Vox's fantasies over how Canadians view immigration and multiculturalism
When Vox.com isn't paying for its editors to promote domestic terrorism, other writers – formerly of Think Progress, where there is little thinking or progress – are trying to convince Americans that "Canada is the least xenophobic country in the Western world" and that the U.S. should adopt the ways of its northern neighbor.
Some incoherent data and irrationality at the JournoList's pet project need to be corrected, lest some confused souls actually want the U.S. to turn into Canada.
Zack Beauchamp's article contains a quote from Cas Mudde, a professor at the University of Georgia:
The only real outlier [to the nativist trend] is Canada ... [Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau] has handled, so far, the Syrian refugee crisis incredibly well, having taken in 25,000 Syrian refugees against the majority will. Initially, he wasn't supported by the majority -- but when they finally arrived, a majority of Canadians did support it. That's one of the few encouraging lessons that we have seen over the last several years: that if you have a positive campaign, which is supported by a large portion of the media, that you can actually swing public opinion in a positive direction.
And then there is reality.
There was, indeed, a rogue poll released December 23, 2015 by Nanos Research trying to show that two thirds of Canadians supported taking in 25,000 refugees. But note the timing of this poll. The 25,000th refugee didn't arrive until February 27, 2016. Only a small portion of the refugees had arrived by Christmas.
Once Canadians got to see the firsthand impacts of the mass refugee influx, any apparent short-term support began to crater. By February 19, 2016, only 52% of the public still supported the plan for 25,000 refugees, while 42% wanted an immediate halt to the program and just 29% were willing to go along with the Liberal government's plan to take in more than 25,000.
At that same time, before the 25,000 refugee quota was reached, polling data showed the following:
Canadians are feeling less than stellar about the current screening process for Syrian refugees coming into the country. A new Angus Reid poll suggests less than one-third of Canadians believe checks to ensure Syrian refugees aren't a threat to national security are adequate.
Hardly a ringing endorsement for Trudeau's plan.
Vox gets its understanding of Canadian politics and the 2015 election wrong as well. Former prime minister Stephen Harper, who led the Conservative Party, lost the election precisely because his election platform became soft on immigration issues (he also promised to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees), much of his base became disillusioned and felt betrayed, and they walked over to the Liberals. Had Harper taken a strong anti-immigration stance and stood tall against the left-wing media backlash, he likely would have won the election. But weakness is both provocative and repulsive, so he lost.
Liberals, as those at Vox nicely exemplify, have been repeatedly trying to infiltrate Canada's conservative movement and neuter its policies, thereby angering its base, making it indistinguishable from the Liberal Party on the political spectrum, and resulting in un-electability. It happened with the immigration file – which Harper's electoral team either fell for or perhaps even inherently agreed with...their true conservatism is, and was, in great doubt – and we've seen the double-agency at work recently on the Islamophobia and carbon tax fronts.
The Conservative Party of Canada currently sits at about half the Liberal Party's support not because it is too conservative, but because it is not conservative enough. The leadership team took the party even farther left at its recent convention, and for that, it can assure itself of electoral oblivion for the foreseeable future. Nothing short of a near complete purge will save the party in time for the next federal election several years down the road, or even for the election after that. The progressive conservative die has been cast, the base will not forgive the betrayal, and Trudeau will almost certainly govern for a decade, if not longer.
Hell hath no fury like a conservative base scorned by false prophets.
Beauchamp goes on to claim that Canada "is just a lot more welcoming to immigrants and minorities than virtually every country in the Western world," particularly the United States. This, too, is an oversimplification. Canada is stuck with a range of pro-immigration parties across the spectrum, so anti-immigration voters have two choices: don't vote, or vote for a pro-immigration party. This explains the mess the country is in.
