Recognition, Re-distribution and Solidarity: The Case of Multicultural Canada

  • Yasmeen Abu-Laban
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology book series (PSEPS)


Abu-Laban argues that the case of Canada is theoretically rich for theorising issues around mobilisation, claims-making, recognition as well as solidarity. Her chapter establishes that unequal social relations and the denial of full citizenship rights characterised Canada’s foundation and evolution. As a consequence claims for cultural recognition were typically also redistributive claims, and the consolidation and early development of the Canadian welfare state also supported the advancement of a culturally pluralist nation. With the neo-liberal turn, this ethos has been strained with growing socio-economic inequalities as well as the advancement of patriotic citizenship expressions. While the current government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been refashioning the symbolic order in culturally pluralist ways and challenging austerity measures, it is an open question about what the future holds.


  1. Abu-Laban, Y. (2009). The Welfare State Under Siege?: Neoliberalism, Immigration and Multiculturalism. In A. Dobrowolsky (Ed.), Women and Public Policy in Canada: Neo-liberalism and After (pp. 146–165). Don Mills: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Abu-Laban, Y. (2013). On the Borderlines of Human and Citizen: The Liminal State of Arab Canadians. In B. Momani & J. Hennebry (Eds.), Targeted Transnationals: The State, the Media, and Arab Canadians (pp. 68–88). Vancouver: UBC Press.Google Scholar
  3. Abu-Laban, Y. (2014). Reform by Stealth: The Harper Conservatives and Canadian Multiculturalism. In J. Jedwab (Ed.), The Multiculturalism Question: Debating Identity in 21st Century Canada (pp. 149–172). Montreal-Kingston: School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University and McGill-Queen’s University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Abu-Laban, Y. (2016). Representing a Diverse Canada in Political Science: Power, Ideas and the Emergent Challenge of Reconciliation. European Political Science. Online First.Google Scholar
  5. Abu-Laban, Y., & Gabriel, C. (2002). Selling Diversity: Immigration, Multiculturalism, Employment Equity and Globalization. Peterborough: Broadview Press.Google Scholar
  6. Abu-Laban, Y., & Lamont, V. (1997). Crossing Borders: Interdisciplinarity, Immigration and the Melting Pot in the American Cultural Imaginary. The Canadian Review of American Studies, 27(2), 23–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Abu-Laban, Y., & Nieguth, T. (2000). Reconsidering the Constitution, Minorities and Politics in Canada. The Canadian Journal of Political Science, XXXIII(3), 465–497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Abu-Laban, Y., & Stasiulis, D. (1992). Ethnic Pluralism Under Siege: Popular and Partisan Opposition to Multiculturalism. Canadian Public Policy, XVIII(4), 365–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Adkin, L., & Abu-Laban, Y. (2008). The Challenge of Care: Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada and Quebec. Studies in Political Economy, 81(1), 49–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Alfred, T. (2005). Wasáse: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom. Peterborough: Broadview Press.Google Scholar
  11. Banting, K. (2005). The Multicultural Welfare State: International Experience and North American Narratives. Social Policy and Administration, 39(2), 98–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Banting, K., & Kymlicka, W. (2004). Do Multiculturalism Policies Erode the Welfare State? In P. van Parijs (Ed.), Cultural Diversity Versus Economic Solidarity (pp. 227–284). Brussels: Deboeck University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Banting, K., & Kymlicka, W. (Eds.). (2006). Multiculturalism and the Welfare State: Recognition and Redistribution in Contemporary Democracies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. BBC News. (2016). Trudeau Seeks Increased Spending to Boost Canadian Economy, March 23. Retrieved October 24, 2016, from
  15. Betz, H.-G. (2002). Xenophobia, Identity Politics and Exclusionary Populism in Western Europe. In L. Panitch & C. Leys (Eds.), Fighting Identities: Race, Religion and Ethno-Nationalism (Socialist Register 2003) (pp. 193–210). London: Merlin Press.Google Scholar
  16. Bherer, L., & Dufour, P. (2012). Our Not-So-Friendly Northern Neighbor. The New York Times. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from
