Canadian Multiculturalism During the Harper Governments (2006–2015): Diachronic Variance and the Importance of Electoral Outcomes

  • Arjun Tremblay
Part of the Palgrave Politics of Identity and Citizenship Series book series ( CAL)


This chapter takes the first step in developing the book’s hypothesis. It highlights multicultural policy developments that took place in Canada between 2006 and 2015. It points out the paradox that the first (2006–2008) and second (2008–2011) Harper Conservative governments continued to implement multiculturalism and even maintained previous levels of public expenditures on Canada’s multiculturalism program. It shows that Canada began to experience a real and overt retreat from multiculturalism under the third Harper Conservative government (2011–2015). Based on this evidence, the chapter draws preliminary theoretical propositions about electoral results and multicultural outcomes as well as on the role of veto players and policy design as additional impediments to multicultural retreat.


  1. Banting, Keith, Dick Johnston, Will Kymlicka, and Stuart Soroka. 2006. Do Multiculturalism Policies Erode the Welfare State? An Empirical Analysis. In Multiculturalism and the Welfare State: Recognition, Redistribution in Contemporary Democracies, ed. Keith Banting and Will Kymlicka, 49–91. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barber, John. 2015. Veil Debate Becomes Big Issue in Canada Election, Putting Conservatives into Lead. The Guardian, October 1. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  3. Beauvais, Caroline, and Jane Jenson. 2002. Social Cohesion: Updating the State of the Research. Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Networks.Google Scholar
  4. Behiels, Michael D. 2010. Stephen Harper’s Rise to Power: Will His “New” Conservative Party Become Canada’s “Natural Governing Party” of the Twenty-First Century? American Review of Canadian Studies 40 (1): 118–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bélanger, Éric. 2004. Antipartyism and Third-Party Vote Choice: A Comparison of Canada, Britain, and Australia. Comparative Political Studies 37 (9): 1054–1078.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Black, Debra. 2015. Court Challenge Slams New Citizenship Act as ‘Anti-Canadian’. The Toronto Star, August 20. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  7. Bradbury, Danny. 2015. Lynton Crosby ‘Bemused’ at Reports of Involvement in Canadian Elections. Sydney Morning Herald, October 22. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  8. Browne, Rachel. 2015. Critics Fear Bill C-51 Could Lead to Unintended Consequences. Maclean’s, January 30. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  9. Canadian Alliance. 2000. A Time for Change: An Agenda for All Canadians, the Plan. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  10. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s 27, Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, Being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c. 11.Google Scholar
  11. Chartrand, Yves. 2006. Un seul «Joyeux Noël», celui de Mario Dumont. Journal de Montreal, December 15.
  12. Chase, Steven, and Daniel Leblanc. 2013. ‘Little-Known War’ of 1812 a Big Deal for Ottawa. The Globe and Mail, April 27. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  13. Chung, Emily. 2014. Foreign Scientists Call on Stephen Harper to Restore Science Funding, Freedom. CBC News, October 20. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  14. Clark, Campbell. 2015. Trudeau Vows to Repeal Parts of Bill C-51. The Globe and Mail, June 18. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  15. Clarke, Harold D., Allan Kornberg, John MacLeod, and Thomas Scotto. 2005. Too Close to Call: Political Choice in Canada, 2004. PS: Political Science & Politics 38 (2): 247–253.Google Scholar
  16. Conservative Party of Canada. 2006. Stand Up For Canada: Conservative Party of Canada Federal Election Platform. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  17. Conservative Party of Canada. 2008. The True North Strong and Free: Stephen Harper’s Plan for Canadians. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  18. Conservative Party of Canada. 2011. Here for Canada: Stephen Harper’s Low-Tax Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  19. CTV News Ottawa. 2015. Harperman a Hit on the Hill. September 17. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  20. Duceppe, Gilles. 2011. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  21. Farney, James H. 2012. Social Conservatives and Party Politics in Canada and the United States. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fitz-Morris, James. 2015. Liberals Struggle with Election Promises, Tories with Tone. CBC News, November 19. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  23. Forbes, Hugh Donald. 2007. Trudeau as the First Theorist of Canadian Multiculturalism. In Multiculturalism and the Canadian Constitution, ed. Stephen Tierney, 27–42. Vancover: University of British Columbia Press.Google Scholar
  24. Gagnon, Alain-G., and Raffaele Iacovino. 2004. Interculturalism: Expanding the Boundaries of Citizenship. In Quebec: State and Society, 3rd ed., ed. Alain-G. Gagnon. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  25. Galloway, Gloria. 2011. How Stephen Harper’s Second Minority Government Will Fall. The Globe and Mail, March 25. Accessed November 16, 2018.
