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Blog > 2010 > Anti-immigration versus Pro-immigration

Anti-immigration versus Pro-immigration

September 30th, 2010

The arrival by sea last month of 492 Tamil asylum seekers continues to serve as a lightning rod for anti-immigration sentiment in Canada. For starters, you have a segment of the population that is fearful. They suspect it is only a matter of time before many more boatloads of refugee claimants land on our shores and they feel powerless to prevent the onslaught they foresee. These Canadians have been conditioned to expect the worst-case scenario even though the facts suggest otherwise. Over the past few decades we have, on occasion, experienced the “en masse” inflow of asylum seekers by sea. These incidents have been few in number and have never led to a pattern of similar activity. Moreover, everything that I have read on the subject indicates that our country was well able to absorb the intermittent influx without negative consequences. In my opinion, our government leaders could be doing a lot more to assuage the concerns of worried Canadians. They most certainly ought to refrain from feeding their angst.

Besides this group of worried Canadians, you have a small but vocal portion of the population who are simply xenophobes and bigots. Canada, like every other nation in the world, has its share of these despicable individuals. One likes to think that we have less of them here than in other countries, but to deny they exist is illusory. Their ilk will seize any and all opportunities to denigrate newcomers, who appear to be cut from a different cloth. We may never succeed in changing their views but following their recommendations on how to treat refugee claimants would, for our nation, be beyond the pale.

Now add to this mix of ill-will the coming out of an organization dedicated to the ban, or near-ban, on immigration to Canada. The Centre for Immigration Policy Reform claims that our current immigration system is seriously flawed and in need of a major overhaul by federal authorities. While this undertaking is carried out I’m guessing they would favour a moratorium on new immigration applications. The founders of this gated community approach to Canadian living are two former career public servants who have been banging the drum incessantly for the exclusion of immigrants for as long as I have known of them. Were it not for their ability to fan the flames of intolerance it would be hard to take this mostly old-boys group seriously. Their website does, after all, blame the current levels of immigration for Canada’s failure to meet its environmental objectives and states that it is the high intake of immigrants that “inhibits our efforts to reduce the extraordinary size of our ecological footprint”. I kid you not. And here I thought our poor environmental scorecard had something to do with those greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands production in Northern Alberta… to say nothing of those toxic tailings ponds, so large that they are observable from outer space. Silly me, I should have realized that the solution to global warming lay in curtailing immigration rather than pressuring the oil profiteers.

If you were to listen to the harangues of some of the right wing radio talk show hosts or read the commentary of like-minded scribes you could come away with the impression that Canadians are ready to remove the welcome mat to newcomers. In my opinion, that would be an inaccurate take on the situation. I believe a strong majority of Canadians realize their good fortune and view their moral obligation to refugee seekers through compassionate eyes. Most of us inherently sense that immigration has been a net benefit to the development of the nation that we have become. With this in mind I am taking the liberty of directing you to a recent newspaper article penned by Don Cayo. I trust that you will appreciate its content.

We should all be pro-immigration

By Dan Cayo, Vancouver Sun (Published in The Ottawa Citizen, September 29, 2010)

A lot of the xenophobia and bigotry that reverberated in the wake of the arrival this summer of a ship bearing 492 Tamils ostensibly focused on those few refugees.

But you didn’t have to read much between the lines of Internet and talk-show chatter to notice that much of the vitriol continues to target a broader swath of immigrants…. >>Read the full article…



 
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26 Responses to “Anti-immigration versus Pro-immigration”

  • On October 1st, 2010, Faisal Shaif said ...

    Immigration enriches nations culturally as well as technologically. Those who still think in terms of race purity still live in total ignorance, there is no one single race that can claim superiority despite visible contributions of one over another, but that is due to circumstances, resources and what have you. If we take the Arab people for example, they had a history that glows with achievements such as the fact that they pioneered math, algebra, literature and early contributions in science and medicines, yet today they are behind in many aspects. Nevertheless, whenever they immigrate to other countries notably Europe, U.S and South America they have in fact shown to be among the very best in every aspect; why ? Because the environment is conducive to personal growth and innovation and that goes to be true for so many other cultures. Had the jewish race not been known to be wonderers in disporas, they would not have evolved to be where they are now, literaly leading the world almost in every discpline, Emc2 .

