Truth and immigration
Rather than climbing over each other promising to increase the number of immigrants to Canada, party leaders should acknowledge that levels are already too high
James Bissett, Citizen Special
Published: Thursday, September 18, 2008
There are already close to a million immigrants waiting in the backlog to come here. They have all met the requirements and by law must be admitted. There is also a backlog of 62,000 asylum seekers before the refugee board and even if these are not found to be genuine refugees most will be allowed to stay. In addition, there are between 150,000 and 200,000 temporary workers now in the country and here again it is unlikely many of them will ever go home.
Despite these extraordinary numbers, the Harper government wants to raise the immigration intake next year to 265,000. The Liberals and the New Democrats have said they want even more, as much as one per cent of our population, or 333,000 each year.
Let's face the facts -- when there is a turndown in the world economy and dire predictions of serious recession or worse this is not the time to be bringing thousands of newcomers to Canada. In July of this year Ontario alone lost 55,000 jobs -- so what is the rationale for more immigration? The fact is there is no valid rationale. There is only one reason why our political parties push for high immigration intake and that is they see every new immigrant as a potential vote for their party. This is not only irresponsible; it borders on culpable negligence.
Moreover, there is no evidence that a larger labour force necessarily leads to economic progress. Many countries whose labour forces are shrinking are still enjoying economic buoyancy. Finland, Switzerland and Japan are only a few examples of countries that do not rely on massive immigration to succeed.
Productivity is the answer to economic success, not a larger population.
It also explains why a study published this year by professor Herbert Grubel of Simon Fraser University revealed that the 2.5 million immigrants who came to Canada between 1990 and 2002 received $18.3 billion more in government services and benefits in 2002 than they paid in taxes. As Prof. Grubel points out, this amount is more than the federal government spent on health care and twice what was spent on defence in the fiscal year of 2000/2001. Isn't it time our party leaders were made aware of this study?
Surprisingly The Globe and Mail turned the spotlight onto James Bissett and not negatively either. Read the Globe piece here.
Why is no one talking about immigration?
From Monday's Globe and Mail
September 22, 2008 at 12:32 AM EDT
While most politicians won't touch this stuff with a barge poll, one man daring to do so is James Bissett, a former bureaucrat and diplomat (he was Canada's ambassador to Yugoslavia in the early 1990s). Mr. Bissett was a member of a four-member task force in the 1960s that developed Canada's immigration points system. He later became executive director of the Canadian Immigration Service. He has a son married to a black woman and a daughter married to a Cuban.
Mr. Bissett was in a recent TV debate with NDP immigration critic Olivia Chow. Things got heated. “Look, you're supposed to be a socialist,” Mr. Bissett told her as they exited the set, “and you want to bring in 330,000 to undercut Canadian unions and workers' wages?” She wasn't amused.
I suspect Olivia Chow is allowing political necessity influence her stance on immigration. Same can be said with her husband NDP leader Jack Layton. Both of them are running in urban Toronto ridings that are home to a large number of immigrants particularly Asian immigrants. It surely cannot be ideology. Immigration has been, and continues to be, a key weapon in undermining union strength and attacking wage gains and incomes of working Canadians thus redirecting wealth into fewer and richer hands. I do not not know when and how the NDP had lost sight of this as I too have wondered why the NDP is not only pro mass-immigration but is also advocating increased numbers.
Mr. Bissett has, you might say, a rather cynical view of multiculturalism. In the old days, he explained, politicians used party funds to buy ethnic votes. But, in the 1970s, he said, they decided the taxpayers should pay. “They institutionalized multiculturalism. They set up a multiculturalism department with a big budget, and the big budget was used to bribe ethnic voters. On their annual national days, they get subsidies for their ethnic newspapers and so on.”
You hear a lot of grumbling at cocktail parties, but, he noted, people don't speak out openly about the social and economic costs for fear of being labelled racist. Toronto and Vancouver are on their way to becoming Asian cities, Mr. Bissett said. That may be fine, but let's talk about it. “Or are we just going to kind of go sleepwalking into the 21st century?”
I'm sure we are all nodding our heads in agreement. I used to think that only I harboured concerns about immigration and what it is doing and will do to Canada. And I thought I was alone in having reservations about multiculturalism as social policy. So I kept quite partly out of fear of being called a racist. That is until I started talking to people and became more vocal about my opposition. Aside from a few who spewed the usual rhetoric I discovered that many Canadians feel the same way I do. In fact I'd say most. This is what prompted me to start this blog.
Many have an old-fashioned romantic idea of immigration, he said, but this is a different world. “You don't go out to the Prairies and make sod huts for the winter and plant seeds for the summer.” He agrees Canada has a humanitarian role to play, but his view is that it is better done through greatly increased foreign aid than adding 300,000 job seekers annually in difficult times.
Be sure to read the comments to the article.