Finding Their Voice: Civic Engagement Among Young Aboriginals and New Canadians

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By: Multiple Authors
Org: Centre for Research and Information on Canada

Background & Introduction

The findings from CRIC Paper #15, Canadian Democracy: Bringing Youth Back Into the Political Process, brought together much of the current work on youth civic engagement and produced interesting preliminary findings about the civic engagement of young new Canadians and young Aboriginal Canadians. This next issue of the publication discusses some of the specific issues which confront the civic engagement potential of New Canadians and Aboriginal Peoples.

"Why is it important to have a greater understanding of how Aboriginal Canadians and New Canadians engage in civic life and what their values are? Given current demographic trends, these groups are and will continue to be increasingly important players in the way Canada is growing and changing. During the 1990s, more immigrants came to Canada than in any previous decade. According to Statistics Canada, 18% of Canada’s population is foreign-born. On a per capita basis, Canada’s yearly intake of immigrants is higher than that of either Australia or the United States. In 2001, 1.8 million people, or 6.2% of our country’s population, were immigrants who arrived during the previous decade.

The Aboriginal population is also experiencing very strong growth. In Canada, 3.8% of the population now identify themselves as Aboriginal. Furthermore, in 2001, almost half of the Aboriginal population lived in urban areas (mostly Prairie cities). Finally, one of every three Aboriginal Canadians is under the age of 14. This emerging generation is particularly prominent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan where one of every four children is Aboriginal.

Encouraging the next generation of Canadians to take on leadership roles in this country is a challenge for decision-makers who eventually must 'pass the torch'. However, the special experiences and values of Aboriginal and New Canadians mean that different methods of engagement must be found. As the faces of our leaders change, they will reflect the growing presence of new and Aboriginal Canadians. Canada’s ability to encourage Canadians of increasingly varied backgrounds to take an active role in shaping civil society will be a determining factor in the country’s future success."

The five articles in this issue are:

  • The Civic Engagement of Young New and Aboriginal CanadiansGina Bishop and Sally Preiner
  • Degree and Kind: Civic Engagement and Aboriginal CanadiansMartin Whittles
  • Aboriginal Peoples Must Work TogetherKuni Albert
  • Minority Young Adults in QuebecDeirdre Meintel
  • Turning the Skeptic into a DreamerMonia Mazigh
This publication is available for download in Adobe Acrobat format (304K, 24 pages).