Here and Now
Our headliner for the week was the launch of Research Watch, exclusive reporting on studies that offer insights into evolving Canada. In this launch edition, we covered three topics: immigrant voting patterns in Toronto elections, why going after international students might be a win-win for both our economy and the foreign pupils, and the changing face of refugees in Vancouver. We know anecdotally that there are numerous studies underway at universities all over Canada on issues and themes of relevance to immigrants and about newcomers: please alert us to them via firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be happy to profile your study.
Robin Brown of Environics Research offered us first-hand insight into Canada’s changing marketplace, driven largely by immigration. He makes a good case for multinational corporations to take a few lessons from consumers, even as more and more of the world’s population lives in countries away from their birthplaces.
Tipping a toe into politics, we feature a comment piece from Esmir Milavic about the upcoming mayoral elections in Surrey, a city which has a foreign-born population of 40.5 per cent. An independent Councillor there, Barinder Rasode, could win the elections on Nov. 15 – provided, she decides to run.
In other headlines:
With the stalemate between Israel and the Hamas Movement in the Gaza Strip persisting for yet another week, Canadians on both sides of the divide watch as two peoples and their leaders have become total strangers over time. Surely, there can be no winners from the current round of shelling and bombardment, even as peace remains ever elusive.
Closer home, our neighbour to the south continues to deal with an influx of thousands of refugee children from Central America – Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. We may be too remote to be similarly overrun, but you would be wrong if you thought the impact in the U.S. is restricted to states that straddle the Mexican border. Just this week, states as far north as Vermont were preparing to temporarily house these kids, because facilities elsewhere are overflowing.
In a lengthy but interesting article on British multiculturalism, Tariq Madood notes the need for an inclusive national identity to reinforce belonging and citizenship in Multiculturalism, Britishness, and Muslims | openDemocracy. The
President of ABC Television Network reminds us, Don’t call it diversity, call it real life.
Newcomers would be well-advised not to be too enthusiastic about absorbing a new business culture, particularly the more aggressive American version, Andy Molinsky writes in Adapt to a New Culture – but Don’t Go Too Far. Part of adapting is perhaps learning a new language, but there may be spin-off benefits like slowing down the brain’s aging process: The Benefits of Failing at French.
Following the coup d’état in his native Chile, Luis Zuniga chose to come to Quebec because of “the prevailing political situation here, democracy and respect for basic human rights.” He learned French, married a Québécoise woman, raised his children in a Francophone household in Montreal, and made the uphill journey toward gainful employment. But, his accent failed him.
His new memoir, Ton accent, Luis!, traces his efforts to integrate and the discrimination he faced as an immigrant in the workplace. Zuniga speaks French fluently (his book is, in fact, written in French), but co-workers and employers seemed unable to come to terms with how he spoke it. In a recent interview, Zuniga told the Montreal Gazette that this type of discrimination is systemic. Can an immigrant ever truly integrate into Quebec culture? Zuniga believes it’s possible, but only if all Quebecers are invested in the creation of an open and united society.
Asian-Australian writer Tom Cho’s stories have been called “transgenre, transgender, and transcultural all at once.” Look Who’s Morphing, his first book to appear in Canada, is a collection of linked stories that are less about their protagonist and more about how easily identity shifts and crumbles. No one stays themselves for very long: A recent immigrant hires Bruce Willis as an interpreter in order to project “an adorable and wise-cracking personality”; over dinner Uncle Wang confesses that he is a cyborg, forcing his family to do some emergency reprogramming; and Elvis Presley, it turns out, was basically Asian. The constant transformations are silly, yet unsettling. Cho’s prose is at times purposefully awkward and halting, oddly fitting in these tales of people changing skins. Cho has said that he likes “fiction that flaunts its fictitiousness,” and his stories flout reality in the flashiest way.
With that, have a great weekend and don’t forget to look up the next edition of NCM NewsFeed every Friday morning! If you’d like to subscribe to our to-be-launched e-mail version of this newsletter, please click here.
Publisher’s Note: This NewsFeed was compiled with input from our Newsroom Editors and regular columnist, Andrew Griffith. We welcome your feedback.