Do shifting immigration patterns and increased ethnic diversity pose negative consequences for social solidarity and democratic governance in Canadian society? Studies on this subject often implicate the influx of different value systems as potentially upsetting the efficiencies of social and political integration. But very few studies have actually attempted to investigate the value differences between immigrants and native born Canadians. Also, findings from a related line of analysis suggest that shifting immigration patterns and increasing ethnic diversity may not be the only societal transformations to present future challenges for value compatibility within Canadian society. Changing formative and socialization experiences of younger generations may also be contributing to greater value pluralization, and feeding a new generational value divide. Multiple new value divides may now be adding to the overall degree of value diversity that already exists between different socio-cultural groups within the Canadian society. And each of these values divides, new or old, either independently or in some combined fashion, might contribute to making us feel less connected as a society and detract from political support. In this preliminary investigation, data obtained from the 1990 and 2000 Canadian World Values Surveys were employed to probe such broader possibilities. Among other things, the evidence suggests that the generational value divide has a more consistent significant negative effect on various indicators of community connectedness than the native born Canadian/immigrant from non-traditional source countries value divide. In fact, the findings of this investigation indicate that the generational value divide has an even more relevant influence on such outcomes than the French/English value divide, which is striking given the historical significance of this cleavage in Canadian society and politics. Also, the data suggest that the overall degree of value diversity within a community is an important determinant of support for its political authorities, more so than other relevant factors such as democratic and financial satisfaction, public cynicism and even media exposure.
Key words: Diversity, value diversity, generational value divide, immigration, social cohesion, political support.
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