Zack Beauchamp writes: While most of the Western world is seeing a surge in nativism and Islamophobia, the Canadian government has become more and more open to minority groups and immigration.
“The only real outlier [to the nativist trend] is Canada,” Cas Mudde, a professor at the University of Georgia who studies nativism and far-right politics in Europe, tells me. He continues:
[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.
Why? It’s because Canada is genuinely different from other Western countries in terms of its attitude toward immigrants. It’s far more welcoming than basically everywhere else.
“Compared to the citizens of other developed immigrant-receiving countries, Canadians are by far the most open to and optimistic about immigration,” Irene Bloemraad, a sociologist at UC Berkeley and its chair of Canadian studies, wrote in a 2012 study published by the Migration Policy Institute.
“In one comparative poll, only 27 percent of those surveyed in Canada agreed that immigration represented more of a problem than an opportunity. In the country that came closest to Canadian opinion, France, the perception of immigration as a problem was significantly higher, at 42 percent.”
Why? According to Bloemraad, the Canadian government has spent decades attempting to foster tolerance and acceptance as core national values, through policies aimed at integrating immigrants and minority groups without stripping them of their group identity. [Continue reading…]