Monday, 20 August 2018

Will Doug Ford finally get the better of Toronto city council?

Will Doug Ford finally get the better of Toronto city council?

Here’s what Toronto city council is facing, if you spent the day listening to city council:

They’re dealing with a “tin pot dictator,” according to city councillor Josh Matlow, referring to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his government’s legislation that will essentially cut the number of Toronto city councillors in half after the upcoming municipal election.

They have a current mayor who doesn’t stand up for Toronto, according to mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat, “and Doug Ford knew he could walk all over John Tory” with these election changes.

Meanwhile, city council’s chamber is full of plates with an assortment of cheese, thanks to Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti—a known Ford supporter—which he said would pair well with all the “whiners” on council.

Toronto city council’s special meeting on Monday then concluded with a vote in favour of legally challenging the new provincial legislation, Bill 5, which would cut the size of Toronto’s city council from 47 members down to 25; exhaust all legal avenues in that pursuit; and postpone the upcoming Toronto election if necessary.

In doing so, Toronto city council has turned what, legally speaking, seems a foregone conclusion into a full-blown crisis.

Toronto city councillors have long stood up to Doug Ford, a former city councillor himself and failed mayoral candidate. They appear to have no intention of letting up now for a Premier Ford.

RELATED: Deja-vu Doug Ford: In Toronto, the Ontario PC leader jogs old memories

Ford spent his morning in Ottawa speaking to the Association of Ontario Municipalities, where he assured those in attendance that his government has no plans to shrink the size of their municipal governments in the “near future.” He did, however, lament the fact that Toronto is not a member of the Association of Ontario Municipalities, and spoke about knowing first-hand about Toronto city council inefficiencies from time as a councillor.

Toronto city councillors, meanwhile spent the full day discussing legal advice, the implications of a court challenge of Bill 5, and the repercussions of the contested council cuts. To put the new ward boundaries into perspective—a change that would align them with the same boundaries as those for provincial elections—if Guelph, Ont., had been subject to the same representation as Toronto, Councillor Mike Layton pointed out, Guelph would have a single city councillor representing a city of 130,000 people. Then couple Toronto’s diminished municipal representation in government with the changes occurring halfway through an election campaign—and with little warning from the Ontario government and a Conservative Party in power that didn’t campaign on this subject.

RELATED: Toronto Mayor John Tory talks to Paul Wells

But the legal challenge comes with its own major hurdles, the most obvious one being the odds against its success. City council’s legal team informed them there is no “obvious path” to challenging this legislation, according to a confidential document obtained by CBC. Under the Canadian constitution, provinces have the power to make laws governing municipalities.

And if even if the court somehow decides to overturn Bill 5, Toronto city clerk Ulli Watkiss informed council it would essentially be impossible for her staff to fully prepare for a 47-ward election—almost all over again—come Election Day on Oct. 22. Nor can they prepare for both options of a 25-ward election and a 47-ward election: her team is already working overtime, spending millions of dollars above the approved annual election budget, to merely prepare for the new 25-ward election under a condensed time span.

Could the courts change the election date—and postpone the election should the city wins its challenge? “Highly unlikely,” said the city clerk.

RELATED: Is it time to abolish provinces?

Perhaps it’s no wonder many councillors spent their morning re-submitting their nomination papers under the latest ward guidelines—realizing any court challenge is likely to be a costly exercise in futility. Some conceded they simply won’t be seeking re-election this fall. Meanwhile, councillor Joe Cressy told media he won’t submit his paperwork to run in a 25-ward election campaign until all legal avenues to combat it are finished to fight it.

The city’s legal challenge is obviously a long shot, though what other options were on the table besides simply abiding by the Ontario government’s legislation? At one point, in what would have to be viewed as a major act of defiance to provincial governments—if implemented—Cressy asked if it’s even possible that Toronto go forward with a 47-ward election, effectively ignoring the new rules of Queen’s Park. The answer, to put it bluntly, was “no.”

Doug Ford can’t be ignored.

MORE ABOUT DOUG FORD AND TORONTO:

The post Will Doug Ford finally get the better of Toronto city council? appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

Here’s what Toronto city council is facing, if you spent the day listening to city council:

They’re dealing with a “tin pot dictator,” according to city councillor Josh Matlow, referring to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his government’s legislation that will essentially cut the number of Toronto city councillors in half after the upcoming municipal election.

They have a current mayor who doesn’t stand up for Toronto, according to mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat, “and Doug Ford knew he could walk all over John Tory” with these election changes.

Meanwhile, city council’s chamber is full of plates with an assortment of cheese, thanks to Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti—a known Ford supporter—which he said would pair well with all the “whiners” on council.

Toronto city council’s special meeting on Monday then concluded with a vote in favour of legally challenging the new provincial legislation, Bill 5, which would cut the size of Toronto’s city council from 47 members down to 25; exhaust all legal avenues in that pursuit; and postpone the upcoming Toronto election if necessary.

In doing so, Toronto city council has turned what, legally speaking, seems a foregone conclusion into a full-blown crisis.

Toronto city councillors have long stood up to Doug Ford, a former city councillor himself and failed mayoral candidate. They appear to have no intention of letting up now for a Premier Ford.

RELATED: Deja-vu Doug Ford: In Toronto, the Ontario PC leader jogs old memories

Ford spent his morning in Ottawa speaking to the Association of Ontario Municipalities, where he assured those in attendance that his government has no plans to shrink the size of their municipal governments in the “near future.” He did, however, lament the fact that Toronto is not a member of the Association of Ontario Municipalities, and spoke about knowing first-hand about Toronto city council inefficiencies from time as a councillor.

Toronto city councillors, meanwhile spent the full day discussing legal advice, the implications of a court challenge of Bill 5, and the repercussions of the contested council cuts. To put the new ward boundaries into perspective—a change that would align them with the same boundaries as those for provincial elections—if Guelph, Ont., had been subject to the same representation as Toronto, Councillor Mike Layton pointed out, Guelph would have a single city councillor representing a city of 130,000 people. Then couple Toronto’s diminished municipal representation in government with the changes occurring halfway through an election campaign—and with little warning from the Ontario government and a Conservative Party in power that didn’t campaign on this subject.

RELATED: Toronto Mayor John Tory talks to Paul Wells

But the legal challenge comes with its own major hurdles, the most obvious one being the odds against its success. City council’s legal team informed them there is no “obvious path” to challenging this legislation, according to a confidential document obtained by CBC. Under the Canadian constitution, provinces have the power to make laws governing municipalities.

And if even if the court somehow decides to overturn Bill 5, Toronto city clerk Ulli Watkiss informed council it would essentially be impossible for her staff to fully prepare for a 47-ward election—almost all over again—come Election Day on Oct. 22. Nor can they prepare for both options of a 25-ward election and a 47-ward election: her team is already working overtime, spending millions of dollars above the approved annual election budget, to merely prepare for the new 25-ward election under a condensed time span.

Could the courts change the election date—and postpone the election should the city wins its challenge? “Highly unlikely,” said the city clerk.

RELATED: Is it time to abolish provinces?

Perhaps it’s no wonder many councillors spent their morning re-submitting their nomination papers under the latest ward guidelines—realizing any court challenge is likely to be a costly exercise in futility. Some conceded they simply won’t be seeking re-election this fall. Meanwhile, councillor Joe Cressy told media he won’t submit his paperwork to run in a 25-ward election campaign until all legal avenues to combat it are finished to fight it.

The city’s legal challenge is obviously a long shot, though what other options were on the table besides simply abiding by the Ontario government’s legislation? At one point, in what would have to be viewed as a major act of defiance to provincial governments—if implemented—Cressy asked if it’s even possible that Toronto go forward with a 47-ward election, effectively ignoring the new rules of Queen’s Park. The answer, to put it bluntly, was “no.”

Doug Ford can’t be ignored.

MORE ABOUT DOUG FORD AND TORONTO:

The post Will Doug Ford finally get the better of Toronto city council? appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

Here’s what Toronto city council is facing, if you spent the day listening to city council:

They’re dealing with a “tin pot dictator,” according to city councillor Josh Matlow, referring to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his government’s legislation that will essentially cut the number of Toronto city councillors in half after the upcoming municipal election.

