Are white Canadians becoming conscious of their whiteness? – Terry Glavin

Good long read by Glavin.

While the survey results are interesting, how the questions are posed changes the response. Statistics Canada has grappled over the years with how to formulate its ethnic origin question, with the current version being: “What were the ethnic or cultural origins of this person’s ancestors?” with the following examples and clarification provided:

An ancestor is usually more distant than a grandparent [ordered by frequency of last Census/NHS].

For example, Canadian, English, Chinese, French, East Indian, Italian, German, Scottish, Cree, Mi’kmaq, Salish, Métis, Inuit, Filipino, Irish, Dutch, Ukrainian, Polish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Korean, Jamaican, Greek, Iranian, Lebanese, Mexican, Somali, Colombian, etc.

The “race” question is the visible minority one, where Glavin is correct that non-visible minorities are by definition white (and very useful in comparing outcomes by minority groups and the “white” majority (which of course are composed of a variety of European ancestries). So in practice, the Census allows people to identify themselves within the majority European origins (the earlier waves of immigrants) and visible minority origins (the last 40 years or so).

Both ethnic ancestry and visible minority can be used to indicate variation in economic and social outcomes (e.g., those of South European ethnic origin have poorer economic outcomes than North European origins).

But his fundamental questions regarding a strengthening “white” identity and its implications are worthy as is his point that debating over terminology (e.g., visible minority, people of colour, radicalized communities) will not address underlying inequality issues (and may, IMO, divert attention to these more substantive issues):

In a McAllister Opinion Research survey of Americans and Canadians carried out this month, Americans are twice as willing—41 per cent of them—to identify “white” as their ethnicity. If you include the response “Caucasian,” a peculiar 18th Century term that also means “white,” the proportion of Americans who identify their ethnicity by these terms rises to 54 per cent (the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that “Non Hispanic whites” made up 64 per cent of the American population in 2010).

In the McAllister survey, only 20 per cent of Canadians identified “white” as their ethnicity, and if you add in “Caucasian,” only 30 per cent of us identify in that way. Contrast that with Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey, which identifies 80 per cent of us as white people (more precisely, StatsCan identified 26,587,570 of Canada’s 32,852,325 non-Indigenous people as “Not a Visible Minority”).

So where did all the white people go?

“It is weird,” Angus McAllister, the survey firm’s director, told me. “What it shows for sure is that Americans are way more obsessed with race than Canadians are.”

The McAllister survey was undertaken from August 13 to August 20—the immediate aftermath of the white-supremacist outrage in Charlottesville, Virginia. The ugly spectacle of marching Nazis and hooded Ku Klux Klansmen sent a great many Americans into paroxysms of alarm. Their despair was compounded by the gleeful allegiance the worst of Charlottesville’s racists pledged to President Trump, and by Trump giving every impression of being content with it. Canadians responded in unanimous revulsion.

McAllister polled a sample of 1,025 Canadians, leaving an error margin of plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The American sample of 835 Americans falls within an error margin of plus of minus 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

A couple of other points: McAllister, 56, is a good friend. He’s also Japanese, or “mixed,” or whatever the circumstances demand of him, as he puts it. He’s no stranger to the nuances and ambiguities that tend to get papered over in fashionable uproars about race and identity.

What worries McAllister is something in the survey results’ granular details that is only hinted at in copycat Canadian iterations of far-right American pseudo-journalism, and in the mimicry at work in transgressive Canadian school-renaming and statue-toppling shouting matches. Over time, we’re becoming more like Americans. Or at least some of us are.

Older, well-educated Canadian respondents in McAllister’s survey were the least likely to claim “white” as an ethnic identity. Among Canadians older than 65 with only a university education, only eight per cent identified as white. Among Canadians in that same age bracket with only a high school education, 28 per cent identified as white.

Among Canadians under the age of 45 with a university education, 19 per cent identified as white—the national average. Among Canadians in that age group with only a high school education, 38 per cent claimed a white ethnicity —a proportion that tracks closest to the overall American average.

