Who doesn’t get into Canada

Emphasis on applicants from Asia, as opposed to, say, the Caribbean, has drawn fire. Are we engaged in country profiling?

PHOTOGRAPH BY ANDREW TOLSON

Midway through last summer, when much of official Ottawa was away at the cottage, a revealing document landed on the desk of Canada’s top immigration bureaucrat, deputy minister Neil Yeates. Prosaically titled “Social and Economic Outcomes of Second Generation Youth,” the four-page memo showed little regard for the political correctness typical of government correspondence. “Chinese and South Asians are the most likely to have university degrees or higher, and to be employed in high-skilled occupations,” observed the summary, which was prepared by departmental bureaucrats and released recently through access to information. Second-generation youth of Caribbean and Latin American origin don’t fare so well, the memo went on; they tend to obtain lower levels of education than native-born Canadian kids and wind up in less skilled jobs.

To Richard Kurland, the Vancouver-based immigration lawyer who dug it up, the document confirmed “what everybody in the business has known for a long time.” For years, the government has been gathering data on the performance of newcomers and their children based on ethnicity, he notes, and while immigration officials deny they use information to identify the best countries from which to recruit, the numbers tell a different story. Since 1999, China and India have been the top two source countries for immigrants to Canada, averaging about 60,000 landings per year, while the number coming from the Caribbean has fallen sharply. Immigration from the West Indies had fallen 45 per cent below levels seen in the early 1990s, according to figures compiled by Statistics Canada, when more than 16,000 from that region were entering the country annually.

And these days, equipped with new legislative powers, the government is able to pick and choose more aggressively than ever. Bill C-50, passed in late 2008, allows the minister to delay the processing of applications from specific missions abroad in order to speed those from others, and so far the results have been stark. The average wait time for someone wishing to bring a spouse into the country through Kingston, Jamaica has ballooned to 15 months, fully three times the processing time in 2006. A similar application lodged in New Delhi takes just six months.

It would be simplistic to call this profiling. China and India are better represented in Canada’s intake statistics, a senior government official told Maclean’s, because they are rich in skilled, educated people willing to emigrate—not because of ethnic traits, real or imagined: “It’s a matter of basic supply and demand.” As for the memo, a spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada would say only that it reflects the department’s ongoing concern for groups “experiencing less positive outcomes from an immigration, settlement and a multiculturalism perspective.”

Still, both the memo and numbers reflect a preoccupation that has come to define the Harper government’s approach to immigration: which applicants offer the greatest long-term value—now or a generation or two down the line? In speech after speech, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney points up pressures wrought by the country’s low birth rate and advancing economy, noting that 100 per cent of Canada’s labour growth will have to come from outside the country by 2016. Under the circumstances, he says, there is little place for electorally driven immigration, in which governments endlessly expanded family reunification quotas in return for goodwill at voting time. “The standard Liberal electoral strategy in the past three decades has been a kind of shameless pandering to immigrant communities,” Kenney charges in an interview. “It didn’t work. They over-promised and under-delivered.”

It all sounds well and good: a system that emphasizes merit rather than familial connection or crass politics. But recruiting 250,000 immigrants per year, as Ottawa hopes to do for the foreseeable future, will require sweeping, some would say un-Canadian, judgments. Do some countries offer better immigrants, on average, than others? Whose children do better? What, exactly, do we mean by “better”? Deciding who gets into the country has arguably never been so important. And rarely has it been so hard.

The idea that we might goose our economy with strategic immigration isn’t new, of course. Clifford Sifton’s “stalwart peasant in a sheepskin coat” was an early 1900s version of today’s “designer immigrant”—an applicant in, say, her late 20s, with a graduate degree and $300,000 in savings. Yet the latter half of the century saw waves of newcomers enter through the country’s other gateway: programs allowing those already here to sponsor family members from abroad. Tradesmen who flooded in from southern Europe in the ’50s and ’60s sponsored their spouses and children, as did women who had arrived from Jamaica, Haiti and Trinidad to work as housekeepers. By 1976, nearly 10 per cent of the country’s immigrants were coming from the Caribbean, though the region represented about 0.6 per cent of the world’s population.

By 1993, with the family-class quotient nearing 44 per cent of the intake, decision-makers were starting to worry. Successive immigration ministers under prime minister Jean Chrétien jacked up the number of so-called economic immigrants—skilled workers, or people with money—pushing family-class applicants’ share of intake down to 24 per cent in 2005. For a party with deep political ties to the country’s ethnic communities, this was risky policy, and soon the Grits were taking heat over a 100,000-case backlog in the number of residents trying to bring their parents and grandparents into the country. In 2005, then-minister Joe Volpe buckled under the pressure, promising to triple the number of family reunification applications the department would process.

Kenney’s break with this pattern has been one of tone as much as substance: while he talks up the importance of economic immigration, he’s cultivated his own strong ties with ethnic groups and maintained family-class immigration targets at or near previous levels. Bill C-50, however, allows Kenney to move with a freedom his Liberal predecessors would have envied, fast-tracking applicants in 38 high-demand occupations—from petroleum engineers to hotel managers—while effectively shutting off the tap from parts of the world awash in family-class applications. Caribbean, Latin American and African candidates appear to have been hit hardest. Canadian-based parents who apply to the immigration post in Nairobi to bring over their children are told they must wait three years, nearly double the projected wait in 2006. In Guatemala, the delay is up 63 per cent during the same period, to 23 months, while wait times for Asian and Pacific countries have grown only marginally.

The sense of unequal treatment rankles people like Jessica Thomas, a 29-year-old Barbudan-Canadian who lives in Toronto. Four years ago, she married a man from Barbuda here in Toronto and became pregnant. But after her husband, Nicholas, returned a few weeks later to the tiny Caribbean island to care for his ailing father, he found he couldn’t get back; evidently, officials suspected the marriage was a sham. Thomas was infuriated (“Who spends $40,000 on a sham wedding?”), not least by the contempt she says the couple encountered at Canada’s high commission in Trinidad. “I’ve found them very rude,” she says, pointedly noting that top positions at the mission appear to be occupied by Asians, Indians and white people. “Maybe they look at people who come from the Caribbean and live off the system. Well, we’re not in that category.”

