International adoptions decline dramatically in Canada

An under-looked issue – the decline in the number of international options.

The previous government passed legislation granting citizenship to those adopted internationally (rather than through permanent residency) given considerable advocacy at the time by parents of internationally adopted children:

The number of international adoptions has declined dramatically in Canada in the last five years due to tighter country controls, exorbitant costs and alternative routes to parenthood.

Last year, there were only 793 international adoptions in Canada, according to data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). That’s the lowest number in decades, and nearly half the total from 2012, when there were 1,379 inter-country adoptions.

Deborah Brennan, chair of the Adoption Council of Canada, points to a number of factors driving the downward trend. These include hefty costs (an international adoption can cost up to $50,000) and an increasingly onerous administrative process that can take anywhere from 18 months to several years.

A growing number of countries have imposed restrictions or all-out bans on international adoptions, and many have developed stronger systems to encourage more adoptions within their own borders.

“I think they are paying more attention to making sure they create an infrastructure within their own country where they can take care of their children themselves,” Brennan said.

She sees the trend as potentially positive for adoptee children, because remaining in their countries of origin helps ensure their family connections, culture and ethnicity are not lost.

International adoptions in Canada

“Our preference is that kids do stay … in their own countries of origin because it is risky for kids to come here and lose that. Many parents who adopt internationally, in my opinion, can sometimes do not a great job of maintaining those ties and those roots,” she said.

More domestic adoptions?

While Canadians are increasingly using other ways to have a family, including surrogacy and in vitro fertilization, Brennan hopes fewer international adoptions will mean more domestic adoptions in Canada.

Right now, more than 30,000 children are available for adoption around the country.

Many of them are over six years old, are in sibling groups or are have visible special needs. Brennan said a big part of the problem with matching parents with children is a lack of social workers and a huge gap in the inter-provincial adoption system.

In 1993, the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption imposed strict safeguards to make sure all adoptions were in the best interests of the child. It also adopted new measures to crack down on the abduction, sale and trafficking of children.

Some provincial and territorial authorities have imposed suspensions on certain countries of origin including:

  • Cambodia.
  • Georgia.
  • Guatemala.
  • Liberia.
  • Nepal.

Data shows that the number of international adoptions to Canada remained high in the aftermath of the Hague convention, with moderate fluctuations between 1999 and 2009 that ranged from 1,535 to 2,127.

Source: International adoptions decline dramatically in Canada – Politics – CBC News

Andrew MacDougall: Conservatives of all stripes must pass the Charlottesville Test 

Solid advice:

After taking two days to condemn the race-baiters in Charlottesville, President Trump reverted to form the very next day, when he drew an angry equivalency between the alt-right and what he termed the “alt-left.”

Trump’s obstinance in the face of such disgusting bigotry forces conservative politicians — many of whom owe their election to Trump’s coalition — into a choice.

Call it the Charlottesville Test: Would I be proud to march with my brothers and sisters in the harsh light of day with the world watching?

If the answer is “no”, the barge poles must be deployed. There isn’t enough distance they can put between themselves and their president.

Or, to put it in terms conservatives will better understand: The neo-Nazis are ISIL, Trump is their elite apologist, and you are the Muslim community. It’s time for you to denounce and expel the cancer in your midst, as you would ask moderate Muslims to do in the wake of a similar terrorist attack.

Canadians Conservatives are certainly wasting no time in condemning Charlottesville, such is the power of events to taint all of conservatism. Andrew Scheer, Michelle Rempel, Patrick Brown and others are making clear they have no desire to trade on the hatred Trump and others are all too willing to ignore.

They needn’t be applauded for doing what is right and obvious, but had they not done so the Liberals would have tried to hang Charlottesville’s goat horns on the party and the movement.

The true test, however, comes when the media spotlight fades and electoral needs still have to be met. Will conservative politicians continue to shun the significant demographics behind the alt-right movement?

Courting these segments of the electorate wasn’t, until recently, worth the effort (to say nothing of the opprobrium). But the internet has taken what used to be a silent super-minority in any room, and linked them together into a potent online force.

It’s the force that delivered crucial oxygen and votes to Donald Trump in the early days of the Republican nomination, along with millions of clicks to a slew of new websites trumpeting the “alt-right.”

History will record that Trump met these “deplorables” more than halfway in his run to the presidency. Their hatred of Hillary Clinton (“lock her up”) and the establishment (“drain the swamp”), and Trump’s willingness to embrace it, was what made the “politically incorrect” real-estate mogul their choice. Trump’s embrace is what emboldened racists and supremacists to speak out and hold marches like that in Charlottesville.

