasive in American society. The poll is a collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

For example, a majority (56 percent) of women believe that where they live, women are paid less than men for equal work. And roughly a third (31 percent) say they’ve been discriminated against when applying for jobs because they are women.

Overall, 68 percent of women believe that there is discrimination against women in America today.

The chart below shows that the experience of gender discrimination is not monolithic — women in each racial, ethnic and identity group have particular problems in employment, education, housing and interactions with law enforcement, the courts and government. Several groups of women also avoid seeking health care out of concern they will face discrimination.

On nearly every measure, Native American women had the highest levels of discrimination based on gender. In our series, “You, Me and Them: Experiencing Discrimination in America,” we have highlighted several of these situations, including unfair treatment by the courts in majority-Native areas.

NPR will livestream an expert panel discussion on Native American issues at noon ET on Tuesday.

One of the patterns that emerged from the poll and our subsequent reporting is a gulf between high- and low-income areas when it comes to experiences of discrimination. This gap is also apparent in the gender data crunched by our Harvard team. The graph below illustrates the stark differences based on income when it comes to several everyday experiences people have in their own neighborhoods.

A snapshot in time

Our poll — which was fielded from late January to early April — before this fall’s intense news coverage of sexual harassment — also captures what women were feeling and experiencing before the recent scandals.

We found that 37 percent women overall reported they or a female family member had been sexually harassed because they are women at some point in their lives. But there was a wide range of responses based on age, with 60 percent of those 18 to 29 years old saying they or a female family member had been sexually harassed because they are women, versus 17 percent of women 65 and over.

“Our survey highlights the extraordinary level of personal experiences of harassment facing women today, as reflected in the news,” says Robert Blendon, co-director of the poll and professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard Chan School. “These national conversations may have affected how people viewed or responded to their own experiences in our survey, or their willingness to disclose these experiences.”

Indeed, a poll released last week by Quinnipiac University, asking specifically about sexual assault, suggests women may be more comfortable reporting such experiences now that more women are coming forward and revealing past abuse. (Our poll differs from Quinnipiac in that we asked a broader question: “Do you believe that you or someone in your family who is also a female has experience sexual harassment because you or they are female?”)

The survey from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard Chan School was conducted from Jan. 26 to April 9, 2017 among a nationally representative probability-based telephone (cell and landline) sample of 1,596 women. The margin of error for total female respondents is 4.6 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence interval. Complete methodological information is in the full poll report.

via Poll: Discrimination Against Women Is Common Across Races, Ethnicities, Identities : NPR

EUROPP – The question of citizenship in the Brexit divorce: UK and EU citizens’ rights compared

Some interesting polling data. No surprise that “on average British citizens are more supportive of their rights abroad compared to EU-27 citizens’ rights in the UK:”

One of the key priorities for the EU during the Brexit negotiations is safeguarding citizens’ rights. This refers to 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK and 1.2 million UK nationals living in EU countries. The EU supports equal treatment in the UK of EU27 citizens as compared to UK nationals, and in the EU27 of UK nationals as compared to EU27 citizens, in accordance with Union law. In her Florence speech on 22 September, the UK Prime Minster, Theresa May, offered to incorporate legal protections for EU citizens living in the UK into UK law as part of the exit treaty.

However, since the UK triggered Article 50 on 29 March, there has been little substantive progress in the Brexit negotiations with the question of citizens’ rights being one of the primary sticking points. A European Parliament resolution criticised the lack of sufficient progress on this issue, with the Parliament’s Brexit chief, Guy Verhofstadt, arguing that ‘citizens’ rights are not being well-managed’ suggesting the possibility of a potential European Parliament veto of the Brexit deal.

Against this background of uncertainty, it is important to understand how citizens’ rights feature in the hearts and minds of the British public. To do so, we designed a survey, conducted by YouGov for the University of York on 29 June just a few days after official negotiations for departure began between the UK and the EU on 19 June. The key questions we sought to address were:

  • What is the opinion of British citizens on the rights of EU citizens in the UK as part of the Brexit divorce?
  • How do attitudes towards the rights of UK citizens abroad compare to attitudes towards the rights of EU citizens in the UK?