They have a current mayor who doesn’t stand up for Toronto, according to mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat, “and Doug Ford knew he could walk all over John Tory” with these election changes.

Meanwhile, city council’s chamber is full of plates with an assortment of cheese, thanks to Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti—a known Ford supporter—which he said would pair well with all the “whiners” on council.

Toronto city council’s special meeting on Monday then concluded with a vote in favour of legally challenging the new provincial legislation, Bill 5, which would cut the size of Toronto’s city council from 47 members down to 25; exhaust all legal avenues in that pursuit; and postpone the upcoming Toronto election if necessary.

In doing so, Toronto city council has turned what, legally speaking, seems a foregone conclusion into a full-blown crisis.

Toronto city councillors have long stood up to Doug Ford, a former city councillor himself and failed mayoral candidate. They appear to have no intention of letting up now for a Premier Ford.

RELATED: Deja-vu Doug Ford: In Toronto, the Ontario PC leader jogs old memories

Ford spent his morning in Ottawa speaking to the Association of Ontario Municipalities, where he assured those in attendance that his government has no plans to shrink the size of their municipal governments in the “near future.” He did, however, lament the fact that Toronto is not a member of the Association of Ontario Municipalities, and spoke about knowing first-hand about Toronto city council inefficiencies from time as a councillor.

Toronto city councillors, meanwhile spent the full day discussing legal advice, the implications of a court challenge of Bill 5, and the repercussions of the contested council cuts. To put the new ward boundaries into perspective—a change that would align them with the same boundaries as those for provincial elections—if Guelph, Ont., had been subject to the same representation as Toronto, Councillor Mike Layton pointed out, Guelph would have a single city councillor representing a city of 130,000 people. Then couple Toronto’s diminished municipal representation in government with the changes occurring halfway through an election campaign—and with little warning from the Ontario government and a Conservative Party in power that didn’t campaign on this subject.

RELATED: Toronto Mayor John Tory talks to Paul Wells

But the legal challenge comes with its own major hurdles, the most obvious one being the odds against its success. City council’s legal team informed them there is no “obvious path” to challenging this legislation, according to a confidential document obtained by CBC. Under the Canadian constitution, provinces have the power to make laws governing municipalities.

And if even if the court somehow decides to overturn Bill 5, Toronto city clerk Ulli Watkiss informed council it would essentially be impossible for her staff to fully prepare for a 47-ward election—almost all over again—come Election Day on Oct. 22. Nor can they prepare for both options of a 25-ward election and a 47-ward election: her team is already working overtime, spending millions of dollars above the approved annual election budget, to merely prepare for the new 25-ward election under a condensed time span.

Could the courts change the election date—and postpone the election should the city wins its challenge? “Highly unlikely,” said the city clerk.

RELATED: Is it time to abolish provinces?

Perhaps it’s no wonder many councillors spent their morning re-submitting their nomination papers under the latest ward guidelines—realizing any court challenge is likely to be a costly exercise in futility. Some conceded they simply won’t be seeking re-election this fall. Meanwhile, councillor Joe Cressy told media he won’t submit his paperwork to run in a 25-ward election campaign until all legal avenues to combat it are finished to fight it.

The city’s legal challenge is obviously a long shot, though what other options were on the table besides simply abiding by the Ontario government’s legislation? At one point, in what would have to be viewed as a major act of defiance to provincial governments—if implemented—Cressy asked if it’s even possible that Toronto go forward with a 47-ward election, effectively ignoring the new rules of Queen’s Park. The answer, to put it bluntly, was “no.”

Doug Ford can’t be ignored.

MORE ABOUT DOUG FORD AND TORONTO:

The post Will Doug Ford finally get the better of Toronto city council? appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

It’s not all about their base: Canada’s 2019 election will hinge on these voters

It’s not all about their base: Canada’s 2019 election will hinge on these voters

Bruce Anderson is the chairman of Abacus Data and Summa Communications, and has been a prominent pollster, communications counsellor and political analyst in Canada for many years. He has worked on election campaigns for both the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals, but does not work for any political party now. He wishes readers to know that one of his daughters is director of communications to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

At a Sunday rally in his Quebec riding of Papineau to announce that he will be running in the next election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the crowd that he plans to fight that campaign, in part, by arguing against polarization. So it’s a fair question to ask whether there’s much of a market for that message.

After all, if you follow Canadian politics on Twitter, you could be excused for thinking everyone has their minds made up about everything. But Twitter doesn’t really reflect how your average Canadian voter is built, who spend less time thinking about politics, and they prefer life that way. They’ll make up their mind about what to do with their ballot as election day closes in.

In recent years, analysis of politics has been dominated by references to “the base,” or the core supporters of each political party. This is odd because they are the least interesting voters. Mostly, the base is made up of people determined not to be distracted by new facts or better arguments in their support for their party.

Instead, election victories happen when parties aren’t just successful in getting out the votes they can usually count on, but when they win the ones they have a shot at. Yes, getting your base excited feels good—but it’s a mere sugar high.

In fact, the base can harm that effort to win that broad non-base group of voters. While savvy parties know there is a big pool of swing voters they might be able to attract, they also know that a fired-up base often doesn’t want to compromise much to make that happen.

The run-up to the next federal election is a good moment to get out of the rut of thinking only about party bases. And if you look beyond them, you’ll see the voters who will really decide the election—a group that eschews hardened ideology and that is left cold by polarization and division—and why the issue will indeed be something all the federal parties will want to take into account entering the campaign.

Today, 57 per cent of Canadians say they’d prefer to see a different government in 2019, according to the latest poll from Abacus Data—and to put that number into perspective, that’s close to the number that didn’t vote Liberal in 2015, when the Liberals swept to a majority win. But Trudeau’s opponents can’t really count on these votes today; roughly half of these people say they could be persuaded to give Trudeau a second term. That amounts to about 27 per cent of the electorate, or about 8 million people.

Let’s call those people the Persuadables. And as I see it, these are the true battleground voters; after all, 8 million votes is much more than the 1.6 million votes that represent the highest margin of victory for the winning party in the last several elections.

These people are typically unhappy about some things the government has done; think electoral reform, Trans Mountain Pipeline, plans for a carbon tax. But they aren’t sure if any alternative would be better. So they look at each issue in a pragmatic, non-polarized way. They crave a more sensible, down-to-earth, less bombastic pitch.  They don’t want their cost of living to go up, but they worry about climate change and think if you don’t like carbon taxes you should at least have another idea that could work.  They may not be happy about owning a pipeline but worry that the economy will take too big a hit if we try to shift off oil too quickly.

These voters are well within the reach of opposition parties, but base-rallying messages aren’t going to close the deal. While party membership rolls include a lot of people with a left-leaning or right-leaning world view, Canadians are generally suspicious of hardened ideology. Across Canada, 89 per cent of Canadians believe the country works best “by finding middle ground and compromise,” and 92 per cent of Persuadables feel this way.

Along the same lines, 77 cent of Canadians (and 81 per cent, among Persuadables) would prefer the Conservative Party to be more progressive on social issues, and 68 cent (73 per cent among Persuadables) would like it if the NDP was more centrist on economic issues.

So if the right target market is the Persuadables, but they aren’t following politics very closely, how do you reach them?

As traditional media platforms lose market share and influence, we’ve seen peer reviews gain influence and trust. And in politics, the view of a friend who’s attentive to politics can make a big difference in a tight election.

Our research is honing in on about 3 million voters who believe they influence the political opinions of their circle. “Persuaders” you might call them.

Who are Persuaders? Half are men, half women, 60 per cent are under 45—a decidedly younger crowd. Fifty-three per cent would consider voting Conservative, 59 per cent Liberal, and 61 per cent NDP.  In short, they are up for grabs.

