Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Damn The Unemployed: Maintaining Immigration Surpluses In A Time Of 'Modest Economic' Growth.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty spoke candidly recently when he said economic boom times are over.

Canada’s economic boom times are over, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says.

“We’re in a different world today,” he said Monday, following a meeting with private sector economists.

In a blunt assessment, the usually optimistic Flaherty said Canadians need to rein in their hopes for the economy.

“This is not a time of booming economic growth, it’s a time of modest growth and there needs to be some adjustment of expectations.

“We’re not going to see the boom times that we saw before in the shorter term,”
he said.

How about that? So when the economy was booming we were told we needed the highest per capita intake of immigrants in the world to support it. Now what? Oh right, we still need the highest per capita intake of immigrants in the world to "prepare for the recovery" which will happen when exactly? Get the feeling that the federal government is not being honest with the citizenry about the real intent of maintaining high immigration quotas? Do they even know what they are doing?

The Toronto Star's Thomas Walkom thinks Canadians should expect almost no assistance from Ottawa to help them through these uncertain economic times. I think he's right.

But now, belatedly, Ottawa has recognized that this country is not immune from a crisis that still roils the industrial world. In particular, it is not immune from a crisis ravaging this country’s biggest market, the U.S.

Canada’s economy may not sink back into technical recession. But neither is it expected to prosper.

Few forecasts are optimistic. Economists at the University of Toronto’s policy and economic analysis program don’t expect the national jobless rate to drop to pre-recession levels until at least 2016.

Thomas Walkom fails to mention the cutting of immigration levels as a course of action Ottawa should adopt to protect Canadians in the current economic climate.

However he does have this to say:

All of this may help explain why Flaherty wants Canadians to make an “adjustment” to their expectations. Here’s what that means.

Young people should not expect good jobs when they leave school. The unemployed should not expect any work at all.

The sick should expect health care to be cut back. The poor should expect to get poorer.

The old should not expect the pensions they worked for.

In effect, the finance minister says, expect very little from this government. Take him at his word.

In a related story we have this op-ed piece in the Toronto Star.

Canada can and should help the developing world, but we also must help people trapped in poverty and hunger at home.

The United Nations meeting coincided with an important local event, the release of the Daily Bread Food Bank’s annual Who’s Hungry report. The statistics are alarming. This past year, food banks experienced a 15 per cent increase, the largest rise in client visits since social assistance rates were cut by almost 22 per cent in 1995. As a result of the economic downturn, with many losing their jobs or having their hours cut, the number of people who have to rely on food banks to feed themselves and their families is at its highest ever.

An alarming number of people in our city are borrowing on their credit cards just to be able to pay the rent and buy groceries. Of all clients interviewed, 28 per cent had used a credit card or line of credit to pay for basic needs such as housing and food. These are honest, hard-working people, many with disabilities, who are either unable to work or have lost their jobs.

In the 905 region, food bank use increased by 21 per cent from 157,000 visits annually to 190,000. This is likely due to a higher number of layoffs in the manufacturing sector in those areas of the GTA.

In our enthusiasm to prove Canada’s engagement in global economic, aid and security issues, we cannot forget that our own house is not in order.

Dramatically cutting immigration targets will give recent immigrants and the recently unemployed a fighting chance in the current labour market. Not doing so only reveals the collective indifference of all of Canada's politicians towards their plight. There are few excuses left for maintaining dangerously high levels of immigration outside of political necessity.

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