Immigration policy (3) and politics

Tasha Kheiriddin who is a pretty reliably conservative broadcaster and commentator has issued a stark warning, in an opinion piece for Global News, in which she says that “While carbon taxes and pipelines are predicted to top the political agenda, an ugly undercurrent threatens to drag the debate to dangerous places … [and] … In a recent interview with the Hill Times, veteran pollster Nik Nanos sounded an alarm bell over the use of “dogwhistle politics” by all parties on the political spectrum. That’s the term for political messaging that, like a high-pitched sound only audible to canines, goes unheard by most voters, but targets others with a coded message. And the consequences could be frightening.

Ms Kheiriddin quotes Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel who says that ““Every time we try to raise valid criticisms on policy … [Prime Minister] … Trudeau has chosen to use debate about the immigration system to level thinly veiled accusations of racism. This is a dangerous, cynical, political tactic” … [perhaps, says Tasha Kheiriddin, but] … self-inflicted wounds don’t help either. Scheer’s failure to call out racist elements at the rally, as well as omitting to use the word “Muslim” when reacting to the terror attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, which killed 49 worshippers and injured another 40 at two mosques in that country, did not go unnoticed. Both incidents were deemed dogwhistles to anti-immigrant voters, who are unfortunately seen by some as a potentially useful base of support — and one that could otherwise find a home in another party, such as the PPC … [but it’s not all one-sided, she adds, saying that] … Conversely, the Liberals and the NDP both have an interest in calling out the Tory leader on these missteps, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it serves their interests as well. Dogwhistling to the left that conservatives are racist helps solidify the progressive vote — and in an ironic twist, insulates Trudeau when he takes steps to reform immigration, as he did this past April.

Ms Kheiriddin concludes with something that really frightens me: “In other words,” she says, “the dogwhistles are blowing on both sides of the aisle. If they have any regard for the future of the country, however, all parties must resist this temptation. Canada depends on an orderly, welcoming immigration policy to grow its economy and demography. We cannot afford to descend into xenophobia, or shut down debate with toxic labels. Both paths compromise the crucial goal of building the workforce and society of tomorrow, by attracting the world’s best and brightest today.

At the risk of repeating myself too often:

Immigrants ≠ Refugees ≠ Illegal Irregular Migrants

We have three separate issues that require three separate policy solutions.

Some of my remaining Neandercon friends will not like this, but here are some facts that I firmly believe are undisputable:

  • Canadians are not having large families any more. Our birth rate has fallen below the replacement level. In other words, left to our own devices, we will have fewer and fewer working Canadians, tax-paying Canadians to pay for everything, including our roads and sewers, our national defence and the social safety net which many, many Canadians consider a “sacred trust;”
  • The global birth rate, on the other hand, in still rising, but very, very unevenly, according to the World Bank: Canada and Europe have very low birthrates (1.5± live births per woman, which, when deaths are factored in, is well below the replacement rate which is a bit more than 2 live births per woman; the UK and USA are a bit more fertile at 1.8 but still below the replacement level of 2; Guatemala and  Haiti at 2.9, Honduras at 2.4 and Mexico at 2.2 are above the replacement levels; China at 1.6 is still feeling the effects of the one-child policy but advances in health care and other factors mean that China’s population is not declining as rapidly as some Chinese officials might wish; Fiji (2.5), India (2.3), and the Philippines (2.9) are still growing. The World Bank data shows this, on a regional basis:
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  • There is an almost iron-clad law of economics which says that as people become more prosperous then the birth rate declines. It might be true, but the data is not persuasive, that generous family allowances help keep the birthrate up in some places, but income seems to be the main driver: poor people have more children while rich people have fewer;
  • Our lifestyle is, in some measure taxpayer-funded. If we have fewer taxpayers then each must pay more, and there is a limit to how much future taxpayers will bear and when we reach it then services ~ everything from air quality testing through health care and old age security to zebra mussel control ~ must decline;
  • People who wish to come to Canada, whether as legal, properly screened immigrants, as refugees or as irregular migrants, do so, in the main, for a couple of understandable reasons –
    • Canada offers a better life for them and their children, better job prospects, maybe just simple safety in the case of refugees, and
    • Canada is a tolerant, even welcoming place where their race and creed matter less than their ambition, skills and work ethic;
  • Most new Canadians become well integrated, productive members of society; but
  • A few newcomers have difficulty adapting. They are mainly, I suspect, refugees and illegal migrants who would not have been accepted under our effective, colour blind, merit-based immigration system and who find our socio-cultural norms too foreign; and
  • There are, proportionately, fewer New Canadians on the welfare rolls than native-born or old-stock Canadians.

I believe that any fair-minded person must conclude from those facts, and I assert that they are real facts, not just my opinions, that Canada can absorb and, indeed, needs more immigrants. In other words, the “69 per cent [of Conservative voters who] thought there were too many visible minorities coming to Canada” according to data cited by Tasha Kheiriddin, are wrong because there is, simply, no way that Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Denmark are going to send us enough immigrants who look like most of us and come from similar socio-cultural backgrounds. The immigrants we need, just to sustain our economy and, therefore, our “sacred” social safety net, must come from e.g. China, Fiji, India and the Philippines.

