ICYMI: Is Canada’s population too small? My review of Doug Saunders’ Maximum Canada 

For those interested, my take in Policy Options on Doug Saunders’ Maximum Canada.

Source: Is Canada’s population too small?

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ICYMI – New immigration quotas: Too low and no long-range plan: Saunders

Saunders critiques the modest increase in levels against the perspective of his Maximum Canada:

Two shocking facts about the Liberals’ new immigration targets: First, they’re not high. Not by any measure. And second, they’re not well-planned.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen’s announcement of a gradual increase in immigration numbers drew the usual mix of alarmist and exultant headlines: More than a million newcomers by 2020! Saved from the devastation of an aging population! But Mr. Hussen was proceeding with the sort of tiptoe-step caution that has come to characterize his government. His plan is to raise skilled and family immigration by far less than 1950s, 1980s or 2000s increases, while letting refugee numbers fall back to their usual tiny slice of the immigration pie (after a 2016 peak caused by the Syrian emergency). It’s not out of line with the immigration and population-growth thinking of every Tory and Liberal government of the past half century.

Indeed, the initial response from the Conservatives, via immigration critic Michelle Rempel, was not to criticize the numbers as too high but to predict that the Liberals will be incapable of meeting their economic-immigrant targets and filling the labour shortages that both parties complain about. The NDP response, also reasonable, was that more of those immigrants need to be less-skilled, because that’s also where our economy needs people.

Both Mr. Hussen’s proposal and the opposition responses are based on the most short-term vision of immigration: filling jobs now and meeting demographic challenges a decade from now. What is missing is the longer view of a larger, more sustainably populated Canada – one that concentrates rather than sprawls, one that uses population growth for ecological efficiency rather than waste. (This also happens to be the subject of my new book, Maximum Canada). We can hope that some such plan is in the works.

In the meantime, it’s best to think of Mr. Hussen’s targets as a temporary holding pattern. Since the late 1980s, Canadian immigration rates have remained fairly consistent, hovering around 0.8 per cent of the population each year (that is, around eight immigrants per 1,000 people). Rates declined somewhat in the 1990s – not out of policy desire (Prime Minister Jean Chrétien wanted that rate to increase to 1 per cent annually), but because the economy was poor, and when that happens, immigrants don’t come. Then they rose again at the turn of the century, and have held at around 0.8.

Canada’s new level of 300,000 makes for an immigration rate of 8.3 per thousand. Mr. Hussen’s gradual increase, to 340,000 per year by 2020, would be a far smaller increase than we saw in one year alone under Brian Mulroney (who raised it by 50,000 in 1986-7) and identical to the one-year rise we experienced in 2000. It would give Canada a rate of 9 immigrants per 1,000 citizens.

That’s not high by Canadian standards, and it sure isn’t by world standards: It’s less than the 2015 immigration rates in Britain (9.7), the Netherlands (9.9), Sweden (13.7) or Switzerland (18.5). This is not mass immigration by any stretch. We tried that a century ago: If we were to have the immigration rate of 1913, we’d have to take in 1.75 million immigrants a year. Nobody is returning to those times.

But we’re stuck with a way of thinking about immigrants that’s often rooted in the previous century.

Canadians, and often their government, still think of immigrants as units of labour to be plugged into factories and labs. But the typical immigrant to Canada today is not an employee; she’s someone setting out to employ people, or at least manage them.

Six out of 10 male immigrants and five out of 10 female immigrants today arrive with university degrees – twice the rate of Canadian-born people. More than half of them own a house within four years of arriving – despite the very high costs of housing in the big cities and their suburbs where immigrants settle.

In other words, we should no longer think of immigrants as sources of (or competition for) jobs, but as primary sources of new economic activity.

On the other hand, we remain mired in another legacy of 20th-century thought: that immigrants will find their way into the middle class on their own.

Children of immigrants do succeed, to an enormous degree. But the first generation tends to get lost, its members often unable to realize their potential as creators of employment. A generation ago, immigrants saw their incomes converge with Canadian averages within 15 years. Today, immigrants are 1.5 times more likely than average Canadians to live in poverty, and twice as likely to earn less than $30,000 a year, after 15 years. Only 24 per cent of immigrants with professional degrees ever get work in that field. We waste talented people.

We need to invest ahead of population growth, so it delivers benefits rather than trapping people in isolation and low incomes. We should not talk about population growth without a significant new cross-government, cross-jurisdiction program to plan and invest for it.

via New immigration quotas: Too low and no long-range plan – The Globe and Mail

Canada needs a fuller house to thrive – but population growth isn’t enough: Saunders

While I am a great fan of Doug Saunders, I think he makes many of the same fallacies as other boosters of large increases in immigration and population in his latest book, Maximum Canada: Why 35 Million Canadians Are Not Enough.  (See my earlier How to debate immigration issues in Canada where I discuss the respective fallacies of immigration boosters and critics).

