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Maclean’s on the Hill: What’s driving anti-immigrant sentiment?

Catch up on your #cdnpoli on this last long weekend of summer


 

podcast

Each week, the Maclean’s Ottawa bureau sits down with Cormac Mac Sweeney to discuss the headlines of the week. This week, anti-immigrant sentiment has gained momentum in voter bases around the world in recent years, but what exactly is triggering that trend? That’s the question that a new academic study has tried to answer. We get the details from the lead author.

He’s been considered one of the best experts on the inner workings of the federal government, but after decades of work in Ottawa and in academia, David Zussman is retiring. He sits down for an exit interview to discuss his work, and provide insight on how our recent prime ministers ran the show.

Could Canada soon have gender-neutral passports? The federal government says it’s reviewing the gender requirements for federally issued identification. We speak with a transgender rights activist who says a change is long overdue.

Parliament Hill marks a sombre anniversary this year: 100 years since the fire that burned Centre Block to the ground. While the blaze was devastating, it actually allowed a phoenix to rise from the ashes. Maclean’s Ottawa Bureau Chief John Geddes learned more in conversation with the curator of the House of Commons.

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The full episode


Part 1. What’s driving global anti-immigrant sentiment?

Supporters of anti-immigration right-wing movement PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) take part in in demonstration rally, in reaction to mass assaults on women on New Year's Eve, in Cologne, Germany, January 9, 2016. Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters

Supporters of anti-immigration right-wing movement PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) take part in in demonstration rally, in reaction to mass assaults on women on New Year’s Eve, in Cologne, Germany, January 9, 2016. Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters

Anti-immigrant sentiment has gained momentum in voter bases around the world in recent years, but what exactly is triggering that trend? That’s the question that a new academic study has tried to answer. We get the details from the lead author.


Part 2. How have Canadian prime ministers run the show?

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, attends a news conference where he conceded victory on election day in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party has swept into office with a surprise majority, ousting Prime Minister Stephen Harper and capping the biggest comeback election victory in Canadian history. (Ben Nelms/Bloomerg/Getty Images)

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, attends a news conference where he conceded victory on election day in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party has swept into office with a surprise majority, ousting Prime Minister Stephen Harper and capping the biggest comeback election victory in Canadian history. (Ben Nelms/Bloomerg/Getty Images)

He’s been considered one of the best experts on the inner workings of the federal government, but after decades of work in Ottawa and in academia, David Zussman is retiring. He sits down for an exit interview to discuss his work, and provide insight on how our recent prime ministers ran the show.


Part 3. Are gender-neutral passports coming to Canada?

A sign marks the entrance to a gender neutral restroom at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt., Thursday, Aug. 23, 2007. (Toby Talbot/AP/CP)

A sign marks the entrance to a gender neutral restroom at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt., Thursday, Aug. 23, 2007. (Toby Talbot/AP/CP)

Could Canada soon have gender-neutral passports? The federal government says it’s reviewing the gender requirements for federally issued identification. We speak with a transgender rights activist who says a change is long overdue.


Part 4. The phoenix that rose from Parliament’s ashes in 1916

The Parliament buildings in Ottawa the morning after the Great Fire of 1916. Ottawa, Canada. Image first published in The New York Times, Feb. 13, 1916 issue. (Underwood and Underwood, N.Y.)

The Parliament buildings in Ottawa the morning after the Great Fire of 1916. Ottawa, Canada. Image first published in The New York Times, Feb. 13, 1916 issue. (Underwood and Underwood, N.Y.)

Parliament Hill marks a sombre anniversary this year: 100 years since the fire that burned Centre Block to the ground. While the blaze was devastating, it actually allowed a phoenix to rise from the ashes. Maclean’s Ottawa Bureau Chief John Geddes learned more in conversation with the curator of the House of Commons.


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Maclean’s on the Hill: What’s driving anti-immigrant sentiment?

  1. For a country made up, mostly, of immigrants, academic studies of anti-immigrant sentiment may be useful, but it misses the point. The term ‘anti-immigrant’ is quite misleading because the problem is islamophobia. One can stroll the streets of any city in Canada and randomly stop people with the question, “Are you worried about the German and Chinese, et al, immigrants that we see?” The answer would, invariably, be positive. But if the question included Muslims, then, the answers would be very negative. This requires little further academic study because Islam is viewed as an invasive cultural force … and multiculturalism is a hypothetical construct.

    Naturally, it is wonderful if immigrants maintain connections to their heritage but, strolling the same streets, if I should ask (for example) someone from China, ‘Are you a Chinese-Canadian, a Canadian-Chinese, a Canadian, or Chinese?’ There should be only one answer (assuming non-tourist or temporary student), ‘I am a Canadian’.

  2. For a country made up, mostly, of immigrants, academic studies of anti-immigrant sentiment may be useful, but it misses the point. The term ‘anti-immigrant’ is quite misleading because the problem is islamophobia. One can stroll the streets of any city in Canada and randomly stop people with the question, “Are you worried about the German and Chinese, et al, immigrants that we see?” The answer would, invariably, be positive. But if the question included Muslims, then, the answers would be very negative. This requires little further academic study because Islam is viewed as an invasive cultural force … and multiculturalism is a hypothetical construct.

    Naturally, it is wonderful if immigrants maintain connections to their heritage but, strolling the same streets, if I should ask (for example) someone from China, ‘Are you a Chinese-Canadian, a Canadian-Chinese, a Canadian, or Chinese?’ There should be only one answer (assuming non-tourist or temporary student), ‘I am a Canadian’.

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