In Canada, alt-right me-tooism led to the rise of Rebel Media, whose kingpin Ezra Levant regularly features leading U.S. and U.K. alt-right figures such as Paul Joseph Watson, Gavin McInnes, Jack Posobiec, Laura Southern and Tommy Robinson.

This obviously doesn’t make all supporters of Donald Trump — or contributors and viewers of the Rebel, Breitbart and Infowars — neo-Nazis; it does make them guilty of poor judgment. In Levant’s case, the poor judgment was deliberate in the search for audience and revenue.

It’s precisely these growing audiences for the Rebel and its counterparts that makes them attractive to conservative politicians. It’s why Conservative candidates gave interviews to Levant’s crew during this spring’s leadership race, and why Trump hoisted Breitbart’s Steve Bannon into his campaign, then into the White House.

But a few bad apples really do spoil the whole bunch, as Levant found out this week when two of his more mainstream apples — Brian Lilley and Barbara Kay — quit rather than continue on in the wake of Charlottesville.

The lesson for Canadian Conservatives is straightforward: avoid click-merchants and work harder to promote true conservative principles.

Anyone can preach to the converted. Only the weak exploit a grievance and make it deeper. These are the marks of political cowardice, not shrewd electoral strategy.

It takes courage to take on those with extreme views in your own coalition and patience to engage with those who don’t share your political views at all.

Conservatives should speak to people, not whistle past them.

Source: MacDougall: Conservatives of all stripes must pass the Charlottesville Test | Ottawa Citizen

New national council to issue progressive rulings for Britain’s Muslims | The Guardian

Worth noting:

Britain’s most senior Muslim clerics are to set up their first national council to issue progressive religious rulings that “embed Islam in a 21st-century British context”.

Qari Asim, one of Britain’s most prominent imams, said the central religious authority would promote an interpretation of Islam that was in line with British values.

Asim, the chief imam of Makkah mosque in Leeds, said the British Muslim community was crying out for an authoritative and credible voice that could speak out on issues as diverse as terrorism, obesity, organ donation and Islamophobia.

“People are proud and confident of their religious identity as well as their national identity, but at times they’re not getting enough theological or doctrinal guidance on some of their daily issues,” he said.

The national body, to consist of senior imams who will consult experts on issues, would be the first central religious authority for British Muslims. It would deliver religious rulings on topics that attract diverse views across the Muslim community, with the aim of providing clarity to young British Muslims, Asim said.

“This is about providing clarity on some of the sociopolitical issues, whether it be forced marriages, [female genital mutilation], honour killing,” he said. “These practices are not sanctioned by the faith Islam but they are cultural practices that have penetrated the Muslim community of particular backgrounds.

“The attempt is to embed Islam in a 21st-century British context. It’s about contextualising Islam in Britain.”

Asim, 39, was recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list in 2012 for working to build bridges between communities in Leeds since the 7 July 2005 terror attack. He is an adviser to a commons inquiry into sharia councils and has campaigned against forced marriages and domestic violence. The imam is seen as a leading progressive figure in the British Muslim community.

Unlike the Church of England, there is no hierarchical structure to Islam in Britain, with most mosques operating independently. Asim said the new body would make rulings in a similar way to national religious bodies in many Sunni Muslim countries, although here it would be independent of government.

“It would lose credibility if it was state-backed or state-influenced,” Asim said. “The intention isn’t to have a mouthpiece for the government: it’s about providing a credible, authoritative voice for Muslims.”

Asim said: “We see the need for this as Muslims are continually being asked to speak on behalf of other Muslims. It’s a council that will be able to speak on behalf of other Muslims and also challenge the establishment where needed.

“We want to protect our young people from the extremist narrative [of those] who are brainwashing and recruiting them, but at the same time we want them to feel comfortable and confident in their national heritage and uphold the values of democracy, rule of law, justice and compassion.”

Asim, who described Thursday’s terror attack in Spain as depraved, said there would be diverse views on issues including abortion, organ donation or climate change, but that organisation would seek to come to a formal position by a unanimous or majority vote and after hearing expert opinion on those topics.

“There are going to inevitably be diverse views on different issues, but the point is that we have a dialogue and debate about them and reach some form of consensus, whether it be unanimous or a majority, where there is clarity for young British Muslims,” he said.

The Women Behind The ‘Alt-Right’ : NPR

Interesting account of women drawn into the alt-right:

Many of these women came into the alt-right initially as anti-feminists.

“They were people who felt that the feminist progressive agenda was not serving them — in some cases they felt like it was actively disregarding them because they wanted more traditional things: home, family, etc.,” she says. “And they came into the movement through that channel and then ultimately adopted more pro-white and white nationalist views.”