Our sample consisted of 1,698 individuals and was representative of the general British population in terms of age, gender, education, social grade, region, political attention and EU referendum vote. We broke down the question of citizens’ rights into four subsequent components that relate to freedom of movement in the EU, i.e. the right to freely work, reside and do business in another EU member state, as well as receive welfare.

UK citizens’ attitudes towards EU-27 citizens’ rights in the UK

Overall, British public opinion is dispersed on EU-27 citizens’ rights in the UK, as shown in Figure 1. There is much more support for doing business in the UK as opposed to working and living in the UK. The least support is observed on the question of access to welfare where we may observe comparatively much more disagreement and potentially a level of polarisation among the electorate.

On a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 denotes full disagreement and 10 full agreement, approximately a quarter of the respondents (24.16%) fully disagree that EU citizens should be allowed to claim welfare benefits in the UK. If we were to add those who have responded below 5, i.e. the middle point of the scale, then this proportion reaches 50% of the respondents. This shows that opposition to EU citizens’ accessing welfare benefits in the UK is much higher to opposition to EU citizens’ right to live, work and do business in the UK, which is at 20.84%, 19.57% and 9.25% respectively. Put differently, the majority of British citizens tend to be in favour of EU citizens living, working and doing business in the UK, but they are not as happy for them to claim welfare benefits in their country.

UK citizens’ attitudes toward UK citizens’ rights in the EU-27

How do these findings compare to how British citizens view their own rights abroad? Here the picture is slightly different. Figure 2 shows that on average British citizens are more supportive of their rights abroad compared to EU-27 citizens’ rights in the UK. Overall, fewer people disagree that UK citizens should have the right to live, work, do business and claim welfare benefits in other EU countries (responses below point 5 on the scale). These percentages range from 14.74% disagreeing that UK citizens should have the right to live in an EU country, 14.04% being hostile to UK citizens having the right to work in the EU, only 7.74% disagreeing that UK citizens should be able to do business in other EU countries, and 44.9% arguing that UK citizens should not receive welfare abroad. The latter number on UK citizens’ welfare rights in other EU countries is about 5 percentage points lower than those who oppose EU citizens’ welfare access in the UK. That being said, however, British citizens are similarly polarised on the question of welfare access even if this concerns their own nationals abroad.

Our findings suggest that although the question of EU immigration is very important among the public, and – as we know – contributed to how people voted in the Brexit referendum in 2016, it is much more nuanced and potentially contradictory than we had previously thought.

First, often – at least in the British case – some nationals may have ‘double standards’ not viewing non-nationals having equal rights to themselves. This might undermine the UK government’s popularity following a Brexit divorce deal that guarantees equal rights for both UK nationals in EU member states and EU-27 citizens in the UK.

Second, the British public is much more agreeable to EU citizens’ living, working and doing business in the UK, but they are considerably less comfortable with them sharing welfare. This suggests that it is the social aspect of EU citizenship that is the key issue featuring in the hearts and minds of the majority of the British public. This could be because the anti-EU campaigns, parties and individuals heavily politicised the welfare aspect of EU integration during the Brexit referendum, by for example associating EU membership costs with a deficit in the NHS.

via EUROPP – The question of citizenship in the Brexit divorce: UK and EU citizens’ rights compared

Canadians favour openness, but isolationism brews, [Ekos] poll finds

More polling data on the risks of populism in Canada:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads to Washington Tuesday to further strengthen the ties between Canada and the U.S. just as a new poll suggests Canadians don’t want this country heading down the same path as its southern neighbour.

But the results of the Ekos-Canadian Press survey don’t necessarily mean Canadians’ points of view are completely at odds with those who voted U.S. President Donald Trump into office, said Ekos president Frank Graves.

Ekos and the Canadian Press surveyed 4,839 Canadians via telephone between Sept. 15 and Oct. 1 as part of an ongoing effort to understand whether the same drivers exist in Canada as those behind populist movements supporting a more isolationist viewpoint around the world.

The results suggest Canada favours a more open approach – 60 per cent of those asked don’t want a “Canada First” foreign policy that mirrors the “America First” rallying cry that put Trump in office. Eighty per cent of those surveyed also disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job, and 52 per cent want to see Canada become less like the U.S.

