New study finds Canadians aren’t as tolerant of immigrants as we like to think

Canadians perceive themselves as unusually tolerant and welcoming — but that’s simply not the case, a new study suggests.
Canadian attitudes toward immigration are in line with those of Americans and Europeans, and the potential exists for it to become a divisive issue, according to the study titled “Canadian Exceptionalism: are we good or are we lucky?”
The University of Toronto and the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada partnered with Ipsos Observer to ask 1,522 Canadians their views on the topic in January.
While most Canadians think immigration has a neutral or positive effect, a significant number of people hold a very different view.
Almost a third of Canadians said the government should discriminate against Muslims when selecting foreigners to move to the country, and a third want to discriminate against people of colour to prioritize white immigrants. More than 65 per cent think immigrants have a responsibility to behave “more like Canadians.”
“Whatever is driving Canada’s exceptionally positive history of immigration … it does not appear to be an exceptionally tolerant public,” the study read.
Twenty per cent support ending immigration to Canada completely, while 46 per cent said they oppose the idea.
“That leaves a large block of voters who are open to the idea, at least in the abstract,” the study’s author, political science professor Michael J. Donnelly, wrote. “These results suggest that a serious anti-immigrant movement is not impossible.”

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