Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

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Canada’s populist wave might not be white

Columnist Doug Saunders says if you look closely at Rob Ford’s success in becoming a populist mayor of Toronto seven years ago, one can see how a Canadian populist swell could occur with significant recent immigrant participation.

From the Globe and Mail (“Our Trump moment might not be so white“):

This week, the marketing agency Edelman released its annual “Trust Barometer” survey under the headline Canada At Populism, Trust Crisis Tipping Point. That might be an overstatement, but their numbers do show a rise in the same factors that have led Americans, French and Britons to support Mr. Trump, Marine Le Pen and the Brexit politicians.

The survey found large and growing numbers (eight in 10) believing that distant “elites” are out of touch with regular Canadians and are causing harm; almost half believe that “globalization” is hurting Canada; more than a quarter fear immigrants rather than regarding them as neighbours. And, tellingly, on trust in institutions (government, media, business) there is a 15-per-cent gap – twice as high as last year – between the “informed public” and the “mass population.”

We tend to assume that this “mass public” must be the core Trump constituency of angry, older, undereducated, non-urban, middle-income white people. After all, we did see just such people rallying behind some of the more extreme Conservative Party leadership candidates this week.

But Canada is different.

Canada’s most dramatic recent triumph of Trump-style politics occurred in Toronto, where nearly half the city’s voters (and Toronto has more voters than most provinces do) cast a ballot for a wealthy, unpredictable, populist, anti-immigration, anti-elite, racist-mouthed guy named Rob Ford in 2010, and a third voted for his movement in 2014. Many note the similarities between the late mayor and the current President. Others point out the big difference: Ford voters weren’t generally, or even mainly, white. …

Canada has traditionally avoided extremism by offering hope: If you start on the bottom rung, you can make it higher. But the second and third rungs are no longer so secure. If they fail, we could wind up electing the world’s most diverse form of self-destructive intolerance.

Read the whole thing.

Sat, February 18 2017 » * Big Picture Stuff, Main Page, politics