Immigration/Social Policy

Description / Members

This thematic area covers a wide range of issues wherein the primary focus will be the study of, and interrelation of, immigration/multiculturalism and social policy. Both Canada and the EU face challenges relating to social exclusion, integration and marginalization amongst immigrants and youth. The research group aims to disseminate Canada's approaches towards multicultural, citizenship, and immigration policies in order to provide Europeans with nuanced insights for incorporating immigrant groups into society. Additionally, this thematic area encompasses issues relating to recognition, shifting demographic and economic inclusion patterns, as well as the welfare state.

The activities of the Immigration and Social Policy Cluster members are lead by Dr. Oliver Schmidtke (University of Victoria, Immigration). 

The anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant backlash: how the radical right seeks to take advantage of the Paris attacks

November 16, 2015 - by Dr. Oliver Schmidtke, Centre for Global Studies, University of Victoria

After the horrific attacks in Paris, France is in a state of shock. French President Hollande has said that France stands united; yet any sense of unity seems to be fading fast. While the country is still in mourning, first statements by France’s leading politicians provide a sense of how the issue of the attacks and the threat by ISIS will become a central issue in electoral politics. In particular the radical right in Europe is poised to benefit from the Paris attacks. In France Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right Front National, has declared that the country needs to "annihilate" Islamist radicals, expel dangerous “foreigners” and “illegal migrants”, close “radical mosques”, ban Islamist organization and regain control of its borders “for good” (challenging core policies of the European Union).

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Poland’s move to the right: social policies and the relationship with Europe under the newly elected government of Law and Justice

October 29, 2015 - by Dr. Ania Zbyszewska, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Last Sunday's parliamentary election in Poland returned power to Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość), the country's socially conservative right-wing party known for its nationalist and Eurosceptic sentiments, traditionalist family values, and close affinity with the Polish Catholic Church. According to official results, the party captured 37.6 percent of the votes, significantly more than the governing liberal right Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska) led by Ewa Kopacz, which won 24.1 percent of the vote. The remaining seats in Sejm, Poland's lower house of Parliament, will be split among newcomers - the right-wing, anti-establishment grouping affiliated with Paweł Kukiz, a former rock star turned politician, and the neoliberal Nowoczesna - which took 8.8 and 7.6 percent of the vote respectively. Significantly, apart for the veteran peasant party PSL (5.1%), none of the self-identified left-wing groupings in the running managed to cross the electoral threshold required for parliamentary representation. 

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The Re-election of Alexis Tsipras: Reinventing the Greek Anti-austerity Movement

September 22 2015 - by Dr. Elena Pnevmonidou, University of Victoria

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Syriza Party, achieved a decisive victory in the Greek national election that will enable him to secure a majority government in coalition with his former partner, the nationalist right-of-centre Anel Party. In doing so, Tsipras defied the predictions of polls that consistently placed him either in a deadlock with the conservative New Democrat Party or even trailing behind. Yesterday’s election results are remarkable indeed. For one, Tsipras ran on a platform that one might call the diametrical opposite of the populist anti-austerity platform that secured his landslide victory in the January 2015 election.

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Migrants: Europe’s Defining Crisis this Century

September 15 2015 - by Dr. Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly,  Director of the European Union Centre of Excellence & Jean Monnet Center of Excellence, University of Victoria

This current migration crisis represents the worst humanitarian crisis in Europe since the Second World War; it is forcing Europeans to face their past and future issues; and the decisions they make will either give way to xenophobic ills or rejuvenate the 21st century Europe. 

In recent years, all of the member states of the European Union, whether from the east or the west, the south or the northern parts of Europe, have become reasonably attractive to economic - legal or illegal - migrants. For instance, Germany has become a land of opportunity in the Middle and Far East. But since 2014, the flows of economic immigrants and migrants have turned into flows of refugees as asylum seekers attempt to enter Europe continually. These flows have increased tenfold over the last 12 months: between July 2014 and July 2015 the number of registered entries into the EU increased from 6000 to 50,000 Since the beginning of this year, about 350,000 people have crossed the European Union's southern and peripheral member states' borders. By the end of the year, the European Union is expecting that its member states will have welcomed about 1 million refugees; of these 800,000 will enter into Germany and 100,000 into Sweden.

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