  26. Garbaye, Romain. 2014. Du multiculturalisme à la «crise de l’intégration»: regards croisés entre le Canada et la Grande-Bretagne. Miranda. Accessed November 16, 2018.
  27. Geddes, John. 2013. How Stephen Harper Is Rewriting History. Maclean’s, July 29. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  28. Gee, Eric Andrew. 2015. Conservatives Vow to Establish ‘Barbaric Cultural Practices’ Tip Line. The Globe and Mail, October 26. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  29. Giasson, Thierry, Colette Brin, and Marie-Michele Sauvageau. 2010. Le Bon, La Brute Et Le Raciste. Analyse De La Couverture Médiatique De L’opinion Publique Pendant La «crise» Des Accommodements Raisonnables Au Québec. Canadian Journal of Political Science 43 (2): 379–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gollom, Mark. 2015. Munk Leaders’ Debate: Harper, Trudeau Battle over Bill to Revoke Citizenship. CBC News, September 29. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  31. Government of Canada. 2006. Communications Policy: “Policy Objective”. August 1. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  32. Greene, Ian, and David Shugarman. 2006. Review Essay: Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities, Phase I Report and Phase II Report. Canadian Public Administration 49 (2): 220–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hall, Peter A., and Rosemary C.R. Taylor. 1996. Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms. Political Studies 44 (5): 936–957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Harper, Stephen. 2011. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  35. Hopper, Tristin. 2016. Liberal Minister Hints Citizenship Guide’s Trumpeting of War of 1812 Victory Will Be Pared Down. The National Post, February 29. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  36. Karmis, Dimitrios. 2004. Pluralism and National Identity(ies) in Contemporary Québec: Conceptual Clarifications, Typology, and Discourse Analysis. In Quebec: State and Society, 3rd ed., ed. Alain-G. Gagnon. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  37. Kenney, Jason. 2011. On the Value of Canadian Citizenship. Government of Canada. Accessed October 6, 2016.
  38. Khan, Sheema. 2015. Fifty Years in Canada, and Now I Feel Like a Second-Class Citizen. The Globe and Mail, October 7. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  39. Kingston, Anne. 2016. How Kellie Leitch Touched off a Culture War. Maclean’s, September 23. Accessed November 16, 2018.
  40. Kymlicka, Will. 2010. The Current State of Multiculturalism in Canada and Research Themes on Canadian Multiculturalism 2008–2010. Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada.Google Scholar
  41. Linteau, Paul-André. 1999. Un Débat Historiographique: L’entrée Du Québec Dans La Modernité Et La Signification De La Révolution Tranquille. Francofonia 37: 73–87.Google Scholar
  42. Lustzig, Michael, and J. Matthew Wilson. 2005. A New Right? Moral Issues and Partisan Change in Canada. Social Science Quarterly 86 (1): 109–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 2015. A French-Language Transcript of Last Night’s Debate., September 25. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  44. Manasan, Althea. 2015. FAQ: The Issues Around Muzzling Government Scientists. CBC News, May 20. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  45. May, Kathryn. 2015a. ‘Harperman’ Protest Song Singer Could Make Role of an Impartial Civil Service into an Election Issue. The National Post, September 1. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  46. May, Kathryn. 2015b. Liberal Changes Will Strengthen Multiculturalism: Expert. The Ottawa Citizen, November 26. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  47. McAndrew, Marie, Denise Helly, Caroline Tessier, and Judy Young. 2008. From Heritage Languages to Institutional Change: An Analysis of the Nature of Organizations and Projects Funded by the Canadian Multiculturalism Program (1983–2002). Canadian Ethnic Studies 40 (3): 149–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Media Relations, Communications Branch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. 2016. Minister McCallum to Repeal Parts of C-24. News Release, February 25. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  49. Meyer, Carl. 2017. Scheer Says Conservatives Welcome Muslims. National Observer, July 20. Accessed August 10, 2018.
