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John Carlaw

Research Fellow
EducationPhD, York University
Areas of ExpertiseCanadian politics; citizenship, immigration and refugee policy; international relations; multiculturalism; neoconservatism; political economy

John Carlaw’s research examines continuity and change in the politics of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism.  He seeks to identify and comparatively analyze the evolving and competing political-economic projects and narratives that play an important part in framing and shaping Canada’s (im)migration present and future.

His dissertation, defended in 2019, examined the modern Conservative Party of Canada and former government’s (2006-2015) discourses, political approach and policy record in the fields of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism. There John developed and employed the descriptor and concept of Kenneyism and neoconservative multiculturalism to explain and explore the disciplinary yet creative neoconservative political project the Conservatives undertook in these fields and to win office and its policy impacts.

John holds a PhD from the Department of Political Science, York University.  From 2015 to 2019, he served as Project Lead of York University's Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, a refugee sponsorship and education initiative at York’s Centre for Refugee Studies.  There he worked in close collaboration with Ryerson University’s Lifeline Syria Challenge and civil society actors to organize events, workshops and conferences with youth and NGO collaborators, including Amnesty International Canada, the Canadian Council for Refugees and Toronto Refugee Rights Month Planning Committee.

John turned to migration and refugee studies after several years of studying, working and engaging in solidarity and education efforts in the areas of democracy, human rights and political economy in Latin America, including working with the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CALACS) and Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, York University.

He has taught in the Social Science and Glendon College Political Science Departments at York University as well as the Department of Politics at Trent University.

Recent Publications

(2015) PDF file A Party for New Canadians? The Rhetoric and Reality of Neoconservative Citizenship and Immigration Policy, external link, In T. Healy & S. Trew. (Eds.). In The Harper Record 2008-2015, Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 105-28.

(2018) Authoritarian Populism and Canada’s Conservative Decade (2006–2015) in Citizenship and Immigration: The Politics and Practices of Kenneyism and Neo-Conservative Multiculturalism, external linkJournal of Canadian Studies  51:3 782–816. 

(2020) Throne speech offers little systemic change for migrant workers, refugees, external linkThe Conversation. 

(2021/1) PDF fileUnity in Diversity? Neoconservative Multiculturalism and the Conservative Party of Canada.

Refugee Advocacy and Sponsorship

PDF fileNext Steps and Reflections from Refugee Sponsors and Resettlement Professionals, external link

York University Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, external link