One of those women was Lana Lokteff, a Russian-American from Oregon who co-runs Red Ice, an alt-right media company, with her Swedish husband, Henrik Palmgren.

The couple decided to make this their cause around 2012, Darby says, when they say they saw a lot of “anti-white sentiment.” Around the time of several high-profile police shootings of young, black men, Lokteff “felt that Black Lives Matter and these other reactive forces were being unfair to white people and that then sort of spun into a conspiracy about how the establishment, so to speak, is out to oppress, minimize and silence white people.”

Lokteff, who promotes alt-right ideologies on the couple’s YouTube channel, has been persistently trolled by the men of the movement. Darby wanted to understand what attracts women to a movement that is often hostile to them.

In her piece, she quotes Andrew Anglin, who runs the (now blacklisted) neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer as saying the white woman’s womb “belongs to the males of society.” And alt-right pioneer Richard Spencer, who acknowledges that women make up a small percentage of the movement, believes women are not suited for some roles in government, reports Mother Jones: “Women should never be allowed to make foreign policy,” he tweeted during the first presidential debate. “It’s not that they’re ‘weak.’ To the contrary, their vindictiveness knows no bounds.”

According to Lokteff and other alt-right women allies she spoke to, Darby says, “It’s not that men who support the alt-right don’t like women, it’s that they see women as fundamentally different than men,” with equally important roles, which are “to perpetuate white bloodlines, to nurture family units, to inculcate those families with pro-white beliefs.”

But the growing contradiction, as Darby points out, “is that people like Lana Lockteff and other women that I spoke to are outspoken.”

She adds, “They sort of see themselves as straddling a line between the male and female norms, because they think that at this point in their movement, the more people they can bring in, the more people they can convince that they are on the right side of history, the better, and that includes appealing to more women.”

To recruit women to the movement, Darby says, the key is to stoke fear.

Asked how she would pitch the alt-right to conservative white women who voted for Trump, but are also wary of being labeled a white supremacist, Lokteff told her, “we have a joke in the alt-right: How do you red-pill someone? (“Red-pill” is their word for converting someone to the cause.) And the punch line was: Have them live in a diverse neighborhood for a while,” Darby says. “She also said that when she is talking to women she reminds them that white women are under threat from black men, brown men, emigrants, and really uses this concept of a rape scourge to bring them in.”

And while there are schisms in the aims of alt-right activists, and how best to get there, she adds, “There are some people — Lana Lokteff being one of them, Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute — who are really trying to find some semblance of civic legitimacy.”

Source: The Women Behind The ‘Alt-Right’ : NPR

Don Macpherson: The Couillard government’s anti-niqab bill gets worse 

Good pointed commentary:

Batman will not sit in the Quebec National Assembly.

This would be the effect of one of the amendments to the Couillard government’s proposed anti-niqab legislation announced this week. Bill 62, targeting Muslim women who wear facial veils, would ban giving or receiving public services with the face concealed. The amendment would extend the ban to MNAs, municipal councillors and school commissioners.

That Quebecers would choose a masked candidate to represent them is almost as hypothetical as the fictional cowled crusader leaving Gotham City for this province, acquiring citizenship, and running for office here on his record as a crimefighter. But then so was the possibility of a niqabi seeking employment in a public service.

Still, one can’t be too careful. That appears to be the thinking of the “bare-face” bill’s sponsor, Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée, to the extent she has thought about the bill at all.

Another of her proposed amendments would extend the original ban from the provincial public services to municipal ones, and to public transit. When a reporter asked Vallée the reasonable question of whether this would stop a woman wearing a veil from taking the bus, the minister was unwilling, or perhaps unable, to answer.

Her amendments would make what was already a bad bill even worse.

Bill 62 stigmatizes the tiny number of Muslim women in Quebec who wear facial veils. It encourages their persecution, like the harassment of women wearing Muslim head scarves during the debate on the former Parti Québécois government’s ill-fated “charter of values.”

It would enshrine in legislation the hypocrisy of Quebec’s “Catho-laïcité,” or Catho-secularism. One of Vallée’s amendments pretends that Quebec’s public institutions are founded on the separation of church and state, while the bill would preserve the crucifix placed in the Assembly to symbolize an alliance between the two.

The government pretends that the ban on face coverings in general does not discriminate on religious grounds. But its intent is given away by the fact that the ban is contained in a bill to restrict religious accommodations.

And the bill is useless, not only because it addresses imaginary problems, but also because its guidelines for handling accommodation requests are so general.

Not only is the bill bad policy, it’s bad politics, another demonstration of the sheer political stupidity of the Couillard Liberals.