  • On October 1st, 2010, Juergen Rose said ...

    It remains a great irony to me when some (a minority) Canadians complain about immigrants changing the status quo in Canada. Ultimately, we are ALL of immigrant stock. It is just that some arrived earlier than others. I work in a very multicultural setting in Vancouver and am greatly enriched by the diversity of perspectives. By all means make changes to streamline the system, but keep the door open to immigration for all the obvious and healthy reasons.

  • On October 1st, 2010, busybee said ...

    Immigration on a whole is very beneficial to Canada and its residents. History tells repeatedly that it is human kind that loses its previleges. Immigration is good for Canada and its people in any way you consider but the undeue advantage taken by a few people in the name of refugee act bestowed by Canadian government is being highly misused. We have to wait and see how far Canada can allow people in the name of refugees. Of course, humanitarian concerns are to be given the highest priority for human kind’s development and survival but misuse of a syustm is highly deplorable. Let us all pray that the gates of immigration be not closed for all those good people and eligible aspirants just because of the refugees who infiltrate this country and can be a bigger and unsolvable problem. As of now Canada is large in heart and resources. There may be a day when we have to say enough of this problem. Canada should be proud to have humanitarian perspective towards all the people in the world who have problems of survival. Canada should continue helping people to come to Canada on refugee status, but there should be some sanity about this. Before things could go out of control Canada should really think twice before continuing with refugee act for the undesirables and those people who are taking undue advantage of the opportunity and humanitarianism of this country.

  • On October 13th, 2010, Rene Guenon reader said ...

    During the last Australian election, when arrival of boat people was made to be the top election issue, a famous, maverick ex-Prime Minister named Bob Hawke exclaimed, “We are all bloody boat people!”

  • On October 20th, 2010, Milly Osborne said ...

    Yes, we are all immigrants, all of us are originally “out of Africa” and settled across the planet. We are one race of homo sapiens. That doesn’t signify that we have to have open borders across the world. Our planet is overpopulated, and developed nations are now under pressure to take in refugees and immigrants, and usually the flow is one way! Bob Hawke once exclaimed “We are all bloody boat people” has since, with the retrospect of age and wisdom, has said that the greatest threat to our planet now is overpopulation! Open borders and opportunities to immigrate give the impression of an escape valve, whereas closed nations and territories means limited scope and thus a responsibility to take care and live sustainably and within environmental limits.

  • On November 15th, 2010, matt said ...

    I’m not against immigration, I just believe the rules must be changed so that we don’t have a system that supports 100’s of thousands of them and takes away from hard working tax payers. Immigrants should be english speaking, qualified in a specific trade, and willing to go somewhere other then vancouver, toronto, or montreal.

  • On November 16th, 2010, Mike said ...

    @matt: I totally understand your point. It is definitely not in the interest of Canada to bring in people who will go on welfare after arriving. We could imagine a better immigration system: let the people come to Canada as Permanent Residents as before and if they will not be able to find a job within a certain time period, let’s say 6 months, their Permanent Residence should be revoked and sent back home. There’s no point for someone to stay there if he/she couldn’t find a job there. However, it is not realistic to ask people that they should find a job as a pre-condition to obtain Permanent Residence, simply because no employer in Canada would offer you a job to apply for Permanent Residence. The employer wants the immigrant to have first its “legal status” solved. He is not willing to “sponsor” for Permanent Residence.

  • On December 24th, 2010, Joe Canada said ...