It’s not as though there’s a large bloc of Canadians who are becoming racists, McAllister cautions. The pull of the American cultural orbit and the mania for “identity politics” have a lot to do with it. An overweening preoccupation with race and ethnicity as identity markers can only exacerbate an unhealthy trend that over time will inevitably expand the number of Canadians who identify as “white.”

Before we were Canadians, the colonial settlers of British North America were British and French. “White” only rarely came into the conversation, and the emancipation of “multiculturalism” allowed the rest of us to find a way to identify with the Canadian mainstream.

We all became used to identifying ourselves as “hyphenated” Canadians, or just Canadians. But unlike people lumped into the Visible Minority category, European immigrants lose their hyphenated old-country identities more easily as each generation supplants its predecessor. Eventually, people who fall within Statistics Canada’s cumbersome Not a Visible Minority category are gradually left with only “white” as an ethnic identity.

In the United States, where “whiteness” makes most sense in the context of slavery, the generational pattern appears to have stalled. To be “white” in America – a political category that began mainly with Englishmen and gradually enveloped other groups, like the Irish, the Italians and the Jews – is to be “not Black.” It is to perpetually hover above the status of the slave, sometimes to the point of perpetuating black slavery by other means.

Among McAllister’s American survey respondents under the age of 45, roughly 45 per cent identified themselves as white. Among Americans 45 years old or older, 60 per cent identified as white.

North of the border, Statistics Canada’s awkward Not a Visible Minority Category works well enough as a signifier for people with comparatively pale complexions, but practically nothing else. It unhelpfully tends to associate “white” privileges and advantages with people whose only commonality is low skin pigmentation.

In small-town Canada, for instance, second and third-generation “white” boys tend to education and income levels far below the prospects for urban, first-generation immigrants in the Visible Minority category. Those rural white boys will all tend to enter the Canadian group in McAllister’s survey who are most likely to identify their ethnicity as “white.”

Even more absurdly, the Not a Visible Minority category is the just the flipside of a classification the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination considers to be quite possibly racist. Intended to protect and advance disadvantaged ethnic and racial minorities along with women, Indigenous people and disabled people, it isn’t working out that way.

For one thing, the term Visible Minority “seemed to somehow indicate that ‘whiteness’ was the standard, all others differing from that being visible,” as the UN Committee’s Patrick Thornbury puts it. For another, the category’s sweeping imprecision is liable to erect more systemic barriers against genuinely marginalized minority groups.

Canadians who have been getting shoehorned into Visible Minority status since the 1980s are by no means uniformly disadvantaged. They never were. East Asians tend towards income and education levels that exceed the Canadian average, for instance, while African-Canadian men face severe disadvantages and marginalization across the board.

The UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination first pointed out these contradictions in an assessment of Canada’s Employment Equity Act a decade ago. In the attempt to bring Canada in line with the UN Committee’s criticisms, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government worked itself into a tizzy of professor-quizzing, workshop-convening and province-consulting, but ended up deciding to leave things as they were. It’s only now that Ottawa is revisiting the matter.

Statistics Canada is taking a lead role in the effort, examining ways to disaggregate data on visible-minority equality indicators like employment rates and income levels. This is long overdue, and mimicking the American custom by simply amending the nomenclature from “visible minority” to “people of colour” or “racialized communities” won’t do.

Over the past decade, in the language of common speech, the term “Indigenous” has almost thoroughly displaced “Aboriginal” to describe Canada’s constitutionally-described Indians, Metis and Inuit peoples. But these same peoples continue to suffer the most vicious extremes of poverty, outrageously high incarceration rates, the most disgraceful levels child suicide, joblessness, and drug and alcohol addiction.

Thinking and speaking more carefully about racism is vital to the purposes of basic civic hygiene in Canada. Mimicking the most dysfunctional American cultural habits will not heal any wounds, and neither will flattering ourselves with proverbs about the strengths to be found in diversity. Being “white,” out of either pride or shame, either as a boast or as a confession, will only wound us all.

Source: Are white Canadians becoming conscious of their whiteness? – Macleans.ca

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Roma Culture 101: Opening Minds With Song, Talk and Laughter – The New York Times

Good initiative:

For one week in August, a group of students in Lanciano, a hilltop town near the Adriatic Sea, sang songs, played music, danced, ate and went on field trips.

