This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Canadian Immigration ....

"[Decades of] continuous disinformation about immigration, massive government propaganda in support of the view that diversity is an absolute social good, and that all cultures are equally worthy [has resulted in the Canadian public feeling convinced that mass immigration can only be good for the country]."
"Nobody will say we should only take in immigrants according to our absorptive capacity. That's not an unreasonable view, but if you say anything like that you risk being labelled a racist and a bigot."
Gilles Paquet, economist, University of Ottawa

"[Immigration is a] near silent issue. From a political point of view, [immigration] is a silent issue because it's a lose-lose situation for the politicians."
"Given that fifty percent [of the population feeling that immigration numbers are 'just right'], it's very difficult [for politicians] to see any gain in picking one side of the issue over another. This is why there is such quiescence on immigration among the political class."
"Not every group pays its way, especially refugees, but their children do. So in that sense the [economics of immigration] balance on the positive side."
Don Devoretz, economist, University of British Columbia

"High immigration levels are changing the face of Canada. You may disagree on whether this [is] for better or worse -- I think there are elements of both -- but the fact is we are getting a higher and higher percentage of newcomers in the Canadian population. Most of them will go into large cities, which will make housing more expensive and put more strain on the welfare and health care systems. The average Canadian does not benefit from immigration; it is the large companies and the real estate developers who benefit."
Martin Collacott, former Canadian ambassador
New Canadians take the citizenship oath during a special Canada Day ceremony held at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau in 2014. Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen

"...The average income and tax payments of recent immigrants ... are much lower than those of the average Canadian and ... immigrants consume roughly the same amount of government services as the average Canadian."
"Given the total number of these immigrants, the annual fiscal burden on Canadian taxpayers comes to about $30-billion."
Herb Grubel, economist. Simon Fraser University

"Canadians should recognize that we live in a capital-intensive society and that we should no longer rely on immigration to regulate the economy."
"Immigration levels should be in line with Canada's overall demographic objectives, and not be set solely to tide the country over short-term economic developments."
"[The country has] to slow down its population growth."
Science Council of Canada

"There is really no evidence in Canada at least, that [mass immigration] is having a huge effect on our culture. Our institutions, public schools, libraries, parks, swimming pools, hospitals, museums; all of these serve to bring immigrants out of their 'home' enclaves and into the new culture around them."
"Our greatest strength in Canada is the fact that the children of immigrants can go to public schools and universities and on to careers. Economic integration and opportunity is the greatest weapon we have against ethnic isolation and marginalization."
Ratna Omidvar, executive director, Global Diversity Exchange, Ryerson University

"What will Canada look like in 50 years? Will we still have a country that is fair, compassionate, just, integrated and socially cohesive, bound by fundamental core values?"
"Or will we live separately, in communities that are islands unto themselves? Could there be separatist voices rising from communities in Canada, so extreme and so violent that we may long for the days of the peaceful advocacy of the Parti Quebecois and Bloc Quebecois?"
Ujjal Dosanjh, former Liberal MP, former British Columbia premier

Ujjal Dosanjh has always been a voice for moderation, and inclusivity. That voice of reasonable accommodation and respect for others earned him the enmity of Sikh extremism which he was front and centre in denouncing, in Canada, as in India, as an expatriate. He experienced personally what it was like to be a target of violence. Beaten severely after his public denunciation of Sikh extremism in 1985, he remains a voice of reason, one that asks what a future Canada will look like.

Ratna Omidvar of the Global Diversity Exchange, a research institution, speaks of the "rise of ethnic enclaves" whose affect can be witnessed taking place in Europe, where a gradual influx of Muslim immigration has brought a sea change to the cultures that have taken them in, and the concerns raised by the advent of violent Islamism. Even without the fears wrought by jihadist extremists there are concerns over the demands by Muslim enclaves in their newly adopted countries insisting that indigenous laws should be changed, that Sharia law should be adopted to speak for Muslims.

And Martin Collacott, long a voice on immigration in Canada, worries about the potential of economic, social and political frictions increasing to reflect the situation seen in many European countries, with the establishment of ethnic enclaves resulting from the high number of immigrants that Canada introduces to the country on a yearly basis, averaging around a quarter-million, numbers that most other advanced economies don't reflect.

From early 1970 to the mid-1980s the annual immigration rate was about 150,000, and on occasion halved that total. From the late 1980s forward, however, the annual immigration rate has gone between 200,000 to 260,000 including refugees. In 2010 alone, the total for that year was 280,000, representing one of the highest per capita intake levels of immigrants in the world, without even incorporating hundreds of thousands of students, temporary foreign workers and refugees, not yet permanent residents.

Some 20.6 percent of the Canadian population, 6.8-million, are foreign-born, representing the highest foreign-born level among G8 nations, according to a 2013 Statistics Canada report. The question arises, is it really known whether immigration levels on that large a scale give benefit to the country economically? What of an increasingly diverse population with their maintenance of divided loyalties; what is shared in common? Historically and culturally are there any common values? This is, after all, what makes a nation.

According to a recent Mainstreet Research survey, 33 percent of people polled feel that immigration should be increased; 28 percent said immigration should be decreased, and 30 percent felt it should remain at the level reflecting what it is currently. Earlier surveys of decades back right to the present indicate that roughly 25 percent of Canadians feel too many immigrants were being brought into the country while 25% felt  too few were arriving, and 50 percent claimed the numbers to be just right.

Canadians are generally in support of immigration. However, the facade of the statistics cover waning support with the understanding that mass immigration results in ever-larger cities, in increased housing costs, in downward pressure on salaries and wages, in massive welfare outlays, and not least in the present climate of awareness, pressure on the environment.

The problem should be viewed in a purely practical manner, to benefit the country. The principle of absorptive capacity once the guideline for immigration policy, should be restored, according to academic Herb Grubel. Not everyone is agreed; experts rarely do all sing from the same hymnal, for though they are experts, they also have other baggage, that of ideology.

Leading some to claim that studies they refer to indicate that immigrants provide a net benefit to the country; perhaps not the first generation, but beginning by the second and finally third generation. Balancing that, the potential and reality of "failure of integration" brings its own searing problems. With segments of the immigrant stock feeling left out, different, hostile to the prevailing politics, culture and values.

And that issue is one that consumes the thoughts of those like Ujjal Dosanjh, and many others who think as he does, and with good reason.

At Debate.org the question is asked: Should Canada accept more immigrants? 33% respond in the affirmative, 67% in the negative.

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