A quilt’s journey from Canada to Berkeley; What Canada can teach California about growth

A newsletter from one of our fellow Canadian organizations in the Bay Area.

Canadian Studies Announcements

In This Issue:

Upcoming Events

  • “The Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Vote in a More Tolerant Canada”

Program News

  • Opinion: California can take lessons from Canada if it wants to promote growth, says program director Irene Bloemraad
  • Reminder: Big Give is next Thursday!

Local News

  • Century-old quilt found in East Bay dumpster is heirloom for rural Ontario town

Research Opportunities

  • Last call for papers: ACSUS 26th Biennial Conference
  • Summer Hildebrand Fellowship deadline is next week!

External Events

  • I-House Canadian DiversiTea and Coffee Hour


If you require an accommodation to fully participate in an event, please let us know at least 10 days in advance.

The Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Vote in a More Tolerant Canada

Wed., March 15 | 12:30 pm PT | 223 Philosophy | RSVP

Research on the political preferences of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) voters shows that they are more progressive than heterosexuals. However, few studies consider differences between heterosexual, gay/lesbian, and bisexual men and women. Furthermore, little is known about how these preferences have changed as society has become more accepting of diverse sexualities.

This presentation analyzes original research on Canadian LGB voters’ political preferences a decade and a half after same-sex marriage was legalized. Consistent with prior research, gay men, and, to a lesser extent, bisexual men, are more left-wing than heterosexual men. A more novel finding is that bisexual women are the most left-wing group. Lesbian women are only slightly to the left of heterosexual women. While left-wing bisexual women are growing in number, the overall gap between LGB and heterosexual voters has remained stable across generations, because marriage narrows some of the preference gaps.

About the Speaker

Dr. Eric Guntermann is a John A. Sproul Research Fellow in the Canadian Studies Program, and a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on the representation of citizens’ preferences by governments, as well as public attitudes towards political parties and related voting behaviour.

Dr. Edana Beauvais is an assistant professor of political science at Simon Fraser University. Her research explores how inequalities shape communication and action, producing unequal political influence between different social group members.

This event is cosponsored by the Departments of Political Science and Sociology.


Opinion: California Can Take Lessons from Canada if It Wants to Promote Growth, Says Program Director Irene Bloemraad

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times published an opinion piece by Canadian Studies Program director Irene Bloemraad. Titled “No, California Doesn’t Have a Population Crisis“, the piece addresses popular, but misdirected, narratives about an “exodus” of out California. Many pundits have declared that the Golden State has lost its shine, soon be eclipsed by up-and-coming Sun Belt rivals like Texas. However, Bloemraad argues that these explanations don’t capture the whole story, and offers some solutions out of the Canadian policy handbook.

Professor Bloemraad, a sociologist specializing in migration and citizenship, first examines the facts surrounding the “exodus” story. California recently reported two consecutive years of population decline, and lost a US house seat for the first time ever. The state faces a declining birthrate and aging population, which make it unlikely that natural growth will sustain it going forward. Many counties are already facing population loss; however, contrary to popular anecdotes about citizens fleeing high-tax coastal areas, these declines are proportionally worst in rural northern and mountain communities that have been essentially drained of young, working-age people.

In the face of these facts, Bloemraad argues that immigration will be the key to keeping California’s economy strong. The state could soon face a situation like Canada’s, where immigrants accounted for 85% of labor force growth in the 2010s. As more wealthy countries face population stagnation, there could be increased global competition for migrant labour in coming years. Luckily, California remains an attractive destination of international migrants. Following two years of essentially zero migration to the US during COVID-19, immigration numbers are again increasing. This is good news for the state, as immigrants are more likely to be working than native-born citizens.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily benefit the whole state: immigrants tend to cluster in large metros, like the San Francisco Bay Area. Bloemraad suggests that the state could follow the Canadian model of offering new immigrants incentives to settle in depopulating rural communities. These programs would not only benefit long-time residents by injecting new dynamism into stagnant local economies; they could also offer new residents with better opportunities than large cities plagued by housing shortages and a high cost of living. Such policies will be essential to promoting healthy, balanced growth in the state going forward.

Reminder: Big Give is Next Thursday!

