Lisée: And what if Quebecers are less racist than other Canadians?

Lisée contrasting Quebec and RoC polling data and providing context for Quebec policies on immigration, multiculturalism/interculturalisme and language. Polling data with regional breakdowns between Montreal and the regions would likely nuance his assertions, nor fully explain the high levels of support for Bills 21 and 96 or the general level of political discourse on these issues, but they certainly play a part.

Lisée may have overstepped his case with respect to the number of visible minorities elected in the 2022 election, 12 elected members by my count, 9.6 percent, not 12 percent, largely reflecting the concentration in and around Montreal (just as the GTA bumps up Ontario provincial and federal MP representation numbers:

The number is nine. That’s the percentage of Quebecers who believe some races are superior to others. They, along with other Canadians, were asked this straightforward question by Angus Reid in 2021: “In all honesty, do you think that all races are equal in terms of their natural characteristics, or do you think that some races are naturally superior to others?”

Nine per cent may seem high, but compare it to Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba with a rate of 14 per cent. There is a spike of 19 per cent in PEI (this may be a sampling error) and lows of 11 per cent in Alberta and eight per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Interestingly, one finds that 13 per cent of Indigenous people believe in the inequality of races and 18 per cent of non-Caucasian/non-Indigenous – double the Quebec number.

How can we possibly square this result with the mere existence of Quebec’s secularism law, known as Bill 21, and the apparent consensus outside Quebec that citizens there are closed-minded? The answer, as Justin Trudeau explained the other day, is Quebecers relation to religion, especially with the misogynistic aspects of the Catholic religion of yesteryear and, these days, Islam.

That is why this same Angus Reid poll found what every other poll will tell you: a much bigger slice of Quebec opinion has negative views of religions as a whole and of Islam in particular. Angus Reid reports that whereas 25 per cent of all Canadians feel “cold” towards Muslims, the chill reaches 37 per cent in Quebec. Still in minority territory (63 per cent feel warm towards them) but a significant difference.

Since support for the secularism bill, which bans the wearing of all religious signs for civil servants in authority, hovers around 65 per cent, there are simply not enough Quebecers who dislike Muslims to account for that great a number. Clearly, other variables are at play and racism is not one of them.

In fact, Canadian pollsters regularly find Quebecers more tolerant on a range of issues than other Canadians. Ekos found in 2019 that 30 per cent of Quebecers believed there were too many members of visible minorities among immigrants. That is awful. But this level rose to 46 per cent in Ontario and 56 per cent in Alberta. And among visible minorities, 43 per cent felt there were too many visible minorities among immigrants. In short, Quebecers were less intolerant of racialized immigrants than Canadians as a whole and citizens of color themselves.

But these are opinions. What about actions? Hate crimes were more numerous in Ontario than in Quebec per capita in 2019, 2020 and 2021, the year in which there is the latest available data. The Montreal police reports that in 2020 and 2021, the first years of application of the law on secularism, the number of hate crimes related to religion was down 24 per cent. Sure, with the pandemic, there were fewer opportunities to meet and hate each other. Yet they also had a pandemic in Toronto and there, according to the Toronto Police 2021 Hate/Bias Crime Statistical Reportreligious hate crimes increased by 16 per cent over the same period.

How about discrimination in employment? 2021 Statistics Canada data show that immigrants in Quebec have an employment rate greater than workers born in Quebec (at a ratio of 107 per cent) whereas the opposite is true in Ontario (a ratio of 95 per cent). The gap is greatest for women, with a ratio of 102 per cent employment in Quebec versus 91 per cent in Ontario, probably a result of Quebec’s far reaching daycare program. The same is true for members of visible minorities, whose rate of employment is equal to that of the rest of Quebecers, better than the 95 per cent level in Ontario. Simply put, as an immigrant or a BIPOC, your chances of getting a job is higher in Quebec than in Ontario, especially if you are a woman.

The recent October 2022 Quebec election was remarkable for one barely noticed achievement. For the first time, it delivered the same proportion of elected members from visible minorities, (12 per cent) than their share of the electorate and the same rate (20 per cent) of members of non-French and non-English origin. A perfect score. In Ottawa, Parliament still falls short of its goal of representing 25 per cent of visible minorities, having reached only 15.7 per cent.  In Ontario, with 30 per cent of minority population, the recent parliament counts 23 per cent representation.

None of these numbers are new, but I bet you are reading them here for the first time. Why? Simply because they are so counter-intuitive that few people outside Quebec look for them. Or when these numbers are encountered, they are treated as outliers that surely do not represent reality.

Yet going back in time, Quebec has reached achievements on race significantly before others on the continent. For example, the August 1 commemoration of the British Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 is problematic in Quebec because it ignores the fact that slavery had already been abolished there for 30 years. In Upper Canada, MPs had voted in 1793 to abolish slavery but grandfathered the “property” of current slave-owners. Slavery thus persisted until 1820. The British 1833 act compensated slave-owners for the “loss” of their property.

Quebecers had none of that. Open-minded judges started declaring slavery illegal in Quebec as early as 1798, without delay or compensation. It disappeared completely in very short order, as told by Frank Makey in his seminal Done with Slavery: The Black Fact in Montreal, 1760-1840 (McGill-Queen’s Press). “The way in which slavery was abolished in Quebec turned out to be one of the most humane and least constraining,” he writes. Slavery thus ended in Quebec 20 years before its demise in Upper Canada, 30 years ahead of the rest of the Empire and 63 years before the emancipation of Black Americans.

Jews were barred from elected office in the entire British Empire until 1858, except in Quebec. In 1832 the Assembly, with a Patriote majority (the ancestor of both the Quebec Liberal Party and the Parti Québécois) voted an act granting full citizenship to Jews, the Brits be damned.