  50. Mitchell, Katheryne. 2004. Crossing the Neoliberal Line: Pacific Rim Migration and the Metropolis. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Nieguth, Tim, and Aurélie Lacassagne. 2009. Contesting the Nation: Reasonable Accommodation in Rural Quebec. Canadian Political Science Review 3 (1): 1–16.Google Scholar
  52. Payton, Laura. 2011. Face Veils Banned for Citizenship Oaths. CBC News, December 12. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  53. Payton, Laura. 2015a. Anti-terrorism Bill C-51 ‘Dangerous’ Legislation, 100 Academics Say. CBC News, February 27. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  54. Payton, Laura. 2015b. For Campaign Magic, Harper Turns to a Wizard from Oz. Maclean’s, September 10. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  55. Reform Party of Canada. 1997. A Fresh Start for Canadians, Blue Book: 1996–1997 Principles and Policies of the Reform Party of Canada. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  56. Ricento, Thomas, and Andreea Cervatiuc. 2010. Language Minority Rights and Educational Policy in Canada. In International Perspectives on Bilingual Education: Policy, Practice, and Controversy, ed. J. Petrovic, 21–42. Charlotte, NC: Information Age.Google Scholar
  57. Shields, Alexandre. 2007. Tempête «identitaire» au Québec. Charest affirme que «les Québécois ne sont pas racistes», Dumont rejette le «vieux réflexe minoritaire». Le Devoir, January 16.
  58. Taber, Jane. 2012. Ottawa Notebook: Harper Spins a New Brand of Patriotism. The Globe and Mail, September 10. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  59. Taber, Jane. 2015. Trudeau Slams Tories for Terror Rhetoric. The Globe and Mail, March 9. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  60. The Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988 (R.S.C., 1985, c. 24 [4th Suppl.]).Google Scholar
  61. The Fifth Estate. 2014. Silence of the Labs. The Fifth Estate, CBC News, January 10. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  62. Trudeau, Pierre Elliott. Announcement of Implementation of Policy of Multiculturalism Within a Bilingual Framework. Parliament. House of Commons. Debates, 28th Parliament, 3rd Session, Vol. 8 (October 8, 1971): 8545–8548, Appendix, 8580–8585.Google Scholar
  63. Trudeau, Pierre Elliott. 1980. Transcript of a Speech Given by the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau at the Paul Sauvé Arena in Montreal on May 14, 1980, p. 15. Ottawa: Office of the Prime Minister.Google Scholar
  64. Wanna, John. 2006. Insisting on Traditional Ministerial Responsibility and the Constitutional Independence of the Public Service: The Gomery Inquiry and the Canadian Sponsorship Scandal. Australian Journal of Public Administration 65 (3): 15–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wherry, Aaron. 2011. Jenni Byrne: The (Other) Woman Behind Harper. Maclean’s, April 4. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  66. Wherry, Aaron. 2015. A Real Test of the Conservative Party’s New Tone. Maclean’s, November 19. Accessed July 24, 2016.
  67. Zimonjic, Peter. 2016. Kellie Leitch Tears up over Role in Barbaric Cultural Practices Tip Line. CBC News, April 21. Accessed July 24, 2016.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arjun Tremblay
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ReginaReginaCanada

Personalised recommendations