Malton battles its demons
Corner of Mississauga dealing with high crime, changing demographics, few job opportunities
Oct 31, 2008 04:30 AM
It's a refreshing outlook. Pride in Malton – the small, geographically isolated suburb in northeast Mississauga – is scarce these days. The modest neighbourhood, bordered by Brampton, Rexdale and Pearson International Airport, has seen an increasing number of homicides and other violent crimes over the past year.
But crime statistics give many residents and politicians pause. This year, five of Peel's 24 homicides occurred in Malton, many gang-related. According to Peel police statistics, violent crimes in 21 Division, which includes Malton and south Brampton, have increased steadily over the past three years, second only to Brampton's 22 Division. And while Peel saw an overall decrease in violent crime between 2006 and 2007, the decline was less than Toronto experienced.
Malton is a yet another example of a suburban area caught in the crosshairs of violent crime in a ring of lower-income neighbourhoods surrounding Toronto's more prosperous core. Some blame geography, arguing that gangsters from Rexdale and Brampton use Malton as a meeting ground for drug deals. Others say there aren't enough social services to keep immigrant kids occupied while their parents work two jobs.
Malton, once a centre for aircraft building and war pilot training, has been a community of working-class newcomers since the early British wave that settled in after World War II.
But the demographics have changed noticeably, as has the local economy. Postwar Italian and Polish immigrants have given way to those from South Asia and the Caribbean, and immigrants now comprise more than 64 per cent of Malton's population, according to a 2006 report by the Social Planning Council of Peel.
Joyce Temple-Smith, executive director of Malton Neighbourhood Services, says the area's biggest need is jobs.
"Not just any jobs, but jobs that pay enough to live a dignified life," she said.
That's wishful thinking since much of Canada's job growth is in jobs that won't pay for a dignified life and are often part time or temporary. But someone's got to do them and that's where immigration comes in particularly third world immigration because who else will do jobs that Canadians won't do at that pay? Such is the racism at the root of the "Canada needs more immigrants for job growth" crowd.
There is a connection between rising crime rates and mass immigration. Since much of the jobs immigrants were imported to fill are either non-existent or low paying Canada is effectively importing poverty. And poverty and high density are a potent mix.
I should also add that the Rexdale neighbourhood of Toronto as well as South Brampton are also immigrant heavy areas particularly South Asian immigration. And, like Malton, are home to similar social ills such as high density, few job opportunities, and low income families.
The social problems that now plague these communities can be controlled if we lower immigration numbers as one of many avenues to take. If we had never let Canada's immigration system get out of control in the first place then these problems could have been avoided altogether.