But Persuaders are sort of the opposite of base voters. Compared to other people, they are almost twice as likely to feel strongly that “Canada works best by finding middle ground and compromise,” and twice as likely to say we “need pragmatic solutions that serve most people, even if they don’t satisfy the far left or far right.” Eighty-three per cent would prefer a more progressive Conservative Party and 77 per cent of them a more centrist NDP.

When their friends turn to them for advice in the months leading up to the election in October 2018, they’ll be looking to recommend choices that fit this idea of how the country works best.

If you’re interested in a different way to observe the run-up to the next election, keep the 8.5 million Persuadables and the 3 million Persuaders in mind. They’ll be more interesting than stories about each party’s base—and together, they’ll decide the direction of the country for the years to come.

MORE ABOUT FEDERAL ELECTION 2019:

The post It’s not all about their base: Canada’s 2019 election will hinge on these voters appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

Bruce Anderson is the chairman of Abacus Data and Summa Communications, and has been a prominent pollster, communications counsellor and political analyst in Canada for many years. He has worked on election campaigns for both the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals, but does not work for any political party now. He wishes readers to know that one of his daughters is director of communications to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

At a Sunday rally in his Quebec riding of Papineau to announce that he will be running in the next election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the crowd that he plans to fight that campaign, in part, by arguing against polarization. So it’s a fair question to ask whether there’s much of a market for that message.

After all, if you follow Canadian politics on Twitter, you could be excused for thinking everyone has their minds made up about everything. But Twitter doesn’t really reflect how your average Canadian voter is built, who spend less time thinking about politics, and they prefer life that way. They’ll make up their mind about what to do with their ballot as election day closes in.

In recent years, analysis of politics has been dominated by references to “the base,” or the core supporters of each political party. This is odd because they are the least interesting voters. Mostly, the base is made up of people determined not to be distracted by new facts or better arguments in their support for their party.

Instead, election victories happen when parties aren’t just successful in getting out the votes they can usually count on, but when they win the ones they have a shot at. Yes, getting your base excited feels good—but it’s a mere sugar high.

In fact, the base can harm that effort to win that broad non-base group of voters. While savvy parties know there is a big pool of swing voters they might be able to attract, they also know that a fired-up base often doesn’t want to compromise much to make that happen.

The run-up to the next federal election is a good moment to get out of the rut of thinking only about party bases. And if you look beyond them, you’ll see the voters who will really decide the election—a group that eschews hardened ideology and that is left cold by polarization and division—and why the issue will indeed be something all the federal parties will want to take into account entering the campaign.

Today, 57 per cent of Canadians say they’d prefer to see a different government in 2019, according to the latest poll from Abacus Data—and to put that number into perspective, that’s close to the number that didn’t vote Liberal in 2015, when the Liberals swept to a majority win. But Trudeau’s opponents can’t really count on these votes today; roughly half of these people say they could be persuaded to give Trudeau a second term. That amounts to about 27 per cent of the electorate, or about 8 million people.

Let’s call those people the Persuadables. And as I see it, these are the true battleground voters; after all, 8 million votes is much more than the 1.6 million votes that represent the highest margin of victory for the winning party in the last several elections.

These people are typically unhappy about some things the government has done; think electoral reform, Trans Mountain Pipeline, plans for a carbon tax. But they aren’t sure if any alternative would be better. So they look at each issue in a pragmatic, non-polarized way. They crave a more sensible, down-to-earth, less bombastic pitch.  They don’t want their cost of living to go up, but they worry about climate change and think if you don’t like carbon taxes you should at least have another idea that could work.  They may not be happy about owning a pipeline but worry that the economy will take too big a hit if we try to shift off oil too quickly.

These voters are well within the reach of opposition parties, but base-rallying messages aren’t going to close the deal. While party membership rolls include a lot of people with a left-leaning or right-leaning world view, Canadians are generally suspicious of hardened ideology. Across Canada, 89 per cent of Canadians believe the country works best “by finding middle ground and compromise,” and 92 per cent of Persuadables feel this way.

Along the same lines, 77 cent of Canadians (and 81 per cent, among Persuadables) would prefer the Conservative Party to be more progressive on social issues, and 68 cent (73 per cent among Persuadables) would like it if the NDP was more centrist on economic issues.

So if the right target market is the Persuadables, but they aren’t following politics very closely, how do you reach them?

As traditional media platforms lose market share and influence, we’ve seen peer reviews gain influence and trust. And in politics, the view of a friend who’s attentive to politics can make a big difference in a tight election.

Our research is honing in on about 3 million voters who believe they influence the political opinions of their circle. “Persuaders” you might call them.

Who are Persuaders? Half are men, half women, 60 per cent are under 45—a decidedly younger crowd. Fifty-three per cent would consider voting Conservative, 59 per cent Liberal, and 61 per cent NDP.  In short, they are up for grabs.

But Persuaders are sort of the opposite of base voters. Compared to other people, they are almost twice as likely to feel strongly that “Canada works best by finding middle ground and compromise,” and twice as likely to say we “need pragmatic solutions that serve most people, even if they don’t satisfy the far left or far right.” Eighty-three per cent would prefer a more progressive Conservative Party and 77 per cent of them a more centrist NDP.

When their friends turn to them for advice in the months leading up to the election in October 2018, they’ll be looking to recommend choices that fit this idea of how the country works best.

If you’re interested in a different way to observe the run-up to the next election, keep the 8.5 million Persuadables and the 3 million Persuaders in mind. They’ll be more interesting than stories about each party’s base—and together, they’ll decide the direction of the country for the years to come.

MORE ABOUT FEDERAL ELECTION 2019:

The post It’s not all about their base: Canada’s 2019 election will hinge on these voters appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

Bruce Anderson is the chairman of Abacus Data and Summa Communications, and has been a prominent pollster, communications counsellor and political analyst in Canada for many years. He has worked on election campaigns for both the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals, but does not work for any political party now. He wishes readers to know that one of his daughters is director of communications to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

At a Sunday rally in his Quebec riding of Papineau to announce that he will be running in the next election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the crowd that he plans to fight that campaign, in part, by arguing against polarization. So it’s a fair question to ask whether there’s much of a market for that message.

After all, if you follow Canadian politics on Twitter, you could be excused for thinking everyone has their minds made up about everything. But Twitter doesn’t really reflect how your average Canadian voter is built, who spend less time thinking about politics, and they prefer life that way. They’ll make up their mind about what to do with their ballot as election day closes in.

In recent years, analysis of politics has been dominated by references to “the base,” or the core supporters of each political party. This is odd because they are the least interesting voters. Mostly, the base is made up of people determined not to be distracted by new facts or better arguments in their support for their party.

Instead, election victories happen when parties aren’t just successful in getting out the votes they can usually count on, but when they win the ones they have a shot at. Yes, getting your base excited feels good—but it’s a mere sugar high.

In fact, the base can harm that effort to win that broad non-base group of voters. While savvy parties know there is a big pool of swing voters they might be able to attract, they also know that a fired-up base often doesn’t want to compromise much to make that happen.

The run-up to the next federal election is a good moment to get out of the rut of thinking only about party bases. And if you look beyond them, you’ll see the voters who will really decide the election—a group that eschews hardened ideology and that is left cold by polarization and division—and why the issue will indeed be something all the federal parties will want to take into account entering the campaign.

Today, 57 per cent of Canadians say they’d prefer to see a different government in 2019, according to the latest poll from Abacus Data—and to put that number into perspective, that’s close to the number that didn’t vote Liberal in 2015, when the Liberals swept to a majority win. But Trudeau’s opponents can’t really count on these votes today; roughly half of these people say they could be persuaded to give Trudeau a second term. That amounts to about 27 per cent of the electorate, or about 8 million people.

Let’s call those people the Persuadables. And as I see it, these are the true battleground voters; after all, 8 million votes is much more than the 1.6 million votes that represent the highest margin of victory for the winning party in the last several elections.

