The effect of ethnicity on class position and upward mobility in St. Boniface

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Cowan, E. M.
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After reviewing the literature on the differential placement of those of British and those of French-origins in the Canadian class structure, it was suggested that those of French-origin constituted a minority group in Canadian society for, on the basis of their ethnic origin, they had an inferior class position and less chance of upward mobility than those of British-origin. By using the 1961 Census, data on the different class positions of males of British and French-origin in St. Boniface, Manitoba was analysed. A postal questionnaire was sent to a sample of 'upper class' males living in St. Boniface in order to collect data on upward career mobility and several related variables including ethnic and religious origin. Although French ethnic origin was found to be associated with a low social class position, it was found that a Roman Catholic religious affiliation was more highly correlated with low class on two of the three indices used. Among the sample, those of British Roman Catholic origin were the most mobile. Although French-origin was associated with low upward career mobility for those of lower class and small town origins and among the older part of the sample, those of French/Roman Catholic origin had undergone more upward mobility in almost all other cases than those of British/Protestant origins. The study indicated the need to investigate the influence of religion as well as ethnicity in the "Vertical Mosaic". It also suggested that French Canadians outside Quebec may share a similar inferior class position but have better chances of upward mobility than those in Quebec.