Are The E-Coli And Other Water Problems At Kashechewan A Symptom That Canada’s Immigration Policies Are Endangering Canada’s Social Safety Net?

November 1, 2005: Are The E-Coli And Other Water Problems At Kashechewan A Symptom That Canada’s Immigration Policies Are Endangering Canada’s Social Safety Net?


Are the E-Coli and other water problems at Kashechewan one of many symptoms that Canada’s Social Safety Net is on a collision course with Canada’s immigration policies? In other words, are social safety net expenditures on recent immigrants causing government to defer or abandon necessary expenditures on Canada’s long-term citizens?

This is a nationalist, non-partisan issue. It should not be an issue for the left or right to squabble over with the standard name-calling, says Immigration Watch Canada.

For a long time, the federal government has known that there is no net economic benefit to immigration. It has also known that immigrants who have come to Canada after 1980 have not performed as well as immigrants who arrived before 1980 and Canadian-born.

In particular, it has known that those who have arrived since the introduction of Canada’s mass immigration policy in 1990 have been doing even worse. Among the reasons for poor performance suggested by different studies across Canada are the following:

(1) Most immigrants now come to Canada through the Family Class category or as dependents of those who come in the Skilled Worker category. These people do not have to meet Canada’s “Point System” requirements that might lead to economic success. In 2004, only 20.3% of all immigrants to Canada had to meet such “Point System” requirements.

(2) So many immigrants have arrived since the beginning of Canada’s mass immigration policy in 1990 that they have caused wage-depressing effects, particularly on Canadian workers with low skills.

(3) The small percentage of immigrants with high education are unable to find work for which their high education qualifies them.

(4) Since 1990, Canada has abandoned its traditional labour-absorptive capacity policy under which it recruited immigrants in good times and did not recruit them in poor times. Instead, it has adopted a policy of unremittingly high levels of immigration.

These reasons have been documented by research done across Canada. Like most Canadians, researchers will admit they have sympathies with the right, centre or left of the political spectrum. A recent study by economist Herbert Grubel, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Simon Fraser University, and former MP, whose sympathies are on the right, makes some shocking revelations and needs to be discussed. Among the points Grubel makes, after looking at the incomes of immigrants in the 1990-2002 era, are the following:

(A) Members of the 1990-2002 group were highly dependent on Canada’s social safety net. In fact, in the year 2002 alone, the net cost of them to Canada was $18.3 billion. (It is assumed that this annual figure is significantly higher today. (Note: The immigrant group from 1980 to 1989 has also not done well. If they had been added to the 1990-2002 group, the cost to Canada in 2002 would have been much higher than $18.3 Billion.)

(B) The net cost of the 1990-2002 group to Canada, in relation to the total federal budget, is very significant. The total yearly federal budget in 2002 was around $170 billion, so this group of 2.9 million immigrants who represent around 10% of Canada’s population required a transfer of $18.3 Billion from other Canadians. This represents over 10% of the total federal budget.

(C) Nordic countries with social safety nets similar to Canada’s have found that mass immigration policies are incompatible with the preservation of social safety nets which provide such valuable services as unemployment insurance, social assistance, health care and education. This is because immigrants make extensive use of such nets. Consequently, Nordic countries have taken measures to curb immigration.

If Grubel’s figures are accurate, the implications of such large transfers of money to the post-1990 to 2002 immigrant group are enormous. What is spent on them clearly restricts the amounts that can be spent on Canada’s own long-term citizens. As Canadians have seen over the past week, this particularly applies to First Nations people such as those living in Kashechewan, with an unemployment rate of 75%+, widespread poverty and a perennially substandard water system.

Throwing infinite amounts of money at a problem is not the answer. But as First Nations leaders have pointed out over the past week, there are close to 100 other First Nations communities besides Kashechewan with very basic problems such as impure water. Add to them many hundreds of thousands of other long-term Canadians whose requests are ignored while those of recent immigrants (particularly those in the Greater Toronto area who support, en masse, the governing Liberal Party at the ballot box) are attended to.

There is one very clear implication of proposals now before the federal government to increase immigration levels by 40%. Canadians such as those at Kashechewan and elsewhere will be marginalized even further if disproportionate amounts of the federal treasury continue to be devoted directly and indirectly to high immigration policies.

The significant question that now has to be asked about Canada’s immigration policy is this: Is Canadian immigration policy endangering Canada’s social safety net? Evidence is mounting that the answer to this question is a loud and clear “Yes!”