Immigration policy and problems

Martin Collacott, of the Fraser Institute, wrote an interesting opinion piece in the Vancouver Sun last summer about the longer term impacts of immigration on the “existing population.” He said that “While Canada has been helped by large-scale immigration at various times in its history, the current high intake causes more problems than benefits for our current population. Our economy grows because of the increasing population, but the average Canadian gets a smaller piece of the bigger pie. The cost is huge — with latest estimates indicating taxpayers have to underwrite recent arrivals to the tune of around $30 billion annually. Young people in large cities such as Vancouver and Toronto are being crowded out of the housing market by sky-high prices caused largely by the ceaseless flow of new arrivals, and the quality of life of most residents is negatively affected by increased traffic and commute times, along with congestion and pressure on the health care and education systems.

If Canada continues along its present path as described by [University of London professor Eric] Kaufmann, we will become one of the first and perhaps the only country in the world to voluntarily allow its population to be largely replaced by people from elsewhere” he says, and “we are letting it happen through a combination of wilful ignorance, political and financial greed and an excess of political correctness.

I share some, but by no means all or even most of his concerns. I could care less if Canada remains a “Judeo-Christian” nation, I would prefer that all gods and priests and shamans and, yes, prayer rooms, were banned from all public spaces. It doesn’t matter a whole lot to me if we remain a constitutional monarchy with the House of Windsor providing the sovereign or if we become a republic or (my personal preference) we retain a monarchy but without a monarch, that we become, de facto, a regency. I don’t care is we look a lot less Euro-white and a lot more Asian-brown. I would be happier if our children’s and grandchildren’s scores on internationally recognized, standardized tests looked more like Singapore’s and less like the Dominican Republic’s. I believe that increased, but more carefully targeted immigration is good for Canada … even if it means “replacing” the existing population in this century … what does matter to me is that Canada remains a liberal, secular, free market democracy where the Constitution, especially the unwritten parts that are many hundreds of years old, reigns supreme and where our fundamental rights are safely enshrined in law and custom.

Let’s look at that OECD PISA chart (in the link above) again …


… we can, in seems to me, divide the countries that were measured into three groups:

  • Those, at the top, in the green box who are most likely to send us the sorts of immigrants we want and need;
  • Those, in the middle, in the orange box who will likely provide many good immigrants; and
  • Those, at the bottom, in the red box, which are unlikely to be able to offer us many of the sorts of immigrants that we want.

That’s a very broad brush, generalization and broad generalizations are almost always too easy, but …

Now lets look a bit more closely, just at the top two groups. We noted that neither India nor the Philippines, two of the top source countries for Canadian immigrants were not included in the PISA study and I have, based on some research and some guess work  assigned them each a spot. Remember that China’s high rank is very high, in some respects, because only a few big cities take the tests; if all schools were counted China’s scored would be much lower. If we consider only people from Indian and Philippines cities then I think my scores are within the right ball park: India is right up there with Canada and China and the Philippines is close to the OECD average, which isn’t all that high:

58471001ba6eb6d3008b7bf9-1200 copy

But, this, from the respected Pew Research Centre, is, for me, reassuring …


… because it suggests that, with the exception Pakistan, we are getting immigrants from countries in the top two (green and orange) sectors ~ from countries that have a surplus of well educated, sophisticated and entrepreneurial people.

I have said before that I am confident that our colour-blind “points” based system is good … it may need some fine tuning to ensure that we discriminate in our own favour by admitting those we want and need (and their families, too) but also in favour of the poorest of the poor by NOT taking too many skilled professionals from countries that need them more than we do.

Look at this chart …


… I doubt that things have changed too much in five or six years, but they probably should; maybe like this:

Slide1 copy


Do we not want people from Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East? Not at all … what I have learned in 75+ years of living and working on several continents and in a dozen countries is that people are all, pretty much, the same: equally good, bad and indifferent without regard to race or creed. A Ghanian physician is about the same as a Greek one, and so on. What is different is the capacity of countries – especially in Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East to produce surpluses of the sorts of people we want and need. We should take fewer of the “best and brightest” from Angola, Barbados and Colombia because those countries need their own people there more than we need them here.

The system should, perhaps, also be “tweaked” to ensure that officials, using data, not politicians using public opinion, decide on how the process is managed, years by year and over the decades. Floors and ceilings (numbers) are the legitimate concerns of politicians as is the fairness of the system … but they, elected politicians, should not be making decisions about source countries, nor should they set quotas.

It is important to remember that refugees are NOT immigrants. They are a special category of persons who are in need of help, sometimes in urgent need. Canada, as a  modern, caring, liberal democracy should do what it can to help … the question is: how?

I have made the case, before, that, most often, the best way to do the greatest good for the greatest number of refugees is to work overseas, near the trouble-spots, to make refugees safer and more secure while they wait and what we really should and would do, if we were serious, is to put a stop to the situations that create refugees in the first place or, at least, to help with refugee camps in the regions ~ we should focus on helping hundreds of thousands of refugees overseas rather than bringing a paltry few (25,000) to Canada for photo-ops.

preparing-library-staff-for-change-3-728Mr Collacott sounds a warning about a changing Canada ~ I don’t think that change, per se, is the problem, I believe that it is how we change that matters and that means that we should manage the change in our own self-interest.

I’m not, for a change, complaining about this government’s immigration policy. I think it needs some refining, but I think they, like the Conservatives before them, are on the right track. I think that this government’s refugee policy is designed to achieve partisan political goals (photo-ops) rather than to do some good for refugees.

3 thoughts on “Immigration policy and problems”

  1. Good post Edward.

    I thought the sentence from the article that “we will become one of the first and perhaps the only country in the world to voluntarily allow its population to be largely replaced by people from elsewhere” was ridiculous. Canada has been constantly “replacing” (displacing/merging/mixing/etc/etc) its people, and although historically it’s been cruel, hamfisted, and downright bloody at times, we’ve found a way to use the outcome to make our country better for it. I’m sure my grandfather was one of the people “replacing” previous Canadians when he came here after the Second World War.

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