It won’t achieve its political objective of settling the accommodations issue once and for all before the general election due by October 2018. The Liberals’ relatively feeble entry in the competition to defend the majority against the undesirables in their midst doesn’t go nearly far enough to satisfy the nationalist opposition parties.

It is nevertheless useful to them. Since it was presented by Quebec’s most diverse and least nationalist party, it gives political legitimacy to the restriction of minority rights.

Bill 62 is the Couillard government’s version of Bill 22, adopted in 1974 by Robert Bourassa’s Liberal government. As the first Quebec legislation restricting minority language rights, Bill 22 enabled the succeeding PQ government’s more draconian Bill 101.

Originally, Premier Philippe Couillard intended to get the accommodations debate over with at the beginning of his term. Instead, his government squandered its time, and begins the pre-election year fighting on ground favouring its adversaries.

Couillard continues to entrust that fight to a minister who has already shown she’s not up to it. Listening to Vallée’s poorly prepared news conference on her amendments this week was like watching somebody juggling blindfolded with running chainsaws.

The PQ and the Coalition Avenir Québec party, vying for position as the leading alternative to the Liberals in the election, can be expected to prolong the debate on the bill in the Assembly as much as possible.

And on his other side, Couillard was forced to back Vallée against Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, who indicated the province’s metropolis will defy her legislation.

Source: Don Macpherson: The Couillard government’s anti-niqab bill gets worse | Montreal Gazette

Historians say removal not the only way to deal with racist relics

Thoughtful commentary by Granatstein, Stagg and Blackstock on Canadian monuments on alternatives to removal.

Not convinced that moving controversial monuments to museums, as Gabaccia suggests, is preferred approach as it removes and isolates history, rather than exposing history to the broader public:

The trend to remove those memorials — many of which are displayed in prominent public places featuring figures in heroic poses, such as riding on horseback — has provoked strong emotions and violent clashes.

But leading historian and author Jack Granatstein said that rather than allowing these sites to become flashpoints for racial divisions, they should be displayed with contextual information to help people understand, interpret and learn from the past.

“It’s probably inflaming the situation,” Granatstein said of the push to eliminate memorials. “I think we need to remember that history happened, and you don’t simply change it by taking a name off a building or taking down a statue.

“I think what is better than that is to have an explanation for why someone is being honoured for what he or she did in that time, and that explanation can go in to context of what they did.”

Granatstein said taking down monuments allows the wrong people to seize control over the interpretation of history, referring to those who have staged demonstrations protesting their removal, including white supremacists.

“In the American context and to some extent the Canadian context, you give an opportunity to people whose views we don’t particularly enjoy: fascists, Nazis, racists,” he said. “I don’t want them pretending to defend history. The history they are trying to create is not the history I would prefer to see memorialized, or honoured or understood by the public.”

String of controversies

White nationalists protesting the planned removal of a statue memorializing Robert E. Lee, a Confederate top general, clashed violently with counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend. One woman was killed and another 20 people were injured.

It was the latest in a growing number of controversies that have erupted over plans to take down Confederate symbols in the U.S. and to change names of sites offensive to Indigenous people in Canada.

With a growing push to remove historical memorials and monikers, Granatstein asked where it would stop.

He noted that in Canada, CBC listeners called Tommy Douglas the greatest Canadian of all time, yet in the 1930s the former premier of Saskatchewan and father of medicare held a then popular belief in eugenics and wanted to sterilize people with mental impairments.

“Attitudes change, and it seems to me that one of the tasks of historians and politicians is to remind people that today’s values are different than past values, and the future’s values will probably be different than ours,” Granatstein said.

Trump emboldens protesters

Ron Stagg, a history professor at Toronto’s Ryerson University, said removing statues of Confederate heroes, which are now interpreted as symbols of slavery and oppression, draws the ire of a certain segment of the white population who see it as an erosion of their rights. Provocative statements from U.S. President Donald Trump have served to embolden these people, who may not have spoken out in the past.

Stagg sees the situation unfolding in the U.S. as different from that in Canada, where most disputes are not fraught with such deep divisions and “intense feelings” on both sides.

Halifax Cornwallis Statue 20151213

A statue of Edward Cornwallis stands facing England – with his back to Halifax – in Cornwallis Park. (Canadian Press)

In Canada, most of the controversies have been around Indigenous people in the context of reconciliation.

Conflict recently erupted in Nova Scotia over a plan to take down a statue of Edward Cornwallis, a British military officer and one of the founders of Halifax, who in his day had offered a bounty for the scalps of Mi’kmaq.

The federal government also recently removed the name of Hector Langevin from a government building, after Indigenous groups complained that it paid tribute to a man who played a role in the residential schools program.