As for relations with First Nations, in 1701 the Governor of New France and 39 leaders of First Nations gathered in Montreal for the most far-reaching peace treaty ever negotiated between settlers and First Nations in the hemisphere. That’s Nobel Peace Prize territory. In modern times, Quebec signed the first comprehensive land claim in Canada in 1975 and René Lévesque made sure the Quebec National Assembly was the first Parliament in Canada in 1984 to recognize the existence of Indigenous nations on the territory. In 2003 the Paix des Braves with the Cree nation became the gold standard for the granting of autonomy to First Nations.

Environics Institute reports that like other Canadians 44 per cent of Quebecers believe the government has not done enough to ensure true reconciliation. But there are laggards. Those who find that we have gone too far, that we have been too generous. In Quebec, 13 per cent think so. Too many. In Canada: 20 per cent. Too many and a half.

It is also interesting to note how the anti-religious sentiment of Quebecers is intertwined with the issue of residential schools. Polling firm Léger asked who was responsible for this disaster: the federal government or the Catholic Church. Obviously, the answer is: both. But the pollster forced his respondents to choose. Two-thirds of Canadians pointed to the church. Quebecers even more: 69 per cent. The more memory Quebecers have, the more they condemn the church, at 76 per cent among those over 55 years old. Quebecers also say they are more ashamed, at 86 per cent, than the high Canadian average of 80 per cent.

Surely, tons of columns can be – and have been – written on all the faults and frailties of Quebecers. I have written a few myself. Comparative arguments have little weight when the task is to fight back against discrimination, racial profiling, decades-long neglect of Indigenous communities.

They have value, however, when mainstream voices outside Quebec take a moral high ground to misjudge and mischaracterize Quebec, its citizens and its history on issues of race and tolerance.

Source: And what if Quebecers are less racist than other Canadians?

Germans less skeptical of immigration

Significant shift with respect to skilled immigrants, concerns re refugees (similar pattern in Canada):

Christian Osterhaus knows only too well what the term Willkommenskultur (“welcome culture”) means: When hundreds of thousands of people seeking protection arrived in Germany in 2015, he was one of the first to co-found a local refugee aid organization.

“We didn’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past,” he tells DW. By welcoming the refugees, he and his team wanted to show “that we don’t exclude people again.” With around 30 fellow campaigners, Osterhaus got involved in Bonn in the fall of 2015. The group cared for 40 to 50 refugees, most of whom came from Syria.

Osterhaus was one of hundreds of thousands of people in Germany who set out to help those fleeing civil war in Syria and other countries, and to help integrate them into German society. “We wanted to give these people a new home,” Osterhaus says looking back.

The special effort at integration became known as Germany’s welcome culture. But in 2015 and 2016, many people also had little understanding for this attitude. They did not want to take in refugees and migrants. The xenophobic protest movement gave rise to the far-right populist Alternative for Germany party (AfD).

More people see benefits of migration

In its representative study “Willkommenskultur zwischen Stabilität und Aufbruch,” (Welcome Culture Between Stability and Departure) the nonprofit Bertelsmann Foundation has now taken a closer look at changes in Germans’ attitudes and identified a trend: Germans are more optimistic about migration and immigration than they were a few years ago.

“In essence, our survey shows that skepticism toward immigration is still widespread in Germany, but it has continually declined in recent years,” says Ulrike Wieland, co-author of the study: “More people now see the potential benefits of migration; especially for the economy. When it comes to perceptions of integration, we find that more respondents than in previous years see inequality of opportunity and discrimination as significant obstacles hampering integration of individuals.”

The Bertelsmann Foundation has been conducting representative surveys since 2012. In the beginning, the researchers set out to determine how Germans felt about the immigration of skilled workers. But in response to the influx of large numbers of refugees in 2015-2016, researchers wanted to gauge attitudes towards these people.

As to long-term effects of immigration, positive and negative assessments roughly balance each other out. But the debate on refugees has somewhat tipped the scales.

Today, many see immigration as a way to help solve Germany’s demographic and economic problems. For example, two out of three respondents see immigration as helping to balance out an aging society, more than half of those polled said it could also compensate for the ongoing shortage of skilled workers, and half of all respondents expect immigrants to generate additional revenue for Germany’s pension fund.

But many respondents remain skeptical: 67% say that immigrants place an additional burden on the welfare state, 66% say they worry about conflicts erupting between people born and raised in Germany and immigrants, and many respondents fear that schools are facing major problems integrating immigrant students.

But there is an important differentiation to make: skilled immigrants seeking employment or academic opportunities are more accepted (71%) than refugees who are primarily seeking protection (59 %).

More than a third don’t want more refugees

The Bertelsmann Foundation study also clearly shows that there is still a lot of skepticism in Germany when it comes to refugees.

Christian Osterhaus notes that many helpers have turned away because of the decrease in acceptance for their work for refugees. “In the beginning we were part of a social movement and felt supported, but for several years we have been working against the social mainstream,” is how Osterhaus describes it to DW.

Germans have overall become more accepting of refugees. But over one-third of respondents (36%) believe that Germany cannot take in any more of them. In 2017, that number stood at 54%. Currently, 20% consider the refugees to be “temporary guests” who do not need to be integrated into society.

“We see that one-fifth of the population is skeptical of refugees or outright rejects them. These people seem to have a worldview that supports the idea of a (far-reaching) social closure against migration,” explains co-author Ulrike Wieland.

Germany should see itself as an immigration society,’ says the study’s co-author, Ulrike Wieland

People with an immigrant background are underrepresented in politics, corporate management and the media in Germany. Respondents see German language skills as a pivotal prerequisite to integration. But many of them also believe that legislation needs to be changed to combat existing inequality when it comes to finding housing, dealing with authorities or schools.

The new coalition government of center-left Social Democrats (SPD), environmentalist Greens and neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP) has already made clear it wants to focus more on integration. For example, they are planning to ensure that even rejected asylum seekers are given the opportunity to stay in Germany permanently if they have learned German and have found work to earn a sufficient income. Family reunification is to be extended to all refugees and it is to become easier to obtain German nationality.

That is basically the right way to go, says researcher Ulrike Wieland: “But it is also important for Germany to develop a positive self-image as an immigration society. To achieve this, politicians and civil society must work together. They must actively shape a diverse society.”

