Conservatives more likely to view immigrants as ‘costly to society’

Canada 150 celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on July 1, 2017. Photo by Alex Tétreault

Conservatives and those with a dim economic outlook are more likely to view immigrants as “costly to society” than other Canadians, new research suggests.

Accurate information about the benefits of bringing in new residents, however, can change minds, according to the latest report from the Digital Democracy Project, a joint initiative by the Public Policy Forum and the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University.

While Canadians show “modest” levels of nativism overall, “Liberal and NDP partisans score far lower than Conservatives in their expressed nativist sentiment,” researchers found.

“Nativism — feelings of support for native-born citizens over immigrants — is more common among conservatives, but also among those who feel the economy or their personal finances are getting worse.”

The researchers measured “nativism” by asking a series of questions they said were designed to tap into perceptions of “whether immigrants are costly to society.”

They found Canadians broadly overestimate the number of migrants and refugees entering the country, with almost a quarter of those polled believing that refugee intake is higher than it really is.

“Nativism — feelings of support for native-born citizens over immigrants — is more common among conservatives, but also among those who feel the economy or their personal finances are getting worse,” says a new @ppforumca @MaxBellSchool report

Twenty-nine per cent of those surveyed said too many immigrants were from visible minorities. The authors noted they interpreted this number cautiously given a tendency for respondents to “provide answers that are socially acceptable but not a reflection of their true sentiment.”

The People’s Party of Canada — the leader of which, Maxime Bernier, has campaigned on allowing “fewer immigrants” into Canada — was not included in the examination of nativism. The report said the sample size was too small.

In asking respondents a series of questions about policy, researchers also found that Canadians were more often “uninformed” rather than “misinformed.”

Providing respondents with details of the economic benefits of immigration made people, particularly conservatives, more aware, and more supportive, they said. MORE


Young Canadians launch website tracking climate commitments of federal parties

You are now able to easily compare climate change commitments on Shake Up the Establishment. You will want to bookmark this incredibly useful resource.

Image result for national observer: Young Canadians launch website tracking climate commitments of federal parties
Cameron Fioret, Manvi Bhalla, Taro Halfnight and Janaya Campbell are tracking climate action commitments of federal parties on a new website called Shake Up The Establishment. Photos courtesy SUTE

Four young Canadians are tracking the commitments of federal political parties on the climate crisis as campaigns rev up for the fall election.

Shake Up The Establishment is a website run by Manvi Bhalla, Janaya Campbell, Taro Halfnight and Cameron Fioret, all graduates or students of the University of Guelph.

The team will volunteer their time to help voters compare the environmental plans of the Liberals, Conservatives, New Democratic Party and Greens ahead of the election that is to be held on or before Oct. 21, 2019.

“We were all discussing how we would want to vote in the upcoming election,” said Bhalla, who studied biomedical science, and has researched at the Hospital for Sick Children and worked as president of the local chapter of Oxfam Canada, in a phone interview May 26.

“We didn’t actually know who the best candidate or party would be immediately. And we thought, if we felt this way, then other individuals also might feel this way.” MORE

Fighting the normalization of right-wing ideology, from Ford to Kenney

“Given how Canada’s right lines up against environmental regulation, against helping the poor and the marginalized, against safeguarding reproductive choice, against respecting labour, organized or otherwise, against higher education, LGBTI rights, clean water and more, the nightmare scenario of right-wing ideology becoming normalized here as it is becoming in Europe and the United States suddenly feels very possible.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Photo: Premier of Ontario Photography/Flickr
Sometime in January, a list, a very long list, documenting all the attacks by Doug Ford’s government on Ontario’s social services, safety nets and support systems began to take shape on my Facebook profile page.

Somewhere around the 100 crimes-against-citizens mark, the list, fact-checked by many, got shared by my friends, and their friends, and eventually went viral. It’s still circulating out there in the social mediasphere, getting longer by the day.

I too have been adding to the original list, barely able to keep up with all the announcements, pronouncements and chops to health care, education and even firefighting services wielded by Ford Nation while horse racing gets a $10-million annual boost and the premier’s cronies and bagmen get appointed to head Crown corporations.

Which must be part of the plan. Follow outrage with another outrage so that the outrage before the latest outrage gets forgotten.

Hence the need for lists — and there’s more than one meme-ified listicle going around. MORE


Ontario releases anti-carbon tax radio ad with sound of clinking coins