The Changing Demography of York University

Earlier this month, a number of fliers titled “The Changing Demography of York University” were posted across York University using the campus’ official logo along with a picture of several of its students without their permission. The fliers claimed:

“In 1968, York University was nearly 100 per cent white Canadian. According to the York Student Comprehensive Survey, the percentage of white undergraduates decreased from 81 per cent in 1991 to 73 per cent in 1995… If mass Third World immigration continues, white Canadians will be reduced to a persecuted minority, not only at York, but in their own country!! It doesn’t have to be this way!!”


Anti-Immigration PosterPosted by Immigration Watch Canada, an organization noted for previously distributing xenophobic materials to the general public, the fliers were nothing we hadn’t seen from the white nationalistic group. Last April, the group distributed several fliers in Brampton titled “The Changing Face of Brampton” where it compared a picture of ‘white’ persons against another of Sikh individuals, asking the question: “Is this really what you want?” The IWC also claimed that in 2001, “… mainstream Canadians made up 59.6 per cent of Brampton’s social fabric. In 2011, it dropped to 32.9 per cent. What will the Census findings be in five, 10 or even 15 years from now?”


The attitudes of the IWC attached to the observations of a changing demographic in Canada are obviously offensive and have in no way bettered the society they claim to protect. Sentiments like “White Nationalism” and the idea of Canadian identity as a particular ethnicity/skin colour (particularly “white”) have no historical basis, and quite frankly, run contrary to supposed Canadian values of multiculturalism that have held the country together in the past.  One should note that the ‘face’ of Canada has always been changing, and that it is nonsensical to demand or expect that the norm be anything short of contingent. The supposed ‘norm’ is in fact a moving target that alters and adapts by averaging out the current trends.

By expressing the disgruntlement of a section of the visible majority that feels invaded by people perceived as different from themselves, the IWC has succeeded only in increasing tensions between various cultural groups in Canada. Their message is harmful to society at large as it promotes the fragmentation of society; our ideal of a ‘multicultural mosaic’ gets broken up into ethnic enclaves based solely on cultural heritage. This then further decreases social cohesion as minority groups feels persecuted and further resentment grows.

The incident at York has once again shone the spotlight on issues raised in multicultural societies like Canada, and it has given FreeSAY cause to reaffirm their mandate!

Some of the goals of FreeSAY include:

Furthering the acceptance and application of science, reason, and critical thinking in all areas of human endeavor.

Cultivating in ourselves – and others – a sense of responsibility to, and compassion for, humanity.

Defending individual freedoms and civil liberties for all persons, regardless of race, sex, gender, class, creed, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.