As we see populist anti-immigration sentiment gain political traction across Europe and in the United States, we wonder: will Canada be different? (Read more)

You can also listen to the podcast version of the event here (includes further audience comments and observations):


Event Details

Monday, May 29, 2017
London Public Library (London, Ontario)
Wolf Performance Hall, Central Library (Directions)

Pre-Event Concert: 6:30pm – 7:00pm (Between the Keys)
Panelist Arguments: 7:00pm – 9:00pm (Panelists)

FREE. All welcome. Coffee & refreshments served post-event.



Anton AllaharAnton Allahar is Professor of Sociology at Western University, where he studies economic development, globalization and democracy, and ethnic and racial relations. Anton was born in Trinidad, West Indies, and completed his PhD in Political & Economic Sociology at the University of Toronto. Among his many published works, he is the author of Richer and Poorer: the Structure of Inequality in Canada and co-author of Lowering Higher Education: the rise of the corporate university and the decline of liberal education.

Victoria EssesVictoria Esses is Professor of Psychology at Western University, where she studies prejudice and discrimination in attitudes toward immigrants and immigration. She is also the Director of the Western Centre for Research on Migration and Ethnic Relations, which facilitates research that draws on academic knowledge to inform public policy and practice on migration and ethnic relations in Canada and internationally. Her research lab aims to understand and facilitate more productive interactions between groups through laboratory and field research.

Stephanie Levitz

Stephanie Levitz (@stephanielevitz) is a journalist and Parliament Hill reporter at The Canadian Press, where she covers federal politics, immigration and refugee policy. She is currently writing the nationally syndicated Populism Project series, investigating Canadian parallels to the factors in America that led to Trump’s election. Stephanie’s work appears in The Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, Maclean’s magazine as well as on numerous news websites including and Huffington Post.

Ingrid MattsonIngrid Mattson (@IngridMattson) is the London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College. She is widely published on issues of Qur’an interpretation, Islamic theological ethics, and interfaith relations.  Her book, The Story of the Qur’an, is an academic best-seller and was chosen by the US National Endowment for the Humanities for inclusion in its “Bridging Cultures” program.  From 2001-2010 Dr. Mattson served as vice-president, then as president of the Islamic Society of North America (USA), the first woman to serve in either position.

img_6676.1crop_newErna Paris is a historian and award-winning author of seven works of nonfiction. Her works have been published in fourteen countries and translated into eight languages. Erna’s book, Long Shadows: Truth, Lies, and History, was chosen as one of “The Hundred Most Important Books Ever Written in Canada” by the Literary Review of Canada. Her most recent book is From Tolerance to Tyranny: A Cautionary Tale from Fifteenth-Century Spain, which tackles the subject of majority-minority relations in mixed societies, and chronicles the decline of the region from a multicultural state into an intolerant autocracy. Erna was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2015.


Cassandra CerviCassandra Cervi (@cassandracervi) is entering her fourth year at Western University, pursuing an Honors Specialization in Creative Writing and English Language and Literature. She was the President of the University of Western Ontario Debate Society (UWODS) in the 2016-17 year, and is now the club’s Vice President of Training. Cassandra represented Western at the World’s University’s Debate Championships for two years in Greece and then Holland. She is the current National Public Speaking Champion and was recently elected as the President of the Canadian University Society of Intercollegiate Debate (CUSID).

Emil StancaEmil Stanca is in his third year of studies, pursuing a dual degree program of Honours Business Administration at the Richard Ivey School of Business and a Juris Doctor degree at the Western University Faculty of Law. This past year he was the Vice President of Logistics for the University of Western Ontario Debate Society, and this upcoming year he will be the Vice President of Communications. He has represented the club at various tournaments throughout the past two years, and was the finalist and top 5th speaker and the McGill Central Novice Debating Championship.

Will Canada be different?

We have two official languages. We are the home of the most diverse city in the world. We sport multiculturalism and politeness like a global brand. We have a private refugee sponsorship program. The Crown is our formal head of state. Statistics Canada recently reported that nearly half of all Canadians will be immigrants or the children of immigrants by 2036. These variables, among others, might incline us to think that Canada is somehow ‘unique’ in the world. Yet the recent shooting at Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec demonstrates all too painfully that hatred lives here too. And as many visible minorities can attest, racism alive well and live today, manifesting itself in all kinds of subtle (and not-so-subtle) actions and words.

This event is an opportunity for the London community to gather and hear some reflective, reasoned, and rational perspectives on how Canada’s future might unfold against an uncertain and shifting global backdrop. Expert panelists will look at the question of populism and anti-immigration sentiment from the perspectives of sociology, psychology, journalism, religious studies, and history. Join us for an evening of speculation, potentialities, and probabilities. We will weigh the variables and explore this critical, national question, with the help of an eminent ‘brain trust’ of Canadian scholars. This is not just about predicting the future, but about anticipating the world we will create together. (Read more)

Feature Musicians

IMG_5481_0Between the Keys is a jazz trio with Jen McIntyre, Cameron Bereznick, Tara Sampson. The group was created through the University of Western Ontario in 2013. The members began playing as an independent group seeking out performances ranging from coffee houses to private functions. The musical talents of Between the Keys soon became evident and the group was selected to be a part of the prestigious Chamber Performance Program at the University of Western Ontario.


P1010183 copyJames Shelley (@jamesshelley) is the convenor and host of the Wolf Hall Debates series. He suffers from a chronic obsession with asking big questions, pondering history, and reading classical literature. He is also an avid writer. James works as a Coordinator at the Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion (Western Health Sciences), teaches fitness classes at GoodLife, and does freelance videography work on the side. He is also the host of the Central Conversations podcast series at London Public Library.


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Followup Conversations

Monday, June 5, 7:00pm, London Public Library • Seeing the Present in the Past: Immigration in North America • Stephanie Bangarth joins us to talk more about the history, policies, and experiences of immigration in North America that have led us to this moment in time.

Monday, June 12, 7:00pm, London Public Library • The Heuristic of Hate: Dissecting Islamophobia • Rifat Hussain and Tristan Johnson reflect on the history of Islamophobia and the impact that it has on the lives of Muslims today.