It’s the sort of ill will that is worth it only if the government can point to tangible results. For the Tories, that’s no slam dunk. Despite the new emphasis on economic immigration, a StatsCan study released in February showed that less than one in four newcomers are finding work in the occupations they’d trained for, while immigrants in general are less likely to be employed than native-born Canadians. It is now trite for politicians to bemoan the professional barriers stopping skilled workers from finding jobs in their field—the proverbial cab driver with a Ph.D. But little has been done to remedy the problem.

Meantime, the de-emphasis on family unification may be driving away the very people the government is trying to recruit. Jim Karygiannis, a Liberal MP representing the ethnically diverse riding of Scarborough-Agincourt, says he’s been hearing from skilled workers and business-class migrants frustrated by the government’s policy of consigning sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents to the bottom of the pile. “A lot of immigrant families want to have the parents or grandparents here to help raise the kids,” he says. “If they can’t do that, they say, ‘Thank you very much but I’m gone.’ ” This is no small concern, given the benefits Canada has gained from immigrants who had upwardly mobile children. (In addition to its ethnic breakdown, last summer’s memo quotes studies concluding that second-generation immigrant youth are on the whole more likely to get high school diplomas, university degrees and high-skill jobs than kids of native-born Canadians.)

All of which exposes the government to criticism that it is turning its back on—if not discriminating against—the sort of people who helped build the country. “I don’t think family reunification exists in [this government’s] vocabulary,” says Judy Sgro, a Liberal MP who served as immigration minister in 2004. Luin Goldring, a York University professor who has studied the difficulties faced by Caribbean and Latin American immigrants, questions “the whole business of looking at people as economic units.” “It divides the person into their economic role and social role,” she says, when studies have shown that all classes of immigrants integrate more smoothly if they establish strong family support networks.

Yet even critics like Sgro acknowledge the need to “get it right” as Canada enters the post-baby-boom economic era, with a birth rate of 1.66 and a host of entitlement programs and pensions to pay for. It is no less a challenge than the one government faced at the turn of the century, when it set out to settle the West, observes Alan Simmons, the author of a forthcoming history on immigration to Canada. But now, as a free-trading nation in a knowledge economy, he says, we would “like to recruit only the perfect designer immigrants,” and that means leaning on the narrow band of countries that have them in surplus. It also means pinching the flow from countries where the education system is lacking, or money is scarce.

It’s a far cry from our fondest self-image as a haven for the lowly, who yearn for a better life. Years ago, during a cross-country train trip, Maclean’s journalist Rae Corelli summoned a romantic image of Canada’s French and English founders leaving “a key under the mat for dreamers from other lands.” The key is still there, of course. But as we weigh an uncertain future, we’re getting a lot more picky about whom we invite to use it.




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Who doesn’t get into Canada

  1. "But as we weigh an uncertain future, we're getting a lot more picky about whom we invite to use it."

    Um, since when is exercising a bit of judgment a bad thing, especially in such a critical matter as immigration? Out of 200 odd countries on the planet roughly 199 of them have more restrictive immigration policies than Canada; in this context it isn't cricket to suggest we are racially profiling and that this is somehow exceptional in the global context. How many white people did Trinidad, China, India, or Brazil let into their countries last year? Mexico has really tough immigration rules; in some Asian countries that we trade with foreigners aren't allowed to purchase land or even qualify for citizenship if they marry a national.

    “A lot of immigrant families want to have the parents or grandparents here to help raise the kids,”"

    But then they'll grow up to be criminals, or so former Liberal cabinet minister and current Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett would have you believe. It's a bit rich for a Liberal to espouse family values when the rest of his party is obsessed with state run child rearing. Immigrants will just have to send their kids to child care like Canadians do.

    "second-generation immigrant youth are on the whole more likely to get high school diplomas, university degrees and high-skill jobs than kids of native-born Canadians."

    Then why on Earth do we still give them employment equity, race quotas, preferential loans, preferential hiring, and billions in spending towards immigrants? It makes no sense to give a Chinese kid from a wealthy, stable two parent family preference in hiring or anything when he is far better off than his white counterpart, and yet that is precisely what is happening. Alternatively, I'll be really impressed if and when immigrants can compete with Canadians without the training wheels of employment equity because right now their "success" is a sham.

    • DEAR GOD
      Did you even bother to read the article or just cherry picked some comments?

      • Oliver, do you have anything to add to the discussion? Or are you just going to criticize people's reading skills again. Last night you were obsessively repeating that Holmolka was plea bargained, as though that were news to anyone. I'm starting to get the impression that you're mentally ill.

    • Your post is incredibly ignorant. Brazil is one of the countries that has received the most European immigrants in the world, even considering last century alone. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_to_Brazi… . Even today, Brazil is about 50% white.

      • hmmm… Your post goes to show that you have serious psychological impairments, buddy. "Anti-white racist", me? Where do you see that in my post? Funny, since I'm white BTW. Brazil has no impediments whatsoever against European or American immigration, it's only that the comparative economical situation is no longer suitable for large scale immigration from those places, as it was say 100 years ago. If yoou actually read my link, just last year, 2009, they offered an amnesty to 41,000+ illegal immigrants, from which 2,390 Europeans and 274 Americans. As for Lula being illeterate, no contest from me here, buddy. Chill.

        • It is precisely because we don't chill that white societies are the envy of the world and everyone wants to move here. Being white does not preclude being anti-white, there are tens of millions of anti-white whites who say and do anti-white things. You haven't really rebutted my point, we allow them to come here a lot easier than they allow us to move there, believe me, I've looked into it.

          I'm one of the few people who can tell you that Brazil is the second most Italian country in the world without having to look it up; I'm familiar with Brazil, well educated, well traveled, well spoken, obviously, and suggesting that I am ignorant is cheap, cheap political correctness.

          Starting off a post with "Your post is incredibly ignorant" is bound to foster a robust response, especially since you haven't really rebutted anything I said, and a robust response is what you got; don't play holier than thou, and don't ever start off a post like that again.

          • Being western is not a color its a mentaltiy. We and natives and the blacks are all ONE called can adian culture! We have the same thinking, same mentality and for the most part the same religion for those of us who practise it (which is 77% of the canadian population being Christian).

