Why Canada should rethink its immigration policy
Despite pro-immigration “diversity is our strength” platitudes/rhetoric coming from the Federal Liberals, the facts are starting to show that this may not be true.
PhD student Sanjay Jeram, who was quoted in a column by Douglas Todd for the Vancouver Sun, said, “Housing, employment, urban congestion, the welfare state and training are all affected by Canadian immigration policy”. With 300,000 people entering the country each year (to put that in perspective, it’s the population of Laval is 420,000) it’s fair to ask how those numbers are bearing out.
Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta are the provinces that carry the biggest burden when it comes to accepting new immigrants. Ontario is leading the way, receiving a staggering 52 per cent of new immigrants—the grand majority of which are going to Toronto, and Quebec amd British Columbia receiving 17 and 16 per cent, respectively.
The Globe and Mail claimed that, out of one million immigrants this government plans to take in, 58 per cent will be economic, 27 per cent family class and 14 per cent will be refugees.
While 58 per cent being economic immigrants might sound nice, the fact is even the most well-educated immigrants coming to Canada have a difficult time acquiring work in the country within the first five years of arrival, according to a Global News article. This puts a tremendous burden on our welfare system.
Furthermore, “millionaire migrants,” as described in David Ley’s book of the same name, showed that many were paying less taxes on average than other immigrants and refugees, and not declaring their global assets. This once again puts tremendous short-term strain on landed immigrants and natives alike.
Wealth inequality has also risen more quickly in Canada than it has in the United States over the last decade, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which means the potential growth in wealth immigrants and native-born Canadians are both being hurt.
As my favourite Roman once said, “Que Bono?”—Who benefits? Well, it’s something the left and right can agree upon: corporations are greatly benefitting from the higher-end of economic immigrants. Soaring profits only matter to corporations, not rising debt, since they’re supranational and have zero regard for Canada.
Housing in the Vancouver and Toronto areas is experiencing a crisis like never before. The rental and housing markets are getting out of control because of the influx of economic immigrants described above. On the higher end of things, high wealth immigrants are making Canada’s traditional middle-class housing prices trend higher. Neighbourhoods that once catered to those making $40,000-$50,000 per year are now trending towards the $60,000-$80,000 range. Foreign investment is not benefiting us, according to the Jeram study cited by Todd.
If you’re in the GTA, the issue has gotten so bad that, in Guelph, which is located at least 90 minutes away from Toronto, the average home price has reached nearly half a million dollars. Who can afford that? And, according to an article by Global News, there is a direct causal link to immigration, as the government does nothing to encourage immigrants to settle outside of metropolitan areas, in other parts of our vast country.
What about the age gap? According to Statistics Canada, “the median age for the total immigrant population was 47.4 and for the Canadian-born population, 37.3.” Meaning the median age for immigrants is actually 10 years older than it is for native Canadians.
While the median age for newcomers in 2011 was down to about 32, the majority of those under 32 were actually under 14 (19.2%). Couple that with the 4.4% of those aged over 55—and take into account percentage of those who likely fall on the end of the employment prime (20-54 years)—and there’s a substantial amount of new people entering a strained social system.
While the government believes the new immigrants will eventually make up for the age gap, the reality is it would take the government seven years of just allowing in people aged 20-30 to actually correct the matter. It’s not going to work.
Furthermore, even with the younger immigrants, like Statistics Canada has stated, most are under 14, which means many immigrants are coming with plenty of dependents, according to Todd’s article. Dependents which will have to use the welfare system in order to survive in a country which doesn’t have a great economy and has a stated unemployment rate of around seven per cent.
To put things into perspective, in the 1970s, an unemployment rate of over five per cent is cause of great concern. Not only that, but, according to a 2012 study, the total cost of immigration annually is $30 billion, according to an article in the Ottawa Citizen. That doesn’t sound like an economic benefit to me.
I believe we need more young, economically unfortunate immigrants, because, while the annual debt burden might remain, there’s potential in youth. Although it has been taken to the extreme, the notion of “Agoge” (a tough upbringing creates a tough people) does hold some truth in regards to the hunger for wealth.
We should give chances to people like current Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen, who arrived as a 17 year old refugee with very little to his name. These are the people Canada should invest in, along with native Canadians, and not those who are flooding our housing markets with unsustainable foreign investments.
While MPs on Parliament Hill make earnings of over $150,000 per year and sit upon their ivory thrones, it’s fair for Canadians to ask themselves this: Is our economy so poor that we need a bubble to sustain mediocre GDP growth and unemployment numbers? And, if economic immigration continues at this rate, and home prices keep going where they’re going, do young Canadians have a future that’s not a modern form of indentured servitude in their own country?