Multiculturalism, Anti-Racism and Neighbourhood Ecology in Canada

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 13:00
Oral Presentation
Sakeef KARIM, McGill University, Canada
Zachary MARSHALL, McGill University, Canada

The rising tide of revanchist nationalism—buoyed by a fear that the hallowed walls of civilization will collapse under the weight of unfettered diversity—has served as an endogenous shock to political systems the world-over. Yet, while anti-immigrant sentiment has surged in most industrial nations, it is comparatively rare in Canada; indeed, 82% of Canadians believe that immigrants benefit the economy, and 54% view multiculturalism as an important cultural symbol (Environics Institute, 2015). Given the popularity of multiculturalism, relative absence of far-right radicalism (since the dissolution of the Reform Party of Canada), and a sizeable foreign-born population, it’s worth wondering if multiculturalism—independent of other explanatory factors—functions as a bulwark against anti-immigrant sentiment in Canada; if it does, we must consider why racial disparities (see Cardozo & Pendakur, 2008) continue to persist in the country, and if pro-immigrant attitudes and anti-racism are necessarily commensurable. Finally, we must incorporate spatial considerations into our analysis, and weigh whether the effects of multiculturalism are distributed evenly across Canada, or if they’re only appreciable in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods. To answer these questions, we will a) use a nationally-representative data set—The Environics Institute’s 2015 Survey on Immigration and Multiculturalism—to clarify the links between Canada’s multicultural policy regime, pro-immigrant attitudes and anti-racism; and b) calculate neighbourhood-level ethnic fractionalization measures to see how demographic or ecological factors condition the extent to which multiculturalism bears down on individuals’ ideologies.