“Canada is clearly pivoting open, you can make the case with some of the data on that,” said Graves.

“But if you look at more of the data, I’m not so sure. It’s not that clear.”

The data also suggests 22 per cent of those surveyed think Canada ought to become more isolated, a marked increase after years of the number remaining relatively flat.

Also, among those surveyed 37 per cent think Canada’s immigration policy admits too many visible minorities. Twenty-nine per cent said they’ve experienced an incident of racism in the last month, and 33 per cent said they believe racism is becoming more common.

Ekos conducted the survey between Sept. 15 and Oct. 1, and the survey of the entire sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.4 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

Different sample sizes were polled for each question to increase the number of questions researchers were able to ask.

Ekos has been tracking attitudes towards visible minority immigration for 25 years because it serves as a way to test levels of racial intolerance in Canada, said Graves.

The question of whether it is too high was put to 1,154 people during the recent survey, and the margin of error for those findings was 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Forty-two per cent believe the right amount are being let in and 15 per cent say too few.

Graves said the incidence of those believing it’s too high peaked before the last federal election and seems to be on the decline. It’s still lower than it was in the 1990s, he said.

The survey also probed for people’s perceptions of their economic future, and the results suggest Canadians are pretty pessimistic about the way things are going, despite economic indicators to the contrary.

That, coupled with the responses on how open this country ought to be, suggests the door can’t be closed on the argument that the same economic and social frustration that’s fuelled populism elsewhere doesn’t exist here, Graves said.

“There’s clearly a significant portion of Canada that’s not going to be convinced by the whole notion that an open welcoming Canada is the right answer to the problems that they see in their lives and the country.”

What that might mean for Canada’s political landscape remains to be seen. Sixty-four per cent of those who say Canada is letting in too many visible minorities identify as Conservative supporters; 62 per cent of those who think the number is just right are Liberal.

But Graves noted that studies done in the U.S. before and after that election revealed that people who were exhibiting racial intolerance and who voted for Trump said they would have voted Democrat if that party had put forward a more progressive platform.

Maintaining support for immigration ranks high on the Liberals’ list of priorities; in the coming weeks, they’re poised to unveil how many newcomers Canada will admit in 2018.

The Liberals are keen on immigration to foster economic growth, but complicating the issue is the ongoing arrival of asylum seekers at the border prompting criticism the government has lost control of the system.

In Britain, a survey after the surprising yes vote in a referendum on leaving the EU found that nearly 73 per cent of those who voted to leave were worried about immigration levels being too high.

The Ekos survey found 41 per cent feel too many immigrants are currently being let in overall. 

Source: Canadians favour openness, but isolationism brews, poll finds – Macleans.ca

Canada supports a ‘values’ test. But not the values of the far right. – Terry Glavin

Glavin’s take on the Macleans’ poll and what it says about Canadian values:

It is a delicious paradox and it’s wholly counterintuitive. What’s one of the strongest feelings expressed by the otherwise liberal, laid-back and largely contented people revealed by our poll? It’s in the survey respondents’ support for a proposition most closely associated, fairly or not, with Canada’s disgruntled, anti-immigrant, Islamophobic fringe.

A whopping 84 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement, “New immigrants to Canada should be screened to ensure they share Canadian values.” Almost 50 per cent “strongly” agreed. That’s a higher register of strong feeling than the survey elicited in any other policy-related question.

Peculiar to the far-right edges of the Conservative party, the specific proposal to subject prospective immigrants to a “Canadian values” assessment in face-to-face interviews was a major plank in party leadership candidate Kellie Leitch’s campaign. Opposed by several other candidates and derided by Liberals and New Democrats as a dog whistle to bigots, Canadians, it would seem, are for it, with gusto. Only five per cent of survey respondents “strongly” disagreed with the proposition. That’s a slam dunk.

But here’s the paradox: It turns out that the “Canadian values” revealed in our poll are dramatically at odds with the values espoused by the loudest proponents of an immigrant “values” test. In other words, Canada’s rednecks should be careful what they wish for.