Aid worker Christian Osterhaus looks back at when he started working with refugees: “At the time, I really had the impression that German society had opened up and changed and had actually learned a lot.” He believes that interpersonal connections and friendships are the foundation for the path to building a real welcome culture in Germany.

Source: Germans less skeptical of immigration

Australian voters rethinking immigration in wake of extended border closures, poll suggests

Interesting shifts:

Australia’s prolonged international border closure appears to have lowered the political temperature around immigration, with the number of voters believing levels are too high dropping from 56% in January 2019, and 64% the year before that, to 37% in the latest Guardian Essential survey.

While the pandemic has shifted the dynamics of the debate, the latest poll of 1,781 respondents suggests immigration remains a divisive issue. Migration is back on the political agenda because both the federal and state governments have flagged a rethink of the size and mix of Australia’s migration program once the border reopens.

In the latest Guardian Essential survey, more than half of respondents (52%) say migration levels are either too low or about right, while 37% say too high, and 11% are undecided. Just over half the sample (51%) agrees that immigration is vital for Australia’s business and economy (20% are opposed that view).

But 63% of respondents also believe that increasing immigration levels would add more pressure on the housing system and infrastructure (only 11% disagreed).

While half the Guardian Essential sample (50%) thinks boosting immigration will help businesses recover from the economic shock of the pandemic by giving them the skilled labour they need (22% disagree) – a majority of respondents are evidently not convinced that immigration helps Australia deal with skills shortages as the population ages (only 49% agree with that proposition and 22% disagreed).

Source: Australian voters rethinking immigration in wake of extended border closures, poll suggests

USA: Public Opinion Shifts in a Pro-Immigration Direction

Of note. Dysfunctional US political system does not translate shift into political action:

Since 1965, Gallup has been polling Americans about whether they want immigration levels to decrease, increase, or remain the same. Last year, the percentage of Americans who want to increase immigration rose above the percentage who want to decrease it for the first time. In 2021, that shift held with more respondents again supporting increasing immigration than decreasing it (Figure 1). The support for increasing legal immigration may have narrowed in 2021 to 33 percent from 35 percent in 2020, but the changes are so small that they are likely statistically insignificant.

Consistent with the general rise in support for increasing immigration, a large majority of Americans still believe that immigration is a good thing for the United States (Figure 2). Just like in Figure 1, the percentage saying it’s a good thing has declined by 2 percentage points but that is a small shift a statistically insignificant shift. Although this is consistent with pro‐​immigration policy views, it also includes those who like the current level of immigration.

However, an even more important shift has continued in U.S. opinion about immigration. Since 2001, Gallup has asked this question: “(Asked of those dissatisfied with level of immigration into U.S.) Would you like to see the level of immigration in this country increased, decreased or remain about the same?” Respondents who are dissatisfied with the level of immigration are increasingly likely to be dissatisfied because they think that there is too little immigration. I wrote about this last year but the trend has grown in 2021 (Figure 3). In 2020, 26 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the level of immigration and they wanted to decrease immigration. By 2021, that percentage had fallen to 19 percent. The percent of those who were dissatisfied and wanted an increase stayed about the same and the percent of those satisfied climbed slightly.

That’s a tectonic shift. From 2001–2016, an average of 63 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the level of immigration. Only about 5 percent of respondents were dissatisfied and wanted to increase immigration levels and a whopping 44 percent of the dissatisfied wanted to decrease them (Figure 3). This began to change shortly after President Trump took office. From 2017–2020, an average of about 11 percent of respondents wanted to increase immigration levels while 28 percent were dissatisfied and wanted to decrease them. By the end of the Trump administration, there was still quite a gap among those dissatisfied with immigration, but it had narrowed.

We’re clearly seeing a shift in public opinion where those who dislike the current system are beginning to dislike it because it’s too restrictive. To the extent that we can believe surveys that measure opinions unexpressed through concrete actions like voting, this is a big shift. So far, virtually all of the political energy and enthusiasm has been for immigration restriction. Anti‐​immigration voters cared a lot more about this issue than pro‐​immigration voters. Now, the decline in the percent of respondents who are dissatisfied and who want less immigration is beginning to look like the collapse in anti‐​immigration sentiment that began in the mid‐​1990s (Figure 1).

One doubt I had about this change in behavior last year was that this increased pro‐​immigration opinion was just a reaction to President Trump and that it would fade out after he left office. In other words, I was worried that this was just an ephemeral liberal reaction of President Trump rather than a real and sustained change in opinion. But since the 2021 survey results show that only 19 percent of respondents are dissatisfied and want less immigration, a number 7 percentage points below the previous response in 2020, that is an indication that the pro‐​immigration sentiment of the American public is continuing to increase in the Biden administration. That improvement is especially surprising considering the rise in apprehensions along the border.

This appears to be a positive and sustainable change in American public opinion.

Source: Public Opinion Shifts in a Pro-Immigration Direction | Cato at … › blog › public-opinion-shifts-pro…

A Field Guide to Polling: Election 2020 Edition

Useful advice in general, not just in terms of US political polling:

How can you tell a ‘good’ poll from a ‘bad’ one?

The longevity of phone polls has allowed scholars time to study them and establish basic standards and best practices. For this reason, it’s a fairly straightforward task to sort more rigorous phone polls from the rest. In general, rigorous surveys are those that are paid for and fielded by a neutral source; have selected a probability-based, random sample of the public (or the population of interest, such as registered voters); dial cellphones in addition to landlines; make multiple attempts to reach people; use live interviewers; and make public both the questionnaire and a detailed methodology.