Stagg called that name removal a “token” gesture by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and said it may open the floodgates to other requests for change.

langevin block ottawa parliament hill june 21 2017

The Langevin Block in Ottawa is seen on June 21, 2017 — the same day that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced it would be renamed because Hector-Louis Langevin, a father of Confederation, proposed the creation of the residential school system. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

“I think we’re going to try and be politically correct in terms of trying to erase aspects of the past that we find offensive,” he said. “I think that’s wrong in the broad sense. I think it’s going to continue to happen and there’s going to be a backlash just as there has been in the States.”

Indigenous child welfare advocate Cindy Blackstock has successfully fought for revised wording on plaques commemorating certain people who had a role in the residential schools program. She said while in some cases symbols such as swastikas must be eliminated, she said most memorials should remain up in order to teach visitors about the past, provided they tell the full story.

“By erasing the monument you can erase the historical lessons, contributing even more to the rampant historical amnesia that feeds discrimination and immorality,” said Blackstock, who is also a professor of social work at McGill University.

Museums as mediators

Donna Gabaccia, a history professor at the University of Toronto who organized a weekend demonstration in Toronto to protest white nationalism and the violence in Charlottesville, said memorials could be taken down and moved to museums where they could be understood in proper context.

“I see museums as important mediators of cultural controversies, where many voices can be and must be heard if the controversies are to be resolved,” she said. “Monuments become controversial when public opinion and historical context changes around them, which is inevitable. Contestation over the meaning of museums can only be resolved when all sides begin to understand the differences between the past that created the monuments and the present that inevitably seeks new meaning in them.”

Granatstein said context about the people being memorialized — including polarizing figures deemed by some to have been heroes in their day — is critical to understanding history.

“Every country has its heroes and most of those heroes have feet of clay or maybe a toe or two of clay. A country without heroes is a country without a past. I’d prefer to have heroes and a past,” he said.

Source: Historians say removal not the only way to deal with racist relics – Politics – CBC News

The Trickle-Up Theory Of White Nationalist Thought : NPR

Good analysis of some of the more educated white nationalists and how they provide the intellectual underpinnings for the more blatant antisemitism, neo-nazism and racism seen as Charlottesville:

Jared Taylor was not in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday. But Taylor, one of the leading voices for white rights in the country, says it was clear what really happened at that rally.

“Anyone who wishes to speak in the name of whites is subject to the heckler’s veto,” said Taylor, founder of the white advocacy website American Renaissance. “There would have been no violence, no problems of any kind if people had not shown up as counterdemonstrators, many of them wearing helmets, wielding batons, wearing shields, shouting for the death of the demonstrators. … This is not something that was provoked by the presence of racially conscious whites. It was something that was provoked by people who hate any white person who has a racial consciousness.”

Two days later, President Trump, in one of his most controversial press conferences to date, described the events — at which hundreds of white protesters gathered for the so-called “Unite the Right” rally and after which a white nationalist sympathizer drove his car into a crowd, killing a counterdemonstrator — in a similar way.

“Let me ask you this,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “What about the fact that [counterdemonstrators] came charging, with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. … You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on another side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that. But I’ll say it right now.”

Taylor is among a group of educated, white-identity advocates who, critics say, normalize the ideas of white supremacy by couching them in language that doesn’t sound overtly racist. In doing so, those critics say, people like Taylor, authors Kevin MacDonald and Peter Brimelow, and “Unite the Right” organizers Jason Kessler and Richard Spencer sanitize racist tropes to make them palatable to a broad audience, including the upper reaches of the political mainstream.

“I think that it’s true that ultimately a lot of these ideas travel all the way from the farthest fringe of the political world, ultimately to the very top in some kind of form,” said Mark Potok, former editor of Intelligence Report, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s journal monitoring extremism.

The white protesters in Charlottesville came, among other things, to contest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. They were there, Taylor said, “to pursue their destiny free of the unwanted influence of others. This is not a hateful thing.”

Some wore swastikas. Others carried torches and Confederate flags. David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, made a speech. Videos from Friday and Saturday show marchers chanting: “Jews will not replace us!” and “blood and soil,” a Nazi slogan. Later, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. allegedly drove a car into a crowd, killing counterdemonstrator Heather Heyer.

Taylor called Heyer’s death “a terrible, murderous act” that “no one would defend.” He said he is not associated with “Unite the Right” and didn’t agree with the decision some people made to wear swastikas. As founder of American Renaissance, which he says is among the “many websites and organizations that speak in the name of whites,” Taylor claims that there is no place for bigotry or hate in his ideology.