But this was no ordinary summer camp. This was the second annual Roma Summer School, a full immersion in Romani culture.

And so the roughly dozen participants — including “gadji,” or women of non-Roma origin — learned basic expressions in Romanés, the Romani language spoken in Abruzzo; gobbled up Roma cuisine; and were invited into Romani homes.

And they graduated with a better understanding, and appreciation, of the Roma and their struggles, returning home with a message of appreciation and integration.

At least that was the organizers’ intent.

“Only by sharing, understanding, drinking, eating and being welcomed by Roma families do you begin to have encounters on an equal footing,” explained Santino Spinelli, the ebullient director of the school. “That’s how you overcome the negative stereotypes and the widely held preconceptions and prejudices against Roma.”

Mr. Spinelli is arguably Italy’s best-known Roma personality, or at least the most famous Italian who admits to being a member of an often vilified group.

On stages elsewhere, he goes by the name Alexian, the accordion-playing leader of a Roma musical group that, he proudly says, has “played for three popes.”

As a musician, he has helped promote Roma culture, but he has also wanted to find a way to dispel persistent anti-Roma prejudice.

Last spring, Mr. Spinelli was at the seaside in San Vito Marina, taking a stroll after lunch, and the idea came to him: Why not have an intercultural school where Italians could meet Roma families and see for themselves what the Roma were really about?

“I am trying to get people to know the unknown side of the Roma, the families that are integrated, the Roma who work, who are honest, who have lived here for centuries but continue to preserve their culture,” he said.

The course emphasized Roma culture, but it unavoidably touched on modern social issues and preconceptions — like the notion that Roma are a nomadic people who feel at home living in filthy insalubrious camps.

Nothing could be further from the truth, he said.

“Roma have been living in houses in Abruzzo since the 14th century,” said Mr. Spinelli, who owns a lushly decorated villa just outside Lanciano that he shares with his aging parents, his children and his wife, Daniela De Rentiis, who coordinated the logistics of the school (and cooked tirelessly).

Camps do exist, but the Roma who live there are merely the latest wave of Romani refugees escaping persecution and war in their countries of origin, he said.

“The Roma’s presumed vocation to nomadism has been the result of repression and persecution throughout Europe,” he said. “Running away is not a choice; it’s called forced mobility.”

And the camps that have been created by city governments to house these refugees — mostly from the Balkans — negatively reinforce the myth of a wandering people.

“They’re really an example of racial segregation, a crime against humanity,” Mr. Spinelli said. “As an Italian I am ashamed of this treatment.”

During the week, the students visited museums and a fairground run by Roma, ate with Roma families, and went on outings.

How ‘Doxxing’ Became a Mainstream Tool in the Culture Wars – The New York Times

I remain uncomfortable with this trend on both the right and left given possible mistaken identities. While this article highlights the different kinds of doxxing, those with broad public impact and those more personal messages to individual family members or friends, it doesn’t change my overall discomfort:

Riding a motorized pony and strumming a cigar box ukulele, Dana Cory led a singalong to the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.”

“You’re a Nazi and you’re fired, it’s your fault,” she sang. “You were spotted in a mob, now you lost your freaking job. You’re a Nazi and you’re fired, it’s your fault.”

“All together now!” Ms. Cory, 48, shouted to a cheering crowd in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood on Saturday. They were protesting a rally planned by far-right organizers about a mile away.

“Dox a Nazi all day, every day,” she said.

Online vigilantism has been around since the early days of the internet. So has “doxxing” — originally a slang term among hackers for obtaining and posting private documents about an individual, usually a rival or enemy. To hackers, who prized their anonymity, it was considered a cruel attack.

But doxxing has emerged from subculture websites like 4Chan and Reddit to become something of a mainstream phenomenon since a white supremacist march on Charlottesville, Va., earlier this month.

“Originally it was little black-hat hacker crews who were at war with each other — they would take docs, like documents, from a competing group and then claim they had ‘dox’ on them,” said Gabriella Coleman, a professor at McGill University who wrote a book about the hacker vigilante group Anonymous. “There was this idea that you were veiled and then uncovered.”

