English, French hold differing views on integration of newcomers: poll

While both hold positive views of immigrants, they are divided on how newcomers should assimilate, according to surveys conducted by Léger.

As the nation celebrates Canadian Multiculturalism Day on Wednesday, a new survey finds that anglophone and francophone Quebecers hold very different views on how newcomers should integrate, and particularly on whether female police officers should be allowed to wear hijabs.

While a majority of both groups said they held positive views of immigrants, francophones were more likely to respond in the affirmative when asked whether immigrants should give up their customs and traditions, or if the influx of non-Christian immigrants posed a threat to society.

At the same time, despite much debate in the province over the difference between the federal policy of “multiculturalism”, which encourages minority groups to maintain their cultural identities, and the Quebec push to embrace “interculturalism,” which emphasizes that French culture is dominant and encourages different groups to interact, the survey found that few Quebecers make the distinction between the two schools of thought.

“For all the talk that the politicians and academics have been pounding away at for the last 15 to 20 years about this big distinction between our two models and approaches, the public simply doesn’t understand the difference,” said Jack Jedwab, vice-president of the Association for Canadian Studies. [Montreal Gazette] Read more