On the other hand, creating a quality checklist for online opt-in polls remains a challenge and a work in progress.7 Some considerations are the same as for phone polls, as they too should be funded and conducted by a neutral source and transparent with their questionnaires and methodologies. Beyond these basics, evaluating the quality of an opt-in election poll should consider the following questions: Does the sample include all kinds of Americans? Does it include them in roughly the right proportion compared to their share of the population? If not, how are researchers working on the back end to address these issues?8

The Center is now several years into a sustained effort to evaluate these surveys, and several key findings have emerged. Online opt-in polls are not monolithic – some vendors produce more accurate data than others. What separates the better vendors is that they adjust their surveys to be representative on a large set of variables that includes both demographics (e.g., race, age, sex and, per the lessons of 2016, education) and political variables (e.g. party affiliation, voter registration status). Less accurate vendors tend to either not weight their data at all or adjust for just a few demographics. When evaluating these polls, look for evidence that the pollster has thought carefully about these kinds of problems and taken steps to correct them.

When it comes to opt-in online polls, enormous sample sizes aren’t necessarily a sign of quality.

Perhaps surprisingly, Center research found that having a sample that looked demographically representative of the country (through use of quotas or weighting) did not predict accuracy. In other words, just getting the survey to look representative with respect to age, sex, etc. does not mean that the survey estimates for other outcomes are accurate. At this stage in their development, opt-in polls require a very thoughtful, hands-on effort for those fielding the survey, requiring them to consider what they are trying to measure and how the characteristics of the sample may interact with those concepts. As a result, consumers of these polls should also be particularly attentive to these issues.

One last “false flag” to ignore: When it comes to opt-in online polls, enormous sample sizes aren’t necessarily a sign of quality. Given that opt-in surveys are so cheap to field, it’s not hard to drive up a sample size to provide the illusion of precision. But Center research suggests that an 8,000 person opt-in survey is not necessarily more accurate than a 2,000 person survey.

The bottom line for now is that, at least in our own explorations, “even the most effective adjustment procedures were unable to remove most of the bias”9 from opt-in polls. That said, the level of precision these opt-in panels can provide may be adequate for some research purposes.


Trump and His Allies Have Lost the Public Debate Over Immigration

Interesting analysis of longer-term polling data, where most of the change towards greater acceptance of immigration has occurred among Democrats and independent voters:

In 1979, John Tanton, a Michigan eye doctor and environmentalist, launched the modern nativist movement. He believed that population growth would slow down if poor people stayed in developing countries, where poverty and potentially starvation would keep growth in check, but that if they came to places like the United States in larger numbers, the planet would become more overcrowded. So he founded a group called the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which aimed to stop nearly all immigration to the United States. It was initially seen for it what it was: a fringe group based on long-disproven ideas about the planet’s ability to support more people.

Forty years later, FAIR would seem to be in its heyday. At least three former FAIR employees, including its former executive director, have been hired for senior roles at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency responsible for legal immigration. And the White House has taken a more sharply anti-immigration stand than in any administration of the modern era.

But when it comes to swaying public opinion to its view that legal immigration should be all but eliminated, FAIR and its offshoots are farther from success than ever.

Twenty-five years ago, Democrats and Republicans felt the same way about immigrants: The Pew Research Center found that nearly two-thirds of both parties agreed they were a burden. Immigration critics were confident that those numbers would increase as a backlash to rising immigration took hold among native-born Americans. Instead, the opposite happened. By the time Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign, the share of Democrats and independents who said immigrants strengthen America had nearly doubled, while Republican opinion on the question had barely budged.

And under Trump, anti-immigrant sentiment has fallen even further as the president’s rhetoric about immigrants alienates large swaths of the public. According to a Pew poll from January, 55 percent of Republicans—8 percent fewer than in May 2015—and a record-low 13 percent of Democrats believe that immigrants burden the United States by taking jobs, housing, and health care from native-born Americans. And according to Gallup surveys, 67 percent of Americans now say immigration should be increased or kept at its present level, the highest number since Gallup began asking the question in 1965.

The United States is in the midst of a two-decade-long shift in favor of immigration, and it is only accelerating under Trump. For all the nativist movement’s efforts over the decades to rein in immigration, the chances of preserving a white majority are effectively gone.

Unlike most environmentalists of his era, Tanton believed ending the era of international migration was essential to stopping population growth and preserving the planet. Frustrated that environmentalists were treating immigration control as taboo, Tanton launched FAIR. His anti-population-growth crusade attracted few followers, but he quickly discovered that tapping into resentment of Latino immigrants held far more potential. So did Dan Stein, who became FAIR’s press secretary in 1982 and has served as its president since 2003. In 1994, as part of an oral history series FAIR was conducting, Stein told Tanton, “What produces the income is evidence of an enemy seeking to produce hostile forces and hostile consequences.”

At the time, it looked like FAIR might succeed. Opposition to immigration was rising in the early nineties amid a dramatic increase in legal immigration from Asia and Latin America, as well as high levels of unauthorized immigration from Mexico. In 1994, voters in California overwhelmingly passed Proposition 187 to bar undocumented immigrants from using government services. Frank Sharry, the founder of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, expected huge cuts to legal immigration after Republicans regained control of Congress in 1995. A Gallup poll that year showed that only 7 percent of Americans favored more immigration and 65 percent wanted cuts, up from 42 percent in the late seventies.

Stein called for slashing legal immigration from more than 700,000 green cards per year to about 100,000, hoping that Americans would realize that “we don’t need immigration as a country anymore.” When Congress rejected measures to cut legal immigration in 1996, he said the country was getting “madder and madder.”

The mid-nineties ended up being the peak of the immigration backlash. Stein didn’t seem to notice. Speaking at an event organized by Pat Buchanan, Stein said “we are about to see a tsunami” against immigration and, as conservatives tried to ban same-sex marriage, predicted that it “will be about the hottest topic in politics once we get gay marriage taken care of.” Congress did take up immigration legislation under George W. Bush. But it was a bipartisan bill that gave undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, and FAIR fought successfully to kill it. And when the Senate finally passed an immigration bill in 2013, it was again one that paved the way to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and FAIR lobbied fiercely to prevent it from passing in the House.

