Now is the time to slow down immigration
October 28, 2008 05:22
It now seems evident we are going to experience a serious economic recession, but so far there has been no suggestion that it is time to cut back on the extraordinarily high immigration intake of the last 10 years.
In the past, when Canada faced an economic downturn the immigration intake was also reduced. This was a sensible policy and beneficial to Canada and to immigrants. There is little sense in bringing immigrants here when they are unable to find jobs and either end up on our welfare rolls or displace other resident workers. Unfortunately, the policy of regulating immigrant numbers to labour force realities was abandoned in favour of a constant intake of about one-quarter of a million immigrants each year regardless of labour force conditions.
Consequently, we now have close to 1 million immigrants waiting in the backlog to enter Canada. All of them have met the requirements and, by law, must be admitted. There are a further 60,000 to 70,000 asylum seekers already here waiting to appear before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) and whether they are found to be genuine refugees or not, most will be allowed to remain. Added to this number are between 150,000 to 200,000 temporary workers in Canada and many of these will not return home when their contracts expire.
Our political leaders did not want to discuss immigration during the election campaign. All the parties are on record of wanting to raise immigration levels. They do this despite growing evidence that immigration is not making any significant contribution to our economic prosperity and does not in any way help us with our so-called aging problem.
A study published this summer by Prof. Herbert Gruber of Simon Fraser University showed that in the year 2002 alone, the costs in services and benefits received by 2.5 million immigrants who arrived between 1990 and 2002 exceeded the taxes they paid by $18.3 billion. This amount is roughly the cost of our Afghanistan campaign.
It is time our political parties stopped using immigrants as pawns in their political games and begin to act in the interests of all Canadians.
A first step would be to cut the immigration flow in half and admit only the first in line of those waiting in the backlog and restrict new applicants to the children and spouses of people already here. This is an opportunity for our political parties to work together when Parliament is recalled.
Lets see how they respond.