These people are typically unhappy about some things the government has done; think electoral reform, Trans Mountain Pipeline, plans for a carbon tax. But they aren’t sure if any alternative would be better. So they look at each issue in a pragmatic, non-polarized way. They crave a more sensible, down-to-earth, less bombastic pitch.  They don’t want their cost of living to go up, but they worry about climate change and think if you don’t like carbon taxes you should at least have another idea that could work.  They may not be happy about owning a pipeline but worry that the economy will take too big a hit if we try to shift off oil too quickly.

These voters are well within the reach of opposition parties, but base-rallying messages aren’t going to close the deal. While party membership rolls include a lot of people with a left-leaning or right-leaning world view, Canadians are generally suspicious of hardened ideology. Across Canada, 89 per cent of Canadians believe the country works best “by finding middle ground and compromise,” and 92 per cent of Persuadables feel this way.

Along the same lines, 77 cent of Canadians (and 81 per cent, among Persuadables) would prefer the Conservative Party to be more progressive on social issues, and 68 cent (73 per cent among Persuadables) would like it if the NDP was more centrist on economic issues.

So if the right target market is the Persuadables, but they aren’t following politics very closely, how do you reach them?

As traditional media platforms lose market share and influence, we’ve seen peer reviews gain influence and trust. And in politics, the view of a friend who’s attentive to politics can make a big difference in a tight election.

Our research is honing in on about 3 million voters who believe they influence the political opinions of their circle. “Persuaders” you might call them.

Who are Persuaders? Half are men, half women, 60 per cent are under 45—a decidedly younger crowd. Fifty-three per cent would consider voting Conservative, 59 per cent Liberal, and 61 per cent NDP.  In short, they are up for grabs.

But Persuaders are sort of the opposite of base voters. Compared to other people, they are almost twice as likely to feel strongly that “Canada works best by finding middle ground and compromise,” and twice as likely to say we “need pragmatic solutions that serve most people, even if they don’t satisfy the far left or far right.” Eighty-three per cent would prefer a more progressive Conservative Party and 77 per cent of them a more centrist NDP.

When their friends turn to them for advice in the months leading up to the election in October 2018, they’ll be looking to recommend choices that fit this idea of how the country works best.

If you’re interested in a different way to observe the run-up to the next election, keep the 8.5 million Persuadables and the 3 million Persuaders in mind. They’ll be more interesting than stories about each party’s base—and together, they’ll decide the direction of the country for the years to come.

MORE ABOUT FEDERAL ELECTION 2019:

The post It’s not all about their base: Canada’s 2019 election will hinge on these voters appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

Donald Trump’s target for the midterms: legal immigration

Donald Trump’s target for the midterms: legal immigration

In a small corner of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign platform sat a promise to end birthright citizenship — the policy by which any person born in the U.S. is deemed an American.

The proposal garnered little attention at the time; only a few interview clips feature candidate Trump railing against so-called “anchor babies.” But the idea resurfaced again last month when Michael Anton, a former spokesman for Trump’s National Security Council, wrote his first post-administration op-ed calling for the president to end the “absurdity” of birthright citizenship (which is embedded in the Constitution).

More recently, Fox News host Tucker Carlson took up the cause: If it’s possible, “why wouldn’t [Trump] do that?”

Why indeed? From the beginning, Trump’s campaign has aligned with the rise of anti-immigration sentiment on the right—that is, not just anti-illegal immigration, but anti all immigration, or at the very least demanding its dramatic reduction. “It’s the most anti-immigration administration since the 1920s,” said Alex Nowrasteh, the senior immigration policy analyst at the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute. The longer Trump holds office, the clearer that becomes.

In a moment long foreshadowed by the president’s unceasing focus on immigration—his Twitter feed exclamations about the border wall, deportations, MS-13 and DACA; his administration’s family separation policy and proposals to cut legal immigration by as much as 40 per cent—the fate of the U.S. midterms will likely hinge on the issue.

Two recent polls in June and July peg immigration as the top concern for voters, ahead of health care and the economy (which is doing very well).

READ MORE: Unhinged Donald Trump no longer shocks, which is shocking

Fox’s punditocracy is in lock-step. Carlson has blamed immigration for “radically and permanently changing” America and said Democrats see it as a way to seize power and hold it in a kind of a demographic “coup.”

This month, Fox host Laura Ingraham earned widespread scorn after she told her viewers, “It does seem like the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore” thanks to “massive demographic changes … foisted on the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don’t like.”

CNN’s Don Lemon accused Ingraham of “firing up white fright.” She defended her remarks and said they had “nothing to do with race or ethnicity.”

What stood out to Robert P. Jones wasn’t the ideas behind Ingraham’s comments, but their sheer transparency. “I think what’s most outstanding about it, I guess, is just how clear it is,” said Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and author of The End of White Christian America. Jones’ book was published just months before Trump’s win, and it looks at the broad demographic changes taking place in America. By 2043, the Census Bureau predicts America will be majority non-white. “This past year was the first year whites declined not just as a proportion [of the population], but in absolute numbers,” Jones told me. “We’re at a point where American children under the age of 10 are majority non-white.”

In a survey with The Atlantic last year, PRRI found that cultural anxiety among white working class voters was the greatest predictor of voting for Trump — and it’s a group that still retains strong electoral power. White adults without a college degree number 90 million and make up the majority of all white adults in America, according to 2015 Census data. “The measures we were using were things like, ‘Sometimes the county has changed so much, I feel like a stranger in my own country’ or ‘The U.S. needs protecting from foreign influence,’” Jones said. “What we can clearly document is negative attitudes towards immigrants and a sense that whites are facing as much discrimination as any other minority group,” he added.

The electoral math of a changing America certainly skews in favour of the Democratic Party, which attracts more women and non-white voters. Overall, Democrats have a 14 point lead when Americans are asked which party does a better job of dealing with immigration, according to the Pew Research Center’s recent survey. But Republicans are more likely to view immigration as the most important problem facing the nation.

READ MORE: Canada’s merit-based immigration system is no ‘magic bullet’

PRRI research has found a majority of Republicans favour stricter immigration laws of all kinds, including preventing refugees from entering the U.S. More Republicans also view demographic changes as mostly negative rather than mostly positive and believe the country has changed for the worse since the 1950s.

“No group thinks it’s changed for the worse more than white evangelical protestants—three quarters of them say things have changed for the worse since the 1950s, and they’re one of the strongest supporters of President Trump,” Jones said.

Since Trump’s election, Democratic and Republican policies on immigration have diverged widely. Democrats have become increasingly pro-immigrant—nominating progressive candidates campaigning on pro-immigration policies including abolishing ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota, who’s hoping to become the country’s first African refugee in Congress.

Meanwhile, Trump and the GOP have put legal immigration in the crosshairs by investigating alleged fraudulent citizenship claims in order to strip people of their citizenship, pushing to end the visa lottery program and family migration (also called chain migration, and the way by which Melania Trump’s parents recently immigrated to the U.S.), and lessening the number of immigrants overall, including asylum seekers.

Illegal immigrants might have been the president’s early focus, but they’re dwarfed in numbers by immigrants in the U.S. legally by a factor of four to one.

In this, Nowrasteh sees a kind of bait a switch: While Trump has been softening the ground by claiming illegal immigrants are “infesting” the nation and leading chants for a border wall, a group of ideologues led by Trump’s senior advisor Stephen Miller, Attorney General Jeff Session and the Center for Immigration Studies, a hardline immigration think tank, have taken the debate into far more extreme territory.

“It’s an elite-driven phenomenon” of people who view legal immigration as a source of economic and cultural ill, said Nowrasteh, and he believes their policies are ahead of the base. He pointed to the GOP “compromise” immigration bill as a prime example: It would have traded amnesty for what the base views as “illegals” in order to dramatically reduce legal immigration, and it failed by a large margin in the House.

One influential group is the Center for Immigration Studies. Its tagline: “Low-immigration, Pro-immigrant.” It supports an end to birthright citizenship and has supplied the Trump administration with two appointees: Ronald Mortensen as assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration at the State Department, and Jon Feere as a senior advisor at Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Andrew Arthur, the Center’s resident fellow in law and policy, said the center wants to limit immigration to solely merit-based categories and focus on assimilation. “There is a fiscal cost to the United States from immigration, particularly family-based immigration, because there’s no guarantee that those individuals will bring with them the skills and abilities,” he said in an interview. He warned of the terrorist risk posed by immigration (the center has argued illegal immigrants are a source of crime generally), and said the country needs to save entry-level jobs for Americans. He rejected outright that immigration has anything to do with race. “To conflate the terms immigration and race would be inept,” he said.

