A study conducted by two economists for Metropolis British Columbia (who?) was released in response to the Fraser Institute's own study which concluded that "in the fiscal year 2005/06 the immigrants on average received an excess of $6,051 in benefits over taxes paid" leading to a the fiscal burden in that year estimated to be between $23.6 billion and $16.3 billion. The Metropolis study seems to agree with that conclusion to a degree but it argues that the costs are not great enough to be of a concern. How does it do that? It picks an earlier date to work with and that's where it goes astray.
The Fraser study picks 1987 as the date from which to make it's analysis. The Metropolis study goes back to 1970. Now, it's important to understand the relevance of a base year.
The Fraser study picked 1987 because that's the year Canada's immigration system was being revamped (at the behest of the banking sector I suspect) to become the burdensome mess that it is today. By picking 1987 the Fraser study is demarcating a difference between a pre and post 1987 immigration system. It is, in effect, comparing two different immigration systems to make arguments for what worked and what did not and to suggest how we can fix it.
The Metropolis study, on the other hand, goes back to 1970 and lumps everything into one immigration system. Here's the problem with that. By doing so all the costs of the current immigration system can be masked or ameliorated by previous cohorts of immigrants who brought value to the nation instead of mostly absorbing the benefits. It's like having a really mediocre sports team win the championship because of three star players who do most of the work and score the majority of points, but once all three are gone from the team it descends into last place.
This is what's referred to as moving the goal posts. If you don't like the results of an argument you just change the parameters until it satisfies your position. I mean why stop at 1970? Why not go back to 1950 and take advantage of the golden age of capitalism? How about 1920? How about 1867, the year of Confederation? Why not 1534 when Jacques Cartier first explored the Gulf of St. Lawrence? That way you have over 470 years of Canadian economic history to play with.
The Fraser Institute is not against immigration but it is highly critical of the current immigration system and indeed we do have a different immigration system now than we did in 1970. For starters, the immigration system was more selective, had smaller intake levels which itself was influenced by the nation's economic prospects. Today, it's the sky's-the-limit-anyone-from-anywhere-it-don't-matter-how-the-economy-is-doing free for all. There's a difference and the current immigration is burdensome to the country, quite possible to the extent of hurting the economy.
What's funny is that despite it's efforts to defang the Fraser study the Metropolis study still concludes that immigration is a cost to Canadians at $450 for each immigrant per year! This makes the Fraser study's conclusions all the more plausible. It's raison d'etre it seems is to say the Fraser Institute is right but not by so much. If they are unable to salvage any fiscal benefit of immigration to Canadians by going back to 1970 then it seems likely that the immigration system has been terribly financially burdensome to the country as the Fraser Institute argues. It is a losing investment where all the benefits are eaten up by immigration with little benefit to Canadians.
Reading the CTV news piece on it makes me think there is an agenda afoot by Metropolis BC primarily to keep immigration lax and plentiful so as to direct funds to those who otherwise without the immigration system would have to find alternative work. Metropolis BC is almost exclusively funded by tax dollars and it exits to "place in the public realm relevant material that will aid rational discussion on Canada's emerging immigration policy issues" whatever that's supposed to mean.
The CTV piece also appears to be a plug for S.U.C.C.E.S.S., a mostly tax dollar funded social service agency that "provides services in settlement, English as a second language training, employment, family and youth counseling, business and economic development, health care, social housing and community and volunteer development."
Both Metropolis and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. are dependant on tax dollars for their existence, an existence based on the "need" for dialogue and services that pander to an immigrant community. More immigrants, more tax dollars. Less immigrants, less money. In other words they're rent-seeking organizations.
To show their usefulness, at least in the case of S.U.C.C.E.S.S., the article provides the example of a Japanese immigrant who was unable to find work in Vancouver so S.U.C.C.E.S.S. helped her open a flower shop. But if she was unable to find work then why is she in Canada if there are no jobs for her here? How is her opening a flower shop beneficial to Canadians? How many jobs does that create and how many are well paying? How does it improve our standard of living? It contributes to economic activity but so does a crime wave. In any case economic activity does not equate quality of life.
The truth is her arrival in Canada is illustrative of the problem of the system. We are bringing in too many immigrants than the economy needs. The jobs are not there at least not the good ones. She should not have been allowed entry and permanent residency but her being her does provide work and government funding for the like of Metropolis BC and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and that is what this is really all about, not the over all benefit of the country.