Now the online hunt to reveal extremists has raised concerns about unintended consequences, or even collateral damage. A few individuals have been misidentified in recent weeks, including a professor from Arkansas who was wrongly accused of participating in the neo-Nazi march. And some worry that the stigma of being outed as a political extremist can only reinforce that behavior in people who could still be talked out of it.

Doxxing was on the minds of a number of protesters on the streets of San Francisco on Saturday. In the Castro and Mission neighborhoods and Alamo Square, the home of the famous row of houses known as the Painted Ladies, thousands participated in counter-demonstrations to the right-wing rally. There was the energy of a street party — children and dogs joined in, protesters shared baked goods, and the bars nearby were full.

Marla Wilson, 35, of San Francisco, said she was appalled when she saw white supremacists marching so brazenly in Charlottesville. Doxxing, she believed, was an effective way to make people think twice about being so bold with their racism.

“Some of what is happening now will make these white supremacists realize why their grandparents wore hoods,” Ms. Wilson said. “At least then there was shame.”

The ethics — and even the definition — of doxxing is murky. It is the dissemination of often publicly available information. And, some at the protest asked, are you really doxxing a person if he or she is marching on a public street, face revealed and apparently proud? It is not as though they are hiding their identities.

But Tony McAleer, a former white supremacist leader who now runs Life After Hate, a rehabilitation program for neo-Nazis, called doxxing a “a passive aggressive violence.” He said publicizing the names and workplaces of neo-Nazis may offer some level of solace to people outraged by them, but it makes his job more difficult.

“For us, it slows things down. We try to integrate people back to humanity,” Mr. McAleer said. “If isolation and shame is the driver for people joining these types of groups, doxxing certainly isn’t the answer.”

In short, once someone is labeled a Nazi on the internet, they stay a Nazi on the internet.

Internet vigilantism has a checkered history. In April 2013, amateur detectives on Reddit used screen shots of security camera footage to identify two men as being connected to the Boston Marathon bombing. The New York Post put the image on the cover under the headline “Bag Men.”

But the two young men pictured were not the bombers. At one point, Reddit sleuths even set their sights on a student from Brown University, about 60 miles away in Providence, R.I., who was missing. He had nothing to do with the bombing; he had committed suicide.

The next year, doxxing became a tool by in the “GamerGate” controversy, an online dispute purportedly about ethics in video game journalism that became a foundational moment for some of today’s fringe far-right. Mostly male video-game players began to publish personal information — including home address and phone numbers — for women in their community, typically journalists and game designers who they said were unfairly politicizing gaming culture.

For Ms. Coleman, the real mainstream moment for online vigilantism was in 2015, when an image of a dentist standing over lion he had shot swiftly spread on social media. The lion was Cecil, a well-known conservation icon. Animal lovers seethed. The actress Mia Farrow even posted the dentist’s home address on Twitter.

“People went berserk,” Ms. Coleman said. “That, to me, was this interesting turning point where it showed the general public would be willing to jump into the fray.”

Charlottesville has made doxxing even more commonplace.

“For a long time it was only a certain quarter of people on the internet who would be willing to do this,” Ms. Coleman said. “It was very much hinged on certain geek cultures, but there was an extraordinary quality to the Charlottesville protest. It was such a strong public display I think it just opened the gates.”

The right-wing rally ultimately fizzled on Saturday, but counter-protesters were still on the lookout.

“It’s important to dox Nazis,” said Andrea Grimes, 33, of Alameda, Calif. She held a sign that read: “White people pick one: Be the problem. Be the solution.” She said she had “outed” white supremacists to their parents, which she said often worked well to stop bad behavior online.

Ms. Cory, the ukulele player moving by electric pony, said that she had posted that morning a picture of a man she thought was an white-pride agitator. He was at a local train station wearing camouflage and smoking a cigarette near a car with Oregon license plates.

“They’re here, ” she said. Then she started the next song: “Tiki Torch Nazis,” set to “Beauty School Dropout” from the musical “Grease.”

