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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 6:56 PM
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The rise of right wing nativism and Canada as an outlier

In this article in the Globe, Konrad Yakabuski notes that Canada is among the few countries in the Western democratic world where there isn't a rise in a nativist, right wing demagogic movement. However, he doesn't have any theories as to why Canada is able to escape this.

I think many of us can immediately think of some obvious reasons why: we're a country of immigrants; we have a points-based immigration system rather than an asylum system; we don't share a land border with a developing country, etc.

I have a weird, unverifiable theory that Canada isn't enlightened, it's just 10 years late to every party. This applies to everything from ramming freeways through our inner cities (luckily we were able to look south and learn from this) to electing neoconservative hawks ten years after 9/11.

Still, are there other reasons that might have escaped our attention? Can Canada be free of this for long?

If there's anywhere I can think where interesting ideas might bubble up about this topic, I figured it would be here. Discuss away!
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 7:03 PM
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I think we have plenty of Old Stock Canadians interested in the Barbaric Cultural Practices Hotline.

Beyond that, I think there's two things going on... the United States is an adjacent example for us so we get to see what works and what doesn't before it progresses too far in our own society.

And, again, as with all things Canadian, it's a federation with no national consensus. Immigration is primarily an issue in our largest cities, which are also presumably the most open it. They also get their immigrants from different places to the most part. Someone whipping up anti-Chinese sentiment isn't going to have much success outside of Vancouver. Someone fired up about Haitians wouldn't even have anyone to yell at outside of Toronto and Montreal. And for vast swaths of the country, including mine, immigration is a non-issue as the numbers are so low. Regionalism eats up Canada's nativist sentiment. It's expended for the most part on other regions of the country, not immigrants.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 7:11 PM
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Nativism occurs more frequently when there is a large economic, and in some cases, social disparity between ethnic groups. In Toronto you see it in the difference at the levels of nativism between Brampton/Mississauga and Markham/Scarborough. More nativism (very mild mind you) in Markham/Brampton with less nativism and more intermixing and harmony in Mississauga/Scarborough. All 4 regions are immigrant gateways yet some are more harmonious due to more similar socio-economic statuses among ethnic groups. The points based system helped a lot but we may begin to go backwards in terms of integration and harmony due to more looser immigration policies under the new Liberal government.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 7:32 PM
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It could very well be that Canada, as is sometimes the case, is simply "late to the party" on this one.

Or we may if we are lucky (largely) escape the madness. If indeed things do worsen, I doubt we'll escape it completely.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 7:39 PM
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I would argue its most of the rest of the western world who are late to the points based immigration party. Australia, Canada and to a lesser extent NZ are way ahead of the others in the maturity of their systems.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 7:46 PM
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I think a reform of the voting system may open up some room for more populist/nativist elements of the conservative movement in this country.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 7:46 PM
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I would argue its most of the rest of the western world who are late to the points based immigration party. Australia, Canada and to a lesser extent NZ are way ahead of the others in the maturity of their systems.
That's why I put "late to the party" in quotation marks.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 7:47 PM
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Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker View Post
And, again, as with all things Canadian, it's a federation with no national consensus. Immigration is primarily an issue in our largest cities, which are also presumably the most open it. They also get their immigrants from different places to the most part. Someone whipping up anti-Chinese sentiment isn't going to have much success outside of Vancouver. Someone fired up about Haitians wouldn't even have anyone to yell at outside of Toronto and Montreal. And for vast swaths of the country, including mine, immigration is a non-issue as the numbers are so low. Regionalism eats up Canada's nativist sentiment. It's expended for the most part on other regions of the country, not immigrants.
That's very true. But, at the same time, Canada's very lopsided population distribution - where the greater GTA accounts for 1/3 of the country's population; 1/3 of all of English Canada - and parliamentary system means that you only have to find a GTA boogeyman, marry it to another regional cause from somewhere else, and you can run with it.

If there was a surge of nativism in the GTA, as mistercorporate explains, then some opportunistic politician could scoop up enough GTA votes to form government.

Luckily Toronto doesn't have a nativism problem yet, even though new immigrants are increasingly finding themselves at the bottom rungs of the socio-economic ladder there and there's a danger that some immigrant groups might form into a large and permanent underclass.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 7:51 PM
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I would argue its most of the rest of the western world who are late to the points based immigration party. Australia, Canada and to a lesser extent NZ are way ahead of the others in the maturity of their systems.
It's not extreme but Australia does generally have more nativist tendencies than Canada does (except for Quebec).

Not sure about NZ.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 7:51 PM
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Yeah, that's true.