      • Exactly, and not to mention that Brazil is about to approve (if it didn`t do it already) a massive pardon for all ilegal immigrants.

      • You do not belong to my home town, Curitiba, Bonko. We don`t share your racist perspective.
        The average person from Cutiriba is NOT considered white in this country.
        I am not left wing, I am center-leaning to right person, and your comments are not more inteligent than the most stupid leftist comment.
        That`s it.

    • Maybe it would be better to go back to the days when immigration was explicitly race based. Whether Trinidad or China admits white people is not the point. It is precisely because Canada supposes to offer a "better" more open and democratic way why people of like mind choose to come here, or else they would stay home and uphold their birth country's archaic laws and systems.

      As to underachievement of second generation Caribbean nationals, many have abandoned the Canadian ideals and dreams after encountering the hypocrisy of racism. To those who have not experienced it and its dehumanising influence racism is a "card" to be thrown at every social setback. Institutionalised racism is dead in Canada but the systemic version is alive and well. Many of these Caribbean-Canadians wonder why the should pursue academia based on the evidence of the good it seems to have done for their parents and colleagues.

      Read the StatsCanada reports on the earning power of degreed Caribbean people versus ethnic (white) Canadian high school grads and drop-outs.

    • Canada has to let the Indians and the Chinese in the country. There are so many 'white folk' on welfare, Canada needs the immigrants here to work and pay taxes to pay their welfare.

      The whites guys are upset because they don't understand why they can't be president of General Motors with a grade 9 education, and they are to proud to say 'would you like a donut with your double, double'. Keep on crying, don't be a man and I will keep working so you can get your welfare every month

      • You damn idiot. That is highly untrue! The whites are the most educated in canada why else do u think we have the best education system in the world! We have to hire the FIs its not what the canadians want. I dont see any immigrants hiring whites though its highly rare! Its all for cheap labor in case u never figured that out yet…….as for welfare the immigrants are all on welfare, every 2nd family that comes here is on welfare by statistics thats why our country is now broke! Billions is needlessly spent on immigrants when it should be spent in canada on local citizens and to keep enough nurses and doctors in our hospitals etc………you people are so stupid all u have to do is look at toronto is a mess………

        • and automation and outsourcing are the two other reasons we dont need immigrants at all we have a 20% unemployment rate in canada now!!!!!!!!

      • We hardly had a soul on welfare in the 70s there was alot of work around as we did not have computers and automation and massive immigration to drive down the wages. Only one parent had to work.

  2. if we could read the minds of people we would have a much better idea of who to let in, and who not to. there are people in certain countries who come here exclusively to get a free ticket to travel to countries they would otherwise be restricted from. 3 years to citizenship is a small price to pay from a lifetime of easy access to the world. this is the main idea for most Asians, especially the Middle East. A certain community, deeply religious and "peaceful" needs Canada's passport to be able to get easy access to countries like the USA. Also, the rights and benefits have Canadian passport "entitles" is by far better than anything they can get from their own country. Still, they take it and go back. Canada does not benefit from such people.

    There are good immigrants who work hard to improve their lives and thus the state of the country too.

    "I'll be really impressed if and when immigrants can compete with Canadians without the training wheels of employment equity because right now their "success" is a sham. "

    If you were willing to do what we are willing to do the way we are willing to do it, you would not have any problems. Employment equity gives the local infrastructure the opportunity to get the best possible resources available.If we are able to get the job done better than you, then we will get the opportunity to do so. Our success may be a "sham", however, your lass thereof is not. Quit whining and start working.

    • "Our success may be a "sham""

      Good, we agree on the main point.

      "Quit whining and start working."

      Ladies and gentlemen, we see it doesn't take much prodding for immigrants to show their true colours. They have zero respect for Canada and Canadians, as you can see for yourself. It would be unthinkable for a Canadian to talk like that in another country.

      Any non-white person who immigrates to a white country is, by definition, a white supremacist, by the way. They choose to live in a white country because they think white countries are better.

      "Employment equity gives the local infrastructure blah blah blah"

      Oh shut up it does not, it is unjustifiable discrimination based on white guilt and a horribly inefficient misallocation of resources, and is compounded by the ethnic nepotism of immigrants who remain in their narrow ethnic silos and actively discriminate against whites. Let us discriminate against you the way you do to us and we'll see who dominates, pal.

      • Bonko

        Stop crying about employment equity, go back to high school get your diploma.

        For generations whites have gotten jobs based on their colour not their education, experience or intelligence….Now that you are the minority take your medicine with a little dignity…stop being a little bitch and man up!!!

        • Gee Im white. Lets see…….the longest I had a job in canada is 4 years, it was automated. I am here 400 years from a part of canada that is repressed due to all the money being spent in ontario and quebec to bring in outsiders. I have worked hard since age 14 and come from middle class. I am educated. I am not quite sure what your talking about. The whites in my city are the poorest in canada and so are the few blacks that are left there…….the majority of people in shelters are white males and native males………I never got a job based on color. But I lost 2 good jobs because I dont speak french. I also lost one job when the boss found out I was from the maritimes! So stop playing the race card alot of whites are prejudiced against too…………..BC hates all of canada, Alberta only wants albertans, Quebec only wants their own people, Ontario takes the world….. I have lived in 4 provinces and have learned alot , there is alot of prejudice even amongest white people we are very very different………….

          • I cant even apply to a government job due to damn employment equity that is highly unfair and that is discrimination!!

    • The college kids cannot find a tap of work and they need to work to pay student loans…..there is alot of anger out there……..

  3. "your lass thereof is not"

    your lack thereof…

    sorry about the typo.

  4. It's almost as though the authors of that paper believe that immigration should serve the country and not the other way around. And that Canada has the right to alter immigration policy in a way that improve outcomes. That's just…. crazy! Who are these apostates coming up with these nutty ideas?

  5. Who we let in is who we will become. IQ is not equally distributed across all groups. East Asians, Europeans and South Asians are preferable.

    • IQ among all groups is only high in so far as the immigrants themselves are wealthy and educated. If you want to debate IQ, which I find to be an unrealistic measure of intelligence anyway, then one can say that all educated people from countries abroad have good enough IQ. If you disagree, we can skip on the side of your point, and say that we should only allow East Asians into Canada.

