Electoral Politics and Immigration in Canada: How Does Immigration Matter?

Article

Abstract

The conventional wisdom about the relationship between immigration and national electoral politics in Canada, albeit based on limited research, is that immigration is non-partisan and does not feature prominently during election campaigns. This paper examines the last two federal elections, in 2004 and 2006, employing a multi-pronged approach to party platform, media and survey analysis, in order to determine if immigration is discussed and, if so, how. It finds a political debate does take place but is not easily discernible using traditional research methods. This discourse is framed in terms of alternatives of inclusion, and not exclusion, something facilitated by the complexity of the Canadian immigration programme and the geographical and political landscape, and appears to be especially evident during more competitive elections.

Keywords

Canadian immigration Elections Political parties Media Candidates 

Résumé

Les vues reçues traditionnelles sur le rapport entre l’immigration et la politique électorale nationale au Canada, reposant sur des recherches limitées, veulent que l’immigration soit un sujet non-partisan qui ne figure pas de manière évidente pendant les campagnes électorales. Cet article traite des deux dernières élections fédérales (2004 et 2006) et adopte une approche concertée sur les programmes électoraux, les médias et l’analyse de sondages, pour déterminer dans quelle mesure et de quelle façon l’immigration y est évoquée. Les résultats indiquent qu’un débat politique a effectivement lieu, mais qu’il n’est pas facile à repérer par les méthodes de recherche traditionnelles. Ce discours repose sur des options portant sur l’inclusion et non l’exclusion, une orientation qui facilitent la complexité du programme canadien en matière d’immigration ainsi que le paysage géographique et politique. Il semble particulièrement évident pendant les élections où la concurrence est plus acharnée.

Mots clés

Immigration canadienne Élections Partis politiques Médias Candidats 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Département de science politiqueUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

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