The most common findings of academic peer-reviewed research on U.S. immigration show immigrants are less likely to commit crimes, require per-capita less financial support from the government and have a very small impact on wages, Nowrasteh countered (which he’s summarized here).

“They think immigration is something that makes the U.S. less American,” Nowrasteh said. “It’s good old fashioned 19th century-style European nationalism. It’s the idea that a nation needs to be homogenous to truly realize its potential and to prosper and thrive.”

The midterms will help answer just how closely the Republican base is aligned to that thinking. But the shift was inevitable for Trump. His brand requires hard lines and extreme rhetoric, which means it’s always pushing the limits. And he campaigned as the “last chance” to elect a Republican and fix immigration “because you’re going to have people flowing over across the border” who will be legalized and vote —“once that all happens,” he said, “you can forget it.”

If voting immigrants are the GOP’s problem, ending illegal immigration solves only a fraction of it. Thus, an op-ed on birthright citizenship carries the appearance of a test balloon sent out to determine the direction of the debate. To find the next convincing line in the sand. To save the America they know.

MORE ABOUT DONALD TRUMP:

The post Donald Trump’s target for the midterms: legal immigration appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

In a small corner of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign platform sat a promise to end birthright citizenship — the policy by which any person born in the U.S. is deemed an American.

The proposal garnered little attention at the time; only a few interview clips feature candidate Trump railing against so-called “anchor babies.” But the idea resurfaced again last month when Michael Anton, a former spokesman for Trump’s National Security Council, wrote his first post-administration op-ed calling for the president to end the “absurdity” of birthright citizenship (which is embedded in the Constitution).

More recently, Fox News host Tucker Carlson took up the cause: If it’s possible, “why wouldn’t [Trump] do that?”

Why indeed? From the beginning, Trump’s campaign has aligned with the rise of anti-immigration sentiment on the right—that is, not just anti-illegal immigration, but anti all immigration, or at the very least demanding its dramatic reduction. “It’s the most anti-immigration administration since the 1920s,” said Alex Nowrasteh, the senior immigration policy analyst at the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute. The longer Trump holds office, the clearer that becomes.

In a moment long foreshadowed by the president’s unceasing focus on immigration—his Twitter feed exclamations about the border wall, deportations, MS-13 and DACA; his administration’s family separation policy and proposals to cut legal immigration by as much as 40 per cent—the fate of the U.S. midterms will likely hinge on the issue.

Two recent polls in June and July peg immigration as the top concern for voters, ahead of health care and the economy (which is doing very well).

READ MORE: Unhinged Donald Trump no longer shocks, which is shocking

Fox’s punditocracy is in lock-step. Carlson has blamed immigration for “radically and permanently changing” America and said Democrats see it as a way to seize power and hold it in a kind of a demographic “coup.”

This month, Fox host Laura Ingraham earned widespread scorn after she told her viewers, “It does seem like the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore” thanks to “massive demographic changes … foisted on the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don’t like.”

CNN’s Don Lemon accused Ingraham of “firing up white fright.” She defended her remarks and said they had “nothing to do with race or ethnicity.”

What stood out to Robert P. Jones wasn’t the ideas behind Ingraham’s comments, but their sheer transparency. “I think what’s most outstanding about it, I guess, is just how clear it is,” said Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and author of The End of White Christian America. Jones’ book was published just months before Trump’s win, and it looks at the broad demographic changes taking place in America. By 2043, the Census Bureau predicts America will be majority non-white. “This past year was the first year whites declined not just as a proportion [of the population], but in absolute numbers,” Jones told me. “We’re at a point where American children under the age of 10 are majority non-white.”

In a survey with The Atlantic last year, PRRI found that cultural anxiety among white working class voters was the greatest predictor of voting for Trump — and it’s a group that still retains strong electoral power. White adults without a college degree number 90 million and make up the majority of all white adults in America, according to 2015 Census data. “The measures we were using were things like, ‘Sometimes the county has changed so much, I feel like a stranger in my own country’ or ‘The U.S. needs protecting from foreign influence,’” Jones said. “What we can clearly document is negative attitudes towards immigrants and a sense that whites are facing as much discrimination as any other minority group,” he added.

The electoral math of a changing America certainly skews in favour of the Democratic Party, which attracts more women and non-white voters. Overall, Democrats have a 14 point lead when Americans are asked which party does a better job of dealing with immigration, according to the Pew Research Center’s recent survey. But Republicans are more likely to view immigration as the most important problem facing the nation.

READ MORE: Canada’s merit-based immigration system is no ‘magic bullet’

PRRI research has found a majority of Republicans favour stricter immigration laws of all kinds, including preventing refugees from entering the U.S. More Republicans also view demographic changes as mostly negative rather than mostly positive and believe the country has changed for the worse since the 1950s.

“No group thinks it’s changed for the worse more than white evangelical protestants—three quarters of them say things have changed for the worse since the 1950s, and they’re one of the strongest supporters of President Trump,” Jones said.

Since Trump’s election, Democratic and Republican policies on immigration have diverged widely. Democrats have become increasingly pro-immigrant—nominating progressive candidates campaigning on pro-immigration policies including abolishing ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota, who’s hoping to become the country’s first African refugee in Congress.

Meanwhile, Trump and the GOP have put legal immigration in the crosshairs by investigating alleged fraudulent citizenship claims in order to strip people of their citizenship, pushing to end the visa lottery program and family migration (also called chain migration, and the way by which Melania Trump’s parents recently immigrated to the U.S.), and lessening the number of immigrants overall, including asylum seekers.

Illegal immigrants might have been the president’s early focus, but they’re dwarfed in numbers by immigrants in the U.S. legally by a factor of four to one.

In this, Nowrasteh sees a kind of bait a switch: While Trump has been softening the ground by claiming illegal immigrants are “infesting” the nation and leading chants for a border wall, a group of ideologues led by Trump’s senior advisor Stephen Miller, Attorney General Jeff Session and the Center for Immigration Studies, a hardline immigration think tank, have taken the debate into far more extreme territory.

“It’s an elite-driven phenomenon” of people who view legal immigration as a source of economic and cultural ill, said Nowrasteh, and he believes their policies are ahead of the base. He pointed to the GOP “compromise” immigration bill as a prime example: It would have traded amnesty for what the base views as “illegals” in order to dramatically reduce legal immigration, and it failed by a large margin in the House.

One influential group is the Center for Immigration Studies. Its tagline: “Low-immigration, Pro-immigrant.” It supports an end to birthright citizenship and has supplied the Trump administration with two appointees: Ronald Mortensen as assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration at the State Department, and Jon Feere as a senior advisor at Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Andrew Arthur, the Center’s resident fellow in law and policy, said the center wants to limit immigration to solely merit-based categories and focus on assimilation. “There is a fiscal cost to the United States from immigration, particularly family-based immigration, because there’s no guarantee that those individuals will bring with them the skills and abilities,” he said in an interview. He warned of the terrorist risk posed by immigration (the center has argued illegal immigrants are a source of crime generally), and said the country needs to save entry-level jobs for Americans. He rejected outright that immigration has anything to do with race. “To conflate the terms immigration and race would be inept,” he said.

The most common findings of academic peer-reviewed research on U.S. immigration show immigrants are less likely to commit crimes, require per-capita less financial support from the government and have a very small impact on wages, Nowrasteh countered (which he’s summarized here).

“They think immigration is something that makes the U.S. less American,” Nowrasteh said. “It’s good old fashioned 19th century-style European nationalism. It’s the idea that a nation needs to be homogenous to truly realize its potential and to prosper and thrive.”