      • IQ is a stable measure. If it isn't, explain why the LSAT has statistically significant scoring differences between Asians, Whites, Blacks, and Latinos that have remained consistent for decades (even controlling for education.)

    • Races don't have brains, people do. If your goal is to only let in people with high IQs (a rather dubious goal given the shortcomings of IQ) it makes sense to look at individuals, not races. Even insofar as there are racial differences in IQ (which I believe are A. the result of environment and B. not indicative of differences in intelligence) variation between races is tiny compared to variation between individuals.

      Allow me to demonstrate just how stupid a race-based approach is – even in an environment where there are racial differences in IQ (which again, I dispute the validity of).

      Lets imagine two potential sources of immigration. One country has a million potential immigrants with an average IQ of 110, with a standard deviation of 15 (approximately the SD observed in tests of the US population). Another country has 2 million potential immigrants with an average IQ of 100, with a standard deviation of 15.

      After surveying the economic needs of industry, lets say Canada needs more workers with an IQ above 125 (even if IQ measures intelligence, I also dispute that intelligence is the only or even most important quality that matters in a worker).

      There are two potential sources of immigration. Country A with a mean intelligence of 110 (SD = 15), and 1 million potential immigrants and country B with a mean intelligence of 100 (SD = 15) and 2 million potential immigrants.

      If we only took IQ>125 immigrants from A we would get 158,700 immigrants. If instead we drew from countries A and B – even though citizens from B have a lower average IQ – we would have a pool of 253,700 people. In other words, the pool increased by well over 50%.

      Incidentally, if low-IQ people are such an unproductive net drain on society, why don't we deport them?

      158,700
      95,000

      • "Races don't have brains, people do"

        That is 100% false and unscientific, the IQ gap between races has been proven beyond any doubt whatsoever.

        You're just being politically correct, whereas we would like to have a science-based discussion.

        You've been proven wrong and unscientific, please take your Trotskyist views on race elsewhere.

        • There are 3.22 millions of Indians in USA (1.5% of population). YET,
          38% of doctors in USA are Indians.
          12% scientists in USA are Indians.
          36% of NASA scientists are Indians.
          34% of Microsoft employees are Indians.
          28% of IBM employees are Indians.
          17% of INTEL scientists are Indians.
          13% of XEROX employees are! Indians.

    • Better yet, let's expel everyone from here and fill Canada with East Asians only.

  6. we're talking Jason Kenney here. You have to ask?

  7. There are nearly 3 billion people in Asia, half the world's population. Simple statistics suggest a similar proportion of our immigrants should be coming from there.

    From the numbers, it seems like we are giving preferential treatment to the Caribbean as we are giving much higher per capita immigration rates from the Caribbean than from Asia.

    • What? Why?

      I don't Canada to China. I'm not even attracted to Asians.

    • Why should immigration to Canada be proportionate to world population? Just because they don't have birth control in China and India does not mean the whole world has to turn into China and India.

  8. maybe we should not be attempting to plan our economic growth through immigrant selectionism, quotas, and complicated unjust equity programs to begin with..

    • Why is it only western countries bring in millions of third world people. Why do they call us racists when they are given everything under the sun here. Do I get welfare in their countries??A free house? Free language training? Also there are some asian countries richer than western countries and they dont bring in immigrants or very few, why is that?? Japan is one of those countries………do people call japanese racists i dont think so but we all know they are! They even have seperate bathrooms in japan that a foreignor has to use! Talk about seggration….!!

  9. Since 1999, China and India have been the top two source countries for immigrants to Canada…

    Those are the two most populous countries on earth, with over 1 billion each. Who else would we expect to be numbers 1 and 2 on the list of immigrant source countries?

    • Raging, yours is the only point worth making. The lead article was a typical left winger bureaucratic number crunching mindless whinge about how godawful things are under the current Ottawa government and how in the good old Liberal days, one didn't put roadblocks in the way of loading Canada with people with no qualifications and no assets and a huge attitude of entitlement.

      • Yes, I suppose we should be somewhat relieved that at least with Kenny at the helm, there will be some effort to get us back towards a more economic-based immigration system, as opposed to a family-oriented one. But don't fool yourself. The Conservatives are enslaved to the immigration "stakeholders" (e.g. the immigration consultants, the various ethnic associations who survive and thrive government grants, the real estate industry, low wage industries of all sorts, and perhaps most importantly, the ethnic voting blocs), just as the Liberals and the Mulroney Tories were. So regardless of what mix we decide on, the bare minimum of 230,000 per year will be etched in stone.

        • The employment agencies in ottawa have very little work. I know 2 women all they can find is one job for 4 months and the wage dropped from 20 an hour to minimum wage. We also have to compete against minorities and people new in the country……some of us have already had to leave our hometowns in another province due to no work there. I myself have crossed 3 provinces in 10 years and now ottawa has no work either…………

      • "one didn't put roadblocks in the way of loading Canada with people with no qualifications and no assets and a huge attitude of entitlement. "

        Back then our business schools weren't putting out nearly so many MBA's, so we needed to import people with no real qualifications & huge attitudes of entitlement. In recent decades, our management class has expanded & we've achieved national self-sufficiency in clueless self-grandiosity.

    • Why? Because other countries don't answer the call of whoever puts demand like we do. Why are my taxes going to put extra workers in Asian simply because they have overpopulated themselves and put so much demand on the Canadian Immigration system? Are we a sovereign country or not?

  10. Amen to that brother. Imagine, an honest policy debate on Canada's immigration policy. The very thought of any actual debate on the subject is so absurd, it's almost comical. No politician would dare question the need for 250,000 immigrants per year, lest they be called "intolerant" or worse. The problem is, with immigration policy as with everything else, the good of the country was sacrificed long ago in favour of "stakeholders". Policy no longer has anything to do with improving the country. It's about keeping the "stakeholders" happy. You get enough "stakeholders" in your pocket, you can cash them in at election time.

