Dimensions of Multicultural Diversity: Immigrants, Indigenous People and Support for Redistribution in Canada
Lecture by Prof. Keith Banting (Queens University, Kingston, CA)
Analyses of the relationship between ethnic diversity and solidarity seldom distinguish between different forms of ethnic difference, such as the distinction between racial minority immigrants and indigenous peoples. By making this distinction, this study qualifies the findings of early studies of the relationship between ethnic diversity and solidarity in Canada. Early studies presented a reassuring picture, finding virtually no evidence of the majority population turning away from redistribution because some of the beneficiaries are “strangers”. However, distinguishing between immigrants and Aboriginal people shows a darker side to Canadian attitudes. Perceptions of heavy immigrant reliance on welfare are associated with an increase in support for redistribution generally. But perceptions of heavy Aboriginal reliance on welfare are associated with lower support not just for social assistance but for entire welfare stateincluding universal programs such as health care. The presentation will reflect on possible explanations of such a marked difference, and on the implications for multiculturalism policies for immigrants on one hand and indigenous peoples on the other.