However, unlike many others, he recognizes the large public and private investments needed to integrate successfully large number of immigrants along with the associated infrastructure and other needs of a much larger population.

Yet surprisingly, he is silent on the likely impact of technology on labour market needs.

However, will read his book to get a fuller appreciation of his arguments (have just excerpted his conclusion but recommend reading the full long read):

The challenges of family policy, like most of the obstacles examined here, are already being experienced by Canadians, and will be growing problems, regardless of what happens to the population. The changes in the structure of the work force, in the cost and accessibility of housing, in the geographic isolation of major cities; the obstacles to getting credentials recognized, and of lost educational opportunities – all these barriers to equality and social mobility need to be confronted by Canadians and their governments, whether we triple our population or not.

It is therefore worth asking: If the time has come for Canada to train its sights on institutional reform, infrastructure expansion and policy reassessment, why shouldn’t we also make plans to build a population commensurate with those ambitions and resources? The changes we need to undertake in order to maintain and empower a Canada of 35 million will be far easier to bring about, and yield far greater benefits, if they are applied to a population that is gradually growing to a larger and more self-sufficient scale by the end of the century.

With that population – and by instituting the reforms needed to create it – Canada promises to become a place with the tools and resources to do many things better, more fairly, more cleanly and more co-operatively: a more comfortable, and more intensely Canadian version of the Canada we know.

Source: Canada needs a fuller house to thrive – but population growth isn’t enough – The Globe and Mail

ICYMI: Canada has a border problem. Here’s how to fix it: Doug Saunders

Published in February but remains relevant given ongoing border crossings. Not convinced, however, re full suspension of safe-third country agreement with USA given signals it would send to future border crossers:

Stop illegal entries by creating a legal path. People aren’t making these crossings because they’re an easy way into Canada. In fact, illegal foot crossings are an exceptionally difficult and expensive way into Canada: Some migrants have paid drivers enough to buy business-class airfare.

People make them because they’re the only way into Canada. Under the 2004 Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, Canada does not allow foreign refugee claimants who landed in the United States through its official border crossings: You’re required to apply for asylum in the first country in which you arrive. But if they can get themselves physically onto Canadian soil, they will be arrested, detained, released and given an assessment, a hearing and a right to appeal.

This is not, as some have said, a flaw in the act; rather, it is a feature of the Canadian Constitution: Once in Canada, you are entitled to the full suite of rights – including due process and a fair hearing.

We can deal with this in two ways. One, as suggested by some MPs, would be to secure the border more, by adding hundreds or thousands more police and border agents. They would probably spend their days and nights processing a rising tide of border-crossers, at great expense.

The other would be to stop the illegal flow completely by creating a legal entry method, with processing centres at border crossings. The numbers would increase somewhat, but it would be far less expensive and much less dangerous – and it would look secure, fair and rational to Canadians.

Consider suspending the Safe Third Country Agreement. The treaty made sense when it was signed, because the United States and Canada both treated refugee claims similarly, and offered similar treatment to people pursuing those claims. (The worry then was that claimants would try to sneak from Canada into the United States.) That has changed under the Trump administration. Refugee claimants fear, first, that their claims will get a less generous hearing under the refugee crackdown, and second, that they might be held in awful detention centres while awaiting a decision.

Since the agreement no longer serves its intended purpose, it mainly creates perverse incentives. Illegal foot crossings are one. Another is an exemption provided in the treaty to “unaccompanied minors” – which might tempt someone to send a child alone across the border. Suspending the treaty wouldn’t overwhelm us with migrants: There’s a very limited supply of asylum seekers who’ve made it into the United States. And under current conditions, it is easier for them to fly directly to Canada.

Get people processed fast. Many of those border-crossers – perhaps most – won’t qualify as refugees. They’ll wait months for a hearing, then years for an appeal, before they go home or are deported (by which time they’ll have roots in Canada, creating a second set of crises). Those who are legitimate refugees will also wait, in ambiguous status, in border towns for long periods and possibly in large numbers.

To avoid this becoming an enduring, high-visibility crisis with grave political implications, Ottawa should bring on board extra Immigration and Refugee Board staff and judges to work the border stations, so hearings can be made in weeks rather than months and appeals in months rather than years. This would cost, but not as much as supporting thousands of ambiguous people for years, or rebuilding the reputation of our immigration system. By making it legal, rational and quick, we can make the border act like a border again.

Source: Canada has a border problem. Here’s how to fix it – The Globe and Mail

Various articles of interest: urban Indigenous peoples, how Canada has changed, explaining Canadian immigration to Americans

A number of articles I found particularly interesting over the past few weeks.

Starting with Joe Friesen of the Globe’s overview of how increased numbers of urban Indigenous peoples are shaping our cities, particularly but not exclusively in the Prairies:

Look around Winnipeg’s downtown and it’s clear the city is in the midst of a demographic shift. In the elevated walkways that offer shelter from the legendary winds, it seems roughly half the people shopping, walking or stopping to chat, are indigenous. In fact, more than 70,000 residents identify as aboriginal. Like many the other cities with a growing indigenous population, Winnipeg has seen more than its share of racially charged conflict, but the signs of an increasingly prominent indigenous community are apparent.

