Immigration Not A Charity

Immigration not a charity

The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Sunday, August 10, 2008

Re: We are a land of immigrants, Aug. 6

With, no doubt, the best of intentions, Carl Nicholson and Tyler Meredith treated Citizen readers to a plethora of hoary old clichs, most out of context, to suggest Canada is in desperate need of immigrants. Indeed, we “can't afford to turn any” away.

The statement that “we are all immigrants” has little bearing on today's Canada. Immigrants came here over time because we needed them. If we no longer need them, we are certainly under no obligation whatever to continue accepting them.

Do we need them? Of course, but not in the numbers we are currently taking in. The demographics of an aging population are exaggerated, and immigration is of little use there, as the average age of immigrants is little different than that of Canadians.

Current statistics show that immigrants, over the past decade, are earning much less and are much more likely to be living in poverty than their predecessors, a strong indication of major problems.

Mr. Nicholson and Mr. Meredith, of course, allude to racism as the cause, but no matter what an immigrant's qualifications on paper, a general lack of language skills is a huge barrier to success in Canada, which the pro-immigrant crowd has consistently refused to face. Numerous studies have shown this to be the case, and the government has hinted at a change in policy to ensure language skills are attained before coming to Canada. Unfortunately, such moves have been vociferously opposed as “racist” by the usual suspects, and the government has on occasion backed off.

We have taxi drivers and janitors with master's degrees unable to work because of poor language skills. And despite their undoubted desire to work, immigrants are heavily represented in every public housing project and on the welfare rolls. And, as the Citizen reported, some are found in the ranks of street gangs.

Most decent jobs in Canada today require excellent communications skills, and immigrants without them have few opportunities outside their ethnic communities. We need to determine just how many immigrants are actually needed for specific work, what skills, including communications skills they must possess for success and then revamp our immigration system with those numbers and skills .

Immigration is not a world charity to help the poor and downtrodden to a life of ease in the West. It is an economic tool which should exist only to serve Canada's demonstrated needs. We need to take our advice for the future of immigration from businessmen, not charity workers.

John Angus,