  17. Breton, R. (1984). The Production and Allocation of Symbolic Resources: An Analysis of the Linguistic and Ethnocultural Fields in Canada. Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 21(2), 123–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Breton, R. (1986). Multiculturalism and Canadian Nation-Building. In A. Cairns & C. Williams (Eds.), The Politics of Gender, Ethnicity and Language in Canada (pp. 27–66). Toronto: University of Toronto Press in co-operation with the Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada.Google Scholar
  19. Brodie, J. (2008). Putting Gender Back in: Women and Social Policy Reform in Canada. In Y. Abu-Laban (Ed.), Gendering the Nation-State: Canadian and Comparative Perspectives (pp. 165–184). Vancouver: UBC Press.Google Scholar
  20. Brodie, J. (2012). Social Literacy and Social Justice in Times of Crisis. Trudeau ‘Big Thinking’ Lecture, Congress 2012. Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo, May 30.Google Scholar
  21. Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada. (2012). Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, Represented by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.Google Scholar
  22. Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage. (2016). Annual Report on the Operation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act: Building a Diverse and Inclusive Society. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Retrieved July 3, 2016, from
  23. Canada, Government of Canada. (2016). Backgrounder: The 150th Anniversary of Confederation in 2017, May 25. Retrieved July 3, 2016, from
  24. Canadian Museum of Civilization. (n.d.). Grand Hall Tour. Retrieved September 21, 2012, from
  25. CBC News. (2012). Canada’s Economy Outperforming U.S: Flaherty Says Modest Growth Reinforces Canada Is on the ‘Right Track’, August 31. Retrieved September 1, 2012, from
  26. Coulthard, G. (2014a). Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Coulthard, G. (2014b). Place Against Empire: The Dene Nation, Land Claims and the Politics of Recognition in the North. In A. Eisenberg, J. Webber, G. Coulthard, & A. Boisselle (Eds.), Recognition Versus Self-Determination: Dilemmas of Emancipatory Politics (pp. 147–173). Vancouver: UBC Press.Google Scholar
  28. Dhamoon, R., & Abu-Laban, Y. (2009). Dangerous (Internal) Foreigners and Nation-Building: The Case of Canada. International Political Science Review, 30(2), 163–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Dobrowolsky, A. (2000). The Politics of Pragmatism: Women, Representation and Constitutionalism in Canada. Toronto: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Eisenberg, A., & Spinner-Halev, J. (2005). Minorities Within Minorities: Equality, Rights and Diversity. Cambridge: Cambridge University of Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Esping-Andersen, G. (1990). The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Fraser, N. (2000). Rethinking Recognition. New Left Review, 3(May–June), 107–120.Google Scholar
  33. Fraser, N. (2003). Rethinking Recognition: Overcoming Displacement and Reification in Cultural Politics. In B. Hobson (Ed.), Recognition Struggles and Social Movements: Identities, Agency and Power (pp. 21–32). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Fraser, N. (2005). Reframing Justice in a Globalizing World. New Left Review, 36(November/December), 69–88.Google Scholar
  35. Freeman, S. (2012). Labour Day: BMO Survey. The Calgary Herald, August 29. Retrieved September 1, 2012, from
  36. Galabuzi, G.-E. (2011). Hegemonies, Continuities, and Discontinuities of Multiculturalism and the Anglo-Franco Conformity Order. In M. Chazan, L. Helps, A. Stnley, & S. Thakkar (Eds.), Home and Native Land: Unsettling Multiculturalism in Canada (pp. 58–82). Toronto: Between the Lines.Google Scholar
  37. Gibbon, J. M. (1938). Canadian Mosaic: The Making of a Northern Nation. Toronto: McClelland.Google Scholar
  38. Goldring, L., Berinstein, C., & Bernhard, J. K. (2009). Institutionalizing Precarious Migratory Status in Canada. Citizenship Studies, 13(3), 239–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Harder, L. (2003). Whither the Social Citizen? In J. Brodie & L. Trimble (Eds.), Reinventing Canada: Politics of the 21st Century (pp. 175–188). Toronto: Pearson.Google Scholar
  40. Henderson, S. (2005). ‘While There Is Still Time …’ J. Murray Gibbon and the Spectacle of Difference in Three CPR Festivals, 1928–1931. Journal of Canadian Studies, 39(1), 139–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Jackson, A. (2016). Federal Budge 2016: A One Time Fix? National News Watch, March 22. Retrieved October 24, 2016, from
  42. James, M. (2006). Misrecognized Materialists: Social Movements in Canadian Politics. Vancouver: UBC Press.Google Scholar