Storefronts in Winnipeg’s downtown now bear messages of greeting in indigenous languages, ranging from Cree to Dakota, Michif and Inuktitut, distributed by the local business association. At the University of Winnipeg, students who began their studies this year are now required to take a course on indigenous peoples and culture. A community group is petitioning to rename a street in Ojibwe. The national aboriginal broadcaster, APTN, headquartered on Portage Avenue, plans to expand to the United States. On the main street of the predominantly aboriginal North End, Selkirk Avenue, once the heart of the city’s Eastern European communities, schools of social work and urban studies from the province’s two largest universities offer off-campus degree programs for indigenous students, producing a stream of graduates and nourishing a growing middle class.

Every home game for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets now opens with an announcement recognizing that the MTS Centre is located on Treaty One land, and the homeland of the Métis Nation. It also pledges that the Jets ownership, True North Sports and Entertainment, is committed “to a spirit of reconciliation for the future.” Winnipeg’s mayor, Brian Bowman, is Métis. In the provincial legislature, speculation about who might lead the Official Opposition has swirled almost exclusively around several indigenous contenders.

Just 10 years earlier, in 2001, there were only 17 communities with indigenous populations of that size. The list will almost certainly grow once the results of the 2016 long-form census are available, and not just because indigenous people living off-reserve were among the groups considered at risk of being undercounted in 2011. First Nations and Inuit people tend to have higher fertility rates than the rest of the population: In 2006, it was 2.7 children per woman for Inuit women and 2.4 for First Nations women, compared to 1.8 for Métis women, and 1.6 for the population overall.

The city with the highest proportion of indigenous people in Canada is Prince Albert, Sask., a community of roughly 35,000 located 140 kilometres north of Saskatoon. It’s considered a hub for many Northern communities, including 12 nearby First Nations reserves in the Prince Albert Grand Council. Over the decade, the city’s indigenous population grew by 37 per cent, far faster than growth in the city overall.

On the city’s police force, a little less than 40 per cent of officers self-identify as indigenous, and the chief of police is Métis. One member of the eight-seat city council is Métis, and in the last election there was an indigenous candidate for mayor, though he did not win, the city manager, Jim Toye, said.

“The relationship with First Nations is very important to us,” Mr. Toye said. “This is their lands that we are operating on.”

He said the city acknowledges the Treaty relationship at public gatherings and, in its 2016 cultural plan, recognizes its history as a meeting place, known by its Cree name Kistahpinanihk, long before European arrival. The city officially defines itself as a multicultural community with indigenous roots.

As I start to think about my update to Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote with 2016 Census data, I plan on using more economic, social and political data at the municipal level to help me incorporate this development.

Source: Canada’s growing indigenous population reshaping cities across the country – The Globe and Mail

Next, a good long read by Doug Saunders arguing that 1967 marked the emergence of the new Canada, driven largely by the changed and increased diversity by post-war immigration:

Yet to look back from Canada’s 150 th year is to realize that this feeling is not just solipsism: 1967 is the hinge upon which modern Canadian history turns and, in certain respects, the key to understanding the challenges of the next half-century.

Today, we live in the country shaped by the decisions and transformations of 1967, far more than by the events of 1867. Anniversaries are usually symbolic moments of reflection, but Canada’s hundredth was a very real bid to create an almost entirely new country, and, to a large extent, it succeeded. If you spend some time immersed in the Canada of a few years before 1967, and then in the Canada of a few years after, you feel like you’ve visited two countries – the former still colonial, closed, dependent, paternalistic and pretending to be homogeneous, a place whose sleepy streets you’d have to leave if you wanted to make something of yourself; the latter a country of self-invention and iconoclasm, a North American place whose several peoples began to build something much bigger, more complex, but also safer and more educated and urban, and something entirely their own.

Pierre Berton, the historian, famously referred to 1967 twenty years ago as “The Last Good Year” – a book title that appealed to a nostalgic belief in a placid antediluvian Canada that even he admitted had never existed. The centennial euphoria, he argued, gave way in later years to “the very real fear that the country we celebrated so joyously … is in the process of falling apart.”

There’s a better way to express that thought: After the centennial, we started to confront seriously the schisms and divisions and gross inequities that had been masked before beneath a patina of colonial gloss. We would have, over the next 50 years, two secession crises, a battle over our North American economic identity and a hard-fought political reawakening of our indigenous nations. Yet, these were the crucial struggles of becoming a real country, of finding a governing mechanism and a common culture to bring together those long-disparate peoples.

Let me make the case, then, that 1967 was Canada’s first good year. We should spend this year celebrating not the 150 th year of Confederation, but the 50th birthday of the new Canada.