Just ten days left until the big day! On March 9, show your support for Canadian Studies by making a donation on Big Give, Berkeley’s annual day of giving. Almost all of our funding comes from donors like you: your generosity supports our public programs and student scholars, from our monthly events to our new undergraduate research grants, right down to this newsletter! So mark your calendars, and see you March 9!


Century-old Quilt Found in East Bay Dumpster is Heirloom for Rural Ontario Town

The saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has again proven true, when a Berkeley woman’s unexpected find in a local dumpster turned out to be a lost heirloom from a tiny Ontario town, nearly 2,500 miles away. The object, a nearly century-old antique quilt, was returned home last month, where it created a flurry of interest among local residents eager to connect it to their town’s and families’ histories.

As reported in Berkeleyside, Berkeley resident and author Leslie Buck found the quilt on top of a pile of garbage while taking a walk in 2021. She took it to a local quilt shop for examination, where workers discovered that the inside was covered with around 240 embroidered names and the words “Echo Bay United Church 1930”. Such quilts were often made as church fundraisers, with churchgoers paying a small fee to have their names embroidered on the back.

Buck traced the quilt back to the small rural township of Echo Bay, Ontario, near Sault Ste. Marie. With a population of just 1,600, the town is best known for hosting the world’s largest loonie, a tribute to former resident Robert-Ralph Carmichael who designed the iconic coin.

Buck immediately contacted the church, which was astonished and excited by the discovery of the 93-year-old quilt so far from home. Buck arranged to return the quilt to Canada, where it arrived safely last month. Echo Bay residents were delighted to find the names of relatives, local notables, and even MP’s on the quilt. Many were excited to make personal connections to the names, and share anecdotes about their lives.

It remains a mystery how the quilt ended up in California. Locals suspect that it was taken west by a resident who moved to the United States during the Depression. Local historians are hopeful that as they learn more about the people listed on the quilt, they may uncover more about this long-ago Bay Area Canadian.

In the meantime, the quilt will likely be donated to the Echo Bay Museum, where its extraordinary journey will be recorded for future generations.

Photograph of quilt by Leslie Buck, reproduced in Berkeleyside.


Last Call for Papers: ACSUS 26th Biennial Conference and Student Colloquium

Main conference deadline: March 1, 2023

Student submission deadline: April 15, 2023

The deadline to submit papers for the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States (ACSUS) 26th Biennial Conference is this Wednesday, March 1.

The conference is scheduled for November 16-19, 2023 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Washington, D.C. All proposals with a significant Canadian focus are eligible for submission. ACSUS welcomes papers and panel proposals from students, professors, independent scholars, and practitioners on all diverse and critical perspectives related to the conference theme, “Canada: Near and Far”.

ACSUS also welcomes strong proposals from students at both the graduate and undergraduate level, individual submissions as well as group proposals. Students accepted to the colloquium will receive funding support from ACSUS in the form of: 1) $125 USD to cover registration and a 2-year ACSUS membership and 2) $1,000 USD to assist with travel and accommodation costs.

Learn more about applying to the conference or student colloquium here.

Summer Hildebrand Fellowship Deadline is Next Week!

The Canadian Studies Program is currently accepting applications for the Edward E. Hildebrand Graduate Research Fellowship for Summer 2023. The application is open to UC Berkeley graduate students in any discipline whose work focuses primarily or comparatively on Canada. This fellowship is meant to cover direct research costs, with an award maximum of $5,000.

The application deadline for Summer 2023 projects is Friday, March 10, 2023.

Please visit our website for more information and full eligibility criteria, and help us share this information with your friends, students, and networks!


I-House Canadian DiversiTea and Coffee Hour

Wednesday, March 1 | Great Hall, I-House | 8:30 pm

Canadian students at UC Berkeley (or those with an interest in Canada) are invited to join their fellow Berkeley Canadians for a social hour Wednesday evening in I-House’s Great Hall. Organized by I-House’s Canadian residents, this special event is a great opportunity to get to know your fellow classmates while you enjoy some specialty Canadian drinks and snacks!

Canadian Studies Program
213 Moses Hall #2308
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Canadian Studies Program | Univ. of California, Berkeley213 Moses Hall #2308Berkeley, CA 94720

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