    i still don’t buy what you’re selling. many of us are indoctrinated at an early age into believing diversity is advantageous and that we should celebrate immigration whole-heartedly. but i don’t think so, and i am entitled to my opinion. and for those of you who label me xenophobic or racist, i’m sorry, but i think your assessment is too simplistic. i agree north america has been settled by immigrants all at some point in time, but it has been european customs and traditions that have prevailed. and, to me, immigrants (particularly from the middle east, africa, and asia) in this day and age find it hard to assimilate to these customs and traditions. i don’t know if they’re subconsciously rebelling because deep down they feel they’re abandoning their own customs and traditions, or whether they feel their culture has taken a back-seat, subservient role in this new world society. but i’ve met a lot of immigrants and first-generation (i.e. visible minority) canadians and, honestly, i sense tension and discomfort around them if they’re not from europe or australia. and i feel like they’re almost waiting for me to do, or say, something inflammatory so it’s like i have to be on MY best behaviour not to provoke anything. but provoke what?! i’m not sorry that you don’t feel you fit in with the established canadian culture. i’m not sorry that you subjectively feel isolated. but go ahead and label this “white privilege” or what-have-you. canada is what it is- a nation built on western european ideals, economic theory, and judicial processes. i think any one would be hard pressed to change that. however, what has canada done? canada has gone out of its way to accomodate, bending over backwards to help settle these different cultures. again, though, i think more accomodation is needed on behalf of the immigrant, not the country. afterall, you cannot control how each member of the country feels. yet it seems we’ve been told, from an early age, exactly this- exactly how to feel. and exactly how to think. and we react instinctly, without thought given to the idea of diversity and immigation. but look around you! how has this grand social experiment worked so far? when a host country is told to embrace immigrants from all over the world treating them the same, without any differentiation between them and their native citizens, what does that say about the governments dedication to its own citizens? to me, it seems as if the canadian government is saying everyone in the world is “eligible to come to canada”. “we (the government) want you here”. “you belong here”. if that is the case what do you think the future is for canada? for example accomodating all religions, treating them the same? what has history proven when it comes to mixing up religions? it hasn’t worked out all that great. but the mere thought of accepting 250,000 immigrants a year, regardless of the economic, religious, environmental, or social fundamentals, into canada tells me that the canadian government cares just as much about citizens from other countries than it does existing canadians. and, again, to me, that’s not my idea of a country. that’s not my idea of a country’s role- to treat every person in the world the same! the role of a country is to put its own citizens interests above those in the rest of the world, not to treat everyone, the world over, the same. therefore, we need to limit our immigration to countries with similar cultures and beliefs as what our country was founded on. immigrants of this type will easily establish themselves within our culture, contribute, and succeed. i’m not sorry if i offended anyone.

  • On January 22nd, 2011, Jeremy said ...

    Joe Canada,
    I agree with most everything you have said. Immigration policy should exist to benefit Canadians who are here NOW first and foremost. That basic principle is lost on all the special interests who Profit in various ways from the record high immigration numbers Canada now has, higher than any other country in the world, per capita.
    I myself have always been very liberal minded, and I continue to support the rights of First Nations, and endangered species, and other vulnerable populations, including immigrants, where I can. But I also recognize the flaw in Canada’s mentalite of the past few decades which makes it acceptable to bash the mainstream (read: British and French ancestry). It is often said that Canada is an “Immigrant Country” and that therefore we have no right to limit immigration. This is an irrational belief that does not stand up to logical scrutiny. An immigrant is one who has moved from one country to another. Therefore, anyone born in Canada is NOT and immigrant. Europeans arrived within the last 150-400 years. First Nations arrived 10,000-14,000 years ago. And indeed, we all descended from central Africa 50,000-100,000 years ago. So, if we want to define Canada as an “immigrant country” we will have to define the people of all nations outside of central Africa as immigrant nations as well, which of course, renders the terms useless. To define Canada an immigrant country and those born in other countries as not immigrants is a very arbitrary and rather thoughtless argument. It is even said by some that because the First Nations were here first, “mainstream” Canadians have no right to determine immigration policy. Interestingly, such people never bother to ask First Nations what they want — many reject Mass Immigration and Multiculteralism. Well, I agree we should have settled land claims and enshrined Aboroginal right to self determination in the Constitution long ago. But allowing in more immigrants does not help the First Nations! Besides, it is those of us who are BORN here who have EVERY right to set our immigration policy, and we have every right to define it however we may choose, for whatever reason we choose. This is our country, as all Canadians. This is our soverign right.
    I want to see immigration levels reduced to their typical historical levels and to return to normal in terms of favouring countries with people who fully join Canadian society socially and culturally and linguistically so that I do not have to feel a stranger in my own land. I am uncomfortable with those who trumpet “diversity” as though the very Canadians who build the institutions and culture of one of the greatest countries on earth are inadequate, insufficient, and in need of people from other countries to be whole. I enjoy the new “diversity” of Toronto, but those who are not satisfied with diversity in a few of our cities, and who want the whole country lock, stalk and barrel, are nothing less than aggressive ideologues with contempt or at least no respect for the very social fabric and culture which made this country great in the first place. The massive social change sweeping Canada over the past 20 years is totally undemocratic and, in many ways, driven by special interests not the wishes of an informed mainstream. We must not let our Canada die.