Almost all of the 17 primary values questions put to poll respondents elicited enthusiasm in varying degrees for “progressive” values and ambivalence about almost everything else. If it’s “Canadian values” you want embraced by the roughly 300,000 people who emigrate to Canada every year, you’ll have to screen out almost everybody except for liberals.

Source: Canada supports a ‘values’ test. But not the values of the far right. – Macleans.ca

Canadians still pro-immigration, but souring on United States: Environics survey 

Useful and encouraging post-Trump update of Focus Canada’s annual survey:

As debates rage through much of the developed world over whether to close doors to newcomers, Canadian attitudes toward immigration remain positive.

Canadians’ sentiment towards immigration hasn’t wavered in the past six months, with eight in 10 people still agreeing that immigrants benefit the economy, a national survey released exclusively to The Globe and Mail shows.

“Public opinion about immigration among Canadians generally has either remained stable or become even more positive” in the past half year, said Keith Neuman, executive director of the Environics Institute for Survey Research, which released the results publicly on Monday.

The survey was conducted last month as a follow up to a similar set of questions in October. It sought to gauge whether public sentiments have shifted since the election of Donald Trump in the United States, and amid intensifying public debate in the United States and Europe over whether to tighten immigration rules. It comes as France’s defeated presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, campaigned on an anti-immigrant, anti-EU platform, and as Britain preps for Brexit while Mr. Trump remains intent on deportations and building a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Some views in Canada have shifted, markedly. Attitudes towards the United States have soured, with fewer than half of Canadians now holding a favourable view of the United States – the lowest level since the survey started tracking this in 1982.

In opinions about the United States, “there’s been a dramatic change,” said Mr. Neuman. Nearly a fifth of respondents said they have already changed their travel plans for visiting the United States this year due to the current political climate there, and another 8 per cent are thinking about doing so.

On immigration, Canadians appear still supportive. When asked if there is too much immigration in Canada, more than six in 10 people disagreed, the highest level in nine years.

Nearly eight in 10 respondents said immigration has a positive impact on the economy, little changed from the previous survey and over the past 15 years. Young people are more likely to agree that immigration boosts the economy, along with those in Toronto, people born outside of Canada and those with higher levels of education and income.

Several reasons may explain why Canadians have not jumped on the nationalist, anti-immigrant bandwagon. Immigration is an integral part of this country’s recent history and most Canadians are themselves newcomers or children of immigrants; Canada does not have to contend with mass migration at its borders; and it “doesn’t have the same strong national identity as in many European countries,” Mr. Neuman said.

Canada’s “not perfect. We do have racism, and there are lots of challenges in terms of finding jobs – it’s hardly utopia. But compared to those other countries, it has been relatively smooth,” he said.

Census numbers last week show the pace of aging in Canada’s population is accelerating, with the share of the working-age shrinking. That demographic shift will put more fiscal pressure on governments and, some experts say, underscores the need for Canada to maintain or increase its immigration levels.

The numbers come as Canada has accepted 40,100 Syrian refugees since November, 2015, about half of whom are government assisted and 14,000 of whom are privately sponsored. In recent months, more asylum seekers have crossed the border from the United States to claim refugee status.

The survey showed a growing share of people now disagree that refugee claimants are not legitimate. In fact, disagreement with this statement is at its highest level since 1987.

Opinions are split on whether too many immigrants are not adopting Canadian values. Just over half of respondents agree with that statement, a level that’s unchanged from October, though still the lowest level recorded in more than two decades.

Respondents in Alberta were more cautious on immigration. The province “stands out as the one part of the country where attitudes have become more negative,” since October, the survey noted. This could stem from economic concerns and more vulnerability in the jobs market – Calgary continues to have the highest jobless rate in Canada, at 9.3 per cent.

Respondents are divided on whether anti-government populism, underway elsewhere, could happen in Canada, with nearly half saying it is somewhat or very likely in the next few years.