But let me also make the case that our conventional story about the birth of second-century Canada is largely wrong. We like to believe that starting in the late 1960s, a series of political decisions, parliamentary votes, court rulings and royal commissions descended upon an innocent, paternalistic, resource-economy Canada and forced upon it an awkward jumble of novelties: non-white immigration, bilingualism, multiculturalism, refugees, indigenous nationhood, liberation of women and gays, the seeds of free trade, individual rights, religious diversity.

But the explosions of official novelty that were launched in and around 1967 weren’t a cause; they were an effect of profound changes that had taken place in Canadians themselves during the two decades after the war, in their thinking and their composition and their attitude toward their country, in Quebec and English Canada and in indigenous communities.

Canada was not remade by the decisions of 1967; it was reflected by them, for the first time. What began in 1967 was official Canada beginning to catch up with the real Canada. And that is also the lesson to be carried forward to 2017: Canadians tend to be ahead of their institutions, and every few decades it is time for a dramatic catching up, like the explosion of adjustment we saw in ‘67.

A War of Symbols

…Consider the ripples of change that took place on the day of my birth, as the centennial bash roared on.

Eight hours after I was born, the directors of the Canadian National Exhibition filed into a banquet hall for their annual luncheon. The exhibition’s president, W.H. Evans, asked them to remain standing to sing the national anthem – and then chaos ensued, as half the audience broke into God Save the Queen before the pianist had struck the first note of O Canada. A debate over Canada’s true national anthem, begun in 1964, had been winding its way through a special House of Commons-Senate joint committee all year and filling the media with debate. It wouldn’t fully be resolved until a law was passed in 1980, and many people (especially in Toronto) still considered the British national anthem “official.”

National symbols remained subjects of heated contention in 1967. The flag debate had officially been resolved two years earlier with the choice of the Maple Leaf, but defenders of the old colonial Red Ensign remained outspoken in Parliament, the press and even at Expo 67. Everything about the way Canada represented itself to the world was up for grabs.

But something deeper was taking place, involving not just the symbols but the realities they represented.

The postwar decades were defined by large-scale decolonization around the world: Across Africa, Asia and the Americas, scores of countries were freeing themselves from centuries of control by European masters, and struggling, sometimes violently, to find ways to represent and govern themselves as independent entities. People were learning to think of themselves not as colonial subjects but as autonomous individuals within self-created states.

In that light, 1967 can only be seen as the apex of Canada’s postcolonial moment. The wars over symbols were one small manifestation of a larger shift.

It’s worth remembering how new this all was. We still remained, in important ways, a colony. In 1967, Canadian citizenship had only existed for 20 years – before January 1, 1947, everyone in Canada was a British subject and had to travel with a United Kingdom passport. But it still didn’t quite exist: That 1947 law creating Canadian citizenship declared in its main clause that “a Canadian citizen is a British subject” (this would remain in place until 1977).

That idea was still hotly defended by many in the Ottawa of 1967: The Progressive Conservative leadership still opposed Canadian citizenship, and the flag, and the anthem. There was still a sizable political faction in Canada who supported the idea that all Canadians were simply a slightly different, less important flavour of British people.

But the great majority of Canadians had moved on – or moved in – and you could see the centennial struggling to catch up with them.

Two, Three, Many Canadas

The morning of my birth, opposition leader John Diefenbaker (still sitting, anachronistically, in the House four years after his prime ministership had ended) denounced prime minister Lester B. Pearson for having declared the previous week that “we are a nation of two founding peoples” (in French, the prime minister went further and called them “nations”).

Mr. Diefenbaker considered this a catastrophic blow to a country he had always insisted was purely British: “Adoption of the two-nation concept,” he explained to his fellow MPs that day, “would lead to the breakdown of confederation.” But he was swimming against his own party’s tide: a few days earlier, a Progressive Conservative policy conference had gone further than the Liberals by concluding that Canada should be seen as a federal state “composed of two founding peoples (deux nations), with historic rights, who have been joined by people from many lands.”

In other words: A hundred years into Confederation, the leader of the official opposition still did not seem to believe that French Canadians existed. The notion that Canada contained more than one language and people was still hotly contested in some circles.

But that era was ending fast. A day later, Ontario Premier John Robarts would announce that his province was to build a system of French-language secondary schools. This was not an act of expansive idealism: He was recognizing the reality of a population, including millions of Francophones outside of Quebec, who were no longer capable of seeing themselves, or their children, as subjects of a homogenizing foreign ruler.

These debates sprawled across Canada’s newspapers and TV screens all year. Everyone taking part in them knew there was a looming transformation about to take place. There was a name for it: “Bi and Bi,” the household name for the mammoth Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, the largest and most powerful government inquiry Canada had seen. It had been established by Mr. Pearson in 1963 to find a way to address growing Quebecois disenchantment with a Canada that tended to ignore its French fact, and was widely expected to endorse some version of the “two nations” model so hotly discussed that week.