    I'm not sure just when politics became so cynical and so crassly opportunistic, but it definitely took off with the Mulroney government. The Chretien/Martin Liberals made stakeholder, "client-based" policy a pillar of governance. Harper, disappointingly, seems determined to harness those various clients and stakeholders for his own electoral benefit. One wonders if we'll ever see a politician courageous enough to put an end to it. And if one should come along, will he/she succeed? Or will they be eaten alive by the numerous vested interests who have a stake (yes, stakeholders) in the status quo?

    • in 1929 immigration to canada was stopped! We are in a recession now that is just as bad its called a double dip recession. That is why one has to send 2000 resumes to get any kind of job even a retail job………

  11. Um, excuse me. Not to burst anyone's balloon, but the available arable land of Canada is the area of land currently developed. That land area is far greater than enough to feed the entire Canadian population, with a gigantic surplus of many farm products exported for additional income. The vast majority of the remaining land in the south is forest and woodlands, millions of acres, which could be cleared if any more farmland was required, and if the ROI on the land use was higher for farmland than for forestry, which is presently very much not the case. Canada now makes far more money from its forestland than anyone would from more farmland, which is not needed.

    As for the number of 250,000, that is the annual additon required to maintain the Canadian population at a stable level to pay for the pensions of the elderly over the next 30 or 40 years. Anyone can get the reports from StatsCan, and figure out the compounding increase with a calculator, piece of paper, and pencil. The Grade 8 arithmetic really isn't that difficult.

  12. "It is now trite for politicians to bemoan the professional barriers stopping skilled workers from finding jobs in their field—the proverbial cab driver with a Ph.D. But little has been done to remedy the problem."
    ===============================================

    Jobs for Ph.D.'s are few and far between whether they are immigrants or not. There are many 3rd and 4th generation Canadians with Ph.D.'s who can't get jobs in their field.

    Maybe we should simply cut down on immigration entirely. Sometimes it seems that those who wish to promote more immigration will not be happy until Canada becomes a third world country.

  13. I am a minority, but I do believe that there is an artificial demand for more immigrants coming from businesses in wanting to hire workers that does not demand higher salaries, wages, and benifits. Look at Canada's unemployment rate, it is quite high, yet businesses keep hiring outside the country. There is something wrong with this picture… Real estate businesses also would like to have more immigrants to keep demands of housing high. Politicians need voters…. I would say cap immigration and make sure they come from countries that shares the same values as Canadians and from those countries whose success rate has been proven well in our society. To ignore experience and historical data is just plain stupidity. With security instability happening around the world, this is not the time to be extremely politically correct. To screen, is just plain common sense.

    • By shared values do u mean the moslems who want to kill us??????????

  14. "Shory is an excellent example: he was nominated under suspicion of fraud, and had a history of troubling business dealings well before becoming MP. Yet, in Northeast Calgary, he brings in the Indo-Canadian vote, so they keep him. Even the Liberals and NDP are curiously silent on the Shory case, for fear of provoking an Indian voter backlash."
    ============================================

    Look at the Corruption Perception Index at Transparency International: http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surve

    India is well down the list. Immigrants are very likely to bring the business practices and corruption of their native land with them when they come to Canada. It is part of their culture, and probably not easy to change, even in the 2nd generation. We can ignore this and pretend it is not a problem, but it will not go away.

    • Absolutely correct Blue willow , I keep wondering if there are people like me out there why can't we move and do something .

  15. A "new emphasis on economic immigration" seems great to me. I think we should lose this romantic idea that we can leave the door open to anyone and that we should be equally available to all cultures even those who are antagonistic to our democratic values.

    On the issue of grandparents, I don't understand why giving a higher priority to them in the queue is not compatible with this economic integration approach. They are not going to be working anyways. I don't understand the issues with Canada pensions and other social costs but surely they do not add to an integration problem, while bringing brothers and sisters and cousins and arranged marriage brides and visa eager grooms might.

    • The issue with grandparents is that they often come without money, so although they live with the grandchildren, they still place a burden on the healthcare & welfare systems, and if some politicians have their way,m will be entitled to CPP 3 years after their arrival. So if someone arrives when they are 62, they will be able to start collecting at 65 – then may live to be 90 years old or so ( my father is 93 & still drives, cooks, does his own laundry, & volunteers at the SPCA & hospital) Old folks with no bad habits can live a long time.
      With the average citizen paying CPP, & Income Tax over the span of thier lifetime, plus PST/GST/HST all along, & all of the other taxes on various products & services, it hardly seems fair to have taxpayers pays one who has contributed next to nothing the same as someone who has been paying for all their life.

    • Why, because after some years, their kids will dump them into social housing and they became the responsibility of Canadian taxpayers. They are also eligible for seniors' income security even though they did not pay a dime into to maintain the social safety net. They use our healthcare system, again, without paying a dime because if you have no income, you are allow to apply for 100% subsidy for your healthcare premium. And lots of these seniors are not poor, they are just smart enough to not bring their money to Canada. And often heard, they receive Canadian old age pensions while resding permanently overseas.

  16. Regarding senior immigrants, Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla just tabled a bill to lower the residency requirement for OAS from ten years to three years. You could have a recently arrived immigrant 60 year old grandmother collect a pension she didn't pay into for 30, 40 years. It's grotesquely unjust. But it gets better: the Indian press says our current pension scheme is "racist":
    http://www.theindianstar.com/index.php?uan=12303

    "Toronto: A bill was introduced in the Canadian parliament on Thursday to end discrimination against Indian and other non-white immigrants in old-age pension. "

    It has nothing to do with racism, but rather that we have bilateral pension agreements with developed countries, most of which are white. More:

    "Ruby Dhalla unveils bill to end bias against Indians, others in Canada
    June 19, 2009 2:34:09 AM by IANS –

    By Gurmukh Singh
    Toronto, June 19 (IANS) A bill was introduced in the Canadian parliament Thursday to end discrimination against Indian and other non-white immigrants in old-age pension."
    http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world-news/ru

    These people hate us, I cannot overemphasize how much Indian immigrants hate white people, as proven by my links above. They know we're not racist, they just say that because they have that little respect for our intelligence and they seek to play off white guilt. Free money, that's all this is, free money for people who aren't economically productive and haven't contributed to Canada.

    • My acadian grandmother did not qualify for canada pension due to it was not around when she worked. She started to work at age 5. But an indian comes into my country and gets a cheque and they never even worked in canada that is highly insulting!! What else is insulting, when a foreign person takes my job!!!