Canada's federal government conducted a study of attitudes toward multiculturalism and immigration in 2010, and the findings contradict the narrative spun by Vox. Just 44% of Canadians strongly agree with the statement that Canada's "multicultural makeup is one of the best things about this country." Just 14% thought the "growing variety of ethnic and racial groups in Canada" is very good, while 42% believed that it is very bad or bad, or they weren't sure. When told that "Canada now has 5 million citizens who are members of visible minorities according to the latest census," only 48% said this was positive. Between 1993 and 2008, a consistently dominant majority (60% to 70%) agreed that "[t]here are too many immigrants coming into this country who are not adopting Canadian values." Just 28% of Canadians had a favorable view of Islam (and not much higher for Sikhism and Hinduism), and only 39% said it would be acceptable "if one of your children were to marry a person who was a follower" of Islam (once again, only slightly higher support was observed for Sikhism and Hinduism).
Nearly 85% of Canadians disagree that minority groups need special rights, which is the underpinning of multiculturalism. Almost 80% believe that immigrants should have to adapt fully to Canadian culture. Just 5% feel it is reasonable to accommodate religious and cultural minorities. When asked how much they trust people from another nationality or religion, the percentage of Canadians responding "completely/a little" was the same as in the U.S., as was the percentage of the public in each country demanding that immigrants adopt the customs of the host country. Is the United States more xenophobic than Canada, as Vox claims? Not according to the survey results.
As I wrote in late 2014 regarding a survey from the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and the Association for Canadian Studies:
Survey respondents were asked to rank a list of 10 values. "Multiculturalism--respect for cultural and religious differences" only received 4 percent of the vote ... There were no fundamental differences based on gender or age. Neither men nor women, nor any age group, ranked multiculturalism as a core value ... When asked "in one sentence please describe what you regard as the primary responsibilities of being a Canadian citizen," only 8 percent answered multiculturalism.
Of great interest is that 64 percent agreed with the statement that "Canadian multiculturalism allows people to pursue certain cultural practices that are incompatible with Canadian laws and norms." Translation: almost two-thirds of Canadians think that multiculturalism is a threat to Canadian society, with this high level of concern distributed evenly among all age groups and between the sexes.
In response to these concerns, only 6 percent thought [Canada] should "encourage multiculturalism" in order to address the problem -- which placed multiculturalism in last place among all options. First place went to "enforce/impose laws on all Canadians/must abide by Canadian laws" by a large margin.
Other polling data from November 2014 revealed that just 30% of Canadians strongly agree with the statement that the country "is better off because it has so many distinct cultures." Levels of support for other aspects of multiculturalism and immigration were around this value. Recent data shows that Canadians still overwhelmingly believe that "most refugees coming to this country do not have a legitimate claim," nearly 60% feel that immigration controls are good at keeping criminals out of the country, and two thirds still think that too many immigrants do not adopt Canadian values. A majority oppose accepting political refugees who otherwise would not qualify for immigration, and 55% believe that "ethnic/racial groups should take more responsibility for solving [their] own problems."
Canadians are no fans of open borders, with 70% wanting limits on immigration. Forty-one percent of Canadians "believe 'too many' immigrants who come to Canada aren't white," and the percentage saying the nation takes in too many immigrants has been continuously rising for the past decade, now sitting at about 50%.
The real problem is that too many Canadians are clueless about the massive immigration influx underway in their own country:
Most Canadians don't seem to have the foggiest notion of how many immigrants and refugees this country admits every year. When asked the question, during Citizenship and Immigration Canada's 2013-14 annual tracking survey, 43 per cent of the Canadian adults polled wouldn't even hazard a guess. Fully one third thought the number was less than 100,000 a year. In fact, for the past decade, Canada has opened its doors to about 250,000 immigrants and refugees a year. (Only nine per cent of those surveyed suggested a number remotely close to that.)
Unlike the liberal propaganda peddled by Vox, Canadians are very concerned about immigration and multiculturalism – nearly to the same extent as many in the U.S. – but they have no media outlets or political parties that represent their views. To some degree, they are wandering in the same type of establishment-enforced fog, except much thicker, as existed in the U.S. prior to the rise of Donald Trump.