But the ideas that people gathered to defend over the weekend — that the United States was founded as a white, Christian nation and should remain so; that white people face an existential threat by becoming a racial minority; that there are biological differences among racial groups that make some more intelligent and others more prone to criminality — those are ideas that Taylor has been working to legitimize for decades.

“All of these characters, Peter Brimelow, Kevin MacDonald, Jared Taylor, say they’re terribly opposed to violence and, of course, would never engage in that kind of a thing,” says Potok. “Well, that’s very nice and very fine and the words are very pretty. But the reality is that these people provide the ideological foundation for people who are not so careful in what they say and do. People who are actual terrorists.”

Potok and others say that Brimelow offers such an ideological foundation with his book, Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, and his website, VDARE, where he says he’ll publish “anyone who has anything critical to say about immigration, environmentalists, progressives, etc.”

On Saturday, Brimelow published his own take on the events in Charlottesville, calling it a “remarkable torchlight procession.” He has published articles by fellow white-rights advocates Spencer, Kessler and MacDonald.

Marilyn Mayo of the Anti-Defamation League once described MacDonald as the country’s “foremost anti-Semite, next to David Duke.”

MacDonald is the editor-in-chief of The Occidental Observer and a former professor who left California State University, Long Beach, after coming under fire for his controversial writings. He is also one of the directors of the American Freedom Party— an anti-gay, anti-feminist political party that supports deporting any American who became a citizen after 1965.

MacDonald is celebrated among neo-Nazis for a trilogy of books he published in the 1990s that trade in some of the most pernicious stereotypes about Jewish people, all under the guise of researching their evolutionary biology.

The difference between Duke and MacDonald, Mayo said, is that Duke was largely ostracized from mainstream society for his public racism, whereas MacDonald’s work was bolstered by the credibility of his university position.

MacDonald, she says, “couches his anti-Semitic views as legitimate intellectual inquiry. That’s something that might make him more acceptable to people.”

It’s hard to put numbers on how many people Taylor, Brimelow, MacDonald and others like them reach. The Internet provides a degree of anonymity to those who visit their websites. Membership in hate groups, Potok estimates, numbers around half a million people. But include those who believe that “the United States, as well as a lot of European countries, were created ‘by and for whites and ought to return to being that,’ ” he adds, and “you’re looking at a group of several million people, if not more.”

MacDonald said the organizers of Saturday’s rally had misstepped; that the swastikas and other Nazi symbols should have been banned. “Because that stuff is never going to appeal to a wide swath of white Americans,” he said. “It’s simply not. And you’re in a political arena. You have to do what’s possible and what sells. And so you have to be very cautious about that kind of thing. And I don’t think the organizers were.”

But as for the basic message from “Unite the Right,” MacDonald was on board. The marchers on Saturday were trying to convey “that whites should be able to have their own identity and a sense of their own interests like anybody else,” he says. White people in the U.S. may not be ready to accept that message now, he adds, but they will be in the future “as whites become more and more of a minority in the coming years. So I think we’re ahead of the curve.”

On that last point, MacDonald and Potok meet.

“We’re seeing the continuing normalization of these ideas,” Potok said. “I think there is a real kind of conveyor belt we have seen develop over the last few years, and even the last few decades.”

Ideas start in a tiny radical fringe group somewhere, he explains. And then they travel to larger and more moderate groups — but still outside the political mainstream.

“And then they are picked up by the Drudges of the world, by the Breitbarts of the world, by those kinds of websites and ‘news organizations.’ And within, it seems, minutes, they will then be picked up and exploited by certain politicians … It is terribly important not only to have people like Jared Taylor and Peter Brimelow providing a kind of ideological foundation, but also critically important, I think, to have people like Donald Trump, who are essentially helping to mainstream and normalize these ideas.”

Accusations that Trump has been flirting with far right ideology have dogged him since before he was elected. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly distanced himself from people espousing white nationalism. He said multiple times that he disavowed the support of Duke and other white supremacists who endorsed his presidency.

But the president has been widely criticized since Saturday — by both detractors and supporters — for his responses to the events in Charlottesville. He first condemned the violence “on many sides,” then gave a more direct rejection of racists, “including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups,” but then followed that with even more controversy.

At Tuesday’s press conference, Trump clarified what he meant by “all sides.” And it sounded remarkably similar to something MacDonald said over the phone on Monday afternoon.

Here’s MacDonald on Monday:

“I’m not from the South. I understand they have a history and a heritage, and they don’t want to just throw it all out. But that’s what we’re going to see. And it’s not going to stop with General Robert E. Lee statues. It’s going to continue with Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, all those people, because they owned slaves, they will eventually be removed, I think. It’s just the beginning.”

