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How you feel about racism depends on where you live and who you vote for: Poll

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About two-thirds of Canadians are confident that Canada is not a racist country, although the responses vary significantly between people of different age and partisan affiliation, according to a new poll from the Angus Reid Institute.

Young women are far more likely to agree that Canada is a racist country, with 54 percent of women aged 18 to 34 agreeing. Older men and women are the least likely to say they live in a racist country, with only 21 percent of men aged 55 and older agreeing with that statement.

Some of the starkest differences in opinion appear along partisan lines.

Majorities in the both the Green Party and NDP believe Canada is a racist country, with 55 and 54 percent agreeing with that statement, respectively. Only 18 percent of Conservative voters believe Canada is a racist country, while 38 percent of Liberal voters agree.

The divide on the issue was clear in dueling news conferences in Ottawa this week.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh warned against ignoring “the bad parts of our history,” while Conservative leader Erin O’Toole decried activists who are “always seeing the bad and never the good” in Canada.

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said he had mixed feelings about Canada Day, which he said is a good time to reflect on “what we are as a country,” according to the Canadian Press. Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett said she would be taking the opportunity to wear an orange shirt on Canada Day as symbol of reconciliation.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minority government will be two years old in the fall, which is about the usual expiry date for a minority Parliament, leading to speculation about an approaching election. The shocking discovery of the remains of 215 children at the site of the former Kamloops Residential School last month and the likelihood of many more such discoveries, such as the remains of 751 children discovered Wednesday at the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School, means these issues could be at the forefront of an election campaign.

In his speech to the Conservative caucus on Wednesday, O’Toole looked to position himself right in the middle of mainstream Canadian opinion, expressing horror at elements of the country’s past while making the case for an optimistic view of the future.

More than half of Bloc Quebecois voters said they felt cold toward Muslims.

“I’m concerned that injustices in our past, or in our present, are too often seized upon by a small group of activist voices who use it to attack the very idea of Canada itself,” said O’Toole.

The Angus Reid Institute poll shows that the percentage of Canadians who think diversity makes the country better is growing in lockstep with the size of Canada’s visible minority population.

In 1994, when less than 10 percent of Canadians were visible minorities, about 82 per cent of the country said diversity was a positive thing. Now, with about a quarter of the country identifying as a visible minority, 86 percent of Canadians say diversity makes the country a better place.

Many of the divides on these issues fall along geographical and partisan lines. For example, just 17 percent of people in British Columbia said they felt “cold” or “more cold than warm” towards Muslims in Canada. That number rises to 27 percent in Alberta, but it balloons to 37 percent in Quebec. In fact, more than half of Bloc Quebecois voters said they felt cold toward Muslims, which is 13 points higher than the Conservative Party, at 38 percent.

The Angus Reid Institute poll also found some variance on how Canadians view so-called “micro-aggressions.”

About 26 percent of Canadians consider it either racist or offensive to ask a non-white person where they were born. Forty percent of Canadians say it depends on the circumstances and 25 percent say there is nothing wrong with saying that.

Forty-one percent of Canadians say it is either racist or offensive to say “you speak good English” to someone with an accent, while 35 percent say it depends on the context and 23 percent say there is nothing wrong with saying that.

Canadians are far less accepting of imitating someone of a different ethnicity, with 70 percent saying it is racist or offensive, 24 percent saying it depends on circumstances and six percent saying there’s nothing wrong with it. According to the poll, Indigenous people are less likely to be offended by this, with 61 percent saying it’s either racist or offensive.

In general, women are more likely to find these things offensive compared to men. Eighty-one percent of women aged 18 to 34 say that imitating someone of a different ethnicity is racist or offensive compared to just 62 percent of men aged 18 to 34, who are the least likely to be offended.

Guns, crawfish and a rip around Talladega. Here’s how vaccines pay off for a lucky few

News

Get a jab and it could be all yours.

But only for Canadians who live in Alberta or Manitoba, of course. Premier Jason Kenney announced on Saturday that the province will be instituting an “Open for Summer” lottery with three top prizes worth $1 million each as a way to motivate more Albertans to get their vaccines. Additional non-cash prizes include 40 travel-related giveaways. 

Kenney said at a press conference on Monday that these incentives are necessary to reach those who are hesitant but still persuadable. 

“There always will be some who will never get a vaccine of any kind. No fact and no plea to civic responsibility will sway them. But we also know that there are lots of people who want to get vaccinated or are thinking hard about it but they just haven’t taken the plunge yet,” said Kenney.

“We really need to push hard to encourage the 15 percent who want to get vaccinated or are open to it but have not yet gotten around to it,” he said.

To date, the only other province to provide similar incentives is Manitoba, who led the way in Canada on this initiative by being the first province to implement a vaccine lottery. Vaccinated Manitobans will be entered into a lottery that will award nearly $2 million in cash and scholarships, the province announced on June 9. 

So far, Canada’s incentives have been comparatively muted, though, with the biggest draws being cold, boring cash (outside of the free lifesaving vaccine, of course).

For more creative prizes we naturally have to look to our southern neighbours. 

A smorgasboard of American vaccine prizes

While many American states are implementing cash lotteries and scholarship opportunities as well, many more varied and locally unique prizes can be found in jurisdictions across the country.

