This bulletin quotes excerpts from an OP ED that was written in 2001 by Canada’s new immigration Minister, John McCallum. They demonstrate McCallum’s poorly-informed immigration mindset 14 years ago. From statements he has made recently about the Syrian Refugee issue, we suspect he still has not done his homework. We recommend that he go off to some deserted military base, do many deep knee-bends and inform himself before he makes more serious immigration mistakes.
Is Our Immigration Minister as Poorly-Informed As In His Past?
(1) McCallum said : Canada needs more immigrants; We face an aging population and need to hire tens of thousands of people to replace baby boomers who will retire soon.
Reality : Where is the evidence that Canada needs more immigrants ? The fact that Canada has over 1 million unemployed and hundreds of thousands of under-employed should be ample evidence that Canada needs few if any immigrants at all. If McCallum were even minimally aware, he should know that Health and Welfare Canada studied the aging population issue in the late 1980’s and concluded that immigration of up to 600,000 per year would not make Canada younger or solve problems created by our aging population. As Health and Welfare recommended, using a made-in-Canada solution in which Ottawa would get more female Canadians and unemployed 45+ year old males into the work force was a far sounder solution.
(2) McCallum said : One thing we are very good at is attracting people from all over the world and creating a society that welcomes people of all races, religions and cultures.
REALITY : Canada does not welcome people from all over the world——particularly those whose background is similar to that of Canada’s majority population. In fact, it discourages well-qualified European applicants by accepting very few applicants from Europe. The source countries of most of Canada’s immigrants show that Canada goes out of its way to encourage applicants from Asia. For the past 25 years, the highest number of those accepted have come from countries like Mainland China, The Philippines, Pakistan and India. These people know a fool when they see one and they have taken considerable advantage of Canada’s immigration programme and Canada’s generous social safety net.
(3) McCallum said : In terms of immigration, a second advantage (Canada has) is that we have a lot of space. As Morton Weinfeld of McGill University has pointed out, as a theoretical proposition, if we were to take the lower one- tenth of our land— the slice of land adjacent to the U.S. border— and increase its population density to that of Holland, all of a sudden there would be 400 million Canadians.
REALITY : In 1978, Ottawa asked The Science Council of Canada to propose an optimum population for Canada. The Science Council examined the resources and technology Canada had, and stated that if Canada wanted to maintain its standard of living, it had to conserve its resources, not squander then by allowing its population to grow uncontrollably through an open-door immigration policy. In particular, it should take steps to protect its limited amount of farmland from being converted to roads and subdivisions. It should use its farmland to become a major world food exporter. In order to do that, it had to limit and stabilize its population (probably around 34 million), not increase it to the wild 400+ million that McCallum proposed and the 100+ million that a number of others have recently campaigned for.
Here’s a special note for McCallum and Morton Weinfeld : Like most countries in Europe, Holland is crowded and could use a major population decline. A stable, sustainable population is a key goal for the future of any country. Imitating countries like China and India is not the road to follow. As Canada’s Privy Council decreed, they are the greatest environmental disasters on the face of the planet—largely because they do not have the resources to support their insane population levels. Their insanity is an example of what most countries should never do.
(4) McCallum said : A third advantage is our points-based immigration policy, designed to attract the best and the brightest immigrants to Canada. This is not at the expense of family reunification and refugee policies, areas in which we are as generous as any. However, while some 60 per cent of Canadian immigrants are in the “economic immigrant” class, the corresponding percentage for the United States is a mere 10 per cent.
REALITY : Even Citizenship and Immigration admits that the vast majority of the 125,000 to 150,000 immigrants who enter Canada through the “economic immigrant” class are really dependent children and spouses. This is the group that McCallum proclaims will be the one that will help Canada economically. The latter are average people, not the brightest and best. And even if they were the brightest and best, Canada’s primary responsibility is to its own population, not to non-Canadians. In other words, Canada should not be putting a bullet in the heads of its own citizens in order to proclaim, like McCallum, many politicians, and our treacherous CBC, that it is becoming “Diverse”. The point is that, when added to the immigrants that enter Canada through the Family and Refugee Classes, the majority of Canada’s immigrants are dependents on the Canadian purse.
(5) McCallum said : My riding, Markham, illustrates both Canada’s success in welcoming people from all over the world and the second potential problem arising from higher immigration. In recent years, Markham has enjoyed remarkably high population growth, fuelled in part by immigration. Too often, population growth gets ahead of governments’ ability to provide the needed infrastructure—- housing, roads, transit, environmental protection and so on. As a result, transportation gridlock was a major issue in Markham at the time of the last federal election.
REALITY : McCallum is correct in saying that immigration-driven population growth got ahead of government’s ability to provide the necessary infrastructure. But he is wrong in saying that if government had spent the billions needed on infrastructure, that Canada would have been better off. The point is that neither Markham nor any other city in Canada needed the number of immigrants it received. In fact, those cities will pay much more in future infrastructure costs than they will ever get back in taxes. In addition, Markham’s population growth was probably mostly driven by wealthy immigrants who entered Canada through Business programmes. Those immigrants to Markham, like their counterparts in Richmond and Vancouver, were mostly Chinese and they have become notorious for paying no income taxes, or very low income taxes.
(6) McCallum said : There’s the question of how to ensure that highly qualified immigrants don’t end up driving taxis, as well as the matter of what if anything the federal government should do to influence how all these new immigrants would be distributed across the country.