  43. James, M. (2013). Neoliberal Heritage Redress. In J. Henderson & P. Wakeham (Eds.), Reconciling Canada: Critical Perspectives on the Culture of Redress (pp. 31–46). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  44. Jenson, J. (1997). Fated to Live in Interesting Times: Canada’s Changing Citizenship Regimes. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 30(4), 627–644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Jenson, J., & Phillips, S. D. (1996). Regime Shift: New Citizenship Practices in Canada. International Journal of Canadian Studies, 14(Fall), 111–135.Google Scholar
  46. Johnston, R., Banting, K., Kymlicka, W., & Soroka, S. (2010). National Identity and Support for the Welfare State. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 43(2), 349–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Jones, E., & Perry, A. (2012). People’s Citizenship Guide: A Response to Conservative Canada. Winnipeg: Arbiter Publishing.Google Scholar
  48. Krugman, P. (2012). End This Depression Now. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  49. Krugman, P. (2016). Paul Krugman: Canada Can Show That Ending Austerity Makes Sense. The Irish Times, October 27.Google Scholar
  50. Labour Day: BMO Survey. (2012). The Calgary Herald, August 29. Retrieved September 1, 2012, from
  51. Li, P. S. (2003). Destination Canada: Immigration Debates and Issues. Don Mills: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  52. MacClure, J. (2003). The Politics of Recognition at an Impasse? Identity Politics and Democratic Citizenship. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 26(1), 3–21.Google Scholar
  53. MacDougall, A. (2016). Two Budgets on Either Side of the Atlantic Suggest That Austerity Is No Longer a Surefire Political Winner. Policy Options, March 28. Retrieved October 24, 2016, from
  54. Marshall, T. H. (1965). Class, Citizenship and Social Development. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  55. McKay, I., & Swift, J. (2012). Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in an Age of Anxiety. Toronto: Between the Lines.Google Scholar
  56. Porter, J. (1965). The Vertical Mosaic: An Analysis of Social Class and Power in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Radio Canada. (2012). Britain and Canada to Share Some Embassies, Consulates, September 24. Retrieved October 3, 2012, from
  58. Rajkumar, D., Berkowitize, L., Vosko, L. F., Preston, V., & Latham, R. (2012). At the Temporary-Permanent Divide: How Canada Produces Temporariness and Makes Citizens Through Its Security, Work and Settlement Policies. Citizenship Studies, 16(3–4), 483–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Razack, S. (2008). Casting Out: The Eviction of Muslims from Western Law and Politics. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  60. Robinson, M., & O’Kane, J. (2012). Corporate ‘Dead Money’ Rises to Buoy GDP. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 1, 2012, from investment/article4511631/?cmpid=rss1
  61. Ruf, C. (2013). Hamiltonians Give New Federal Budget Mixed Reviews. CBC News, March 22. Retrieved April 12, 2013, from
  62. Sainsbury, D. (2012). Welfare States and Immigrant Rights: The Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Salter, F. (Ed.). (2004). Welfare, Ethnicity and Altruism: New Findings and Evolutionary Theory. London: Frank Cass.Google Scholar
  64. Séguin, R. (2012). Canadian Flag Back in Quebec Assembly—For Now. The Globe and Mail, September 18. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from
  65. Smith, M. (2012). The Quebec Protests: The Big Picture. iPolitics, May 24. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from
  66. Stasiulis, D. K. (1988). The Symbolic Mosaic Reaffirmed: Multiculturalism Policy. In K. A. Graham (Ed.), How Ottawa Spends: 1988–89 (pp. 81–112). Ottawa: Carleton University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Stasiulis, D., & Yuval-Davis, N. (1995). Introduction: Beyond Dichotomies—Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Class in Settler Societies. In D. Stasiulis & N. Yuval-Davis (Eds.), Unsettling Settler Societies: Articulations of Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Class (pp. 1–38). London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  68. Summers, D. (2009). David Cameron Warns of ‘New Age of Austerity’. The Guardian, April 26. Retrieved April 14, 2013, from
  69. Ubelacker, S. (2012). Doctors Group Calls on Ottawa to Rethink Cuts to Refugee Health Program. The Vancouver Sun, September 28. Retrieved October 4, 2012, from
  70. van Parijs, P. (Ed.). (2004). Cultural Diversity Versus Economic Solidarity. Brussels: De Boeck University Press.Google Scholar
  71. Wolfe, A., & Klausen, J. (2000). Other Peoples. Prospect, December, 28–33.Google Scholar
  72. Yelaja, P. (2011). Military Renaming Slammed as Colonial Throwback. CBC News, August 17. Retrieved from

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yasmeen Abu-Laban
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

Personalised recommendations