On Oct. 8, 1967, it released its first report – a national event almost rivalling Expo in its media and political attention. And to the great surprise of many, the idea of Canada as two peoples and nations was not its most dramatic proposal – though it certainly did call for a fully bilingual country. That was expected. What was not expected was the very large part of the report, and the subsequent reports over the next two years, devoted to what the commission’s original mandate had called “Other Cultural Groups.” People who were neither British nor French in identity or origin had become a significant share of the Canadian population during the 20 th century.

And while the commission was clear in calling for two official languages, it found a Canada that could no longer be described as having merely one or two or three founding “peoples,” “nations” or “races” (a term still used to describe English and French communities in 1967). Its implication, not quite spelled out, was that Canada was becoming a place that could no longer be defined by its colonial origins.

Over the next several years, that reality would become impossible to ignore. So that when, in 1971, prime minister Pierre Trudeau first used the word “multiculturalism” to define Canadian policy, it was not simply a political ploy to defuse French-English rivalries and rising separatist sentiment (though it was certainly that). It was an inevitable, and perhaps even somewhat late, recognition of what Canada had already been for a long time.

While I would argue that it was a mix of the underlying realities and conscious political decisions that resulted in these changes, not just these realities as other countries were less successful in managing this transition, the contrast is clear.

Source:  In 1967, change in Canada could no longer be stopped 

Lastly, a good primer for Americans trying to understand Canadian immigration and related policies, and their relative success in integrating newcomers by Paul May in the LA Times:

To a lot of commentators, Canada looks like a sanctuary for progressive thinking on immigration, an exception to the nativist wave sweeping the United States and Europe.

A recent cover of the Economist put a maple leaf crown on the Statue of Liberty and proclaimed Canada “an example to the world.” Famously, on election day, the Canadian immigration website crashed because of the number of Americans reportedly considering a move to their northern neighbor as Donald Trump won the presidency. Year after year, polls show that Canadians are, by far, more open and more optimistic about immigration than the citizens in any other Western country.

But such optimism is perhaps easier to achieve in Canada than in other nations: For historical and geopolitical reasons, Canada does not have to cope with the same immigration challenges as the U.S. and Europe.

To start, Canada has pursued a much more selective immigration policy than the United States or any western European country.  It accepts far more immigrants legally than most Western nations, but under a policy designed primarily to dovetail with the economic interests of the nation.

In consequence, Canada accepts far fewer immigrants on the basis of family ties than in the U.S., for example, and the proportion of skilled immigrants is much higher. Further, the country sets a higher education standard for immigrants than the U.S. (which is in turn more demanding than Europe). This more-selective immigration policy is likely to lead to fewer integration problems and easier access to jobs.

Canada’s selectivity is helped by its geographical position. It does not share a border with a country where wages are much lower (as the U.S. does with Mexico), and it isn’t next door to unstable regions (as Europe is to North Africa and the Middle East). The result is that few undocumented migrants move across the country’s southern border, as is the case in the U.S.; and few migrants land on its shores by boat, as in Europe.

The points system and geography also have a noticeable effect on where Canada’s immigrants come from.

Official data show that the leading countries among foreign-born residents in Canada are the United Kingdom, China and India. In the U.S., 28% are Mexicans and 24% are from other Latin American countries. In Europe, foreign-born residents originate mainly from the Muslim world (in the Netherlands, for instance, Turkey, Suriname and Morocco; in France — Algeria and Morocco). Consequently, Canada does not have to deal (at least not on the same scale) with the complex problems associated with integrating newcomers from a rural and conservative Muslim background into a highly secular environment.

Not that Canada hasn’t welcomed Muslims. Between November 2015 and November 2016, it resettled more than 35,000 Syrian refugees; most European countries have been much more reluctant to extend permanent status to these immigrants. But again, Canada can and does exert a great deal of control over the process.

Europe’s Jews have reason to fear today’s political climate: Saunders

Interesting column by Doug Saunders:

To understand this, it’s worth following the work of Yascha Mounk, a Harvard University scholar. Mr. Mounk made headlines this week with a new study, co-authored with Roberto Stefan Foa at the University of Melbourne, which found that voters in most European countries and the United States are increasingly less likely to believe it is “essential” to live in a democracy. This effect is stronger among younger people and right-wing voters.

For Mr. Mounk, this is part of a larger phenomenon. Two years ago, he published Stranger in My Own Country, a memoir of his life as a young German Jew. It noted that the Christian Europeans around him, while professing liberal tolerance, were continuing to treat Jews such as himself as different, other or outside. In an essay titled “Europe’s Jewish Problem,” he linked these observations to the rise of the new right-wing populist movements.

“Europe’s political climate is more hostile to Jews now than at any time since the second intifada,” he wrote. But he concluded that it wasn’t Muslim anti-Semitism leading the trend; rather, it was the far larger populations of Christians. As he noted, the number of Spanish citizens who express unfavourable views of Jews is almost 50 per cent; Muslims make up less than 3 per cent of Spain’s population and aren’t growing fast. So “a European anti-Semite remains far more likely to be Christian than Muslim.”

