April 15, 2011: The Leaders’ Immigration Debate: How Things Went Downhill Fast

The Leaders’ Debate lasted 2 hours. The political leaders answered questions on 6 topics. About 20 minutes were allotted to each topic. One topic was immigration.

Below, we present the 3 questions on the immigration topic and part of the immigration answers given by the leaders. We also add our comments and questions.



JADE CALVER : “Hi. My name is Jade Calver. I’m a student here in Montreal at McGill  University. As a leader, how do you envision the social makeup of our country over the next 30 years? Where do you stand on reasonable accommodation? Do you think that new immigrants to our country should adopt the social practices of Canadians who are already living here or not?”

(Comment : The panel, which supposedly represents Canada’s media and which chose the  questions, were definitely given better questions to select from. However, the panel picked these three. The choice indicates a continuing media inability to see what the real immigration issues are. Their choice is like the comment of a Toronto CBC announcer who
complained ridiculously after the debate,  that the 4 political leaders were all “white”. Would this CBC character go to China and complain that the political leaders there were all “yellow”? After hearing comments like this, many Canadians wonder whether our media really live in Canada.)


GILLES DUCEPPE : “We (had) quite a debate in Quebec on (the multiculturalism) issue and (we also had) a commission named Taylor-Bouchard. And the conclusion of that commission is that the multiculturalism system in Canada doesn’t fit with Quebec because we think that we have to integrate…immigrants, respecting them because they’re
modifying our society and it (changing our society) is a plus. “

(Comment : If, as Duceppe says, multiculturalism is bad for Quebec, why is it good for Canada? None of the other 3 leaders dealt with this point. None of the 4 leaders answered the first question, which asked what Canada’s racial make-up would be like over the next 30 years. It was the best of the three questions. It makes the point that many Canadians feel they are being overwhelmed by completely unnecessary high immigration levels and that they feel like strangers in their own country. BQ Leader Gilles Duceppe did try to answer the next two, but he contradicted himself by saying that Quebec rejects multiculturalism (because he thinks Quebec should not change in a major way) and then saying that being  changed by immigrants was a good thing for Quebec. )


MICHAEL IGNATIEFF : “The key to taking newcomers and making them good citizens, sharing our values, is giving them the mastery of the language. In Quebec it’s going to be the French language. In other parts of the country, it’s going be the other official language. My dad came here with his mom and his brothers. (But now) you’ve got Canadian citizens saying, “I can’t get my mom and dad over here.” And that’s what you (Harper government)  have been doing. You’ve been reducing family reunification, and that’s creating basically deep unfairness and deep resentment on all the new Canadians that I meet. “

(COMMENT :  Ignatieff gets off the topic. What does family re-unification have to do with the question about Canada’s racial make-up over the next 30 years?  What do elderly parents have to do with multiculturalism and reasonable accommodation?  By talking about his mother and father, Ignatieff introduces sentimentality, not reality, into the discussion.  Sentimentality is commonly introduced in any discussion of the immigration
issue. People who do this like to portray themselves as morally superior. The point is that they have made a choice. They have decided that it is better to champion the cause of non-Canadians than that of Canadians. If they do this, as all four did, and as Elizabeth May would also do, they should be held to account at election time.)


STEPHEN HARPER : “We’re the first government to maintain a vigorous and strong and open-door immigration policy during a recession, because we’re focused on the long-term interests of Canada and the Canadian economy. ”
(COMMENT : Is Harper really saying that he is proud to be part of the first government that has kept large numbers of immigrants entering Canada while hundreds of thousands of Canadians were losing their jobs? Who could be proud of doing this and forcing hundreds of thousands of Canadian-born to compete for jobs with immigrants? This sounds like something to be ashamed of.  The other leaders should be equally ashamed for not objecting to what Harper was doing. Being useless is not something to take pride

“When we took government, it’s well known that there were backlogs of hundreds of thousands of files in every single category of immigration. We’ve been working to bring those down. We’re admitting record numbers of people. That’s what we’re going to continue to do. But we’re going to keep making sure we admit as many as we can because our economy needs it, our society needs it, and we’re all better off for it. And that applies just as strongly to family class as (to) any other class. “

(COMMENT : Where is the proof that our economy needs all these immigrants and that Canada is better off for having so many of them? There is none. In fact, the evidence is that the opposite is true. )


JACK LAYTON: “I believe that we are going to have… a continued wave of immigration here in Canada. We don’t reproduce our own population sufficiently rapidly for us to grow our economy and so we’re going to be attracting people. And besides, who wouldn’t want to come and live in this beautiful country of ours?”

(Comment : Layton deals with the question only partially. One of the reasons Canada has a birth rate below replacement is that it is very expensive to raise children in Canada.  Our federal government could have helped to reduce the cost of raising children, but it has been so studiously throwing billions away at unnecessary immigrants, that there is not much left for child-care for its own citizens.)

“I say family reunification is the key thing. Well, I have to come back to the issue that’s on the minds of most of the families that we’re talking about here, which is how they can bring their family members to join them here. And how can we regard it as somehow acceptable that a family has to wait for ten years for their mother or father to come and join them? I
mean, that is just so wrong.”

(Comment : The real question is this : If it’s wrong to make grandparents wait, is it right that our own elderly have to compete with immigrants’ grandparents and parents for medical and other services? Layton does not answer the questions and introduces sentimentality by talking about how immigrants have been negatively affected. Mass immigration has had a massive negative effect on Canadians. It seems not to occur to Layton and all the other leaders that Canadians are to be considered first.)

“I think of Olivia’s mother who lives with us, has lived with us for 20 years. Thank goodness she wasn’t applying to come here now because she might never have got to see my granddaughter.”

(Comment : Jack Layton seems to forget that his grand-daughter has no blood connection to his current wife, Olivia Chow or to Olivia’s mother. He has had no children with Olivia. Like Ignatieff, Layton avoids the reality of immigration, gets side-tracked on irrelevant sentimentality, and does not deal with the questions.)