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Multicultural Canada and the Welfare State Sweden: Home to Estonians in Exile

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Part of the Political Evolution and Institutional Change book series (PEIC)

Abstract

By the time World War II ended in 1945, over 70,000 Estonians had fled their home country to escape the Red Army and Soviet occupation.1 Two of the largest communities of exiles were established in Sweden and, a few years later, in Canada. Both Canada and Sweden have enjoyed long periods of uninterrupted democratic government and peaceful internal relations, and belong to the exclusive group of the world’s oldest and most stable democratic states.2 Furthermore, both countries are welfare states. Although organized differently, in both countries the state has played an active role in providing for the citizens’ basic needs.3 While Sweden has been regarded as the most obvious example of a “social-democratic” welfare model based on universality and generous allowances, Canada developed into a country of universal rights during the decades following World War II.4 In contrast to its U.S. neighbor, Canada has shown capitalism’s gentler and more humane face and the similarities with Swedish welfare policies have grown over the decades since World War II, although the dominance of the state in Sweden is much more extensive. In Sweden, as in Canada, the welfare system has been placed under severe pressure throughout the 1990s, although there is still public and political support for its basic foundations.

Keywords

Immigration Policy Political Culture Refugee Camp Institutional Pressure Swedish Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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© Li Bennich-Björkman 2007

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