Feb 9-14, 2003: Employment

Feb. 18, 2003

Ms. L. Haeber
Executive Producer
Information Programming
CBC Radio
Vancouver, B.C.

Dear Ms. Haeber:

Here are some comments on two immigration-related stories that CBC aired during the Feb. 9-14 time period.

(1) On the weekend of Feb. 8-9, several hundred demonstrators protested at the riding office of the Prime Minister. The issue was the great difficulty that workers (particularly males in the 45+ age group) were having in finding employment.

Although many Canadians might find it difficult to see the connection between this demonstration and the immigration issue, the connection is clear. The landmark study, Charting Canada’s Future, pointed out in 1990 that finding employment for Canadian males in the 45+ age group and having more Canadian women enter the workforce was a significantly better solution to a future dependency problem in Canada than immigration.

In fact, it stated that immigration is a poor tool to deal with future
increases in dependency. In addition, it stated that even reducing the age of immigrants to 15, and dramatically increasing the numbers of immigrants far above present unprecedented levels, would not stop the aging tendency in Canada’s population. This landmark study suggested following the example of Sweden which at that time had an aging issue which Canada would face in the next 20 years.

Subsequently, Sweden has brought more women into the workforce through a series of incentives and has employed more men in the 45+ age group. It has not tried to use immigration to deal with increases
in dependency.

(2) A national CBC radio story in mid-week quoted Stats Canada as saying that Canada would have future worker shortages. The spin that the CBC placed on this story was that the only way to solve this problem was to continue present immigration policies.

Once again, CBC radio reporters made no connections between the two
stories: the 45+ year-old men protesting in the prime ministers’ riding and the future worker shortages.

The fact that the demonstration occurred in the riding of the prime minister is full of irony and symbolism. The Prime Minister has often merely repeated the propaganda that his immigration minister has spread throughout the country, yet the demonstrators were telling him that there was something seriously wrong with present policies. They may not have made the connection between their own unemployment and unprecedented immigration, but the research that the federal government did in 1990 and repeated later has shown that there is a clear connection.

The symbolism is that the unemployed workers who demonstrated on that weekend are typical of tens of thousands of other 45+ workers in Canada. These Canadian citizens are being cast aside. Shouldn’t a Canadian government be trying to lend assistance to its own citizens?

Shouldn’t some reporters at the CBC be able to see some of the most elementary connections between these two stories? Shouldn’t some CBC reporters be able to help the tens of thousands of 45+ Canadian workers all across the country air their plight rather than merely spin the facts so the reporters can help spread more propaganda for Canada’s immigration industry?