Communities and Society

Understanding and Responding to Intolerance in Rural Canada

In Canada, patterns of extreme right-wing movements that express nativist and xenophobic sentiments are emerging; "hate group" activity and incidents of "hate crimes" are increasing, while levels of popular support for immigrants, refugees, and religious minorities weaken. Minorities are often especially vulnerable in rural contexts due to their heightened visibility, the lack of cultural competencies among service providers, and a general lack of victim support services.

To what degree does intolerant and xenophobic civic discourse exist in rural Canada? At whom is such intolerant discourse most likely to be directed? How active are "hate groups" in rural Canada compared to the rural United States or parts of rural Western Europe? And what role do two institutions central to the lived experiences of most rural citizens, rural schools and rural religious organizations, play with respect to either enabling or disabling this intolerant discourse in particular rural communities in Canada? We simply do not have detailed answers to such questions.

This project presents a series of Connection and Outreach events respond to this particular gap in our knowledge. The events will bring a group of 17 interdisciplinary scholars from across North America and Europe who possess the expertise required to facilitate further research into the levels and characteristics of intolerance in rural communities in Canada and the potential for formal programming at the level of both public schools and private religious organizations in rural settings to address and counter this intolerance.

Events will take place in May and November 2018 at Augustana Campus, Sept 2018 held at the University of Guelph, and January 2019 at the University of New Brunswick’s Fredericton Campus.