The larger problem, he concluded, is “the tendency of wily politicians to play Jews and Muslims against each other for purposes of their own.”

A recent large-scale survey of French attitudes toward Jews by political scientist Dominique Reynié found that anti-Semitism in general is declining, but the country’s Muslims do indeed have higher rates of anti-Jewish beliefs than the general population. What really stood out, though, were the many people who support Marine Le Pen’s National Front party: They were even more likely than Muslims to agree with Jewish-conspiracy claims such as “Jews use their status as victims of the Nazi genocide for their own interest” or “the Jews are responsible for the current economic crisis.” And they were almost equally likely to support statements such as “there is a Zionist conspiracy on a global scale,” at rates twice as high as the general population. Muslims make up only 7 per cent of the population of France, but Ms. Le Pen commands at least one-fifth of the population, and her support is rising fast.

These parties and movements, Mr. Mounk concluded, attract those who are hostile toward both Muslims and Jews. “The very same revival of nationalism that has been fuelled by their invocation of Jews [as foils for their politics],” he wrote, “can, in this way, quickly turn into anti-Semitism.” And that, combined with a growing group of voters who don’t care about democracy, is something that Europe ought to fear.

Source: Europe’s Jews have reason to fear today’s political climate – The Globe and Mail

Trump win reveals new white extremism in middle America: Saunders

Good long and sobering read by Doug Saunders on white extremism/radicalisation (exit poll data indicates that Trump did slightly better with minorities than Romney but still the white/minority divide is striking):

“You’d better watch yourself – I wouldn’t go anywhere near there,” she said. It was the source of fear, the inner-city “hell” of Donald Trump’s speeches. That Ybor City has become an upwardly mobile place has escaped notice. (It was also, not coincidentally, the site of peaceful anti-Trump protests this week.)

Her anxieties fall into one of the biggest mysteries of far-right support among white people: the phenomenon that has traditionally been called the “halo effect.”

By contrast, white people who live in areas where they’re immersed in longstanding populations of immigrants and minorities – that is, in big cities – don’t generally tend to vote for the politics of racial intolerance. That’s called the “contact effect” – you don’t get anxious about immigration if you live around immigrants. But people who live in mainly white areas that adjoin cities with greater diversity often show very high levels of support for people like Mr. Trump.

“The general consensus in the literature is that you get the strong anti-immigration sentiment when you have a relatively low local share of minorities and immigrants coupled with a high rate of change,” says Eric Kaufmann, a professor of politics at the University of London and author of The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America: The Decline of Dominant Ethnicity in the United States. “That is, if you live in a very white area but you’re close to an increasingly diverse area.”

Prof. Goodwin’s research suggests that it is instead white people in areas with sudden changes in immigration numbers who tend to become intolerant. But Prof. Kaufmann says this is an initial effect, after which they typically become more tolerant after a few years, when the contact effect has been able to kick in.

In other words, proximity is a bigger driver of extremism than is actual experience: It is not economic decline or immigration that cause people to become right-wing radicals, but proximity to those things, from a vantage of white security that feels threatened by the unknown.

…The propensity of white people to turn to radicalization does seem to be much more rooted in deep psychological anxieties than in anything material or economic.

“It all largely comes under the rubric of cultural and social identity motivations, and not personal economic circumstances – the notion of the ‘left behind’ voter is quite flawed in my mind,” says Prof. Kaufmann.

What is particularly surprising is that the personal circumstances of most Trump voters have improved during recent years: His movement is not a knee-jerk reaction to an actual economic setback (which would have been more the case in 2008 or 1980, when different sorts of U.S. politics prevailed). Rather, it is based on a deeper psychic sense of loss, one not so solidly moored in lived reality.

Carol Anderson, a historian at Atlanta’s Emory University who recently published the book-length study, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide, sees the turn toward Trumpian extremism as a psychological response among many white people not to any actual loss – the Trump voters are typically more well-off people, who have gained in recent years – but to a sense of relative loss of influence caused by the increasingly equal status of black and brown Americans.

“When you’re talking about the angst and anxiety and feeling of being stifled and that kind of despair, what I see is that, as African-Americans advance in this society in terms of gaining their citizenship rights, that there is a wave of what I’ve been calling ‘white rage,’ which are the movements within legislative bodies and within the judicial sector in terms of policies and laws and rulings that undercut that advancement,” Prof. Anderson said during a panel last month organized by the online publication, Politico.

“You know, if you’ve always been privileged, equality begins to look like oppression,” she said, in what may be the most definitive phrase to describe the crisis of white extremism. “That’s part of what you’re seeing in terms of the [white] pessimism, particularly when the system gets defined as a zero-sum game – that you can only gain at somebody else’s loss.”

