September 27, 2005: Immigration Minister's Reasons For Proposed 40% Increase In Immigration Are Big On Bull But Not Bullish On Evidence
Immigration Minister Joe Volpe has just announced he will propose a 40% Increase in Canada's immigration levels.This would mean Canada would have an annual intake of around 320,000 immigrants by 2010. This intake would rise in perpetuity.
Where is the evidence that Canada needs these people? asks Immigration Watch Canada. If Canada is going to bring in such large numbers of people, Canadians have to be given more than the anecdotal justification that Immigration Ministers such as Volpe give with such announcements. Past immigration ministers have never provided a rational explanation for current levels. So far, Volpe also has not provided any real evidence for the increased numbers he is proposing. A much better case can be made for reducing Canada's immigration levels to 50,000 per year.
Here is what Volpe has said to date, together with some Immigration Watch Canada questions he has to answer:
(1) “We've got to have more. There isn't a place in the country that hasn't used that four letter word: More”
Question: Who are the Canadians that are saying “More.”? Has he been given some substantial research that calls for high immigration levels? Canadians would love to know. Otherwise, they'll assume there has been no research and that Volpe has been listening to anecdotes from immigration lawyers who want to swell their incomes and urban Liberal MP's who want to import Liberal voters. In other words, Canadians will assume that the more appropriate four letter word for Volpe's claims is “Bull”. Or as many have said about most of his and other immigration minister's announcements: “More bull.”
Mr. Volpe's immediate predecessor, Judy Sgro, was quoted during her time as immigration minister as claiming that current immigration is necessary to keep house prices high. Had she commissioned some research which gave her this conclusion? Or was her comment one more item from the barrel of government-friendly anecdotes which immigration ministers like to draw out when they try to justify their policies?
If Canada is going to have immigration policies that make any sense at all, or if Canada is going to make a major change in immigration numbers, Canadians want to see some thoughtful research, not anecdotes.
(2) “Economic growth is being hampered in places like Edmonton, Calgary and Fort McMurray because they can't fill jobs fast enough”, Volpe said.
Question: Let Canadians see some figures. Volpe is proposing 320,000 immigrants per year. Which places need them? How many does each need? More particularly, what about the 2 million officially and unofficially unemployed people Canada has? How many of those unemployed are recent immigrants who can't find jobs. Contrary to what government claims, it is not because these immigrants are having problems getting their credentials recognized, but because the jobs simply don't exist. In other words, Volpe, Canada's immigration industry and the vote-getting machine have seriously blundered. And now they want to correct a serous blunder with an even more serious blunder?
The most telling statement that can be made about the mass immigration policy that Canada began 15 years ago, is that around 80% of the 3 million who have entered Canada since then have not been skilled workers. In fact, these 80% have had to meet no skill or language requirements. This is the opposite of what the government has been telling Canadians. Most of the 80% have entered through the family class category. Over 500,000 have entered through the very lax refugee category which draws guffaws around the world. Canada could have cleaned up this mess, but it has done little, partly because of the lobbying of Canada's immigration industry.
(3) “Rural communities in Atlantic Canada are dying and existing public services such as schools and hospitals are emptying for lack of use.”
Question: Again, let Canadians see some figures. Canadians need the names of the communities he is talking about. If hospitals have to close in some places, then won't that mean less cost to Ottawa and the provinces that have been overburdened with health care expenditures?
And while Mr. Volpe is at it, how about doing some reading instead of listening to the obsequious who flock to his feet? Try Health and Welfare's “Charting Canada's Future” which the federal government commissioned and which had 200 university experts from all across Canada working on it.(not 200 of Volpe's friends from the immigration industry). One of the experts' many conclusions:aging is a natural process for a society and immigration won't stop aging. Nearly all countries in the world have aging populations, but they don't use immigration to deal with this issue. Canada is alone. There are superior alternatives.
(4) “About 6,000 long-haul trucks are sitting empty in New Brunswick because there aren't enough truckers to fill the available spots”, he said.
Question: Is he aware that New Brunswick has a very high unemployment rate? Is he saying some of New Brunswick's unemployed cannot be quickly trained to take these 6000 jobs? If Canadians assume that New Brunswickers can't (which is a big stretch), do 6000 unfilled jobs mean Canada needs 328,000 immigrants? In other words, if New Brunswick has a need for 6000 and all of Canada has a requirement for a total of 20,000 workers nationally, does it make sense to bring in 15 times that number? Has he heard of immigration targetted at specific numbers? Has he heard of basic arithmetic?
(5) Mr. Volpe said he also has heard that 5,000 skilled jobs needed to be filled in Saskatoon. He has also said that in Abbotsford, B.C., the need was for 1,000 computer engineers for graphic-and video-game design.
Question: What are the names of the companies in Saskatoon who are looking for skilled workers? Which companies in Abbotsford need computer-digital engineers? If Volpe can't give Canadians some specifics, Canadians will assume that the companies don't exist or that the numbers are grossly inflated.
(6) Proposals presented to cabinet will be aimed at improving programs to attract foreign university students and keep them here.
Question: What jobs are foreign university students going to fill that can't be filled by Canadians? Doesn't he know that Canada has 6.5 million university graduates entering the labour market over the next 10 years? Are foreign students going to be competing for jobs with Canadian graduates?
(7) We need “to sell the destination points in Canada and the local economies around Canada that go begging for people?”
Question: Besides the questionable statements about the specific places already mentioned, which other destination points and local economies is Volpe talking about? Most current immigrants go to Canada's big cities. Our Charter of Rights allows people freedom of movement inside Canada. Charter challenges would quickly negate any attempts to force immigrants to live in remote areas. Significant economic incentives to current citizens, not immigration, would be a much more effective method of assisting rural areas in need of skilled people. Mr. Volpe's proposal of more immigration will put even more pressure on Canada's big cities.
(8) Some estimates peg the average backlog of permanent-residence visas at 700,000 — more than triple the number approved each year and a cause of frustratingly long waiting times for people applying through the system.
Question: Who is Canada's immigration system supposed to serve: Canadians or non-Canadians? There are probably a few hundred million people who would line up if they could. The number in the line-up and their frustration is irrelevant. The point is how many people can Canada absorb, and whether those in excess of that number will do serious harm to the employment prospects of Canadians and interfere with the broader cultural, economic and environmental good of Canada.
END OF PRESS RELEASE