Some wise words on immigration....
James Bissett was head of Canada's Immigration Service from 1985-1990. His opinion piece in today's Ottawa Citizen is a must-read.
The government believes we should accept one per cent of our population as immigrants on an annual basis. There has never been a rational explanation for this target and, on a per-capita basis, no other country in the world comes near to this number. There is now a backlog of more than 750,000 applications and most of these are parents and grandparents who certainly will not be making a contribution to our labour force. Yet our immigration minister has just announced he intends to increase next year's intake by an additional 40 per cent. Why?I'd love immigration to be an election issue, but I don't think the Conservatives have the stomach for it.
The explanation Joe Volpe gives is that they are required to fill desperately needed shortages in our labour force, but he is unable to cite any reputable labour-force studies to back up his statement. We are also told that we need immigrants to help with our aging problem, but there is not a reputable demographer in Canada who accepts that argument.
It is unlikely our government will see the events in France as a warning signal. Immigration has become one of those subjects that ordinary Canadians are not allowed to speak about. To do so runs the risk of being branded as anti-immigrant or even racist. Our House of Commons immigration committee studiously avoids asking any economists or demographers to appear before it, fearing that to do so might expose the committee to some of the facts about immigration.
When immigration becomes a numbers game with little or no consideration for the welfare of the individual immigrant, then we can expect trouble in our cities.
If we continue to pursue a policy that aims to bring more than 300,000 immigrants into three or four of our major urban centres each year, then it will only be a question of time before Canada experiences problems similar to those now being faced by Europe.