The midterms will help answer just how closely the Republican base is aligned to that thinking. But the shift was inevitable for Trump. His brand requires hard lines and extreme rhetoric, which means it’s always pushing the limits. And he campaigned as the “last chance” to elect a Republican and fix immigration “because you’re going to have people flowing over across the border” who will be legalized and vote —“once that all happens,” he said, “you can forget it.”

If voting immigrants are the GOP’s problem, ending illegal immigration solves only a fraction of it. Thus, an op-ed on birthright citizenship carries the appearance of a test balloon sent out to determine the direction of the debate. To find the next convincing line in the sand. To save the America they know.

MORE ABOUT DONALD TRUMP:

The post Donald Trump’s target for the midterms: legal immigration appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

In a small corner of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign platform sat a promise to end birthright citizenship — the policy by which any person born in the U.S. is deemed an American.

The proposal garnered little attention at the time; only a few interview clips feature candidate Trump railing against so-called “anchor babies.” But the idea resurfaced again last month when Michael Anton, a former spokesman for Trump’s National Security Council, wrote his first post-administration op-ed calling for the president to end the “absurdity” of birthright citizenship (which is embedded in the Constitution).

More recently, Fox News host Tucker Carlson took up the cause: If it’s possible, “why wouldn’t [Trump] do that?”

Why indeed? From the beginning, Trump’s campaign has aligned with the rise of anti-immigration sentiment on the right—that is, not just anti-illegal immigration, but anti all immigration, or at the very least demanding its dramatic reduction. “It’s the most anti-immigration administration since the 1920s,” said Alex Nowrasteh, the senior immigration policy analyst at the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute. The longer Trump holds office, the clearer that becomes.

In a moment long foreshadowed by the president’s unceasing focus on immigration—his Twitter feed exclamations about the border wall, deportations, MS-13 and DACA; his administration’s family separation policy and proposals to cut legal immigration by as much as 40 per cent—the fate of the U.S. midterms will likely hinge on the issue.

Two recent polls in June and July peg immigration as the top concern for voters, ahead of health care and the economy (which is doing very well).

READ MORE: Unhinged Donald Trump no longer shocks, which is shocking

Fox’s punditocracy is in lock-step. Carlson has blamed immigration for “radically and permanently changing” America and said Democrats see it as a way to seize power and hold it in a kind of a demographic “coup.”

This month, Fox host Laura Ingraham earned widespread scorn after she told her viewers, “It does seem like the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore” thanks to “massive demographic changes … foisted on the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don’t like.”

CNN’s Don Lemon accused Ingraham of “firing up white fright.” She defended her remarks and said they had “nothing to do with race or ethnicity.”

What stood out to Robert P. Jones wasn’t the ideas behind Ingraham’s comments, but their sheer transparency. “I think what’s most outstanding about it, I guess, is just how clear it is,” said Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and author of The End of White Christian America. Jones’ book was published just months before Trump’s win, and it looks at the broad demographic changes taking place in America. By 2043, the Census Bureau predicts America will be majority non-white. “This past year was the first year whites declined not just as a proportion [of the population], but in absolute numbers,” Jones told me. “We’re at a point where American children under the age of 10 are majority non-white.”

In a survey with The Atlantic last year, PRRI found that cultural anxiety among white working class voters was the greatest predictor of voting for Trump — and it’s a group that still retains strong electoral power. White adults without a college degree number 90 million and make up the majority of all white adults in America, according to 2015 Census data. “The measures we were using were things like, ‘Sometimes the county has changed so much, I feel like a stranger in my own country’ or ‘The U.S. needs protecting from foreign influence,’” Jones said. “What we can clearly document is negative attitudes towards immigrants and a sense that whites are facing as much discrimination as any other minority group,” he added.

The electoral math of a changing America certainly skews in favour of the Democratic Party, which attracts more women and non-white voters. Overall, Democrats have a 14 point lead when Americans are asked which party does a better job of dealing with immigration, according to the Pew Research Center’s recent survey. But Republicans are more likely to view immigration as the most important problem facing the nation.

READ MORE: Canada’s merit-based immigration system is no ‘magic bullet’

PRRI research has found a majority of Republicans favour stricter immigration laws of all kinds, including preventing refugees from entering the U.S. More Republicans also view demographic changes as mostly negative rather than mostly positive and believe the country has changed for the worse since the 1950s.

“No group thinks it’s changed for the worse more than white evangelical protestants—three quarters of them say things have changed for the worse since the 1950s, and they’re one of the strongest supporters of President Trump,” Jones said.

Since Trump’s election, Democratic and Republican policies on immigration have diverged widely. Democrats have become increasingly pro-immigrant—nominating progressive candidates campaigning on pro-immigration policies including abolishing ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota, who’s hoping to become the country’s first African refugee in Congress.

Meanwhile, Trump and the GOP have put legal immigration in the crosshairs by investigating alleged fraudulent citizenship claims in order to strip people of their citizenship, pushing to end the visa lottery program and family migration (also called chain migration, and the way by which Melania Trump’s parents recently immigrated to the U.S.), and lessening the number of immigrants overall, including asylum seekers.

Illegal immigrants might have been the president’s early focus, but they’re dwarfed in numbers by immigrants in the U.S. legally by a factor of four to one.

In this, Nowrasteh sees a kind of bait a switch: While Trump has been softening the ground by claiming illegal immigrants are “infesting” the nation and leading chants for a border wall, a group of ideologues led by Trump’s senior advisor Stephen Miller, Attorney General Jeff Session and the Center for Immigration Studies, a hardline immigration think tank, have taken the debate into far more extreme territory.

“It’s an elite-driven phenomenon” of people who view legal immigration as a source of economic and cultural ill, said Nowrasteh, and he believes their policies are ahead of the base. He pointed to the GOP “compromise” immigration bill as a prime example: It would have traded amnesty for what the base views as “illegals” in order to dramatically reduce legal immigration, and it failed by a large margin in the House.

One influential group is the Center for Immigration Studies. Its tagline: “Low-immigration, Pro-immigrant.” It supports an end to birthright citizenship and has supplied the Trump administration with two appointees: Ronald Mortensen as assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration at the State Department, and Jon Feere as a senior advisor at Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Andrew Arthur, the Center’s resident fellow in law and policy, said the center wants to limit immigration to solely merit-based categories and focus on assimilation. “There is a fiscal cost to the United States from immigration, particularly family-based immigration, because there’s no guarantee that those individuals will bring with them the skills and abilities,” he said in an interview. He warned of the terrorist risk posed by immigration (the center has argued illegal immigrants are a source of crime generally), and said the country needs to save entry-level jobs for Americans. He rejected outright that immigration has anything to do with race. “To conflate the terms immigration and race would be inept,” he said.

The most common findings of academic peer-reviewed research on U.S. immigration show immigrants are less likely to commit crimes, require per-capita less financial support from the government and have a very small impact on wages, Nowrasteh countered (which he’s summarized here).

“They think immigration is something that makes the U.S. less American,” Nowrasteh said. “It’s good old fashioned 19th century-style European nationalism. It’s the idea that a nation needs to be homogenous to truly realize its potential and to prosper and thrive.”

The midterms will help answer just how closely the Republican base is aligned to that thinking. But the shift was inevitable for Trump. His brand requires hard lines and extreme rhetoric, which means it’s always pushing the limits. And he campaigned as the “last chance” to elect a Republican and fix immigration “because you’re going to have people flowing over across the border” who will be legalized and vote —“once that all happens,” he said, “you can forget it.”

If voting immigrants are the GOP’s problem, ending illegal immigration solves only a fraction of it. Thus, an op-ed on birthright citizenship carries the appearance of a test balloon sent out to determine the direction of the debate. To find the next convincing line in the sand. To save the America they know.

MORE ABOUT DONALD TRUMP:

The post Donald Trump’s target for the midterms: legal immigration appeared first on Macleans.ca.