Nearby, Jim Alexander, 55, a software engineer, was carrying high a sign with the words, “Hug an Extremist.”

Asked about the message, he lowered the placard and looked at it again.

“Unfortunately, I think this might not work,” Mr. Alexander said.

Spend time honouring Indigenous heroes rather than debating Macdonald: Murray Sinclair

Indeed:

The former chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission says tearing down tributes that are considered offensive to Indigenous Peoples would be “counterproductive” because it smacks of anger, not harmony.

Sen. Murray Sinclair says the debate over whether to remove Sir John A. Macdonald’s name from Ontario schools is time that would be better spent discussing the need to honour and elevate Indigenous heroes.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Sinclair calls that approach a recipe for fighting and rancour.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there are no plans to remove Macdonald’s name from buildings or sites that are in the purview of the federal government.

In June, Trudeau decided to remove the name of Hector-Louis Langevin, a father of Confederation and architect of the residential school system, from the Ottawa building that houses the Prime Minister’s Office

Sinclair’s remarks come after an Ontario teachers union passed a controversial motion calling for the rechristening of schools named after Canada’s first prime minister, accusing Macdonald of advocating Indigenous genocide.

Source: Spend time honouring Indigenous heroes rather than debating Macdonald: Murray Sinclair – Toronto – CBC News

Australia: Coalition warned it has ‘uphill battle’ in high court over citizenship and postal vote | The Guardian

As noted, only reasonable solution in an immigration-based country is to repeal section 44 and allow dual citizenship:

The government faces an “uphill battle” in major high court cases dealing with the same-sex marriage postal survey and the eligibility of seven parliamentarians on the current reading of the law, George Williams has warned.

In a speech to the National Press Club on Wednesday, the constitutional law expert and University of NSW professor accused the government of “a surprising constitutional adventurism” in testing the limits of its power and relying on a “creative, quite liberal and generous reading of those powers” by the court.

In October the high court will hear the cases challenging the eligibility of the deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, the Nationals senator Matt Canavan, the resigned Greens senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters, and the One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts. Nick Xenophon and Fiona Nash will also be referred.

Williams said that “on the current law it is difficult to see … that any of the seven parliamentarians who will face the high court are likely to survive that challenge”.

“It is hard to see any of them have taken the reasonable steps that the high court requires to divest themselves of foreign citizenship.”

Williams suggested Labor’s Katy Gallagher could also be in difficulty, depending on the high court ruling, and likened citizenship by descent to a “Pandora’s box” that could claim up to “20 or more parliamentarians”.

Section 44 of the constitution disqualifies anyone who “is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power” from sitting in parliament.

The Turnbull government insists it has strong legal advice from the solicitor general that the better view of the law is that some element of intention or acquiescence to foreign citizenship is required.

Williams warned that view was based on William Dean’s dissent in the case of Sykes v Cleary and it was “exceedingly rare” for a later court to adopt a dissenting view.

Another possible reading – to exclude only those members who have foreign citizenship by birth – had no support in the constitution, he said.

Williams said Joyce’s and the Greens’ eligibility problems “speak less of a constitutional problem … and more of complacency and poor vetting” by political parties. He cited a simple check he had performed online to confirm a person in Joyce’s situation was a New Zealand citizen by descent.

“In this case it is hard to see why the high court would fashion an exemption when candidates have been warned of this problem and when the information is very easy to obtain through a simple check on the internet.”

Williams described Malcolm Turnbull’s confidence that the high court will find Joyce eligible as “misplaced”.

Williams said section 44 was out of date, arguing it was “hardly consistent with our sovereignty, our stability as a democracy” to allow eligibility for parliament to be determined by other countries’ laws.

Source: Coalition warned it has ‘uphill battle’ in high court over citizenship and postal vote | Australia news | The Guardian

‘I worry about this’: Trudeau’s move to dissolve Indigenous affairs department prompts concern

While those closer to Indigenous issues are better placed to comment on the substance of the issues, some thoughts from a machinery of government perspective.

