A new year is usually cause for optimism. Yet a recent study in which I was involved surveyed the attitudes of 100 post-secondary students and recent immigrants living in Calgary who were found to be quite pessimistic about their prospects.
Everyone rejected the talk of recovery promoted by economists and politicians and repeated in the news media because they are not experiencing any such recovery. Participants have lost faith in experts, opinion-setters and major institutions in both the public and private sector.
University students don’t believe administrators or politicians act in their best interests. Anyone looking for work believes the system is stacked against ordinary job-seekers and in favour of well-paid CEOs. Many immigrants believe the federal government doesn’t know what it is doing when it comes to immigration policy.
Immigrants with university degrees and other credentials are encouraged to come to Alberta because the economy is stronger here than in other parts of the country. But if they come expecting to find work in their field they are too often disappointed. Like students, they end up taking minimum-wage jobs because there are so few professional opportunities available to them.
Some recent immigrants in the focus groups were so frustrated they talked about going back to their home country. One immigrant from China said: “Employers and the government — they have to see the potential of the immigrants. They are very qualified but they are wasting their talent.”
I doubt it was the writer's intention but she unwittingly invites the reader to question Canada's immigration system. Why wouldn't they? According to the article "many immigrants believe the federal government doesn’t know what it is doing when it comes to immigration policy". They are right to believe that.
Another group they are equally skeptical of, as they should be, are the so-called "experts". The "experts" are overpaid, overeducated, Vegas oddsmakers with advanced degrees in the soft science called Economics who occupy offices in the downtown towers of major Canadian cities and look at numbers and graphs all day. They then go on camera or in print to try and convince everyone to believe that they know what they are talking about when in reality they couldn't predict the exact moment the clock strikes twelve. Their view of reality are numbers on a computer screen. What do they know?
I once read the "experts" have a hard time predicting the past so why should we believe them about the future? This appears to be the case here. The "experts" tell us the Canadian economy is recovering and that jobs abound however lived experience may tell us otherwise. It may be true that jobs are plenty but those jobs may be part-time, seasonal, contract, or for one day paying a low wage, demanding few (if any) skills, with almost no opportunity for advancement. Is this why we need 260,000 immigrants year after year? If you are unemployed or underemployed will importing 260,000 more permanent residents into the country make your life better? Has it ever?
Canada already has the highest educated workforce amongst all the G8 nations. We already have an underutilized workforce ready and willing to be trained and retrained to satisfy labour market needs. No reasonable excuse exists to maintain a high immigration regime in this economic climate. What Canada needs now is a highly selective immigration system at greatly reduced intake figures. Maintaining the status quo will not make things easier for immigrants and recent graduates. It may worsen the situation and create a long-term, compounding problem by continuously injecting superfluous labour into a flooded job market, as we have been doing for the past several years. The Canadian population may have grown and economic activity may have increased but many futures have been derailed or stalled if not ruined in the process, all for the sake of a ruinous, out-of-control, nonsensical immigration system and the careers of those it supports.