AUSTRALIA AND UK ADMIT UNEMPLOYMENT-IMMIGRATION CONNECTION. CANADA SAYS NOTHING.
In the wake of the market meltdown and the looming global recession, even those governments most ideologically pre-disposed to porous borders and generous immigration quotas now seem willing to slam on the brakes.
Let's look at what Australia and the UK have said in the past week.
In Australia, the centre-left government of Kevin Rudd, which defeated the Howard regime in December of 2007, was set to follow through with the 2008-9 Migration Program. This plan would add 31,000 skilled migrants and increase immigration an even further 19.8% over the previous year. This was to happen despite the fact that 46% of voters polled in late 2007 believed that immigration should be reduced, a figure which Australian researcher Katherine Betts says would be much higher now.
Then came a surprise comment a week ago. Prime Minister Rudd, reacting to climbing seasonally-adjusted jobless figures, announced that migration quotas would be reduced accordingly.
According to Australia correspondent Roger Maynard, “While the yearly intake of migrants is decided in the run-up to the May Budget, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has already made it clear that the figure will be influenced by financial conditions. ”
” 'It's been this way since time immemorial and will be this way into the future as well,' (Prime Minister Rudd) answered in response to a journalist's question about whether it might be time to cut the immigration rate, which is at its highest for many years'.
'We adjust it according to economic circumstances', PM Rudd said.”
Those Canadians who have any knowledge of our immigration history know that up until 1990, Canada's policy was the same as Australia's.
Australian correspondent Roger Maynard adds this significant note : “Australian Council of Trade Unions president Sharan Burrow said there had to be certainty that immigration was not fuelling unemployment. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry agreed that immigration should be cut if the economy slows and unemployment rises.”
The most shocking news of the month, however, came from the U.K. After more than a decade of high immigration, the Immigration Minister in Gordon Browns Labour Government, Phil Woolas, finally called for strict limits on the number of migrants coming to Britain . He did so amid fears of unemployment reaching 2 million by Christmas (a figure that might fuel racial tension). He also expressed his governments determination not to permit the country's population to rise to 70 million people (from its current 61 million). In drawing a connection between immigration on the one hand and unemployment and population growth on the other, Woolas' remarks drew praise from Sir Andrew Green of Migration Watch, as a potential breakthrough for a government minister.
The recent developments in Australia and the United Kingdom obviously prompt the question: Why havent the winds of change that have swept through the cabinet rooms of these countries made their way into Canada's PMO, the House of Commons in Ottawa and the country's provincial and municipal circles? If the centre-left in Australia and the U.K. have done an ideological make-over because of high immigration, why haven't Jack Layton and the NDP? And since the other parties in both Australia and the UK agree with their government's concerns about high immigration, why are Canada's other parties (the Conservatives, Liberals, Greens and Bloc Quebecois) saying nothing?
The standard “worker shortage” argument should be dismissed. Recent major layoffs and unemployment in many areas of Canada should take precedence over immigration industry claims of worker shortages, most of which are highly suspect or blatantly false.