Of course, the American experience has not been zero-sum: The inclusion of minorities and immigrant groups into the middle-class economy over the last five decades has not diminished living standards or earnings; they’re better than they were in the 1950s. Trade with Mexico and China did hurt employment in the 1990s, but it is not doing so today; the economic precariousness of the Rust Belt is caused by technological change, not by trade or immigrants.

But a psychology of wounded ethnic pride – and often of wounded virility – has overtaken a large part of the white community, and not generally the part that is actually feeling economic pain. If those of us worried about the extremists in our midst want to root them out and turn them around, we need to speak to this underlying sense of loss. It may not be rational or realistic, but it has become profound enough that it has provoked the most extreme and dangerous political event of the century.

Source: Trump win reveals new white extremism in middle America – The Globe and Mail

Where to find school bullies? Not where you might expect: Saunders

Interesting study noted by Doug Saunders on the positive correlation between number of immigrant children and lower levels of bullying (and higher levels of academic achievement). End comment on Fraser Institute studies and real estate agents pushing the opposite view of note:

A few years ago, I found myself in the vice-principal’s office at a Toronto elementary school with a majority of recent immigrants and refugees from Africa, Asia and the Middle East in its student body. I was struck by all the posters in her office, and in the hallway outside, devoted to anti-bullying campaigns. “I guess schoolyard bullies are a big problem at a school like this,” I said.

“Oh no,” she said, visibly surprised, “not here – we’re required to run those campaigns, but bullying is really something for the white schools. You don’t get much of it at schools like this.”

I later heard similar remarks from teachers and education experts in other cities: that it’s the “white” schools with mainly non-immigrant populations where bullying and psychological distress are serious problems.

I assumed, for a while, that this was a matter of perception. After all, bullying is a current obsession of middle-class white parents. New-Canadian parents, lacking fluency and time to monitor their kids, might not be able to perceive or report schoolyard abuse when it takes place, I guessed.

And then I ran into Kathy Georgiades, a clinical psychologist at McMaster University’s Offord Centre for Child Studies, who happened to be conducting a series of large-scale studies of exactly this question, and finding surprising results.

In 2007, she and her team of researchers conducted a study based on interviews with 14,000 primary-school students, their parents and their teachers. They found that children living in neighbourhoods with higher immigrant populations experienced “lower levels of emotional-behavioural problems” – including those problems that are usually classified as “bullying” and “being bullied” – than those in mainly non-immigrant neighbourhoods.

That study had its limits: The interviews were only conducted in English and French, leaving out non-fluent families who might be more vulnerable. And they were classified by neighbourhood makeup, not by actual school experience. Her results had doubters among education officials, who had always classified non-fluent immigrant kids as “at-risk” – extra vulnerable to emotional and behavioural problems. Her results suggested the opposite.

So Dr. Georgiades assembled a larger, better-funded team and spent the past couple of years conducting a more comprehensive study. It held lengthy, structured interviews with students, parents and teachers at 36 primary schools in the Hamilton area’s public and Catholic boards, in nine languages, on the details of their experiences, feelings and actions; and cross-tabulated the interviews with the students’ academic, standardized testing, counselling and disciplinary records.

She told me that the study results (to be published later this year) show conclusively that more immigrant-heavy schools have a lot less bullying, as reported by students, teachers and parents – especially if more than 20 per cent of the students are foreign-born.

“In schools with a higher concentration of first- and second-generation migrant students, immigrant students are less likely to report bullying other kids, and less likely to report being bullied,” she said.

This extends to all emotional and behavioural problems. The more immigrants in a school, the better the mental-health outcomes for the newcomers. It appears to be an example of what some scholars call the “protective effect of migrant density” – newcomers and their children are more likely to help each other out than to turn against others.

If immigrant-heavy schools are good for mental health, it appears they may also be good (or at least no worse) for educational results. Research in the United States and in Britain has shown that the introduction of significant numbers of immigrants and students not fluent in English tends to improve educational outcomes in schools – not just for the immigrants themselves, but for the native-born students, who appear to have better grades and higher graduation rates than they would if they attended a school with mainly native-born students.

This may be because immigrant-heavy schools have more resources, such as teaching assistants, and because they’re forced to abandon front-of-class lecturing and offer lessons at multiple levels and tailored to multiple learning styles and paces – which is good educational practice for everyone.

Given such findings, it may be time to rethink the way we judge schools. School rankings, such as the Fraser Institute database popular with real estate agents, tend to rate schools higher if they have fewer foreign-born students. It appears that they may have it backward.

Source: Where to find school bullies? Not where you might expect – The Globe and Mail

When public prejudice can serve the greater good: Saunders

Usual interesting and sensible commentary by Doug Saunders on how the request from an exemption from music classes led to a good result and defence of a neutral and inclusive space where all can live together:

Many religious concessions are uncontroversial. Few Canadians object to cafeterias offering non-pork options for observant Jews and Muslims. After a period of debate, most people have come to accept public officials wearing Christian crosses, Jewish yarmulkes, Islamic head coverings or Sikh turbans while on duty. These things may offend logic and aesthetics, but they do no harm and don’t interfere with anyone else’s life.