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Fact check: Diversity doesn’t make Canadians feel less Canadian

Fact check: Diversity doesn’t make Canadians feel less Canadian The outraged response to Conservative MP Maxime Bernier’s instantly notorious Tweets about the supposed dangers of “extreme multiculturalism” in Canada has been sustained long enough now that unloading yet another critical reaction might seem redundant. There’s been plenty of venting from those who value diversity as a point of principle. Conservatives angry at Bernier for weakening their party brand have had their say and then some. The case has even been made that this issue just isn’t pressing enough to fret about any further. But maybe it’s worth looking at Bernier’s claims, not from the standpoint of our convictions about what’s admirable or deplorable, or our notions of what’s politically savvy or stupid, but with an eye to data. It’s not as if his fears are new. Surely someone collected some facts before Max warned that too much diversity will “divide us into little tribes.” A good place to start is with Frank Graves, the veteran Ekos Research pollster, who fired off a Tweet that was, for my money, the most helpfully precise response to Bernier’s salvo. Graves pointed to the results of Ekos polls asking Canadians about their “sense of belonging” going back to the mid-1990s. His firm’s consistent finding: individuals reported steadily declining attachment to their ethnic groups over more than two decades, while their “personal sense of belonging” to Canada has stayed strong. “During a period of the last 20 years or so, which had the largest influx of new Canadians in our history—not per capita, but in sheer numbers, and by far the greatest influx of non-European Canadians—we see national identity remaining quite strong,” Graves told me when I followed up. “We also see ethnic attachment, which is the more important point, I think, become progressively less strong, to the point where it’s really not even in the mix as a major source of belonging.” It’s no coincidence that Graves began tracking this sort of thing in the mid-1990s. Back in 1994, the Quebec-based novelist Neil Bissoondath made a splash that even Bernier might envy with the publication of Selling Illusions: The Cult of Multiculturalism in Canada.  “The psychology and politics of multiculturalism have made divisiveness in the name of racial and ethnic rights socially acceptable,” was one Bissoondath quote Maclean’s plucked from his book at the time for a story on the uproar.
READ MORE: Don’t take Maxime Bernier’s bait
Graves remembers that controversy vividly. Indeed, he doesn’t deny that Bissoondath made a case against multiculturalism that couldn’t be dismissed out of hand. “If you just prima facie gave me the Selling Illusions thesis, I’d have to go, ‘Well, you know, it could be true’,” he said. “But we know now that it is not true. In fact, it’s the opposite.” So Bernier has disinterred a quarter-century-old argument (he even referenced what he called Justin Trudeau’s “cult of diversity,” echoing Bissoondath’s title) while seeming oblivious to decades of contrary data that have piled up in the meantime. It’s not just Graves’s polling numbers, of course. There’s lots more research into Canada’s impressive record of integrating immigrants, notably the influential 2011 paper Understanding ‘Canadian Exceptionalism’ in Immigration and Pluralism Policy by University of Southern California’s Irene Bloemraad. But polls and social-science findings, no matter how reassuring, can’t put to rest all gut-level misgivings about how diversity plays in the political sphere. For instance, lots of Canadians who like multiculturalism just fine might nevertheless be inclined to think Bernier’s got a point when he takes on party strategists. “Doing identity politics,” he says, “means trying to drum up support by appealing to specific groups on the basis of their ethnicity, religion, language, sexuality or other characteristics, instead of speaking to them as Canadians interested in the wellbeing of our country as a whole.” That’s potent. Who doesn’t like to think that democracy, at its finest, means voting for the good of country, not some enclave? Yet the best research I’ve come across shows that political parties, by targeting ethnic communities, are playing a role—no doubt unintentionally—in speeding their integration into Canadian political life, not delaying it. University of Toronto’s Phil Triadafilopoulos makes the case that Canada’s relatively fast path to citizenship, combined with high voting rates among new Canadians, along with the clustering of immigrants in key suburban ridings, forces parties to take newcomers seriously in election campaigns. The result? Quicker entry into Canadian political life in the broadest sense, and less feeling that the doors to full participation are closed. (I reported on research by Triadafilopoulas and his co-authors in this story.) Another key scholar in this field, Jeff Reitz, director of the Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies Program at University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, says Canada’s relatively brisk path to citizenship should be considered in combination with its solid record, compared to other Western democracies, when it comes to offering immigrants a decent chance, after the usual tough start in a new country, of advancing economically—and, even more importantly, seeing their children get decent educations and land good jobs. That’s not just Canadian boosterism. A 2015 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development report, to pluck just one more bit of evidence, found that the children of immigrants are actually more likely in Canada to pursue higher education than the kids of native-born parents. That’s true also in Britain and Israel, but the reverse holds in all other OECD countries. Reitz says the “nuts and bolts of everyday life” factors—getting through school, finding a job, not having to worry about health care—matter far more than any direct government funding meant to foster multiculturalism. “While recognition and support of minority cultures seems key to the philosophical justification of multiculturalism,” he wrote in a 2013 paper, “any directly related policies appear to have little effect ‘on the ground’ either positive or negative.” If Reitz has it right, then critics of government spending on multiculturalism programs have a reasonable point to make. In fact, that’s the sort of tack those who grew to like Maxime Bernier during the Stephen Harper era, when he was styling himself a small-government, low-spending conservative, might have expected him to take. Instead, these days he’s asking his fans to follow him down a path where known facts just don’t lead.

MORE ABOUT MAXIME BERNIER:

The post Fact check: Diversity doesn’t make Canadians feel less Canadian appeared first on Macleans.ca.

. The outraged response to Conservative MP Maxime Bernier’s instantly notorious Tweets about the supposed dangers of “extreme multiculturalism” in Canada has been sustained long enough now that unloading yet another critical reaction might seem redundant. There’s been plenty of venting from those who value diversity as a point of principle. Conservatives angry at Bernier for weakening their party brand have had their say and then some. The case has even been made that this issue just isn’t pressing enough to fret about any further. But maybe it’s worth looking at Bernier’s claims, not from the standpoint of our convictions about what’s admirable or deplorable, or our notions of what’s politically savvy or stupid, but with an eye to data. It’s not as if his fears are new. Surely someone collected some facts before Max warned that too much diversity will “divide us into little tribes.” A good place to start is with Frank Graves, the veteran Ekos Research pollster, who fired off a Tweet that was, for my money, the most helpfully precise response to Bernier’s salvo. Graves pointed to the results of Ekos polls asking Canadians about their “sense of belonging” going back to the mid-1990s. His firm’s consistent finding: individuals reported steadily declining attachment to their ethnic groups over more than two decades, while their “personal sense of belonging” to Canada has stayed strong. “During a period of the last 20 years or so, which had the largest influx of new Canadians in our history—not per capita, but in sheer numbers, and by far the greatest influx of non-European Canadians—we see national identity remaining quite strong,” Graves told me when I followed up. “We also see ethnic attachment, which is the more important point, I think, become progressively less strong, to the point where it’s really not even in the mix as a major source of belonging.” It’s no coincidence that Graves began tracking this sort of thing in the mid-1990s. Back in 1994, the Quebec-based novelist Neil Bissoondath made a splash that even Bernier might envy with the publication of Selling Illusions: The Cult of Multiculturalism in Canada.  “The psychology and politics of multiculturalism have made divisiveness in the name of racial and ethnic rights socially acceptable,” was one Bissoondath quote Maclean’s plucked from his book at the time for a story on the uproar.
READ MORE: Don’t take Maxime Bernier’s bait
Graves remembers that controversy vividly. Indeed, he doesn’t deny that Bissoondath made a case against multiculturalism that couldn’t be dismissed out of hand. “If you just prima facie gave me the Selling Illusions thesis, I’d have to go, ‘Well, you know, it could be true’,” he said. “But we know now that it is not true. In fact, it’s the opposite.” So Bernier has disinterred a quarter-century-old argument (he even referenced what he called Justin Trudeau’s “cult of diversity,” echoing Bissoondath’s title) while seeming oblivious to decades of contrary data that have piled up in the meantime. It’s not just Graves’s polling numbers, of course. There’s lots more research into Canada’s impressive record of integrating immigrants, notably the influential 2011 paper Understanding ‘Canadian Exceptionalism’ in Immigration and Pluralism Policy by University of Southern California’s Irene Bloemraad. But polls and social-science findings, no matter how reassuring, can’t put to rest all gut-level misgivings about how diversity plays in the political sphere. For instance, lots of Canadians who like multiculturalism just fine might nevertheless be inclined to think Bernier’s got a point when he takes on party strategists. “Doing identity politics,” he says, “means trying to drum up support by appealing to specific groups on the basis of their ethnicity, religion, language, sexuality or other characteristics, instead of speaking to them as Canadians interested in the wellbeing of our country as a whole.” That’s potent. Who doesn’t like to think that democracy, at its finest, means voting for the good of country, not some enclave? Yet the best research I’ve come across shows that political parties, by targeting ethnic communities, are playing a role—no doubt unintentionally—in speeding their integration into Canadian political life, not delaying it. University of Toronto’s Phil Triadafilopoulos makes the case that Canada’s relatively fast path to citizenship, combined with high voting rates among new Canadians, along with the clustering of immigrants in key suburban ridings, forces parties to take newcomers seriously in election campaigns. The result? Quicker entry into Canadian political life in the broadest sense, and less feeling that the doors to full participation are closed. (I reported on research by Triadafilopoulas and his co-authors in this story.) Another key scholar in this field, Jeff Reitz, director of the Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies Program at University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, says Canada’s relatively brisk path to citizenship should be considered in combination with its solid record, compared to other Western democracies, when it comes to offering immigrants a decent chance, after the usual tough start in a new country, of advancing economically—and, even more importantly, seeing their children get decent educations and land good jobs. That’s not just Canadian boosterism. A 2015 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development report, to pluck just one more bit of evidence, found that the children of immigrants are actually more likely in Canada to pursue higher education than the kids of native-born parents. That’s true also in Britain and Israel, but the reverse holds in all other OECD countries. Reitz says the “nuts and bolts of everyday life” factors—getting through school, finding a job, not having to worry about health care—matter far more than any direct government funding meant to foster multiculturalism. “While recognition and support of minority cultures seems key to the philosophical justification of multiculturalism,” he wrote in a 2013 paper, “any directly related policies appear to have little effect ‘on the ground’ either positive or negative.” If Reitz has it right, then critics of government spending on multiculturalism programs have a reasonable point to make. In fact, that’s the sort of tack those who grew to like Maxime Bernier during the Stephen Harper era, when he was styling himself a small-government, low-spending conservative, might have expected him to take. Instead, these days he’s asking his fans to follow him down a path where known facts just don’t lead.

