CBC-Angus Reid Institute poll: Canadians want minorities to do more to ‘fit in’

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Source: CBC News

As a divisive election tears Americans apart over questions of race and immigration, a CBC News poll suggests Canadians are right in believing they think very differently than their U.S. neighbours when it comes to multiculturalism.

In fact, we’re more likely to think minorities should assimilate.

In a national polling partnership between CBC and the Angus Reid Institute, 68 per cent of Canadian respondents said minorities should be doing more to fit in with mainstream society instead of keeping their own customs and languages.

The same question was put to Americans, with only 53 per cent of respondents saying minorities need to better adjust.

The Canadian response represents a hardening of attitudes away from multiculturalism over time.

“It does seem like a very surprising finding, especially when you consider this is a country that has been living with 45 years of official multiculturalism as government policy,” said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute.

“It is maybe not what conventional wisdom might expect. But what these findings show is there are real limits on what Canadians — regardless of their own heritage or walk of life — are prepared to put up with in terms of accommodation and the sense of the mosaic versus the melting pot.”

‘Something that bears watching’

The online survey was conducted in early September from a sample of 3,904 Canadians. The results have a 2.5 per cent margin of error 19 times out of 20.

Researchers surveyed 2,393 American voters during the same period. Those results have a two per cent margin of error 19 times out of 20.

The poll was conducted in the wake of a series of issues that dogged politicians as they contested last year’s federal election: a proposed ban on niqabs in public service; the Syrian refugee crisis; and terrorist attacks both in Europe and on Parliament Hill.

The results also hint at why Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch believes she may be onto a winning issue by asking supporters their thoughts on vetting would-be immigrants and refugees for “anti-Canadian values.”

According to the poll, two-thirds of Canadians say they’re “satisfied” with how well new immigrants are integrating into their communities.

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