Feds advised to focus on the majority to counter populism, documents show

Government of Canada

Newly released documents show senior government officials were advised to "bring the focus back to the majority'' instead of on diversity to counter the threat of populism in Canada.

The task force deputy ministers heard this idea among many during meetings last year looking at what the government could do to guard against a possible rise in extremism and populism domestically.

The group was told to encourage more public conversations and debate focused on "us'' rather than "us-versus-them'' narratives to foster "social cohesion.''

A briefing note prepared for the senior civil servants warned that if only "marginalized populations are considered,'' the result would be that "others feel as if they do no matter.''

The suggestions originated from an international expert invited to speak to the deputy minister task force on diversity and inclusiveness in October 2018.

The Canadian Press obtained a copy of the presentation and other documents to the task force under the Access to Information Act.