REALITY : Even in cases where immigrants are driving taxis, that is, working in jobs that they are over-qualified for, the point is that most educated immigrants (as well as uneducated) who have come here in the past 25 years were not needed and have either competed with Canadian-born for a limited number of jobs or been given priority in hiring—thus displacing Canadian-born. The latter has doubled the unnecessary immigration insult that had already been committed against Canadians. If McCallum and a huge number of other MP’s had been doing their jobs, they would have raised a coast-to-coast uproar over Canada’s immigration intake. Instead, they have licked recent immigrant boots and made statements as ridiculous as those made by McCallum. .
John McCallum is one more Immigration Minister who suffers from the delusion that Canada’s immigration policy exists to help immigrants— at the expense of Canada and Canadian citizens. The larger problem is that his boss, PM Justin Trudeau seems to think the same way. Canadians have to send both of them a strong message. FAST !!!
Canada needs more immigrants; We face an aging population and need to hire tens of thousands of people to replace baby boomers who will retire soon;
John McCallum. Toronto Star.
Apr 27, 2001. pg. A.21
In seeking to build a stronger society and economy in the 21st century, we in Canada have to build on our strengths, both in absolute terms and relative to the United States.
One thing we are very good at is attracting people from all over the world and creating a society that welcomes people of all races, religions and cultures.
In terms of immigration, a second advantage is that we have a lot of space. As Morton Weinfeld of McGill University has pointed out, as a theoretical proposition, if we were to take the lower one- tenth of our land _ the slice of land adjacent to the U.S. border _ and increase its population density to that of Holland, all of a sudden there would be 400 million Canadians.
A third advantage is our points-based immigration policy, designed to attract the best and the brightest immigrants to Canada. This is not at the expense of family reunification and refugee policies, areas in which we are as generous as any. However, while some 60 per cent of Canadian immigrants are in the “economic immigrant” class, the corresponding percentage for the United States is a mere 10 per cent.
So, if we wanted to, we could build on our existing strengths _ a multicultural society, lots of room and an enlightened immigration policy _ to move to a substantial increase in our annual intake of immigrants.
Should we adopt a 21st-century version of Sir Clifford Sifton’s late 19th-century policy of populating Western Canada with immigrants? On balance, I think perhaps we should, but there are many issues requiring discussion. In the spirit of fostering debate, I will begin with two problems, followed by three reasons why a bigger population could be good for Canada.
If we become a haven for criminals, Canadians will not tolerate even today’s immigration levels, let alone a substantial increase. That is why the bill currently before Parliament will make it easier to deport criminals and harder for them to enter Canada. The government will make it harder to enter the country through the back door so that we can welcome a larger number of legitimate immigrants through the front door.
My riding, Markham, illustrates both Canada’s success in welcoming people from all over the world and the second potential problem arising from higher immigration. In recent years, Markham has enjoyed remarkably high population growth, fuelled in part by immigration. Too often, population growth gets ahead of governments’ ability to provide the needed infrastructure _ housing, roads, transit, environmental protection and so on. As a result, transportation gridlock was a major issue in Markham at the time of the last federal election.
If gridlock problems are a major issue today, they will become more critical if we move to higher levels of immigration. If, as I shall argue, higher immigration would be good for the economy, the problem is not that we as a country cannot afford the necessary increase in infrastructure spending. Rather, the challenge is to co- ordinate the activities of all three levels of government, as well as the private sector, to arrive at appropriate solutions.
These are not the only challenges raised by higher immigration. For example, there’s the question of how to ensure that highly qualified immigrants don’t end up driving taxis, as well as the matter of what if anything the federal government should do to influence how all these new immigrants would be distributed across the country.
Canada, like every other Western country, faces an aging population. We read in our newspapers that we need to hire tens of thousands of new professors, doctors, nurses, public servants and many others to replace the huge number of baby boomers who will retire in the next 10 to 20 years. While the primary source of these new recruits has to be our own education system, a big push on immigration would certainly alleviate the strains. Closely related, we will face an ever-increasing proportion of the population that is elderly. Higher immigration would help on that count as well.
There is also the question of brain drain. While the numbers have been much exaggerated by some of those arguing for lower taxes, nevertheless, younger Canadians are becoming ever more mobile. We are into a new world when the likes of Microsoft descend directly onto Canadian campuses. So a big push by Canada to import more brains will help compensate for a certain loss of brains to the United States and elsewhere. More immigration will help Canada remain a large net importer of brains.
Finally, there is the matter of heft or clout. How often does one hear that the Canadian market is too small to justify this or that?
Certainly that is true in the cultural domain, but the small size of our market is also a negative in other areas. In the longer term, can we justify our G7 membership with a population of some 30 million people? Might it not be helpful if we could increase our size in relation to our enormous neighbour to the south? Would this not increase Canada’s bargaining powers in areas like softwood lumber?
To be sure, demographic factors always move at a snail’s pace, about as exciting as watching paint dry.
The proposed target of 100 million people applies to almost a century from now, when everyone reading this article will almost certainly be dead.
Nevertheless, it is up to those with some influence today to help chart the course for tomorrow. Let’s open the debate on whether we want to reinvent Canada’s late 19th-century higher population policy at the beginning of the 21st century.
John McCallum is Liberal Member of Parliament for Markham and former chief economist of the Royal Bank of Canada.