November 30, 2005: Testimony From The House of Commons Standing Committee on Immigration Raises Very Serious Concerns About The Priority This Group Gives To Out-Of-Canada Interests
As a frustrated Canada heads into another federal election, its citizens will review the record of its parliamentarians over the past one and a half years. Canadians should particularly note the immigration-related record of MP's over the past couple of months, says Immigration Watch Canada.
On the issue of increasing Canada's immigration levels from around 245,000 to 320,000 per year, and on the priority it has given to out-of-Canada interests, Canada's House Of Commons Standing Committee on Immigration has some major questions to answer.
In late September and early October of this year, Prime Minister Martin was quoted widely in Canada's media as saying that Canada would be substantially increasing its immigration levels in 2006. The same media also quoted Immigration Minister Volpe as stating that the increase would happen. In fact, Volpe repeatedly cited examples from all across the country where, he claimed, there were widespread shortages of workers. The one word he said he kept hearing was “More”.
However, according to testimony, as late as November 1, of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Immigration, committee member Bill Siksay asked Volpe if he had made an announcement about the 40% increase. Volpe denied having done so. On another date, another MP asked a senior Citizenship and Immigration official if the Immigration Department had recommended an increase. The official avoided answering the question –the official's behaviour suggesting that the department was not in favour of any major increase and trying to disconnect itself from any responsibility for such a move.
The question that Canadians have to ask is this: If all the Canadian media were writing about the increase and both Martin and Volpe had told the media it was going to occur, why did Volpe not announce this to the committee? With the exception of David Anderson, a committee member who was quoted in the media as questioning the advisability of such an increase, most committee members appeared not to know what most Canadians had read or heard.
Furthermore, any reading of the minutes shows very clearly that this 12-member committee consists of MP's who, with very few exceptions, accept what Volpe says. For example, when he announces that Canada needs large numbers of skilled workers, it is very striking that no one asks for evidence. In fact, what stands out is the almost complete absence of critical questions about current high levels (which Volpe now refers to as a “base” –and therefore immutable–figure) and the overall direction of the Immigration Department. A few ask a good question, but both the questions and other comments indicate that most members assume that there is nothing wrong with current immigration intake. They also show that the committee believes Canada should go even faster than it is currently moving with its immigration policy and that its annual intake should rise in perpetuity. Members imply that the major purpose of their job is not to serve the interests of Canada, but to cater to the demands of refugee claimants, visa applicants, and family class petitioners.
No committee member seems to have asked whether there are limits to the number of immigrants a host population in any area of the country should be required to accept. Many committee members express widespread concern for the welfare of refugees or immigrants, but absolutely no concern about, for example, the cultural overwhelming of the host populations of Canada's three major immigrant-accepting areas by a tsunami of newcomers.
Some members do express economic concerns. One or two members ask about high unemployment amongst aboriginal youth and the need to satisfy the employment aspirations of these youths before those of non-Canadians. The Minister himself refers to unions which have pointed to the employment competition large numbers of immigrants have created and the wage-depression effect this has caused in a number of sectors of the economy. There is even an expression of worry about the need to ensure that Canadians' job searches should be catered to first. However, there is never any overall demand for a presentation of the big picture: the number of Canadian unemployed vs. the number of real jobs that are waiting to be filled. Over and over, almost all committee members assume that Volpe is right in his assessment that Canada's labour market has gaping holes that can be filled only by massive immigration. None of these committee members seems to have heard the media's widespread questioning of Volpe's so-called “evidence”.
Finally, none of the committee members expresses any anxiety about the environmental consequences of throwing very large numbers of people into southern Ontario, the Lower Mainland of B.C. or the Greater Montreal area. The Ontario Environment Commissioner's Report, issued in early November, which directly questioned continued rapid population growth in the Southern Ontario area, and indirectly questioned the federal immigration policies that would cause that growth, may have pumped some oxygen into the brains of some committee members. But, before that (and probably even later), there was not much sign of brain activity amongst the committee members regarding the environmental results of their actions.
In fact, the overwhelming impression to be gleaned from testimony of this committee's recent meetings is that the committee believes that Canada's entire immigration policy exists to satisfy immigrants and the web of immigration lawyers and immigration advocates that feeds off them. The majority of the Canadian public is some extraneous mass that is to be studiously ignored.
Furthermore, the members of this committee seem so ideologically attached to unremitting and ever higher immigration levels that they live in a bubble completely detached from reality. They seem to have completely forgotten that they are in parliament to serve the broader good of Canadians. Like the continentalist forces in and out of parliament, the committee gives priority to external interests. The interests of the majority of Canadians have no legitimacy.
During the coming election campaign and particularly on election day, these people (and other current MP's who share the same blank state), will have to be jolted back to reality. If this does not occur, Canada will sink deeper and deeper into the immigration quagmire that it has created for itself over the past 15 years.
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