  17. Basing immigration policy on country of origin as a substitute for personal characteristics, rather than evaluating personal characteristics, is a vile practice and should be eliminated immediately.

    • Your proposition looks good on papers and I do agree with you in some points but only up to a point. Knowing someone personal characteristics just by one day or two days interview is impossible. Many people say the right thing during interviews just to get in. You need to live with someone to know them, but by then it is already too late. Because of this we have to look at historical data, experiences, and of course not forgetting,most importantly, to screen individuals carefully on personal characteristics – even if they come from desirable countries.

      • Knowing someone personal characteristics just by one day or two days interview is impossible.

        ***

        Knowing them just by which country they are from is even less possible.

        • Less possible might be, but less frightening. There is no perfect nor ideal tool but to ignore previous data and tools at hand, is really stupendous. It does not mean that people from less desirable country are outright rejected but special screening has to be in place to make sure that clash in values is minimized.

        • We Canadian women do not want any more moslem or arab men or moraccan men or east indian men with shitty chavenist attitudes ! We already have enough of them now!!

  18. It's not politically correct to mention a guy named Thomas Malthus, so I will.
    We are beyond sustainable carrying capacity in Canada.
    Note the energy crisis, failure of our fisheries, degradation of farmland.
    Too many people for the lifestyle we have.
    Turn off the tap.

    • Canada is a net exporter of oil and a large range of agricultural goods. The share of the populace required to produce enough food to feed all Canadians is smaller than ever thanks to technology. Indeed, our problem is too much food. Thomas Malthus was wrong because he did not account for the ability of people to improve technology. Indeed, in a free market society impending shortages help drive solutions by creating profitable opportunities. There is a reason people are investing more in alternative energies and electric cars now, as opposed to in the 50's – there was lots of oil in the 50's.

      PS: I don't know what is politically incorrect about Malthus – the "population bomb" approach is something close to a consensus within the chattering classes (although partly as a rationalization of their lack of kids).

  19. The basic question with any immigrant should be this – will person X be a net benefit to Canada if admitted? Immigrants provide two main kinds of benefits – they generate economic activity (1) and pay taxes (2). Immigrants also generate one main type of costs – they use government services (3).

    The best way to ensure that an immigrant is of net benefit to the country is to ensure an extensive waiting period for eligibility for the CPP and welfare. Having done that and a criminal background check, I am all for letting almost anybody in. Even family class immigrants are not a problem, so long as it is their family that is footing the cost of them being here.
    Yes, immigrants would still use other government services – healthcare, education, etc. However, these are services that are either necessary to a functioning workforce, or services that create value for future generations (eg. educating the children of immigrants).

    Rather than a top down approach of heavy scrutinization, we need to ensure that the incentives necessary to attract the best crop of immigrants exist at home. Canadian border officials can never know as much about immigrants as they know about themselves. So lets allow immigrants to make the calculation of whether or not they can make it without a social safety net.

    • "The basic question with any immigrant should be this – will person X be a net benefit to Canada if admitted? "

      You're forgetting the other side of the equation: if we poach the best and brightest and most educated from developing countries how the hell are they supposed to ever become developed? They spend thousands on education and healthcare training a doctor or engineer – only to have that investment yanked away by Canada? Brain drain is a real problem and when we lure their best and brightest we are causing massive harm to these countries.

      Don't be so selfish, think of the other country.

      Multiethnicism doesn't work. It's been proven to destroy communities and societies, it leads to a dramatic drop in trust and social capital. You're forgetting about that cost, and I won't even begin with crime.

      Really H2H, taking people from the poorest, most violent, most corrupt, most anti-woman/gay countries in the world, nearly every one of which has a grudge (often a legit one) against the white man, is your genius plan, and you don't see a problem with this? Do you think they automagically leave their misogyny and violence and corruption at home? They don't.

      You're just trying to score political correctness points, I don't believe you believe what you are saying, and you have my sympathy.

    • and their costs outweigh what they contribute !

  20. So Gillis thinks that the low birth rate will be challenging in us having to pay for "entitlements and pensions…."!

    What are "entitlements"? Old age security, employment benefits, universal health care, maternity leave? Gillis is obviously a recent (successful) refugee from the American Republic! There they do actually treat these basic human rights as "entitlements" that need to be cut drastically, so that Goldman Sachs retirees rest assured in not having their taxpayer-funded bonuses cut, or eliminated altogether!

    Shame on Gillis! But he is a card-carrying member of the Republican party south of the border, so it's understandable…Maybe a few more years of successful residency in Canada will teach him the real meaning of "entitlement"…..to a trillion bucks worth of taxpayers' bailout…

  21. The Immigration Refugee system should be cleaned up.

    THe Immigration & Refugee Board last year allowed an Iranian "refugee" with two rape convictions in Canada and a sexual assault on a teenaged Canadian girl in B.C……to stay here. The absolutely clueless and ultra-tolerant Court said that if he were to be returned to his home country he'd face death. So a young Canadian girl's right to be free from this pervert's abuse is secondary to his right to be 'free from harm'. He was on a Deportation Order but the Court thought it would be UNFAIR to him!
    The IRB judge should be dismissed and sent back to his original place of birth–loony asylum.

    Jason Kenny is just another conservative party hack with ambitions to become the next neocon P>M! His ideas as as neanderthal as Day's Reformist agenda and his Christian College creds are impeccable. But this motor-mouth self-serving used car salesman is sleeping at the switch! What else is new in Mugabe Harper's party anyway folks?

  22. "The biggest beneficiaries of our insanely-high immigration levels are the banks, REITs, speculators, construction and development companies, and other real estate lobbyists. Annual population growth in the hundreds of thousands means endless housing starts, along with demand for associated infrastructure, like schools and roads, mass transit, etc. Mulroney's 'target'–maintained to this day–of 250,000 permanent immigrants anually was arrived at, after closed-door meetings with real estate lobbyists. "

    Mulrooney wanted to serve the interests of his corporate masters (not the ones that stuffed his suitcases with $275,000) and real estate developers so McDougal, Barbara, raised the immigration rates to $250,000.