But some concessions to the religious aren’t benign or harmless. When spirituality infringes on the working of the legal, educational or medical systems, we have a problem – even if we don’t notice at first.

Most shockingly, Canadian provinces allow religious exemptions to the requirement that children be vaccinated in order to attend school.

These exemptions, generally granted to people who claim to be members of ascetic Christian or Jewish denominations, are far, far more dangerous than a pass from music class.

Mr. Dasu is harming only the minds of his children (and mortifying most Canadians of Muslim faith). But if even 10 per cent of a community’s children escape vaccination, they endanger the lives of every child in their city, including those who are vaccinated. This is not a reasonable accommodation.

Groups of Christians and Muslims in Ontario have spent the past year trying to withdraw or exempt their kids from public schools because they’ve come to believe that the province’s rather anodyne reproductive-health curriculum is contradictory to their faith. As harmful as this is to their kids, the province can do little to complain because in the 1980s it granted Canada’s most extensive religious concession by allowing Roman Catholics to withdraw their children from public school entirely and self-segregate with a fully taxpayer-funded religious school system.

It’s unfortunate that people only began to notice these incursions when Salafi Muslims began requesting them. But it’s one instance where public prejudice can serve the greater good.

We saw a great example of this in Ontario’s 2005 decision on quasi-judicial tribunals. These tribunals, known as “faith-based arbitration,” had been created in the early 1990s to reduce the cost and workload of courts by letting churches and synagogues rule on family-law and property disputes. Their rulings, and rules, were often contradictory to Canadian values and laws. But people only began to notice in 2003, when mosques wanted in on the action: Suddenly, those tribunals, applying nearly identical religious laws became known as “sharia courts.”

Ontario responded wisely, by stripping all faith-based tribunals of legal authority. It was a rare moment when the ugly voices of Islamophobia helped secure a neutral, secular public sphere in which people of all faiths and backgrounds can live together. If we’re lucky, Mr. Dasu’s musical tastes will give us another.

Source: When public prejudice can serve the greater good – The Globe and Mail

ICYMI: Saunders – Why black Canadians are facing U.S.-style problems

Saunders on the similarities between the Black experience in Canada and the USA, and the associated risk of not addressing some of the underlying issues:

So the emergence of the Black Lives Matter campaign against police discrimination in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver is not some copycat echo of a far more violent U.S. crisis; it is a reflection of the lived experiences of many black Canadians, which are measurably different, on average, from those of white and other minority Canadians.

“Although there are certainly some differences in terms of broad historical contours, demographic patterns and patterns of migration, there are some really profound similarities,” between Canada and the U.S., says Barrington Walker, a legal historian at Queen’s University. “I do think that the history of anti-black racism that exists in Canada, that there is a kind of long, institutionalized state memory, the old idea that blacks do not belong as part of the Canadian landscape.”

Dr. Walker’s research has found a consistent pattern in Canadian courts of sharply different treatment of black defendants in trials, judgment and sentencing, and in likelihood of running afoul of the law.

These findings have been confirmed over and over. In 1995, a high-profile Ontario government commission (struck in the wake of the 1992 Yonge Street protests and riots against police discrimination) reported that black and white citizens were treated dramatically differently in policing, charges, court procedures, sentencing and imprisonment. For example, when faced with identical drug-crime charges in similar circumstances, 55 per cent of black defendants but only 36 per cent of white defendants were sentenced to prison – a difference that could not be accounted for fully by non-racial factors. A 2002 Toronto analysis found that black drivers were disproportionately more likely to be pulled over by police without evidence of an offence; they are 24 per cent more likely to be taken to the police station on minor charges and more than twice as likely to be held in jail while awaiting a hearing. (This was strictly a black phenomenon: the data for suspects listed as “brown” was nearly identical to that for whites.) And research in the last two years has shown that random police stops without evidence (“carding”) happens to black Canadians to a hugely disproportionate degree.

What’s the root of this discrimination, which takes place even when officials are racially diverse and liberal-minded? In part, it’s institutional path dependency: Police and judges have always responded to suspects based on traditional patterns (and on patterns learned from the U.S. media and justice system), and it’s hard to break those ugly traditions.

That’s dangerous, because black Canadians are also inordinately excluded from home ownership, neighbourhoods with good public transit and key employment markets. That’s partly due to the timing and economic circumstances of Caribbean immigration, partly due to racism.

Either way, it creates a spiral of discrimination: A group of Canadians who live in fringe rental-only neighbourhoods, with less secure employment and access to resources, who face a more hostile police and justice system, hurting their chances of advancement. It’s not too late to stop this spiral. If we want to be different from our southern neighbours, we need to stop reproducing their most infamous form of inequality.

Source: Why black Canadians are facing U.S.-style problems – The Globe and Mail