Attitudes towards immigration differ according to party lines. A separate online survey by Abacus Data, conducted last month of 1,500 Canadians, shows Liberal voters tend to see immigration as helping Canada’s future economic prospects; Conservatives see it as negative while New Democrats are evenly split. Those more likely to see immigration as beneficial are millennials and higher-income earners, it found. Its survey suggests a more divided opinion on immigration, with 53 per cent per cent saying it will help the economy and 47 per cent saying it is harmful.

The Environics survey is based on telephone interviews conducted with 2,002 Canadians between Apr. 3 and Apr. 15, and is considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points in 19 of 20 samples.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not enough resources for Syrian refugees in Canada: poll

Encouraging high level of overall support despite funding concerns:

Canadians generally support the Liberal government’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis, but many think there are not enough resources in communities to support their resettlement, according to a new Nanos Research/Globe and Mail poll.

The poll of 1,000 Canadians found that 68 per cent support or somewhat support the government’s overall response to the Syrian refugee crisis, while 30 per cent oppose or somewhat oppose it. The government has resettled nearly 27,000 Syrian refugees since December of last year, with plans of welcoming thousands more throughout 2016.

“Canadians have given the Trudeau government a green light on this Syrian refugee crisis,” said pollster Nik Nanos. “The one thing that they are concerned about is whether we have the necessary resources to resettle these refugees in our communities.”

When asked if communities have all of the resources they need, such as housing, language training or social services, to resettle Syrian refugees, 61 per cent of Canadians disagreed or somewhat disagreed. On the other hand, 33 per cent agreed or somewhat agreed.

Chris Friesen, settlement services director of the Immigrant Services Society of B.C., said he was not surprised by Canadians’ concerns about the lack of settlement resources at the local level.

“Here in British Columbia for example, we’ve had over the past two years a 15-per-cent cut in the immigrant settlement and language program funding,” said Mr. Friesen. “The types of programs and supports we are seeing that are in short supply range from settlement-informed trauma support programs, a diversity of language programs, [and] additional children and youth programming.”

Mr. Friesen said there is a particular need for youth support, as close to 60 per cent of recently arrived Syrian refugees are under the age of 18. He said many Syrians also have medical issues – physical and mental, including post-traumatic stress disorder – stemming from their experiences during the conflict that require support.

Previous housing problems appear to be nearly solved. For instance, Mr. Friesen said his organization knows of about only six or seven Syrian refugee families still in hotels. During the height of the government’s efforts to resettle 25,000 Syrians before the end of February, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver asked the government to stop sending more refugees there for a few days as they struggled to house the large number of people who had already arrived. As of this week, 97 per cent of government-assisted Syrian refugees had moved into permanent housing, according to a government official.

The official said refugees are using the government services available to them. For instance, language assessments have been done for close to 80 per cent of Syrian resettlement clients over the age of 18, and 34 per cent of those assessed have begun language training.

Settlement funding will be increasing for all jurisdictions this year, the official also said. In addition to a base settlement fund of $588.6-million this fiscal year (outside of Quebec), the federal government has provided $38.6-million as a supplement to help deal with the arrival of the Syrian refugees and will kick in another $19.3-million through the budget, for a total of $646.5-million.

Source: Not enough resources for Syrian refugees in Canada: poll – The Globe and Mail

New US Poll Shows Half of Blacks Have Been Unfairly Treated by Police

Not surprising, likely reinforced by ongoing instances of police wrong-doing:

The AP-NORC poll shows that just a third of black Americans say they can always or often trust police to do what is right for their communities, while a large majority of whites say that. Nearly half of blacks trust the police just sometimes, and 2 in 10 trust them rarely or never.

Eight in 10 black Americans say police are too quick to use deadly force, and 7 in 10 say police officers who cause injury or death are usually treated too leniently by the criminal justice system. Just a third of whites say either of those things.

More than 8 in 10 blacks say police sometimes treat minority groups more roughly. A similar proportion says that police are more likely to use deadly force against a black person than against a white person. Most whites think race does not affect police use of deadly force.

Fifty percent of blacks, compared with just 3 percent of whites, say that they personally have felt treated unfairly by a police officer because of race. Another 15 percent of blacks and 5 percent of whites say unfair treatment by police has happened to a family member.

New Poll Shows Half of Blacks Have Been Unfairly Treated by Police | TIME.