Following up on yesterday’s comments on the Dr Kellie Leitch’s “Canadian values” immigrant screening proposal and Tony Clement’s comments, quoted in the Globe and Mail, supporting “[increased] screening to weed out people who have backgrounds that indicate that they have been involved in terrorist organizations or militant organizations that pose a threat to the country … [because] … The real threat is, of course, people who want to translate their thoughts into violent action against Canadians,” I offer some of my own thoughts on how to square the immigration/security circle.
First a few points:
- I am talking about immigrants, not refugees. They are totally separate and distinct issues, and while I am 100% certain that there are better ways to address the Syrian refugee crisis than the one Prime Minister Trudeau adopted, we need to have a policy that applies only to immigrants;
- We need immigrants. I know that there are some conservatives who oppose immigration or want to restrict it severely. They are very, very wrong. If, as Canadians demand, we are going to continue charging today’s “free” social services, including health care, to our grandchildren’s credit cards then we need someone to work and help pay the bills. The demographic data is 100% clear: higher incomes ~ Canada has amongst the world’s highest ~ always, without fail, ever, lead to lower birth rates. Don’t tell me to increase family allowance; it’s ben tried and it always fails. We have a low birth rate; all rich societies do; to maintain our working/tax paying population we need immigrants: only really, really stupid people dispute that; and
- There are qualitative difference in immigrant communities: some integrate quickly and well into our society, preserving some of their social-cultural traditions and tossing others aside, sometimes with a tinge of regret, as excess baggage; others do not ~ they have high crime rates, low educational achievements, low incomes and they are chronic users of the social safety net, sometimes one generation after another are “dependents” of the state. We can, and routinely do, measure this using the census data, police and court reports, social service agency data, education ministry data and the postal code system.
First, lets look at immigration data and see who wants to come to Canada and then, and this is a bit, but not overly, subjective, at how well they do when they get here. For illustration, only, I have divided the world into 16 regions: (1) North America, which, essentially means the USA: (2) Latin America, which means everyone from Mexico to the southernmost tip of Chile; (3) North West Europe ~ Iceland, UK and Ireland, Scandinavia, Netherlands, Germany; (4) South West Europe ~ Portugal Spain, France, Italy, etc, including Israel; (5) Eastern Europe, including Russia; (6) North Africa the Arab Middle East (which is why Israel in in Europe); (7) Sub Saharan Africa; (8) South Africa; (9) South West Asia; (10) South Asia ~ India, Sri Lanka, etc; (11) China; (12) East Asia; (13) Australia and New Zealand; (14) Pacific Islands; (15) West-Central Pacific ~ Indonesia and Philippines; and (16) Others.
Next we need to gather data on “performance” of immigrants from each region in Canada ~ which is also available but requires some assembly (because it comes from a variety of different sources, almost all “public,” but at different levels of government) and interpretation.
We want to make objective, data driven assessments of demand and performance.
I have shown a “model” below which is simply for illustration and is not tied, in any way, to my list of regions. The dark blue line shows demand: each of the 16 regions (which do not correspond to my list) has one of nine different levels (three each: high, medium and low) and the grey line shows the (somewhat more “interpreted”) “performance” levels of immigrants from those regions, also measured on nine levels. Clearly we want immigrants who “perform” well: that is ones who do not break our laws in numbers higher than average, who do not make above average demands on our social services because they get jobs and look after their own families and who, broadly, play constructive role in our society. When we find that there are places where “high performance” immigrants want to come to Canada, (China, India and the Philippines, for example) then we should take measures to facilitate their immigration. There are also places, Australia and Singapore, for example, where we will find “high performance” immigrants but not very many want to come to Canada, we should still make it easier to come but not waste too much effort on “recruiting” those folks …
… we can use that data we gathered to assign immigration priorities to regions and, perhaps even to individual countries. The highest priority regions will get, say, 75% of Citizenships and Immigration Canada’s attention and resources; the lowest priority regions will get, say, just 5%.
We can apply different rules to different regions:
- A few regions, which offer “high performance” and “low maintenance” immigrants will be almost “green lighted” into Canada … no personal interviews required, their paperwork will be moved through the system as quickly as possible;
- Most regions will require “enhanced” screening, including personal interviews; and
- Some regions, which consistently offer “poor quality/high maintenance” immigrants will require enhanced security checks and detailed personal interviews which will be very, very hard to get because the 95% of Canada’s immigration resources will be assigned elsewhere.
Such a system must be “performance based” and “data driven,” as all the management consultants say, and must be able to be adjusted as circumstances change. It must be neither racially nor culturally biased. It aims to serve Canada’s needs, not those of any “community,” no matter how well established. It must, also, be adequately funded and anyone who proposes enhanced screening, whether for security or values must be out front and say that they will find the extra money needed by cutting some other envelope.
Let’s talk about a real, sensible, comprehensive Conservative immigration policy for the 2019 election.
Let’s declare that the purpose of immigration is to benefit Canada, not the immigrant. We are not running a charity here.
Let’s figure out who does well here in Canada and encourage more of them to apply and make it easier to get in.
Let’s figure out who the “high maintenance” immigrants are and make it harder ~ not impossible ~ for them to enter by using various enhanced screening techniques.
Let’s, by all means, enhance screening to better detect and screen out security risks.
Let’s again by all means, teach Canadian values to everyone: newcomers and children of “native born” Canadians, too.