At least TO's patriotism is largely based on multiculturalism. They're raised with that being part of the foundation of their civic identity.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 7:54 PM
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Quote:
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It's not extreme but Australia does generally have more nativist tendencies than Canada does (except for Quebec).

Not sure about NZ.
I'm pretty sure NZ is more like Canada in this regard. We're pretty similar in that we have larger and louder neighbours that we can use as a warning sign.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 7:57 PM
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I'm pretty sure NZ is more like Canada in this regard. We're pretty similar in that we have larger and louder neighbours that we can use as a warning sign.
Wow NZ admits a lot of immigrants. They admit about as many as Quebec and they have just over half our population. (And Quebec is a high immigration jurisdiction.)

NZ does have a serious outmigration problem. Even with those immigrants their population sometimes declines.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 8:27 PM
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I have a personal fear that the proposed electoral system change by Trudeau's liberals will have a very serious backlash, especially if it is interpreted as taking power away from constituents. We will be late as we all know it. It's called Canada Standard Time. We embrace it; we dread it.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 8:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
It's not extreme but Australia does generally have more nativist tendencies than Canada does (except for Quebec).

Not sure about NZ.
Agreed, the points based immigrant system helps alleviate some of the edge from those tendencies but it certainly is more pronounced than Canada.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 8:40 PM
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They also have enough from various groups that troubles from the old country seem more pronounced than in Canada - for example, football roots between Balkan ethnic groups. May have happened in Canada, I don't know, but definitely does in Australia.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 8:45 PM
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Australia is still overwhelmingly of British Isles origin, Canada has no majority.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 8:56 PM
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Australia is still overwhelmingly of British Isles origin, Canada has no majority.
Not overall, but most regions do. Outside of a handful of large cities and francophone Quebec, Canada definitely feels dominated by people of British Isles origin. They're a majority in most provinces, and one of the largest ethnic groups in all.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 9:09 PM
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Not overall, but most regions do. Outside of a handful of large cities and francophone Quebec, Canada definitely feels dominated by people of British Isles origin. They're a majority in most provinces, and one of the largest ethnic groups in all.
I agree that British Isles origin people are the largest minority group here and have the biggest geographic spread, but being 37% of the population makes them more politically and socially compromising than a country thats 70% or so British Isles origin like Australia.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 9:21 PM
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True - but I imagine there are very few places in Canada where 37% of the population is of British Isles origin. In a few large cities, it'd be less, and everywhere else anglophones dominate, it'd be more. I live in a province, for example, where well over 90% of the population is either English or Irish.

Sometimes technically true facts are a different experience on the ground. Like... Switzerland. Anyone going there expecting a country where Germans, French, and Italians do everything together is in for a shock. Outside of a few bilingual cities, they pretty much keep to themselves. So you can read that most Swiss are of German ancestry, but that's not what you'll find in Geneva, or Lugano.

Canada is a bit like that. Someone coming here looking for a country with no dominant ethnic group and rich multiculturalism is going to be in for quite a shock if they land in St. John's, or Charlottetown, or Halifax, or Moncton, or Fredericton, or Saint John, or Quebec City, or the outlying cities in Ontario, or Brandon, or Red Deer, or Victoria, or most places in between.

Canada is just too large for national ethnic stats to mean that much. It'd be a bit like saying whatever percentage of Europeans are Czech. That's not the percentage you'll find on the ground anywhere in Europe.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2016, 9:34 PM
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And, again, as with all things Canadian, it's a federation with no national consensus. Immigration is primarily an issue in our largest cities, which are also presumably the most open it. They also get their immigrants from different places to the most part. Someone whipping up anti-Chinese sentiment isn't going to have much success outside of Vancouver.
Vancouver, to take one example, is an exceptionally new city where the typical resident has shallow roots. Few people can trace back more than a couple of generations within the city and a huge percentage of people are descendants of relatives they know who weren't born in Canada. 100 years ago, BC only had 1/10 of the population it does today.

This is completely different from Quebec outside of Montreal or all of Atlantic Canada. In those places if you are a history buff you might have an abstract sense of when some relatives came over in the 1600's or 1700's, or you might not really be aware of any personal ties to other countries or regions. You're unlikely to have a "backup" place to move to where you have personal ties.

I am not sure how strong a force this is but I've been in Vancouver for a few years and I still have a wait-and-see attitude about the city. I really doubt I would feel the same way if I'd been born here, lived here my whole life, and had ties going far back with nothing in particular to draw me anywhere else. It would be even less likely if I were to have poor personal economic prospects that I believed were deteriorating as a result of immigration.
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