FAIR has known for decades that it needs to do more than just block legislation to succeed. Under the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which removed country-specific caps on immigration designed to favor Northern Europeans and made it easier for immigrants to bring relatives to the United States, legal immigration has risen steadily, to levels not seen since the early 20th century. Tanton noted in 1989 that the post-1965 rise in immigration would “go on forever, until the situation gets so bad that finally the Congress is forced to react.” But he was wrong about how Congress—and the American public—would react.

Since 1994, the share of Republicans who tell Pew that immigrants strengthen the country has barely moved from about 30 percent; among Democrats, it has spiked from 31 percent to 80 percent. Even among white voters without a college degree—Trump’s core base of support—just one in four told Quinnipiac last year that they favored cutting legal immigration. Republicans without a college degree are now less likely to support cutting legal immigration than the average Democrat was 13 years ago.

Last year, nearly two-thirds of respondents, including 67 percent of independents, told the Public Religion Research Institute that it would be mostly a positive thing for the United States to become a majority-nonwhite country by 2045. PRRI has been asking Americans since 2013 whether they would prefer to deport undocumented immigrants or give them a path to citizenship. The responses have not changed much over the years. “It’s kind of remarkable, really,” says PRRI founder and chief executive officer Robert P. Jones. “Usually, we see some movement”—particularly when there’s a “a big bully pulpit, scaring an entire political party toward a more negative anti-immigrant stance.” And with Americans under 40 much more supportive of immigration than the overall population, the future looks bleak for FAIR.

Last year, the Republican-controlled Senate voted on a series of immigration bills. A Trump-endorsed bill to reduce legal immigration by roughly 40 percent got just 39 votes. A measure opposed by the president to fund a border wall in exchange for protections for some undocumented immigrants received 54. Neither became law, but the more progressive bill came a lot closer.

In the absence of legislative success, FAIR’s former staffers and allies in the Trump administration are turning to executive action. Trump has cut refugee admissions to record lows. USCIS, the legal immigration agency, has adopted a long list of policies that make it harder to come to the United States legally, although so far, the number of green cards issued each year is still in line with where it was under Obama. USCIS is in the process of implementing new regulations to dramatically expand a section of immigration law that blocks people from entering the country if they are likely to rely on government assistance, such as food stamps or Medicaid. The rule, which is not yet finalized, could cut legal immigration by hundreds of thousands of people per year by denying green cards to the relatives of working-class immigrants. But unlike legislation, the rule could be overturned by a future administration. Twenty-two Democratic senators—including five of the six running for president—sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security in October, requesting that it withdraw the rule.

Asked about FAIR’s record under Trump, Sharry, of America’s Voice, responded with glee. Republicans, he noted, controlled Congress for two years and had the most nativist president in modern history. “And on his signature issues of a border wall and cuts to legal immigration, they got zilch, nada, zero,” he said. “That is an abject failure.”

Source: Trump and His Allies Have Lost the Public Debate Over Immigration

Shifting Public Views on Legal Immigration Into the US

Lots of good data here, suggesting more limited support for Trump administration policies:

Many unaware that most immigrants in the U.S. are here legally.

Since 2001, decline in the share saying legal immigration should be decreasedWhile there has been considerable attention on illegal immigration into the U.S. recently, opinions about legal immigration have undergone a long-term change. Support for increasing the level of legal immigration has risen, while the share saying legal immigration should decrease has fallen.

The survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 5-12 among 2,002 adults, finds that 38% say legal immigration into the United States should be kept at its present level, while 32% say it should be increased and 24% say it should be decreased.

Since 2001, the share of Americans who favor increased legal immigration into the U.S. has risen 22 percentage points (from 10% to 32%), while the share who support a decrease has declined 29 points (from 53% to 24%).

The shift is mostly driven by changing views among Democrats. The share of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who say legal immigration into the U.S. should be increased has doubled since 2006, from 20% to 40%.

Growing share of Democrats support increased legal immigration into the U.S.Republicans’ views also have changed, though more modestly. The share of Republicans and Republican leaners who say legal immigration should be decreased has fallen 10 percentage points since 2006, from 43% to 33%.

Still, about twice as many Republicans (33%) as Democrats (16%) support cutting legal immigration into the U.S.

The new survey, which was largely conducted before the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border involving immigrant children being separated from their parents, finds deep and persistent partisan divisions in a number of attitudes toward immigrants, as well as widespread misperceptions among the public overall about the share of the immigrant population in the U.S. that is in this country illegally:

Fewer than half of Americans know that most immigrants in the U.S. are here legally. Just 45% of Americans say that most immigrants living in the U.S. are here legally; 35% say most immigrants are in the country illegally, while 6% volunteer that about half are here legally and half illegally and 13% say they don’t know. In 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, lawful immigrants accounted for about three-quarters of the foreign-born population in the United States.

Republicans are split in their views of undocumented immigrantsMost feel sympathy toward unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.Nearly seven-in-ten (69%) are very or somewhat sympathetic toward immigrants who are in the United States illegally. That view has changed little since 2014, when a surge of unaccompanied children from Central America attempted to enter the U.S. at the border. An overwhelming share of Democrats (86%) say they are sympathetic toward immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally, compared with about half of Republicans (48%) .

Fewer say granting legal status to unauthorized immigrants is a “reward.”Just 27% of Americans say that giving people who are in the U.S. illegally a way to gain legal status is like rewarding them for doing something wrong. More than twice as many (67%) say they don’t think of it this way. Since 2015, the share saying that providing legal status for those in the U.S. illegally is akin to a “reward” for doing something wrong has declined 9 percentage points. (Americans also broadly support granting legal status to immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.)

Most Americans do not think undocumented immigrants are more likely to commit serious crimes. Large majorities of Americans say that undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. are not more likely than U.S. citizens to commit serious crimes (65% say this) and that undocumented immigrants mostly fill jobs citizens don’t want (71% say this). These opinions, which also are divided along partisan lines, are virtually unchanged since 2016.

Most people who encounter immigrants who do not speak English well aren’t bothered by this. Most Americans say they often (47%) or sometimes (27%) come into contact with immigrants who speak little or no English. Among those who say this, just 26% say it bothers them, while 73% say it does not. The share saying they are bothered by immigrants speaking little or no English has declined by 12 percentage points since 2006 (from 38% to 26%) and 19 points since 1993 (from 45%).