  • Changing machinery (i.e., splitting up departments or joining them together) should never be undertaken lightly;
  • In one sense, it is the ‘nuclear’ option to be used when other efforts have failed;
  • While the enabling legislation will have its challenges, the main challenge will lie in the various operational details that follow: organizational, staffing, and resources (as I know from my experience at Service Canada 2004-7 and the transfer of the Multiculturalism Program to then CIC in 2008);
  • These take time and do not necessarily bring out the best in people (e.g., the splitting apart of Trade from Foreign Affairs under the Martin government was particularly toxic);
  • It will be interesting to watch for any changes to the current deputies and associates within the next few months to a year;
  • Given all of the above, and that concrete results are unlikely in the short-term given the degree of internal issues involved, the government is planning already for a second-term.

The basic logic of having a separate services delivery organization makes sense, as service and implementation issues typically are given short shrift in an overall policy development culture:

Source: ‘I worry about this’: Trudeau’s move to dissolve Indigenous affairs department prompts concern – Politics – CBC News

Don’t bother trying to understand those on the ‘other side’ – Mark Kingwell

Kingwell on the limitations of free speech, with some trenchant and convincing arguments (e.g., “haters gonna hate”).

His best points are on what should be rules of engagement for public discourse: “no interruptions, no slogans, no talking points.” Hard, however, to see how these could be implemented given the current tenor of political and media discourse:

The recent deadly Nazi hate-fest in Charlottesville has, in addition to revealing the extreme moral vacuity of the current White House, prompted a call for more compassion and empathy when dealing with basic ideological differences.

Pundits orate on NPR about how to recognize the psychological damage of those given to right-wing rage. Classes are offered in tactics for engaging those on “the other side” of political debates. My impeccably Democratic New Hampshire in-laws set off to attend one of these sessions last week, earnest in their desire to find common ground with fellow Americans who voted Trump.

These efforts and sentiments are noble, but doomed to fail. Even a minute of exposure to the views of Richard Spencer or David Duke – let alone the Twitter feed of POTUS 45 – is enough to show that there is no rational engagement possible here. There is a moral baseline that Nazism is indefensible; we ought likewise to recognize that most people can’t actually be reasoned with.

That’s why, much as it pains me to say, as someone theoretically committed to the rule of reason, that what we need in public debate is not more understanding. The utopia of a rational public sphere is an illusion, and efforts to unearth it – in the form of core American values, Canadian tolerance or some other political chimera – fool’s errands. What we need, instead, is what social scientists call scaffolding.

In simple forms, scaffolding means things such as air-traffic control, highway roundabouts, exit signage, and queuing conventions – small mechanisms that allow humans to co-ordinate action when their individual interests might otherwise generate chaos. In more subtle cases, we constrain our own desires in the form of, say, computer apps that time-out social-media access (the Enabler-in-Chief could use one of these). Or else we impose limits on freedom in those suffering harmful addictions. Addicts can always try therapy or self-control, but we know that denying access to the drug or even inflicting benign behavioural modification is far more effective.

Why don’t we acknowledge that political belief is also an aspect of human behaviour in need of external control? Let’s call it conviction addiction. Sure, some people can, like social drinkers, moderate their views and stay clear-headed over the course of the day. Others fall into a pattern of abusive behaviour and acting out. They can’t help themselves.

The gateway drug is interrupting, raising your voice and deliberately misunderstanding interlocutors – all standard moves of a CNN segment. Conviction-addicts then move on to ranting at hidden forces, demonizing ethnic groups, and sounding dog-whistles – all standard moves of Rebel Media or Sean Hannity. Finally, if unchecked, they order the flashy haircut, don the white polo shirt and fire up a tiki torch. The fact that a slogan like “Jews will not replace us” literally makes no sense is, at this point, not a defect but a mark in its favour.

Classical liberals argue that bad speech should be met with more and better speech, that the marketplace of ideas will short bad stocks and return investment on good ones. Alas, not so. The mental market is far more irrational than the one governing wealth, which veers from high to low based on rumour, wisps of policy change and random tweets.

