Toronto Sun Editorial: Immigration concerns about the process, not people

Ongoing conservative theme, one that has a certain resonance given the importance of perceptions of border management to public support of immigration (polling responses depend in part on how the question is formulated as illustrated by this famous Yes, Minister episode 1:38Survey (Yes, Prime Minister S1E2).

And while the “hectoring” of the PM is not helpful, neither is some of over-hyped rhetoric of the Conservatives, as both understand some of the complexities involved and the lack of simple solutions:

Canadians have largely been supportive of immigration for many years. How can they not be? So many Canadians are either immigrants themselves or have parents or grandparents who were born elsewhere.

So it’s concerning that public support for immigration has started to slip.

A new Ipsos Global Public Affairs poll shows that while Canadians back immigration more broadly, they’ve have significant concerns about how immigration is being managed.

The poll reveals 44% of people say that there are now too many immigrants coming to Canada. And a majority of respondents believe Canada is too welcoming to new arrivals.

Where is this coming from? What drives this perspective?

Brian Lilley explained in a Sun column that “a full 57% of Canadians agree with the statement that “immigration has placed too much pressure on public services in Canada.” That includes 77% of Conservative voters but also 51% of Liberal voters and 48% of NDP voters.”

In other words, at a time when people are anxious about issues, such as their economic future and the rising cost of living, they also worry about the economic costs and tax burdens that come with increased immigration.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken to hectoring those who express such concerns, last month divisively rejecting as immigration concerns as “fear-mongering” and anti-immigrant bias.

This is a naked, political smear tactic — aimed in an election year primarily at federal Conservatives — because the Trudeau Liberals have so utterly botched the care and settlement of refugees who are arriving daily at our borders.

But whether it’s the various measures the Liberals have taken to make it easier to get citizenship to Canada or their failure to take financial responsibility for migrants, Canadians increasingly are losing confidence in our immigration system.

We highly doubt frustrations with immigration are about the immigrants themselves. It’s about the way things are being done. It’s not about people but process.

One of the best ways we can enhance the popularity of immigration in Canada is being enhancing the integrity of the immigration system in Canada.

If the system has holes, if it looks like it’s easy to game, if the government acts like borders don’t matter, confidence will erode.

Let’s have a welcoming but well-managed immigration system that will make everyone proud.

Source: EDITORIAL: Immigration concerns about the process, not people

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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