Source: Shifting Public Views on Legal Immigration Into the US

On First Nations issues, there’s a giant gap between Trudeau’s rhetoric and what Canadians really think: exclusive poll

While the wording of the questions appears to prompt this kind of response, nevertheless of interest:

From the front steps of her home in Brantford, Ont., Linda Johns looks down the street toward the Mohawk Institute, one of Canada’s oldest residential schools, and says she wishes they’d simply “torn the damn thing down.” The building is currently under renovation to “save the evidence,” as the fundraising campaign for repairs puts it.

Linda has visited the grounds as a tourist with her family, years ago, and says it was awful what happened to Indigenous youth there over the decades, “but now that we’re adults, I don’t care to hear about it. What they’re trying to do is blame other people for the problems they have now.”

She says Indigenous Canadians should have unique status in this country, but equally feels that, through our government, we are “almost climbing over ourselves to apologize” for past transgressions. As for federal spending on First Nations issues, Johns accepts that Indigenous people in northern areas need the money, but she says: “Around here, I think they could get off their butts and work.”

Her husband of 38 years disagrees. For starters, he wants the Mohawk Institute restored: it will serve as a reminder to Canadians of what the residential school did to him when he went there. “The food was terrible. You never got enough to eat. When it came for roll call to make sure everyone was still there, it went by number, not by name,” Doug Johns recalls. “It was almost like being in a prison.”

The front steps of the institute—where Doug was forced to relocate at the age of 10, away from his family on the nearby Six Nations of the Grand River; where he saw classmates beaten for speaking their native tongue; which he first ran away from when he was 12, by way of country fields on a winter night to avoid police detection; where an abusive schoolmaster with a riding crop was more than willing to issue Doug lashings to his rear after every failed escape—are about 100 m from his front porch.

Linda says she doesn’t understand why her husband would want a building where he was so poorly treated to still stand. “She’s not Native,” Doug says of his wife. “We don’t see eye to eye on all these issues.”

Neither does the rest of the country. The most comprehensive public opinion survey on Indigenous issues since the Trudeau Liberals took office has uncovered deep fractures over key questions facing First Nations and the rest of Canada, suggesting the current government’s promises of reconciliation may be as hard to deliver as ever. The findings of the nationwide survey from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute point to divergent yet entrenched attitudes on both symbolic and existential questions.

Fully 53 per cent surveyed said the country spends too much time apologizing for residential schools and it’s time to move on (compared to 47 per cent who believe harm done by the schools continues and cannot be ignored); more than half of respondents said Indigenous people should have no special status that other Canadians don’t; the same proportion said Indigenous peoples would be better off if they integrated more into broader Canadian society, even if the cost is losing more of their traditions and culture. Such ideas are, to put it mildly, anathema to the future many First Nations people—and the politicians who advocate on their behalf—envisage.

The wide-ranging survey, provided exclusively to Maclean’s, polled nearly 2,500 Canadians, and deliberately oversampled in regions with high Indigenous populations, only to uncover solitudes that the Johns household neatly encapsulates: sympathetic yet resolved; divided yet finding ways to co-exist. “This country is split down the middle on many of these questions,” says pollster Angus Reid in an interview. “It tells me the perspective of Justin Trudeau and [Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs] Carolyn Bennett on some of these issues is certainly not shared by a lot of Canadians.”

Sheryl Lightfoot isn’t surprised to see a divided public opinion at this point regarding Indigenous issues. “Given the heightened attention to them since 2015, with the shift in government to the Liberals, I could see it enhancing that polarization because people will view it—depending on their perspectives—as either too much or too little,” says Lightfoot, who holds a Canada Research Chair in global Indigenous rights and politics at the University of British Columbia. “What we’ve got is a country that’s woefully uneducated on Indigenous history and issues. Or they are living it every day and are close to it. There isn’t a lot in the middle.”

A lack of contact, familiarity and exposure defines Canadian relations with First Nations issues in many ways—most importantly by relegating them to the bottom of the political agenda. For decades, politicians have shied away from debating Indigenous matters regarding public policy, says Ken Coates, senior fellow in Aboriginal and northern Canadian issues at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. “There’s been an implicit assumption in the Canadian political process for decades that if you had parties say we should do more [for Indigenous people], you’re not going to win many votes, so stay away from it.”

As such, the Trudeau government deserves credit for “moving ahead with something they feel is important,” Coates adds. But the fact that fully a third of Canadians polled feel Trudeau gives too much attention to Indigenous issues, compared to 17 per cent who feel he gives too little, highlights a gap in how the country prioritizes this relationship. (The rest are divided, saying either Trudeau gives them the right amount of attention, or they’re unsure.) “So long as you have a public that doesn’t believe Indigenous issues are a big deal, or doesn’t understand their context, then those issues are going to persist,” says Tunchai Redvers, co-founder of We Matter, a national support campaign for Indigenous youth. “Look at the Colten Boushie case.”When a Saskatchewan jury acquitted farmer Gerald Stanley for the 2016 shooting death of Red Pheasant First Nation resident Colten Boushie, the Prime Minister said, “There are systemic issues in our criminal justice system that we must address.” Trudeau’s words of support for the family of the deceased 22-year-old drew support from advocates, but scorn from others who felt he’d undermined the court’s authority and independence. In what has become a common avenue to express public support, a GoFundMe page set up for the Stanley family “to recoup some of their lost time, property and vehicles that were damaged, harvest income, and sanity” garnered more than $220,000 in donations in three months—surpassing the $200,000 in GoFundMe donations for Boushie’s family over a nine-month span.

The Boushie case points to one of the survey’s most puzzling findings: that non-Indigenous Canadians with regular exposure to reserves were more likely to take a rigid stance on Indigenous issues.