    We don't need immigrants who are supereducated or rich. But we need immigrants who are not LAZY and getting on Welfare rolls and Phony Disability claims or claiming they are "separated" (often the woman has different last name than the husband) so they can collect each welfare and this even though the couple lives together! Yes, there's a law that allows these phony immigrants to live in the same dwelling—but deemed 'separated'!!!

  23. Our taxes go to feed multiple families who come here under the guise of "refugees" when all they do is "lose" their identity papers at the airport and claim status! Hudnreds of Canadian Passports are in the pockets of people living abroad who only come here to become "landed" and thten leave for home the next day!

    They collect pensions, disability, welfare checks, kids' bonuses, and all goodies from the taxpayers' pockets..
    Of course with this neanderthal Corporate Govenrment's agenda, don't expect to see lessening of immigration. They need CHEAP LABOUR for their lobbyists!

    • There are immigrants getting welfare cheques in other countries!!

  24. Almost all the comments here are for immigration reform and of course the first thing that should be revised is the insane number of 250000 immigrants . Now looking at the argument of low birth rate to justify immigration I would say the high income tax rate we have is the main reason behind that low birth rate and I presume only a few will challenge that . If we reduce taxes people can have more kids ( and to encourage them further the government bonuses and initiatives can help ) and hence we don't need more immigrants . How would we get government services if we reduce taxes the answer lies in the oil exports Canada has , we produce 2300000 barrels per day a barrel costs $36 and sells at $75 lets tax it at $30 we get $69 million dollars per day multiply times 365 days we get 2.5 billion dollars wow .

    Another issue to address here is those immigrants using government services and we need them to contribute to our economy , a good suggestion would be making the immigrants make an advance payment on the services they get for a year , giving them a chance to find a job , and if they don't they have a choice to either pay another year or leave their place for another immigrant . Some ideas here, if most of us agree on this issue why don't we do something nearly everyone I talk to says we have to do something about immigration before things get out of control . Please people let's join forces and march to Ottawa cause non of parties out there will do something unless we act .

    • and what about the ethnic gangs that we have that did not exist in the 1980s and what about the thousands eating in food banks. Food banks did not exist before 1984 in canada. Why is it pre-massive third world invasion we had higher wages, more jobs, less crime and no food banks?????????

  25. we should only let the best in. the rest can stay away

  26. We all pay tax so those immigrants who take advantage of the system, grandparents come, they don't work they stick around long enough they get their pension.
    I come from a family of immigrantes, we arrived in this country with nothing , my father never sat at home waiting for the wealfare check to arrive.
    We have thounsands of people capable of working but not willing too, we have thousands of parents in need of help with day care fees, but who gets that help new commers the one with the grandmother at home, who was supposed to come and help raise the children.
    Yes.. join forces give the jobs to the people that are already here, the ones that took the time to learn english so they can speak the countries language, the ones that make the efforts and are willing to contribuite to CANADA'S ECONOMY, not the ones that are willing to spend it .

  27. I am an Irish would be immigrant. I am well educated and more importantly hard working. When I look around in the world I see lots of people expecting their state to carry and pay for them in whatever form, from unemployment benefit to state pensions. This 'entitlement' culture feeds on itself and is one of the main issues in many countries today. It's why so many countries are in a financial mess and having to put up taxes – which only effects those working people earning a living in the first place.

    Canada has a reputation for being very selective and that is one of the reasons I would love to immigrate. I work hard and want to pay my way, want to pay taxes for the good of everyone, so long as everyone else is also doing the same at whatever job. I wouldn't want to come to your country if I thought the door was open to one and all. Continue to take the 'best' and you'll attract the 'best'.

    • You are more than welcome to Canada your new home .

      Good luck

    • Sean if my countries politicians were smart enough and not so politically correct the fact that you are from an English speaking country would help right of the top and would be at the top of the heap. They know this but are afraid of the ethnic backlash of course. We are one of the few English speaking countries now to not give alot of credit or extra points to those that speak English ie pass an english test
      It seems that those of us of British Isles Heritage were good enough to found the country but we’re hardly welcome now. I encourage you and hope that you will raise this issue with Minister Jason Kenney. Check out irishjobs.ca, there is a business council that may be able to offer some tips.

    • Sean if my countries politicians were smart enough and not so politically correct the fact that you are from an English speaking country would help right of the top and would be at the top of the heap. They know this but are afraid of the ethnic backlash of course.
      We are one of the few English speaking countries now to not give alot of credit or extra points to those that speak English ie pass an english test.
      It seems that those of us of British Isles Heritage were good enough to found the country but we’re hardly welcome now. I encourage you and hope that you will raise this issue with Minister Jason Kenney. Check out irishjobs.ca, there is a business council that may be able to offer some tips.

  28. “A lot of immigrant families want to have the parents or grandparents here to help raise the kids,” he says. “If they can't do that, they say, ‘Thank you very much but I'm gone.'

    Let me see if I've got this straight. Canada needs more workers to pay income taxes to support elderly people on pensions who need a lot of health care. So, therefore, the immigration system should let in a lot of elderly foreigners to provide their children with untaxable free grandchild care.

    Well, okay!

  29. ***Do some countries offer better immigrants, on average, than others?***

    Yes. See Jones & Schneider's paper 'IQ in the Production Function:
    Evidence from Immigrant Earnings':

    "We show that a country's average IQ score is a useful predictor of the wages that immigrants from that country earn in the U.S., whether or not one adjusts for immigrant education. "
    http://mason.gmu.edu/~gjonesb/Immigrant%20IQ

    Harvard Professor Robert Putman found that ethnic diversity tends to reduce social capital. This can be ameliorated by selecting for smarter immigrants.

    "Skill selection is a desirable way of addressing the problem of ethnic diversity because it is already a policy option on the table. More intelligent (or educated) immigrants would be more productive workers, and they would also have a much less objectionable social impact on the United States due to their enhanced ability to cooperate. Putnam's concerns about deteriorating social capital form another argument for immigrant skill selection."
    http://american.com/archive/2009/august/dealing-w

    • SOme may be smart but culturally they are very very stupid. Canadian women do not want sexist men landing here we already have enough of them. Its not safe anymore to go out at night alone. There is alot of sexual harassment on the buses etc…..

