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Local and Urban Politics

E08 - The City of Migration

Date: Jun 5 | Time: 08:45am to 10:15am | Location: SWING 106

Chair/Président/Présidente : Meghan Joy (Concordia University)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Mireille Paquet (Concordia University)

(Dis)involvement in Transnational City Networks: French Cities Membership in Migration Networks: Aude Claire Fourot (Simon Fraser University), Aisling Healy (Université Jean Monnet), Anouk Flamant (Institut national supérieur de formation et de recherche pour l'éducation des jeunes handicapés et les enseignements adaptés, EA Graphes)
Abstract: Cities’ participation in the governance of immigration is more and more acknowledged. Besides their implication in their respective national and local contexts, cities’ activism is also noticeable at the supranational level through their participation in transnational city networks (TCNs). If, at the European scale, the number of migration-related TCNs is increasing, the portrait is more nuanced at the national scale. In fact, since the “Mediterranean crisis” of 2015, cities' involvement varies considerably. How can we explain these differences? To answer this question, our paper proposes to shift the level of analysis from the city level to the network level to better understand the interrelations between networks and cities, as well as among networks’ members and municipal actors, and their impacts on cities’ involvement. Based on documentary, observation and interview evidence, our paper proposes a comparative case study analysis of the participation of three French cities in migration city-networks over the last ten years. It shows that we need to take a closer look at the changes in networks’ agenda as well as the changes in networks’ membership. In fact, the increased politicization of TCNs since 2015 has led to two major changes. First, the agenda has shifted its focus towards humanitarian emergencies rather than social, economic or political integration. Second, networks’ membership has moved from a technical and operational venue to a more political one. As a result, cities’ participation has changed over time, leading to different types of dis-involvement, such as neglect, selection and layering strategies.


Immigrants and Participation in Local Elections: A Mixed-Methods Examination of Turnout in the 2018 Ontario Municipal Elections: Rebecca Wallace (Queen's University), Erin Tolley (University of Toronto Mississauga), Olivia Chow (Ryerson University)
Abstract: Understanding immigrants’ participation in Canadian elections is critical to questions of representation and political integration. Although analyses of voter turnout in federal and provincial elections have produced mixed evidence of a participation gap between voters with immigrant and non-immigrant backgrounds, recent data from the 2018 Canadian Municipal Elections Study (CMES) indicates that new Canadians participate in municipal elections at markedly lower rates than do their Canadian-born counterparts. This raises the question: Why are foreign-born Canadians less likely to participate in local elections than the Canadian-born? Utilizing survey data and findings from a series of focus groups, our paper proceeds in three parts. First, we use results from the CMES to compare rates of electoral participation between immigrant and Canadian-born electors in Ontario’s 2018 municipal election. Second, we examine attitudinal correlates of turnout to detect differences between immigrant and Canadian-born electors. Finally, we explore immigrant electors’ engagement in local politics through a series of focus groups in Mississauga. Preliminary findings suggest that immigrants’ political priorities and interests largely lie outside the local realm. There are warning signs about the accessibility of information about local elections and some suggestion that participation in local politics may be particularly low during immigrants’ initial years in Canada. Recognizing the importance of immigrants’ participation in municipal politics, particularly in the delivery of local services that are crucial to newcomers’ integration in Canada, the results of this study suggest that there is room for improvement on the part of local governments to increase participation rates among immigrants.