Thus the need for market regulation, antitrust legislation and the Securities and Exchange Commission. These are hard-floor scaffolds on trading, meant to combat excesses at the margins. Consider, then, that individual consciousness is considerably less sane than even the most rapacious corporation. Mere existence is sufficient for each of us to form a limited company in the world of thought. That’s frightening! There is no dialectic possible here. Haters gonna hate.

Let’s recognize the conviction-addictive quality in all of us, and stop imagining that free public discourse will bend toward reason. Curbs on speech and strict rules of engagement – no interruptions, no slogans, no talking points – may be the right answer here. We already, in this country, ban hateful speech. Let’s go farther and insist on discourse rules, limits on public outrage and aggressively regulated social media. We could even ban media panel discussions.

We’d still co-exist, versions of Immanuel Kant’s notional “nation of devils” ruled by uneasy self-interest. But it won’t be through talking things over, let alone hugging them out. Limit indulgence in the cup of conviction; let’s have more constraint, less conversation. That’s your path to a stable future, friends – by not trying to be friends.

Source: Don’t bother trying to understand those on the ‘other side’ – The Globe and Mail

U.S. Muslims are religiously observant, but open to multiple interpretations of Islam | Pew Research Center

Usual interesting survey results from Pew, along with some comparisons with Christianity and Judaism in America:

For American Muslims, being highly religious does not necessarily translate into acceptance of traditional notions of Islam. While many U.S. Muslims say they attend mosque and pray regularly, sizable shares also say that there is more than one way to interpret their religion and that traditional understandings of Islam need to be reinterpreted to address the issues of today.

By some conventional measures, U.S. Muslims are as religious as – or more religious than – many Americans who belong to other faith groups. Four-in-ten (43%) Muslim Americans say they attend mosque at least once a week, including 18% who say they attend more than once a week, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey. An additional 32% say they attend once or twice a month, or a few times a year. These attendance levels are comparable to those of U.S. Christians, 47% of whom say they attend services weekly or more, and greater than the 14% of American Jews who say the same.

A majority also say that they pray at least some or all of the salah, or ritual prayers required of Muslims five times per day. Among all U.S. Muslims, fully 42% say they pray all five salah daily, while 17% pray at least some of the salah every day. A quarter say they pray less often, and just 15% say they never pray.

And nearly two-thirds of U.S. Muslims (65%) say that religion is very important in their lives, similar to the share of U.S. Christians who say the same (68%), and higher than the share of U.S. Jews who say this (31%). An additional 22% of Muslims say that religion is somewhat important in their lives, while fewer say that religion is not too or not at all important to them.

At the same time, American Muslims openly acknowledge that there is room for multiple interpretations of the teachings of Islam. A majority (64%) say there is more than one true way to interpret the faith’s teachings, while just half as many (31%) say there is only one true way to interpret Islam. And it’s not just less-religious Muslims who express this sentiment: While 72% of Muslims who say religion is somewhat (or less) important in their life say they are open to multiple interpretations, a majority (59%) of those who say religion is very important in their life also say there is more than one true way to interpret the faith. Among U.S. Christians, there is a similar balance: 60% say there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their religion, while 34% say there is just one true way.

About half (52%) of all U.S. Muslim adults also say that traditional understandings of Islam must be reinterpreted to reflect contemporary issues, while 38% maintain that traditional understandings of Islam are all that are needed to address today’s issues. On this question there is more of a difference of opinion among Muslims when it comes to how important religion is in their lives. Those who say religion is very important in their lives are evenly divided (43% say traditional understandings should be reinterpreted vs. 46% who say traditional understandings are all that is needed), while about seven-in-ten (71%) of those who say religion is less important express the view that Islamic teachings need to be reinterpreted.

Source: U.S. Muslims are religiously observant, but open to multiple interpretations of Islam | Pew Research Center

Migrants: Ottawa doit payer pour les «invités de Trudeau», selon Lisée

A bit rich given that Quebec currently receives a block grant of $345 million for its role in immigrant selection and settlement, over double the budget of their Ministère de l’immigration, diversité et inclusion of $150 million:

Le Québec n’a pas à payer pour les «invités de Justin Trudeau», les milliers de demandeurs d’asile en provenance des États-Unis, a déclaré le chef péquiste Jean-François Lisée lundi.