  30. Immigration backlog is inevitable as we have a quota on the number of immigrants we want to take in annually. Those who are unhappy with the wait have a choice to quit and get a refund. It is fair, I think.

  31. We should not depend on immigration alone. Having children should be encouraged. Tax burden has to be reduced for families with a certain number of children. Ways in automation has to be studied, encouraged, and applied to get ahead with our economy without heavy social burden. Overall tax burden, may it be provincial, federal, sales, municipal, and property taxes has to be reduced, otherwise we will all be busy working to meet those fiscal burden instead of procreating. Press Universities, professional colleges and association get rid of caps for professions that are much needed in our society. Right now, Universities are increasing the length of education for number of professions (probably to have more tuition fees collected in the guise of professionalism), Professional Colleges & Association are capping number of licencee to create artificial demand and ensure high salary and budget structure. This has to stop otherwise we have no choice but hire professionals from outside, which in the long run may create problem due to value clashes.
    .

  32. ****We should not depend on immigration alone. Having children should be encouraged. Tax burden has to be reduced for families with a certain number of children. ***

    This is true, European & Asian countries both have the problem of declining birth rates. Those who suggest immigration is the only answer are naive as no group in their right mind would voluntarily make themselves a minority.

    • There are 40 countries other than canada with a lower birth rate in the world. One is Japan. They dont have immigration!

  33. Applicants from Asia as opposed to the Carribean? How about as opposed to Europe or the UK? Australias largest source country is the UK. Tte only reason we are in this boat is governments who went and put all the “resources” to where the large ie overpopulate demand was because if they didn’t they would be accused of racism.
    No Englishman need apply!

    • Irish people arent allowed either!

  34. Gee 20 years of mass migration mostly from Asian and people finally clue in that Asia is being favoured? In the early 90's immigration started going higher and higher. Before the 1997 handover little Canada with a population of less than30 million took annually more people from Hong kong than even the USA. The public commentators stated things like we were a popular choice when in reality we just opened the dooors further than anyone else. I still remember the Immigration Dept worker on the news saying that they wanted to process "as many people as possible" from there. I always wonder why the desires of foreigners in far off countries, their needs and wants should be relevent to us. We just jump at whatever the masses of the world want.

  35. When did Canadians vote to change our European identity to an Asian dominated one? I must have missed that.

  36. In the Vancouver area the ESL students pretty much outnumber the non ESL students and we all in this country pay to teach kids and their parents English. No other country has their cities dominated by foreign born the way we do. I grew up her in the 70's and 80's and immigration was small the way it should be. The 250,000 annually is 1 milllion more people to our cities every 4 years, it is ridiculous. Before the 1980's it would take about 12 years for that number to get into the country. Do the politicians care that there are SKILLED CANADIAN BORN PEOPLE LIKE ME THAT HAVE HAD ENOUGH AND MAY EMIGRATE OURSELVES-BECAUSE I DONT RECOGNIZE CANADA ANYMORE!

    • I left that hellhole 10 years ago. The few friends who are left are going to leave when they retire. its a rotten place for a western woman in particular, you are treated as a second class citizen.

  37. I just want to let everyone know that if you are interested in immigration reform there is a group called

    ImmigrationWatchCanada.org.

    Also I would like people to know that if they just did a little bit of research they would see that Immigration is done much differently in other English speaking and European countries, and the media in this country refuse to talk about itor let us know. Instead they constatntly go on about how much more we should do for immigrants,same with our policians. For instance did you know that in Australia if you want to bring your elderly family member you must put up a bond for the social services such as health care they will use!? You also have to pass and and English Test to get in, not just be given a few measly points for language knowledge like Canada. In Canada it is still possible to get enough points to get in and still not know the language!

    • “this social engineering project [immigration] amounts to the country being ethnically cleansed and re-colonized.”
      http://www.immigrationwatchcanada.org/

      I don’t think you can compare immigration laws in Canada to what happened in Germany, Yugoslavia, East Timor, Rowanda,…

  38. One thing that all of the ministers are missing is that many grandparents are cruelly kept away from their grandchildren because of this filter on family class. It is a much better family life with the grand parents on site. What is the problem with bringing them in – they can afford to come and spend lots of money which the tax man will love.
    at the present their seems to be an embargo on grandparents – the waiting has gone up 3 months in the last month

  39. I am an immigrant. I believeimmigration is false propogada based on the fake picture of the shortage of manpower. I am sure Canada doesnt have enough jobs for our existing population. It is time we must stop immigration and clean our system first and establish a policy as needed based on the actual demand and need

    • You so right Joe. There are people who have been looking for any type of job for a few years now! We lost 1 million jobs in 2008 with the double dip recession and have never recovered. There is no job creation in canada for local people. Skills shortage is a code word for cheap labor and there is no such thing in canada- we already have all the skilled people they are all around us!!!!!!!!!

  40. Once again an excellent artcile Adam.
    We MUST have an open and national debate. I've been arguing for that on blogs for over a month now.
    We need a Royal Commission on immigration.
    I agree with virtually everything you have written — everything else is a lesson.

  41. Is there something wrong with an immigrant from Europe ? Nobody mentions Europe like it does not even exist !

  42. If we accept more Chinese… Canada will become Chinada (if not already).

  43. Sadly, Canada is already half Chinada and half Indianada. European immigration is just ignored or not encouraged. And it is not a coincidence as there are plenty of European immigrants who still want to come to Canada, however suspiciously there are almost none being allowed in the country. I am an immigrant from Europe (by marriage) and all along my journey through CIC and immigration offices I have not seen any Europeans. The more Indian and Asian officials there are in the government offices (which there is almost 100% since as soon as one is hired they bring in all their relatives and cousins into cushy government jobs) – the less Europeans are being allowed. An interesting observation – native Canadian always hire based on skill, however have you ever seen an Indian hiring a non-Indian or a non-Asian? There is always an unemployed cousin, relative or friend from India that somehow always turns out to have better "skills" than any other applicants…. Those so called minorities are the first to discriminate against everyone else and give preference to their own and no one else.

    • Which is now the reason why if your white educated and english you are discriminated the most in canada and cannot get a government job as you are not allowed to even apply even though your family has been here for 400 years like mine!

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