MORE ABOUT MAXIME BERNIER:

The post Fact check: Diversity doesn’t make Canadians feel less Canadian appeared first on Macleans.ca.

. The outraged response to Conservative MP Maxime Bernier’s instantly notorious Tweets about the supposed dangers of “extreme multiculturalism” in Canada has been sustained long enough now that unloading yet another critical reaction might seem redundant. There’s been plenty of venting from those who value diversity as a point of principle. Conservatives angry at Bernier for weakening their party brand have had their say and then some. The case has even been made that this issue just isn’t pressing enough to fret about any further. But maybe it’s worth looking at Bernier’s claims, not from the standpoint of our convictions about what’s admirable or deplorable, or our notions of what’s politically savvy or stupid, but with an eye to data. It’s not as if his fears are new. Surely someone collected some facts before Max warned that too much diversity will “divide us into little tribes.” A good place to start is with Frank Graves, the veteran Ekos Research pollster, who fired off a Tweet that was, for my money, the most helpfully precise response to Bernier’s salvo. Graves pointed to the results of Ekos polls asking Canadians about their “sense of belonging” going back to the mid-1990s. His firm’s consistent finding: individuals reported steadily declining attachment to their ethnic groups over more than two decades, while their “personal sense of belonging” to Canada has stayed strong. “During a period of the last 20 years or so, which had the largest influx of new Canadians in our history—not per capita, but in sheer numbers, and by far the greatest influx of non-European Canadians—we see national identity remaining quite strong,” Graves told me when I followed up. “We also see ethnic attachment, which is the more important point, I think, become progressively less strong, to the point where it’s really not even in the mix as a major source of belonging.” It’s no coincidence that Graves began tracking this sort of thing in the mid-1990s. Back in 1994, the Quebec-based novelist Neil Bissoondath made a splash that even Bernier might envy with the publication of Selling Illusions: The Cult of Multiculturalism in Canada.  “The psychology and politics of multiculturalism have made divisiveness in the name of racial and ethnic rights socially acceptable,” was one Bissoondath quote Maclean’s plucked from his book at the time for a story on the uproar.
READ MORE: Don’t take Maxime Bernier’s bait
Graves remembers that controversy vividly. Indeed, he doesn’t deny that Bissoondath made a case against multiculturalism that couldn’t be dismissed out of hand. “If you just prima facie gave me the Selling Illusions thesis, I’d have to go, ‘Well, you know, it could be true’,” he said. “But we know now that it is not true. In fact, it’s the opposite.” So Bernier has disinterred a quarter-century-old argument (he even referenced what he called Justin Trudeau’s “cult of diversity,” echoing Bissoondath’s title) while seeming oblivious to decades of contrary data that have piled up in the meantime. It’s not just Graves’s polling numbers, of course. There’s lots more research into Canada’s impressive record of integrating immigrants, notably the influential 2011 paper Understanding ‘Canadian Exceptionalism’ in Immigration and Pluralism Policy by University of Southern California’s Irene Bloemraad. But polls and social-science findings, no matter how reassuring, can’t put to rest all gut-level misgivings about how diversity plays in the political sphere. For instance, lots of Canadians who like multiculturalism just fine might nevertheless be inclined to think Bernier’s got a point when he takes on party strategists. “Doing identity politics,” he says, “means trying to drum up support by appealing to specific groups on the basis of their ethnicity, religion, language, sexuality or other characteristics, instead of speaking to them as Canadians interested in the wellbeing of our country as a whole.” That’s potent. Who doesn’t like to think that democracy, at its finest, means voting for the good of country, not some enclave? Yet the best research I’ve come across shows that political parties, by targeting ethnic communities, are playing a role—no doubt unintentionally—in speeding their integration into Canadian political life, not delaying it. University of Toronto’s Phil Triadafilopoulos makes the case that Canada’s relatively fast path to citizenship, combined with high voting rates among new Canadians, along with the clustering of immigrants in key suburban ridings, forces parties to take newcomers seriously in election campaigns. The result? Quicker entry into Canadian political life in the broadest sense, and less feeling that the doors to full participation are closed. (I reported on research by Triadafilopoulas and his co-authors in this story.) Another key scholar in this field, Jeff Reitz, director of the Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies Program at University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, says Canada’s relatively brisk path to citizenship should be considered in combination with its solid record, compared to other Western democracies, when it comes to offering immigrants a decent chance, after the usual tough start in a new country, of advancing economically—and, even more importantly, seeing their children get decent educations and land good jobs. That’s not just Canadian boosterism. A 2015 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development report, to pluck just one more bit of evidence, found that the children of immigrants are actually more likely in Canada to pursue higher education than the kids of native-born parents. That’s true also in Britain and Israel, but the reverse holds in all other OECD countries. Reitz says the “nuts and bolts of everyday life” factors—getting through school, finding a job, not having to worry about health care—matter far more than any direct government funding meant to foster multiculturalism. “While recognition and support of minority cultures seems key to the philosophical justification of multiculturalism,” he wrote in a 2013 paper, “any directly related policies appear to have little effect ‘on the ground’ either positive or negative.” If Reitz has it right, then critics of government spending on multiculturalism programs have a reasonable point to make. In fact, that’s the sort of tack those who grew to like Maxime Bernier during the Stephen Harper era, when he was styling himself a small-government, low-spending conservative, might have expected him to take. Instead, these days he’s asking his fans to follow him down a path where known facts just don’t lead.

MORE ABOUT MAXIME BERNIER:

The post Fact check: Diversity doesn’t make Canadians feel less Canadian appeared first on Macleans.ca.

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