Dilemmas and Challenges of Democratic Participation of Immigrants in Small Atlantic Canadian Communities
This chapter dwells on a portion of the dilemmas and challenges of democratic participation, exclusion, and marginalization of ethno-cultural immigrants in Atlantic Canadian communities. It reframes the term “welcoming communities” into a political sphere. Are politically active immigrants more apt to remain in their host community? The intersection of newcomers’ civic integration and social participation is one of the main objectives of the Canadian Multicultural Policy and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, today, discussions regarding the political participation of immigrants not only include terms such as integration and civic participation but national security and disenfranchisement as well. Indeed, some types of political participation are the antithesis of civic integration and citizenship. The objective of this chapter is to add to this discussion by examining the notions and actions of political participation of ethno-cultural immigrants in Atlantic Canada. For this chapter, political participation is self-defined by the participants. Do they see participation as voting in elections or is it an ongoing process such as running for boards, joining political groups, and protesting/advocating political causes? Does political participation increase civic integration and retention or does it promote separateness? Are the Atlantic Canada communities welcoming and inclusive? The chapter presents various viewpoints from diverse groups and analyzes factors of inclusion or exclusion in the democratic participation processes in small communities in Canada.
KeywordsAtlantic Canada Democratic participation Multiculturalism Civic education Diversity Civic participation Integration Citizenship Canadian politics Newcomers
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