And here is Trump on Tuesday:

“Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee. … So this week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

Source: The Trickle-Up Theory Of White Nationalist Thought : Code Switch : NPR

Survey Finds Correlation Between Perception Of Discrimination, Votes For Trump : NPR

Overall, not terribly surprising except for the dramatic shift among Republicans over the past two years:

The recent violence in Charlottesville, Va., amplified an ongoing struggle in America about who experiences discrimination and to what extent. Many of the white nationalists who rallied in Charlottesville, for example, feel that white people are discriminated against as much as, or more than, minority groups.

Questioning others’ experience of discrimination isn’t limited to fringe protest groups. Perceptions of discrimination vary heavily across the U.S. population as a whole, as a June study from the Public Religion Research Institute showed. And those differences tend to fall along partisan lines.

The survey found that a plurality of Americans — 42 percent — perceive “a lot of discrimination” against three groups: black people, immigrants, and gay and lesbian people. But the partisan gap is large: Sixty-one percent of Democrats believed this of all three groups, compared to 19 percent of Republicans.

PRRI broke down the numbers by state. When the states’ perceptions of discrimination are lined up against states’ votes for Trump in 2016, it shows a clear negative correlation — places where there was bigger perception of discrimination had a lower likelihood of voting for Trump. Reliably liberal California and reliably conservative Wyoming reside at opposite ends of the spectrum.

It’s a relatively strong correlation, with an r value of -0.69 (that’s a statistical measure that tells the strength of correlation on a scale of -1 to 1 — a measure closer to 1 or -1 means a strong linear relationship, while a measure closer to zero means a weak linear relationship).

And while states that tend to perceive less of this discrimination also tend to be whiter (85 percent-white Wyoming, for example), and white people also tend to perceive less discrimination against blacks and immigrants than other racial groups do, the white share of a state’s population does not correlate to the discrimination data as well as support for Trump does. The r-value between those two series is around -0.44.

The data don’t say anything about the direction of correlation (standard journalist disclaimer: “correlation is not causation”), but it’s easy to see how this relationship might exist. Trump, after all, made opposing political correctness one of his (literal) rallying cries. Wherever 2016 voters’ attitudes about discrimination came from — whether stirred up by Trump or brought on by outside forces (or both) — he certainly took advantage of these feelings.

To Robert Jones, the founder and CEO of PRRI, it makes sense for perception of discrimination to be a partisan issue.

“I think that goes to a broader worldview thing of, it fits with a conservative bootstrap theory,” he said, ” ‘If you fail there’s no one to blame but yourself.’ ”

But one PRRI datapoint suggests that something shifted among Republicans between 2015 and 2017. Just two years ago, 46 percent of Republicans believed there was “a lot” of discrimination against blacks. As of this year, that figure was 32 percent. Among independents, however, that figure held steady between those two years (it went from 59 percent in 2015 to 58 in 2017), as it held relatively steady for Democrats (going from 80 to 77 percent).

And it’s not just PRRI’s data. A study on the 2016 presidential election found a “relatively strong indication that racism and sexism were more important in 2016 than they had been in previous elections.” The effects were particularly strong on the Republican side, with the impact of racism and sexism (as defined by the researchers) much stronger in 2016 voters’ choices than in 2012 or 2008, according to the survey by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and MacWilliams Sanders Communication.

Source: Survey Finds Correlation Between Perception Of Discrimination, Votes For Trump : NPR

Laïcité: Lisée en «désaccord total» avec Coderre

More on Quebec Bill 62 debates:

Le maire de Montréal, Denis Coderre, tente «d’utiliser le statut de la métropole pour (se) soustraire aux lois de l’Assemblée nationale», ce qui fait craindre une «dérive malsaine», accuse le chef du Parti québécois, Jean-François Lisée.

Dans une lettre ouverte publiée sur Facebook jeudi et intitulée «Montréal fait partie du Québec», le leader péquiste reproche à M. Coderre sa sortie au sujet du projet de loi sur la neutralité religieuse de l’État, mercredi.

Le maire s’oppose à ce que législation s’applique à Montréal, plaidant que la métropole «est autonome et a sa gouvernance». Il rappelle que le gouvernement Couillard a promis d’accorder plus d’autonomie à la Ville – un projet de loi en ce sens a déjà été déposé – et de la consulter avant l’adoption de toute loi. Le projet de loi 62 risque de forcer la métropole à refuser des services aux citoyens, selon lui. Il fait allusion à la disposition visant à faire en sorte que les services publics soient donnés et reçus «à visage découvert».

