Books by Arthur

Social Networks
Article Index [A-Z]

Canada's Immigration Program: A Lesson in Humanitarianism

We live a stone’s throw from the border with Canada. Rhiannon is a Canadian citizen and all our children were born there. Our grandson recently got his Canadian citizenship papers and is a 2nd year student at UBC in Vancouver. Point Roberts, where we live (Google it for some fun), is sometimes jokingly described as “nearly paradise, nearly Canada.” I’ve been paying attention to how Canadians, in particular the new Liberal government, are handling the refugee crisis.

The first thing to realize is that Canada’s general demographics have similarities with America’s; it’s a country of immigrants. The proportion of those with African ancestry is less (no slavery in their history) as are the number of Latinos (no border). They have a higher percentage of Native Peoples (not as efficient in genocide as we were) and relatively larger South Asian and East Asian populations. But the balance between those of European extraction and everyone else is about the same.

The second thing to note is that the population is about one-tenth that of the US and the vast majority of them live within a hundred miles of the border.

So how they handling matters? The Trudeau government has pledged to admit 25,000 refugees. If we matched that proportionally it would mean taking in a quarter of a million. Obama’s effort to admit 60,000 looks pretty pathetic — but it doesn’t matter since he’ll never even that tiny number.

This isn’t an “open door” program. The Trudeau government is approaching the issue with care and caution. Individual Premiers have been working with towns and cities in their provinces, with charitable, community- and church-based organizations, with schools and health-care providers to set up processing centres and find homes for the new arrivals. Plans are being developed that allow refugees to be distributed so that there are critical masses in locales so that the new arrivals don’t feel isolated and fearful but not so large that they might form enclaves in which to hide from the larger culture. Large cities will take many; smaller communities fewer.

English (and French where appropriate) as a second language classes are being set up and other programs are being put in place to smooth the shift into Canadian culture.

They are being very careful with who comes in. Intact families with no history of violence or anti-social behaviour are favoured along with single women with children. Young single men are at the bottom of the hierarchy and very few will be admitted. The first wave of roughly 10,000 will come in over the next month or two and the remaining 15.000 during the first several months of 2016.

Everyone will come from the camps in the Middle East that have been housing refugees and where they have had the opportunity to vet them before considering them for immigration.

The whole country is going to profit from this exercise in decency and humanitarianism. Canadians are, rightfully, feeling very good about themselves. They are also bringing in people who will be deeply and eternally grateful for the opportunity offered — as has every other immigrant population that has arrived there (and, for that matter here in the US). They will contribute significantly to the growth in the economy in the next decade and beyond.

And there are other hidden benefits. Canada, like every industrialized nation, has a low birth rate. As populations age imbalances in sectors of the economy emerge. The elderly are expensive. The require more medical care, more financial support, social security and government pensions. When the number of young declines it puts a serious financial strain on the nation’s economy. The solution that works best is immigration. Bring in new people. Bring in young, healthy workers and grow the economy from below.

Then there’s culture. The new immigrants are coming from a culture quite different from the many varieties in Canada. They’ll bring new foods, new music, dress, literature and art forms. It will add to the country’s already diverse culture and enrich it further.

Are there downsides? Possibly. There will likely be a few cultural clashes in places. There will probably be a few instances of anti-immigrant sentiment from Canadians who feel threatened by newness. But the long term impact seems to be one that all Canadians will applaud.

Imagine what we could gain here in the US if we weren’t so frightened, so xenophobic, so terrified of anything that smacks even remotely of another culture. Sad.

Reader Comments (3)

Amen brother. Many of these refugees are talented in their fields as well. So they will contribute expertise and hard work to Canada. I am ashamed at the things people are saying here, and often horrified (TRUMP). Oh Canada. Love you!

November 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Basil

Well, getting Canadian Immigration is not a big deal anymore if you have certain set of skills. Canadian immigration is a perfect way to get immigration. They are offering it for free because they need a lot of men to boost their economy. If you want to get it, these are the guys to select:

January 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterZeeshan Ahmed

Know more on immigration

February 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterReema

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>