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14th National
Metropolis Conference

Westin Harbour Castle, Toronoto, Ontario
Feb 29th - March 3, 2012

 
 
 

Metropolis International

   
   
 
 
   
 

SUBJECT:

The English Riots of 2011

Background

Between August 6th and August 10th, England witnessed a surge of riots and looting that claimed the lives of five individuals and, according to the Association of British Insurers, caused over £200 million in damages. A public demonstration to commemorate Mark Duggan, a black Tottenham resident shot by police, escalated into riots that quickly spread throughout London and beyond.

There have been conflicting perspectives on the factors that led to the riots, with reported causes ranging from the political to the socio-economic and to the racial. Although Prime Minister Cameron concluded that it was opportunistic crime, not race or poverty, that was responsible for the riots, other explanations have been offered by equally serious observers. One recurring explanation involves the so-called 'failure' of multiculturalism, an explanation that invites comparisons between the 2011 English riots with the 2005 French riots which followed the killing of two young immigrants by police. Meanwhile, a further alternative account emphasizes the long-running socioeconomic divides within England and the implications of recent budget cuts on all low-income communities and their young people. To this end, this Metropolis Ask the Experts seeks opinion on the following two questions:

  1. Did immigration and diversity play a significant role in the 2011 English riots?

  2. Are there lessons to be drawn from the causal factors underlying these riots that other societies ought to observe to avoid similar problems there?

ANSWERS:

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah
Ph.D Candidate,
Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies,
University of Toronto
More...

 

Matt Cavanagh
Associate Director, IPPR
www.ippr.org
More...

   
   
 

SUBJECT:

Extremism and Multiculturalism - June 4, 2010

Background

As a result of recent developments in Surrey, BC and Toronto, there have been claims in the media that Sikh extremism is on the rise in Canada. One of the explanations put forward is that “Canada’s polite brand of multiculturalism policy gives extremists the space to nurture old grudges brought from their homelands.” Can we make a link between multiculturalism and extremism? Is there really a surge in Sikh extremism? If there is, what are other potential explanations for an alleged surge in hatred between or within ethnic groups that could threaten Canada’s social cohesion or lead to violence? Is this reported hatred home-grown or is it the result of an imported conflict? Are there other ethno-cultural groups at risk?

Article of Interest

ANSWERS:

Baha Abu-Laban
Director Emeritus, Prairie Metropolis Centre
University of Alberta
More...
  Phil Ryan
Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration,
Carleton University
More...
     
Jagjeet Kaur
PhD Candidate, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education,
University of Toronto
Instructor, Ryerson University
More...
  Lorne Dawson
Professor, Department of Sociology,
University of Waterloo
More...
     
Dr. Paul Bramadat
Director, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society,
University of Victoria
http://csrs.uvic.ca/
More...
  Valérie Amiraux
Professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Montreal
Canada Research Chair for the study of religious pluralism and ethnicity, CEETUM Co-director of IM Domain 5 Justice, Police, Security (Québec)
More...
   
   
 

SUBJECT:

On May 22, 2008, the Commissioners Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor tabled their final report entitled Fonder l’avenir : Le temps de la conciliation. After having surveyed the Quebec population by organizing public hearings in all the regions and compiled position papers drafted by citizens, they made eighty-four recommendations. These relate to the learning of diversity, harmonization practices, immigrant integration, interculturalism, French language, inequalities and discrimination, laicity, and research to further. Two years later, in the midst of a new debate on the wearing of the niqab in certain areas of the public space (like in public teaching establishments), what is the relevance of Taylor and Bouchard’s recommendations towards this specific issue? Are the Quebec society common values, and their application, being redefined in the province’s institutions?

ANSWERS:

Gilles Paquet, Maryse Potvin

 
   
 

SUBJECT:

Bouchard-Taylor Commission's Legacy with regards to the Recent Debate on the Niqab ~ May 11, 2010

Background

On May 22, 2008, the Commissioners Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor tabled their final report entitled Fonder l’avenir : Le temps de la conciliation. After having surveyed the Quebec population by organizing public hearings in all the regions and compiled position papers drafted by citizens, they made eighty-four recommendations. These relate to the learning of diversity, harmonization practices, immigrant integration, interculturalism, French language, inequalities and discrimination, laicity, and research to further. Two years later, in the midst of a new debate on the wearing of the niqab in certain areas of the public space (like in public teaching establishments), what is the relevance of Taylor and Bouchard’s recommendations towards this specific issue? Are the Quebec society common values, and their application, being redefined in the province’s institutions.

ANSWERS:

Gilles Paquet
Centre on Governance
University of Ottawa
April 2010

The Bouchard-Taylor report, like 15th century maps, is elegant but not very helpful to navigation in rough times. To throw light on debates and to help arriving at better decisions, it is not sufficient to generate an indigestible tome, and to put forward dozens of recommendations. Often, in such ventures, the commissioners have a propensity to arrive at certain conclusions in their haste to bring the conversation to a halt, and to  impose what experts call “final solutions”. This is an anti-democratic resolution.
More...


Maryse Potvin,
Professor, UQAM
May 2010

Since the Bouchard-Taylor Commission tabled its report in May 2008, you can count on the fingers of one hand how many of the report’s 84 recommendations have been implemented by the Liberal government. After the report was tabled, Immigration and Cultural Communities Minister Yolande James tried (to no avail) to steer through a watered-down version of a government policy to combat racism and discrimination that had been promised since 2006. Indeed, just days before the November 2008 elections were called, Quebec’s Liberal government announced, to the collective yawn of the media and public, a policy entitled: “La diversité : une valeur ajoutée. Politique gouvernementale pour favoriser la participation de tous à l’essor du Québec” (Diversity: a value added. Government policy to foster universal participation in Quebec’s growth).
More...
   
   
 

SUBJECT:

The Canadian census of 2006 reports that 16.2% of the Canadian population are members of a visible minority. This represents one in six Canadians. By 2017, Statistics Canada predicts that Canada's visible minority population will number 1 in 5. What implications does this development have for public policy on immigration, integration and diversity? What should policy makers be attending to?

ANSWERS:

Randall Hansen, , Dan Heibert, , Annick Germain
   
   
 

SUBJECT:

Based on the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada reported, "Earnings disparities between recent immigrants and Canadian-born workers increased not only during the two previous decades, but also between 2000 and 2005." Why is this happening and can we expect the trend to slow or to continue?

ANSWERS:

Don Devoretz,  Valerie Preston

 

 

     
   
 
   
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