Liberals playing Immigration Card
File is a matter of politics, not policy, for both parties
John Ivison in Ottawa, National Post Published: Friday, February 23, 2007
There is clearly no room for sentiment in this process of natural selection, but for the Liberals to pin the blame for the ills of the immigration system on the Conservatives is cynical in the extreme. The system is indeed sick: The backlog of applications from potential immigrants now totals 800,000, up from 50,000 when the Liberals took office in 1993; only a quarter of all immigrants are net fiscal contributors to Canada, at an estimated cost to the taxpayer every year of more than $18-billion; the refugee process is more sympathetic to Mexicans than displaced Africans fleeing rape and torture in Darfur and so on.
The backlog is now in excess of 900,000 and chasing 1 million. Studies state that somewhere between 17-25% of all applicants are selected for economic reasons. Knowing this we can assume that the vast majority of those in the backlog are immigrants whose contribution will be negligible at best being granted entry to Canada because they have a relative here. To be blunt, Canada is being swamped with immigrants it does not need and will most likely be a fiscal burden to Canadian tax payers then a net contributor.
The truth is that the two parties have broadly similar platforms when it comes to this file: Both would invest similar sums of money (the Conservatives promise more in the estimates for the current year compared with Liberal forecasts from the 2005 estimates, but the Liberals pledged new spending in their pre-election economic update) and both would allow about a quarter of a million new immigrants every year.
Neither has offered up a convincing vision of how to stop the rot in a system that has gained international notoriety for its inefficiency. A recent study by the Fraser Institute quoted an Australian academic as saying: "We are in awe at the ineptitude of the Canadian immigration selection process."
Certainly neither will make the same mistake as the Reform party when it suggested cutting back on immigration, which earned it the "racist" tag that persists to this day.
Sadly this is true since all political parties are vying for the so-called "ethnic vote". It is sad because Canada accepts too many immigrants in the first place, a situation the inept rule of the Mulroney government burdened this country with when it arbitrarily raised immigration numbers by a whole 100,000. Interestingly enough, the last government that reduced immigration levels as a response to lower economic forecasts was the Trudeau Liberals. To do so now would be considered "racist". Welcome to the topsy-turvey land called Canada.
And there's the rub. For both parties, immigration is more a matter of politics than policy. Both are in a bidding war for the new Canadian vote, as the Conservatives try to break into urban areas in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Neither has any real interest in fixing systemic problems, since doing so could alarm communities they are seeking to charm. Unsurprisingly, immigrant voters are in favour of more immigration, not necessarily smarter immigration.
This is also true. Immigrant communities are interested in more immigration and not less or smarter immigration putting them at odds with the real needs of the country and Canadians. I suspect there is a racist motive behind this because immigration to Canada today is mostly third world immigration with India and China leading the charge. This is offsetting, or displacing, the European character of the host population. In other words, it is preferable that Canada becomes less white.
To test my suspicions imagine if Canada increased immigration levels but announced that half of all immigrants will be from traditional sources (Europe, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand). I'm sure you can imagine the protestations at such an announcement and from where. It is not necessarily about numbers but just as importantly it is about the character of Canada's immigration policy. You see immigration is about race though we are expected to be colour blind. That is the host majority is supposed to be colour blind. Racial minority groups in Canada are not and are very race conscious. Canada is, for now, white majority, and minority groups are uncomfortable with this while the white majority of Canada is steadily being reduced to minority status and they are increasing becoming uncomfortable with this as well.
I say immigration is about race, or even ethnicity, because I cannot fully understand why an immigrant or an immigrant community would care so much as to how many immigrants Canada accepts each year and from where because, after all, they are already in the country. That is, unless, they are concerned about bringing in more of their own people to counter the overwhelming influence of Canada' European/North American culture and make Canada more Asian, or Indian, or African, or Hispanic. This doesn't serve the real needs of the host majority but it does serve the needs of the immigrant and immigrant community and thus immigration is more akin to colonialism. Anyhow I am digressing.
What is so frustrating is that no political party is offering real leadership in fixing Canada's immigration system. The issue doesn't even seem to be up for debate or discussion for the sake of the "ethnic vote" which is why we as individuals need to challenge it and press the issue whenever and wherever we can.