Il a réclamé qu’Ottawa assume tous les coûts de cet afflux de migrants d’origine haïtienne aux frontières. Actuellement, le Québec paie pour les héberger, les nourrir, en plus de distribuer des chèques d’aide sociale.

En conférence de presse en matinée à Saint-Augustin, en banlieue de Québec, M. Lisée a rappelé que le premier ministre fédéral avait souhaité «welcome to Canada» (bienvenue au Canada) aux personnes persécutées de par le monde.

Donc, selon le chef péquiste, la situation actuelle est «le résultat des déclarations irresponsables» de Justin Trudeau.

«Il faut qu’ils (ces demandeurs d’asile) soient bien traités, ça c’est certain. Mais la question, c’est: combien ça va coûter et qui va payer? a demandé M. Lisée. Depuis quelques jours on essaie de savoir quelle sera la compensation fédérale pour ces invités de Justin Trudeau.»

Le chef de l’opposition officielle a également rappelé que le Québec accueille bon an mal an 3000 à 4000 demandeurs d’asile, mais qu’au-delà de ce seuil normal, Ottawa devrait payer la facture, les coûts d’hébergement temporaire, d’aide sociale, d’éducation, etc.

«Si j’étais premier ministre (du Québec), je commencerais à faire mes comptes (…), c’est au fédéral de payer ce que ça va coûter en plus et je n’entends pas M. Couillard dire ça.»

M. Lisée estime qu’il brise «un tabou» en soulevant cette question que beaucoup de gens se posent, selon lui: «L’argent qu’on va mettre là, on va le prendre où? Ça ne pousse pas dans les arbres, on vient de vivre trois ans d’austérité libérale très sévère.»

Réaction de Philippe Couillard

Le premier ministre Philippe Couillard a réagi depuis Charlottetown à l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard, où il assistait à la Conférence annuelle des gouverneurs de la Nouvelle-Angleterre et des premiers ministres de l’Est du Canada.

Il a jugé que les termes «invités de Justin Trudeau» étaient «assez malheureux», en ajoutant que «tout le monde travaille ensemble, avec ses responsabilités et ses outils».

Appelée à préciser la répartition actuelle des responsabilités financières, la porte-parole de la ministre de l’Immigration Kathleen Weil, Émilie Tremblay-Potvin, a évoqué dans une entrevue les ententes qui existent déjà entre Québec et Ottawa sur les services sociaux et la santé, sans pouvoir donner de chiffres précis.

Elle a toutefois indiqué qu’une «comptabilisation est faite pour l’instant», qui pourrait servir à faire des «représentations» ultérieurement à Ottawa.

Source: Migrants: Ottawa doit payer pour les «invités de Trudeau», selon Lisée | Patrice Bergeron | Politique québécoise

Free expression at universities gagged by anti-Trump backlash

James Turk, Ryerson’s Director of the Centre for Free Expression, on free speech in universities following Ryerson’s cancelling an event with right-wing speakers (Jordan Peterson, Faith Goldy):

That harmful legacy of university cowardice and complicity took years to overcome. We need to remember this past if we do not want to relive it, albeit in the name of new passions and different ideologies and concerns.

Instead, it appears as if we are starting down a dark road that threatens the raison d’être of the university and the fundamental rights to freedom of expression guaranteed by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

If standing by its principles requires a university to make a greater investment in security personnel to protect freedom of expression, that must be seen as a proper cost of doing business.

If threats continue to blossom, then there needs to be discussions with governments to ensure universities have the additional financial resources to ensure free expression does not fall victim to intimidation.

Not only are censorship and suppression fatal to the purpose of the university, they undermine the foundation of democratic society.

When individual rights to freedom of expression are diminished or taken away for an allegedly good cause, they are necessarily invested in some higher authority that is given the right to determine what is acceptable.

The result is censorship from above — ultimately the state — with the likelihood that the champions of that censorship today are its vulnerable targets tomorrow.

Source: Free expression at universities gagged by anti-Trump backlash