The institute found that Canadians are divided into four groups of roughly the same size on most questions: those who advocate for First Nations self-determination; those sympathetic to Indigenous people; those wary of Indigenous people asserting their priorities; and full-on hardliners who oppose special status and accommodation. “Western Canadians tend to be more hardliners,” Reid says. “Quebec has very liberal attitudes, but it’s also where we have the least likelihood of contact.”

Hardliners—a group that encompasses nearly a quarter of the sample—unanimously said Canada spends too much time apologizing for residential schools, and almost unanimously felt Indigenous Canadians should have no special status, while 85 per cent of them said Indigenous people would be better off if they integrated into broader Canadian society. “The hardliners are not racist, but they don’t buy the idea of separate status,” Reid says. “I think what the hardliners are saying is they don’t think the answer to the issues confronting Indigenous communities is going to come through more spending, but it’s going to come through improved leadership in Indigenous communities and through a heavier emphasis on integration.”

If there’s one thing respondents to the Angus Reid Institute survey agreed on, it’s that tax dollars meant to help First Nations people are generally failing to do so. Two out of three said government funds going toward Indigenous issues are generally ineffective—and a new report from the auditor general’s office will hardly quell that pessimism. Among other things, it found that data on high school graduation rates on reserves left out students who dropped out prior to Grade 12, meaning the department overstated the graduation rate by 22 percentage points.

Similarly, Employment and Social Development Canada—despite 30 years of supporting Indigenous employment—didn’t collect data or measure whether its key skills development fund resulted in Indigenous people getting steady meaningful work. Back at Six Nations, Doug Johns credits Trudeau with good intentions, but asks, “How many terms will he get to serve before he gets any of that accomplished? It would take two or three terms to see anything really done.”

Canadians might not have that kind of patience. Indeed, the survey results raise the question of whether a politician might succeed by taking a hardline stance on Indigenous issues. No mainstream leader is running on an explicitly integrationist platform, or argues the government should stop apologizing for residential schools. But Sen. Lynn Beyak published on her website letters of support from Canadians on these exact issues after she commented about the positive outcomes of residential schools. Her actions prompted Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to call some of the letters “simply racist” and booted Beyak from caucus for refusing to remove them. But other letters voiced opinions that, while taboo, have a discernible market.

As it stands, only a third of Canadians believe Indigenous communities should move toward greater independence and control over their own affairs, according to the survey, compared to two-thirds who feel First Nations communities should be governed by the same rules and systems as all Canadians. Kim Baird, former chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation in B.C., wonders whether Canada has attained a critical mass of people who grasp basic truths about residential schools and the foundation of the country. “There needs to be more knowledge about the systemic reasons why reserves don’t look like other places, why they’re trapped in poverty, why there’s a lack of resources and infrastructure. It’s such a complex story to unpack. I think the residential school story is a good starting point.”

The Mohawk Institute, alas, will remain closed for a while, though visitors can take a virtual tour of the grounds. Before the work began, Doug Johns took his own kids through the school’s deserted corridors. He showed them where he ate, where he slept and the visitors’ room, where he got the whip for his attempted escapes.

He recalls new students getting beaten for not speaking English; because of the language barrier, they couldn’t understand why they were being punished. He remembers it being a “terrible place,” with fights often erupting on the grounds. “The whole idea of residential schools was to kill the Indian and save the child,” he says. “A lot of non-Native people aren’t aware of that, so I want them to restore the institute so people can see it.”

Source: On First Nations issues, there’s a giant gap between Trudeau’s rhetoric and what Canadians really think: exclusive poll

Aeroplan member offended by survey asking provocative questions on immigration, male dominance | CBC News

What is more surprising in this story is that CROP, the pollster in questions, had such a blind spot with respect to these questions in a customer survey.

In a values or politics survey, these or more subtle variants are normal and uncontroversial but for a loyalty program that aims to attract as many possible members?:

Aeroplan is deleting all data collected from a recent online survey and offering an apology to anyone who found it offensive, after it sparked a complaint from one of its members.

The survey included controversial questions that asserted immigration was harmful, suggested males were superior and that traditional marriage was the only way to form a family.

Aeroplan’s owner, Aimia, hired a market research company to create the survey intended to help the company improve its loyalty program. However, Aimia says it failed to properly review the questionnaire before distributing it to members this month.

Some of the more than 80 questions probed members’ thoughts on shopping and brands. But others asked their level of agreement or disagreement on provocative statements such as:

  • Overall, there is too much immigration. It threatens the purity of the country.
  • Getting married and having children is the only real way of having a family.
  • The father of the family must be master in his own house.
  • Whatever people say, men have a certain natural superiority over women, and nothing can change this.

The contentious questions offended Lacey Willmott, who complained to Aeroplan after taking the survey last week.

“I was alarmed and extremely concerned,” said the PhD geography student at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ont.

In an email, Aeroplan offered her 100 bonus miles to take a “shopping and life habits” survey. It said the results would only be used to help enhance the program.

So she was shocked when she encountered questions on hot-button topics such as gay marriage, government’s role in society and family values.

“I thought, ‘Wow, this is really problematic,'” said Willmott, who wondered what the questions had to do with Aeroplan’s rewards program.

She could opt to “totally disagree” to any statement she didn’t like. But that didn’t appease Willmott, who felt some of the questions had sexist or racist undertones, such as the one on whether immigration threatens the “purity” of Canada.

“I was horrified when I saw that,” she said. “That implants the idea in my mind that immigration could somehow affect the purity of the country.”

Where’s my data going?

She also worried about how the data collected for these sensitive topics would be used.

Her concerns were heightened due to the recent scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. The consulting firm was reported to have harvested Facebook data of 50 million Americans to develop ways to influence potential Trump supporters in the last U.S. election.

“Is this actually for Aeroplan, or is Aeroplan collecting this data for someone else?” said Willmott.

Turns out, all the data was collected solely for Aeroplan by Montreal-based market research firm, CROP.  The company says it was gauging the attitudes and values of Aeroplan members, so that the rewards program could better serve them.

