Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Multicultural Society Makes Better Decisions

Recently a teabag party speech got into the subject of immigrant voters, and how they could not even spell "vote",and were responsible for the stupid decision to put a "committed socialist" in the white house.

This reminds me of another rant some years ago by the separatist Parti Quebecois, who narrowly lost a referendum to separate Quebec from Canada. Parizeau blamed the immigrants.

Canadians are far ahead of Americans in understanding that having plenty of immigrants helps the country as a whole to not make stupid voting decisions.

You might argue with me on this one, then how come Canada, with more immigrants than the US, has the misfortune to elect Harper as Prime Minister, yet the US, with far fewer new immigrants per capita, has elected one of the greatest presidents ever. (for those of you who believe the opposite is true, the rest of this blog is going to make no sense at all, I recommend you go back to an earlier blog and work your way up: try these

Obama Criticized by Some Leftists

Is Bush or Obama More Like Hitler

The reason we have Harper as Prime Minister is not because of the vote, which went clearly in favour of the anti conservatives. It is the nature of the multi-party parliamentary system, where in this case we have only one conservative party, but several left wing parties splitting the votes. We actually need a runoff election system to decide who leads, not just the biggest block of members on the first round. The second round is easy to do, just put a second choice on each ballot.

While Obama was elected in a two way vote, it was not totally overwhelming, and he is having trouble carrying out his agenda because of the opposition of rabid (non immigrant) teabaggers. And can you remember the Bush years still?

I think it's pretty obvious that Canada benefits from its immigrants, who seem to have a better grasp of the sweep of history, and the complexity of the world. i.e. the recent immigrants help balance our stupidity and closed mindedness.

Better decisions at the polls is one of the many benefits of the Canadian version of multiculturalism.


  1. There are fundamental differences between the American and Canadian attitudes to cultural subgroups.

    The prevailing American attitude seems to be, at best, tolerance, and the myth of the 'melting pot' persists. In its less admirable manifestations, the American attitude borders on xenophobia.

    Although, admittedly, not everyone in Canada is completely comfortable with the concept (we, too, have our share of xenophobes) multiculturalism is enshrined in our constitution.

    Political history in Canada can be viewed as a series of Liberal governments, punctuated by Conservative governments when the electorate choose to punish the Liberals for getting too comfortable in office. The present Conservative interregnum is just that: the voters punishing the Liberals for their sins.

    Bear in mind that the current Conservative government received the support of less than 25% of Canadians (37.6% of popular vote on a 58.8% voter turnout) in the last election.

    This is just one effect of our 'first past the post' system of elections. There are countless other manifestations. For example, 15 candidates were elected with less than 1% difference in votes between 1st and 2nd place.

    The Bloc Quebecois received less than 4% more of the popular vote than the Green Party: the Bloc got 49 seats, the Green Party got zero. The NDP got almost twice the popular vote of the Bloc but ended up with just over half as many seats.

    Flawed democracy, in many respects.

    Your suggestion of a run-off is one possible approach. Many would argue that proportional representation would be more democratic.

    Proportional representation is certainly not an unusual approach.

  2. Your first argument is somewhat disingenuous. With the exception of the indigenous people who make a very small percentage of the American population ALL Americans are immigrants.

    Are you using the term "immigrant" as a euphemism for "non-white"?

  3. I was referring to recent immigrants, and new immigrants, and I used those terms in my blog. Also it should be obvious from context.

    Most Canadians cease calling themselves immigrants after a generation, although almost all admit to immigrant origins.

    But if you wish to be a stickler about the definition of immigrant, don't exclude the indigenous populations, as it is believed they also moved to North America after the last ice age. Humans evolved in Africa.

    I was not using recent immigrant as a euphemism for non white, I was talking about fresh ideas from other parts of the world, not skin colour.

    "New immigrants help us make better decisions".

  4. The generally accepted definition of 'immigrant' is: A person who leaves one country to settle permanently in another.

    While someone's parents, or grandparents, or great-grandparents may have been immigrants, that fact does not, in of itself, make the individual themselves an immigrant.

    Referring to the descendants of immigrants as immigrants is 'somewhat disingenuous' ;-)