The fastest growing populations, the World Bank says (see chart above) are in the Arab world (3.3) and in “Fragile and conflict affected situations” (4.4), many of which, if UN peacekeeping missions are an indication, are in Africa, and from “Heavily indebted poor countries” (4.8), many of which the International Monetary Fund says are also in Africa and in Latin America. It’s not surprising that so many of the illegal migrants arriving at Roxam Road are from e.g. Haiti and Nigeria.

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But, and this is a big BUT, we are not doing anyone real favours when we rob, say, Angola, Benin, Iraq and Pakistan of their accountants, doctors, engineers and lawyers just so we can have a surplus of taxi drivers in Toronto. Our immigration policy should lean towards recruiting from those countries, mainly in Asia in the first half of the 21st century, that have a surplus of the sorts of people that Canada needs and e.g. the Philippines can afford to lose.

Illegal migrants

Canada’s (Conservative) policy on irregular migration needs to be clear and simple: “None is too many,” and, while we must sympathize with the personal plight of the asylum shoppers, they are not welcome in Canada; they are neither wanted nor needed and they will be detained and deported.

Refugees

Canada is a rich, sophisticated and generous country and we should have effective programmes to help those in the greatest need. I am something of a utilitarian; I believe that we should try to do the greatest good for the greatest number. The UN says that there are “68.5 Million forcibly displaced people worldwide:”

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The actual number doesn’t matter, I’m sure that no-one suspects that it is less than 30 Million and some may think it is closer to 100 Million. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, we have taken in between 35,000 and 62,000 refugees and those in the Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) category since 2015:

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Even in 2016 we offered real, substantial help to less than 1/10th of 1% of the world’s forcibly displaced people.  I have suggested, in the past, that there are better, more utilitarian, ways to provide more and better help to more people. Not everyone will agree and my ideas are not politically popular but, for a start, we need to stop patting ourselves on the back because we, a G7 nation, are helping less than 1/10th of 1% of those who need it most.

Canada’s Conservatives should consider a detailed review of Canada’s refugee policies and programmes aimed at providing more help to more people without huge increases in costs. That may start with explaining to Canadians that what we are doing now, which is what we have been doing for generations, is neither efficient nor effective.

Immigration

Canada needs more immigrants. I think I made the case for the truth of that statement above. Those who reject that analysis are, probably, going to vote for Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada because he and it are more likely to reflect their fears.

How many more immigrants we need is a matter for serious debate. Men and women of good-will can disagree. I, personally, and for grand strategic reasons, favour a plan that gets us to a population of 100 Million by the year 2100. Many good Conservatives will disagree.

The Conservative Party of Canada needs to do three things:

  • Develop a broadly acceptable, to most Canadians, long term immigration strategy for the period out until 2100;
  • In the interim state clear immigration goals for 2020 to 2025; and
  • Denounce, loudly and clearly, those who say that “there were too many visible minorities coming to Canada.” It’s OK, albeit illogical, for Conservatives to say there are too many people coming to Canada; it is morally wrong and must be politically impossible to say that about visible minorities. 

The Conservatives should also promise that Canada will not be part of the Global Compact on Migration. Once again, honest people may debate whether this compact is binding or not. If it is then we should not allow the UN to dictate our immigration policies and if it is not then we should not bother signing it because it’s just worthless window dressing.

Finally, Conservatives need to be fair and honest with themselves, the country and the world. It is not racist to worry that the socio-cultural fabric of Canada is being changed too rapidly by a perceived need to pander to new Canadians. It is not racist to object to being told that one must say ‘Seasons’ Greetings‘ rather than ‘Merry Christmas‘ or not to like being told that non-Muslims ought to prepare for Ramadan. The Conservative Party, beginning with Andrew Scheer, needs to explain to Canadians, especially to Conservative Canadians, that Canada NEEDS an efficient, effective, merit-based and colour-blind immigration policy that will ensure that Canada’s future labour force needs are met. There is always room to debate numbers but there must never be even a hint that race or creed are up for discussion amongst Conservatives.

Immigrants ≠ Refugees ≠ Irregular Migrants/Asylum Shoppers

There are three distinct and separate issues. The should never be conflated. Each needs its own policy and each policy differs from the other: Immigration policy is based on what Canada needs; Refugee policy is based on what Canadians want to do to help the world’s most desperate; and, finally, our border control and migrant policy must be based on our own sovereignty and security concerns.

 

5 thoughts on “Immigration policy (3) and politics

  1. Low birth rate results in fewer people raised within a particular culture. The way people do politics is a cultural trait. As the culture changes so will the politics and bringing in replacement bodies from different cultures will not change that. If anything it will only speed up the rate of change.

    It then becomes improbable that politics will remain the same and unlikely that the newer cultures will feel the need to adapt to the previous culture. Or, in Canada’s case, cultures (plural).

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