  • On June 4th, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    In Vancouve, due in part to the massive invasion of ethnic Chinese there is an anti-immigration movement taking place. Some folks have decided that the government is in full denial of the anti -immigration sentiment now prevalent all over the country but nowhere more evident than the West Coast.

    In order to offset the federal governments divide and rule, deny, and sidestep routine pertaining to anti-immigration unrest, they have initiated an interesting and decidedly Canadian manner to protest.

    Canadians who are opposed to excessive immigraqtion into the country have decided that the best way to show that opposition is through the Canadian flag.

    Protesters have decided to dispay the Canadian flag/flag sticker on their vehicles, at their homes, in the windows of their apartments, on their balconies. on their porches, wherever.

    The movement would appear to be gathering strength.

    Some interesting observations are related to the complete absence of displayed Canadian flags in Richmond and Surrey, both of which are home to large immigrant groups. Meanwhile other areas such as Ladner are well represented with a much higher percentage of well displaye maple leafs.

    Interesting sighting on River Road in Delta was a large gravel truck with the whole end of the box painted up in what can only be described as a stunning reproduction of our national flag.

    It did endow me with a sense of pride.

  • On September 29th, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    @ Joe Canada, I see what you mean, but immigration isnt only just for cultural benefits and disadvantages and assimilation. Immigration also helps in increasing the population. The population of Canada isnt very much considering that were the 2nd largest country in the world. The birth rate is also decreasing, this means that the population of Canada is generally decreasing and that there are more senior citizens that are putting a demand on the health care system , which Canadian citizens pay for through taxes. The decrease in population also effects the economy. There are less workers in industries that are important to us.

  • On July 22nd, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    canadians pay about $65 million a day to pay for immigration, but only $33 million a day for healthcare, no wonder i cant afford living here.

  • On August 1st, 2012, Traditional Torontonian said ...

    Great post Joe!

    I would like to add to the conversation as strong lefty who has slowly swung to the right at the immigration craziness of Toronto and southern Ontario has developed over the last number of years. I grew up in Toronto and loved the diversity of the city and saw it as a strength. But, in life, there can be too much of a good thing and this applies to immigration in southern Ontario. I feel disconnected from the city and culture that I loved and was once proud of. Some of my immigrant friends relate more to the city than I do even though they’ve been here a fraction of the time. I’m greatly depressed about the situation and growing more so every day. My quality of life has definitely been decreased by the vast number immigrants from very different cultures becoming the dominant force in my home city. I wish for Canada to reduce the immigration levels and provide some sort plan for future numbers and source countries. But with business/coporations selling out our culture for a few extra dollars on their bottom line and the left constantly empowering the immigrant population by jumping to attention and nipping at the politicians and media every time a minority group has any sort of complaint I don’t see the problem slowing down any time soon. I lived and worked in a muslim country (and had a great experience), have a wife from Asia but I am still referred to as a racist as soon as I mention anything negative about the immigration situation. This really brings me down and I wonder why being proud of my Canadian culture I need to face those types of comments. I have pondered the situation for years and could write for hours on why the immigration levels need to be significantly lowered but will just pass on some of my feelings in this post. I know I’m not the only person in Toronto feeling this way and I hope to see more Canadians speak out on the issue so we can have a rational debate about the issue.

  • On December 28th, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    Immigration is good…….tell that to Europe.

  • On March 5th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    (I’m a student from Social Studies 9)

    Dear Joe Canada:
    I’m a Canadian born here. And so are my parents. But I’m still an ethnic group. Does this mean that I have to get back on a boat to my grandparent’s home country? I think not. I believe that I have the right to belong here just like you do. If you feel uncomfortable around immigrants, fine. But I have been around thousands of white people before and I don’t feel the least bit uncomfortable. The only time I feel uncomfortable is when I realize I’M the different one. But what is wrong with this? Nothing in my opinion. If you want to enrich the citizens of this country, then sure. I totally agree with you on that. But that means everyone. That therefore includes me, the ethnic kid born in Canada. We are taught the ideas that we carry from birth for one reason: those ideas taught help develop a better society. If we were taught to carry a gun and rob the first store we see, then that would be ridiculous! The whole point of these lessons are so that we can grow to be better.

