Franco-Tunisian, he grew up in New Brunswick. In November 2016, he was admitted into the Order of Canada.
He holds a doctorate in political science from the University of Bordeaux-Montesquieu (1996) and a master’s degree in political science from the Université de Montreal (1991). His research focuses on the issues of immigration in mid-sized cities and low-immigration areas and discourses and representations of cultural, religious and ethnic diversity. It also reflects on the phenomenon of populism and right-wing ideologies.
He was involved in the creation of the Atlantic Metropolis Centre as director of research and from 2006 to 2012 as centre director. At the same time, he directed two films produced by the National Film Board of Canada, entitled Tableaux d’un voyage imaginaire in 2001 with filmmaker Jean Chabot and Au bout du fil in 2006.