Immigration Debate in Canada: How Newspapers Reported, 1996–2004

  • Harald BauderEmail author


Media representations shape public opinion of immigration, affect policy debate, and influence immigration law. This paper examines media coverage of immigration in the context of the development and conception of the Canadian 2002 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The paper performs a topoi analysis on a data set of 490 articles published in five prominent Canadian English-language daily newspapers that address aspects of immigration law. The results reveal that danger is the most frequent and a relatively consistent theme associated with immigration in media coverage. Cultural aspects are relatively unimportant compared to humanitarian, political, and economic considerations.


Media discourse Immigration debate Immigration law Danger Canada Topoi 


Les observations des médias forment l’opinion publique sur l’immigration, affectent les débats d’orientation et influencent le droit de l’immigration. Cet article étudie la couverture médiatique de l’immigration dans le contexte du développement et de la conception de la Loi canadienne sur l’immigration et la protection des réfugiés de 2002. Une analyse topoi a été effectuée sur un ensemble de données consistant en 490 articles portant sur des aspects du droit de l’immigration et publiés dans cinq quotidiens canadiens anglais. Les résultats indiquent que le thème qui revient le plus souvent et de façon relativement constante dans la couverture médiatique sur l’immigration est celui du danger. Les aspects culturels de la question semblent peu importants par rapport aux considérations humanitaires, politiques et économiques.

Mots clés

Discours médiatique Débat sur l’immigration Droit de l’immigration Danger Canada Topoi 



The research was made possible by a grant from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. I thank James Christison, Sophia Lowe, Genevieve Gilbert, and Jennifer Herne for research assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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