Here are ten of the most inventive incentives:

  1. The Devil’s Lettuce in Washington state: Fully interested in playing to stereotype, the state is enabling state-licensed dispensaries to give qualifying customers one pre-rolled joint at an in-store vaccination clinic through its “Joints for Jabs” program.
  1. Guns in West Virginia: Got some skeets that won’t shoot themselves? West Virginia has you covered. Five hunting rifles and five custom shotguns were available as winnings in that state’s lottery giveaway.
  1. Crawfish in New Orleans: COVID or crawfish? The city banked on that being an easy choice, as a local business incubator partnered with a seafood market to give away one pound of crawfish for the price of one shot at an event in May.
  1. A rip around the world’s most famous racetrack in Alabama: Time to get your Ricky Bobby on. A mass testing and vaccination event in May gave Alabamans aged 16 and over the opportunity to take two laps around the Talladega Superspeedway. A needle was not required for participation, as the offer extended even to those who only got a COVID-19 test.
  1. Mascot merch in Philadelphia: Yes, the “Philly Vax Sweepstakes” included 400,000 dollars in cash, but surely the city’s most coveted prizes came from the Philadelphia Flyers: as part of their “Take Your Shot” campaign the team partnered with Penn Medicine to give out immunizations at a playoff game with incentives including vouchers for game tickets and, most alluringly, Gritty themed t-shirts and stickers.
  1. Festival tickets in Chicago: The best way to break from more than a year of social distancing is to be jam-packed limb to sweaty limb with beer-spilling strangers as indiscernibly loud beats blow out your eardrums. Just like the good ol’ days. Chicago is set to give out 1,200 passes to the Lollapalooza music festival at a mass vaccination event on June 26.
  1. Tacos in California: Along with discounted sports merch, dream vacations and cash totaling an eyebrow-raising 116.5 million dollars in prizes, California has also partnered with Taco Bell and Chipotle for a free taco and some queso blanco with proof of vaccination at each respective establishment. 
  1. The full big city experience in New York: Governor’s Ball passes, MetroCards, staycation packages and baseball, Broadway and concert tickets are all on offer in New York state. 
  1. Love, anywhere in America: The White House announced in May that it had partnered with dating apps Tinder, Hinge, OKCupid, BLK, Chispa, Plenty of Fish, Match, Bumble, and Badoo to give vaccinated users access to premium content such as boosts, super likes and super swipes. Perhaps the aim here is to tackle two problems in one.
  1. Calories, also anywhere in America: If you’re an American who super strikes out on all of your super swipes, no worries, you can just eat and drink your sorrows away — many businesses have joined in the cause to get every American vaccinated by any means necessary, with Krispy Kreme making perhaps the biggest initial splash when they offered a free donut to every inoculated individual in the country. Anheuser-Busch, meanwhile, has partnered with the White House for the biggest beer giveaway in history — the company will provide a free beer to every American if the country reaches a 70 percent vaccination rate by July 4. 

But will any of this actually work? 

Can the lure of lottery cash and incentives inject enough enthusiasm to motivate the still-hesitant to line up for their shot? Or are these simply substance-less stunts that miss the point entirely, as some have criticized, including Robert Oxoby, the head of the University of Calgary’s economics department.

“You can’t change preferences with money. There’s years of evidence that you can’t do it,” he told the Calgary Herald.

University of Calgary associate professor and economist Trevor Tombe presented a different view, commenting on Twitter:

“Some reject that incentives matter. Fair enough, but there are many studies investigating the effect of cash and other incentives to increase vaccine uptake. They increased uptake there. Is this time different? Don’t know. Definitely worth a shot.”

Some initial data suggests they could make a difference. 

A recent YouGov poll showed that nearly half (42 percent) of Americans on-the-fence about vaccines responded favourably to at least one of the eight potential incentives that were on offer in the poll, while at least one incentive mattered to 91 percent of those who were planning on being vaccinated. 

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine revealed on CNN that the state’s vaccination rate had gone up 45 percent two weeks after it’s “Vax-a-Million” lottery was announced, with the biggest jump being in 16- and 17-year olds who’s cohort experienced a 94 percent increase in vaccinations.

As for Alberta? As of June 15, nearly 900,000 Albertans had registered to participate in the lottery. 

Similar enthusiasm is evident elsewhere. United Airlines had over 400,000 entrants and more than 100,000 new sign-ups in the first 48 hours for its MileagePlus “golden ticket” scheme. Krispy Kreme has so far handed out more than 1.5 million donuts.

Whether they move the needle or not, offering incentives seems a no-brainer for participating brands. A Morning Consult poll showed that forty-one percent of U.S. adults said they would feel more favourably about a brand that incentivizes consumers to receive vaccines with offers of free products or services. This amount was 24 percent higher than the 17 percent who said the opposite.

All in all, heading to a Yankees game with a Nacho Cheese Doritos® Locos Taco in one hand and a bucket of crawfish in the other, arm-in-vaccinated-arm with your Tinder date dressed head to toe in Gritty gear? America, that sounds like a fine way to kick-off your post-pandemic life. Time to step our game up, Canada.