    The world is a changing place. We need each other to survive. Without immigrants coming, I bet you that our country wouldn’t be as strong.

    That’s my reason for believing immigration is for the better.

    And one question: Since I am a legitimate Canadian citizen, if I feel uncomfortable around white people, do I have the right to tell them they should go back to their European countries?

  • On March 5th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    Immigration is just a way for people to escape there current state. It should not have to be endured by countries that don’t need immigrants who will just be a burden on the health care and require assistance from stock holders money.

  • On March 6th, 2013, $w@G said ...

    This was teh friken best article i ever read. Europe go away you cant do tis.

  • On March 6th, 2013, Nick m said ...

    By not letting people into Canada, people will die. War and trouble causes refugees to flee. You take away their and their children’s chance at a new life. Many literally escape death. By closing the doors, it is like people closing the doors to the hospital and refusing to let anyone in. “we were here first!”, What did your mom teach you? To not share what you have? Even something as big as safety? What did immigrants and refugees do wrong to deserve exile?

  • On March 6th, 2013, connor said ...

    i dont really think that humans can have any impact on the global climate. natural occurrences like decomposing organic matter and livestock emissions. its like saying: our industrial impact is the greatest contributor to global warming. you might look at it like; my cars transmission isnt working, better go look at the wheel screws.

  • On March 6th, 2013, connor said ...

    @matt i agree, however large masses of diseased wretches could stress our country

  • On March 6th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    oh of course racism and certain religious beliefs and views are a part of what other people from other cultures and also countries, think of each other. all of the people living in canada are not really “canadian” the only ones who really are, are first nations bloodlines, i believe @connor, who posted above has a point as well, we can do very little to affect the global climate. we cant change something as big as, oh um i dont know, the whole world? and didnt connor also tell us in class that he is a quarter plains-cree? he has original ties to canadas indigenous population.

  • On March 6th, 2013, R.A said ...

    You can put many rules and regulations to keep immigration secure and safe, but you cannot stop it. like nick m, i agree that doing so would be like having a closed hospital. its just not right.

  • On March 6th, 2013, connor said ...

    uh-huh
    i agree

  • On March 6th, 2013, yoloswag69 said ...

    Joe Canada. Your Canadian Country wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for immigrants. More than half your population is multi cultural. So that makes you white people, the different ones. Your immigrants too you know?

  • On March 6th, 2013, Anonymous said ...

    Two things, what yoloswag69 said was mentioned in Joe canada’s post, so what is the point of reposting this here? Anyways, what i wanted to say was that, immigration has done many things for the economy, especially bring up our population. By encouraging young workers to come to Canada, we are basically recruiting money to come to Canada, I’m not trying to be a cold person, but if you think about it, a large part of the immigrants that come here from other areas, especially the poor ones, are willing to work and pay for a better lifestyle, also immigrants are innovators, if we accept them that encourages them to create and give back to this marvelous country. I am under one of the very dominant ethnic groups, and yet i was born here, so do i not get the same rights as some person, who moved here recently from Europe and is not willing to work for the country?

  • On March 8th, 2013, Pwnyryanbow said ...

    @Joe Canada
    I totally understand what you’re getting at, but I still find that the diversity has been more of a benefit than a detriment. I am not of “White descent” as you will have it, however, I do find that Canada is in fact based off of Western Culture. Being a Social 9 student, like many others here, I wanted to point out that my parents are of Asian descent, and in turn, so am I, but it would appear that they would have no problem with living in Canada. I am able to speak English, likewise to my parents, and also able to speak Chinese. I’ve made many friends here, all of different cultures, backgrounds, and religions (although I have no religion). I think that Canada gives immigrants a chance to see a smaller version of the world, a harmonic mix of races that strive toward certain goals and achieve them regardless of physical differences. After all, aren’t we all human?

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