Jean-François Lisée se dit «partisan d’une réelle décentralisation des pouvoirs et d’un statut pour la métropole», mais il croit que le maire va trop loin. «Je dois (…) exprimer mon désaccord total avec votre tentative d’utiliser le statut de la métropole pour vous soustraire aux lois de l’Assemblée nationale portant sur la laïcité et le vivre-ensemble. Monsieur le maire, Montréal fait partie du Québec. Les Montréalais sont membres de la nation québécoise», écrit M. Lisée, dont le parti est par ailleurs insatisfait du projet de loi 62 du gouvernement Couillard.

«Vos déclarations de cette semaine font craindre une dérive malsaine, ajoute-t-il. Souhaiterez-vous demain soustraire Montréal de certaines dispositions actuelles ou futures de la loi 101? Du Code du travail? Du Code criminel?»

Les arguments du maire sur «l’inapplicabilité» de certaines dispositions du projet de loi sont «valides», et seront soulevés par l’opposition au parlement. «Mais les décisions concernant l’avenir de la nation sont prises à l’Assemblée nationale. Montréal a droit au respect. L’Assemblée nationale aussi», soutient-il.

Le maire Coderre avait également critiqué le projet de charte des valeurs du gouvernement Marois.

Source: Laïcité: Lisée en «désaccord total» avec Coderre | Tommy Chouinard | Politique québécoise

Proposed citizenship test guide will only mislead new Canadians: Tom Flanagan

Focused commentary by Flanagan on how Indigenous obligations are reflected in the current language of the draft new citizenship study guide (Discover Canada).

Surprising he did not mention the planned revision to the oath (TRC recommendation 94) that will include: “I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada including Treaties with Indigenous Peoples.”

The federal government is currently working on a revision of Discover Canada, the study guide for the test that immigrants must pass before obtaining citizenship. To judge from a recent Canadian Press story, the new manual will read like a Liberal campaign platform. Perhaps that’s not surprising, because the Liberals control the government. Maybe it’s even fair, because the Conservatives revised the manual in 2011, when they controlled the government. But it would be nice if those who are politicizing the Canadian citizenship manual would at least represent Canadian law accurately.

According to The Canadian Press, the draft revision says, “Today, Canadians, for example, can own their own homes and buy land thanks to treaties that the government negotiated.” But a moment’s reflection shows that this statement can’t be correct. Land-cession treaties have never been negotiated in the Atlantic provinces, most of Quebec, and most of British Columbia. Yet, Canadians can own homes and buy land in those provinces, just as they can in Ontario and the Prairie provinces, where land-cession treaties were signed with First Nations.

The ability of Canadians to own land and homes depends upon grants of land from the sovereign. In the English legal tradition, sovereignty includes the title to land, which the sovereign can subsequently grant to individuals or corporations. Modern Canadian sovereignty rests upon earlier French and British sovereignty, founded upon discovery, (occasional) conquest, establishment of governments able to enforce territorial boundaries and administer law and recognition by other sovereign states.

Even while recognizing Indigenous land rights, including full ownership in certain circumstances, the Supreme Court of Canada has consistently upheld Canadian sovereignty as the basis of the Constitution. Chief Justice Antonio Lamer in Van der Peet phrased this as “the reconciliation of the pre-existence of aboriginal societies with the sovereignty of the Crown.” From the beginning, French, British and Canadian sovereigns have made grants of land upon which our system of private land ownership has developed. Those grants did not depend upon prior negotiation of treaties with First Nations, otherwise there would be no private property today in much of Canada.

Ironically, private property in land does not exist on most Indigenous reserves today. That deficiency in the Indian Act is only one of the many ways in which the property rights of First Nations have been abused. But mistakes in that area do not mean the private-property rights of other Canadians depend upon treaties.

Another misleading statement in the revision is this advice to new Canadians about their legal obligations: “Obeying the law, serving on a jury, paying taxes, filling out the census and respecting treaties with Indigenous Peoples are mandatory.” But treaties were legal agreements between the Crown (advised by cabinet) and First Nations (represented by their chiefs). They imposed obligations on the Crown to set aside land and provide assistance of various types. But they don’t impose any specific obligations upon citizens other than the general obligation to obey the law, which incidentally is also imposed upon First Nations by the text of the treaties.

These wording changes, if the government follows through with them, won’t have any immediate legal effect. But we should be clear about what’s happening. In the past election campaign, the Liberals made many irredeemable promises to Indigenous voters, such as adopting the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Rights. Now, instead of impossible legal changes, they are offering words – and words matter in the long run. As the great philosopher Thomas Hobbes wrote, “Words are wise men’s counters, they do but reckon with them, but they are the money of fools.” These foolish words will tend to make new Canadians, and indeed all Canadians, feel like interlopers in their own country.

Source: Proposed citizenship test guide will only mislead new Canadians – The Globe and Mail