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Multiculturalism and the Welfare StateRecognition and Redistribution in Contemporary Democracies$
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Keith Banting and Will Kymlicka

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199289172

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199289172.001.0001

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Do campaigns for historical redress erode the Canadian welfare state?

Do campaigns for historical redress erode the Canadian welfare state?

(p.222) 8 Do campaigns for historical redress erode the Canadian welfare state?
Multiculturalism and the Welfare State

Matt James

Oxford University Press

Critics who believe that ‘the politics of recognition’ drives out ‘the politics of recognition’ often cite movements for redress of group-specific historic injustices as one of their main examples. These redress movements are said to rely on a ‘politics of grievance’ that nurtures distrust between groups, rather than building trust and solidarity across ethnic and racial lines. This chapter examines this objection in the specific case of Canada. It studies several movements that have sought reparations for historic injustices relating to Canada's past policy of forcing Aboriginal children to attend residential schools; the wartime internment's of Ukrainian and Japanese Canadians; the ‘head tax’ formerly imposed on Chinese migrants to Canada; and the physical destruction of Halifax's Africville community. It is argued that while redress campaigns can indeed promote attitudes that render cross-ethnic cooperation for redistributive struggles more difficult, they also help create the conditions under which such coalitions are possible.

Keywords:   reparation, injustice, Canada, redress politics, redress campaigns, welfare state, social policy

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