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Curtis Rafter| Published by iPolitics

April 17, 2018

Canadians Believe Multiculturalism is Country’s Key Global Contribution: Study

In the wake of announced legislative changes designed to better welcome immigrants with disabilities to Canada, a new survey indicates that Canadians believe the country’s main global contribution is its ability to welcome people from elsewhere.

Canada’s World Survey – conducted by the Environics Institute for Survey Research, the Canadian International Council, SFU Public Square, and the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History – finds that Canadians generally perceive the nation as a positive force in the world and that Canada has increasingly become defined by inclusiveness and multiculturalism, perhaps more so than its peacekeeping efforts.

“Multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion are increasingly seen by Canadians as their country’s most notable contribution to the world. It is now less about peacekeeping and foreign aid, and more about who we are now becoming as people and how we get along with each other,” the study indicates.

Canadians also feel as though a neighbourly immigration policy is the best way for the country to exert influence internationally.

“Canadians cite our traditions and policies of bilingualism, multiculturalism and mutual accommodation as key achievements. They also note our acceptance of immigrants and refugees from around the planet,” notes Michael Adams, President of the Environics Institute in a piece for the Globe and Mail.

The survey asked over 1,500 Canadians aged 18 and older about their attitudes and perceptions of Canada as part of the global order. In particular, Canadians were asked about how they relate to the broader world, their perception of top global issues, and how they view Canada’s role in world affairs.

The report identifies the following key insights:

  • Young Canadians adamantly believe that Canada’s most positive contribution to the world is accepting immigrants and refugees.
  • Foreign-born Canadians are more engaged in world affairs and are more likely to see Canada playing an influential role on the world stage.
  • Education is a key factor in determining how engaged a person is with the world.

The shift from a focus on peacekeeping and aid to diversity and inclusiveness has been a gradual one, though Canada’s response to the recent refugee crisis has facilitated the transition.

“Over the past few decades Canadians have come to fully recognize their country’s multicultural diversity,” says Keith Neuman of the Environics Institute. He adds that Canada’s decision to take in “30,000 Syrian refugees has galvanized this trend.”

This article was originally published on the iPolitics on April 17, 2018. 

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