Aeroplan members collect rewards they can redeem for travel and other products. (Aeroplan)
CROP’s president Alain Giguere says he asked some bold questions simply to help Aeroplan better understand its members’ points of view.

“Are we dealing with modern people or are we dealing with very traditional people?” he said. “The goal of it is really to understand all the sensitivities of your audience.”

Giguere says, like it or not, many Canadians have conservative views on some issues.

According to his own research, in August 2017, when Canada was experiencing an influx of asylum seekers, 45 per cent of the 6,000 Canadians CROP surveyed agreed with the statement: “Overall, there is too much immigration. It threatens the purity of the country.”

Giguere says he’s been asking these contentious questions in market research surveys for decades, and that people are free to oppose any statements they find offensive.

“You just have to disagree and we will know that you are a modern person,” he said. “This is a very scientific process.”

Wiping the data

Aeroplan’s owner, however, has a different viewpoint. Aimia pledged to delete the data collected and offered an apology after being contacted by CBC News about Willmott’s complaint.

The Toronto-based company said it should have taken a closer look at the questionnaire before distributing it.

“I was surprised by the questions myself,” said spokesperson Cheryl Kim in an email. “After looking into it, there are aspects of the survey that don’t meet the standards we hold ourselves to in terms of the kind of information we gather.”

The news was welcomed by Willmott, who contemplated cutting ties with Aeroplan if it didn’t take action.

“Hopefully, they are more careful with that in the future,” she said.

CROP isn’t happy with the outcome. Giguere says he still doesn’t understand what all the ruckus is about.

“I think it’s a big drama for nothing.”

via Aeroplan member offended by survey asking provocative questions on immigration, male dominance | CBC News

Sondage [Ipsos]: les Canadiens partagés quant aux bienfaits de l’immigration

Didn’t see coverage of this before in English media (may have missed it).

Ipsos overview deck: Global Views on Immigration and the Refugee Crisis:

Beaucoup a été écrit sur la fermeture relative des Québécois, mais quelle est l’attitude des Canadiens face à l’immigration et aux réfugiés ? Et comment les Canadiens se comparent-ils aux nationaux d’autres pays ? Coup d’oeil sur un sondage réalisé cet été par Ipsos obtenu par La Presse.


Sur les « immigrants », les Canadiens ont des sentiments partagés. Au total, 38 % des personnes sondées croient que leur apport est positif, 30 % pensent l’inverse. Sur leur apport d’un point de vue économique et culturel, les réserves sont un peu moindres : 43 % pensent que l’arrivée des « immigrants » sert bien l’économie et 48 % estiment que ces nouveaux venus rendent le pays « plus intéressant ». Par ailleurs, quatre répondants canadiens sur dix disent que l’immigration « transforme le pays d’une façon qui ne [leur] plaît pas » et la moitié des personnes interviewées aux quatre coins du Canada estiment que cela met de la pression sur nos services publics.


Pas moins de 41 % des Canadiens considèrent que la plupart des réfugiés qui arrivent à nos frontières n’en sont pas vraiment « et qu’ils viennent surtout ici pour des raisons économiques ». Une courte majorité des personnes sondées (52 %) pense que parmi les réfugiés « se trouvent des terroristes qui prétendent être des réfugiés pour pouvoir entrer au pays et y amener la violence et la destruction ». Les réfugiés finissent-ils par s’intégrer ? Oui, croient 54 % des répondants canadiens.


Selon ce sondage Ipsos, 35 % des Canadiens pensent qu’il y a trop d’« immigrants » au pays. À la fin de 2016, selon un sondage CROP, 46 % des Québécois pensaient de même et croyaient que « cela menace la pureté du Québec ». « De façon générale, de sondage en sondage, on constate que les Québécois sont de 6 à 12 points moins ouverts que les autres Canadiens », note Sébastien Dallaire, vice-président d’Ipsos.

Ce sondage Ipsos tend à le démontrer aussi : 49 % des Québécois disent que l’immigration transforme le Canada d’une façon qui leur déplaît (comparativement à 37 % dans le reste du Canada) ; 43 % des répondants estiment qu’il y a « trop d’immigrants », alors que cette proportion est de 32 % dans le reste du Canada. À noter cependant que ce sous-ensemble québécois étant nettement plus petit, la précision de ces données statistiques est moindre et que ces chiffres ne servent qu’à illustrer des tendances générales*.


Alors que les Canadiens ne sont pas particulièrement ouverts, ils le sont tout de même beaucoup plus que les gens des autres pays. À la question : « Diriez-vous que l’immigration a un impact positif ou négatif sur votre pays ? », seuls trois pays se montrent plus positifs que les Canadiens. Il s’agit d’un étonnant palmarès : les Saoudiens sont les plus positifs face à l’immigration, suivis des Indiens et des Britanniques. Mais le tableau le plus intéressant, c’est ce tableau croisé d’Ipsos qui souligne que « les pays qui reçoivent une plus grande proportion d’immigrants ont tendance à avoir une meilleure opinion d’eux ».


De tous les répondants sondés aux quatre coins du monde, les Canadiens comptent parmi ceux qui ont le moins tendance à penser qu’il faut totalement fermer les frontières aux réfugiés. À cette question, seuls les répondants japonais, mexicains et péruviens se montrent plus ouverts que les Canadiens, tandis que les Turcs, les Hongrois, les Indiens et les Italiens se montrent les plus favorables à une fermeture des frontières.


À propos de certains tableaux qui peuvent paraître surprenants, Sébastien Dallaire, vice-président d’Ipsos, relève que les réponses des gens sondés sont évidemment teintées de leur réalité nationale. Ainsi, les Turcs, qui semblent particulièrement fermés, ont vu affluer chez eux des millions de Syriens ces dernières années. À l’inverse, les Saoudiens comptent beaucoup sur la main-d’oeuvre étrangère. « Il est certains que certains pays se comparent mieux entre eux – le Canada avec ceux de l’Europe de l’Ouest, par exemple », note M. Dallaire.

via Sondage: les Canadiens partagés quant aux bienfaits de l’immigration | Louise Leduc | National