Advocates urge Ottawa to remove quota on Afghan refugee sponsorship program

Of note – quoted:

A group of advocates is urging the federal government to remove the limit on applications to sponsor certain Afghan refugees in Canada – or at least stop counting rejected applications towards it.

The government introduced a new program last month to allow Canadian individuals and organizations to privately sponsor up to 3,000 Afghan refugees who don’t have refugee status from the United Nations refugee agency or a foreign state.

It said it will accept sponsorship applications under the new program until Oct. 17, 2023, or once it has received applications for 3,000 refugees – whichever comes first.

In a letter sent to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser last week, a volunteer with Northern Lights Canada, a non-profit that’s been helping Afghan refugees in Toronto, said the new program’s cap is “highly prejudicial,” compared to the accommodations made for Ukrainians who want to come to Canada.

“Minister Fraser, I urge you to reconsider the design of the Afghan special program,” Heather Finley wrote in her letter dated Oct. 22.

“By raising the applicant quota and removing rejected applications from it, you will allow a more fair and equitable opportunity for Afghans in Canada to sponsor their families to join them here.”

Stephen Watt, co-founder of Northern Lights Canada, said the new program doesn’t come close to meeting the needs of Afghan refugees and their families and friends in Canada.

“Just having 3,000 spots in a crisis where millions of people are very recently displaced. It is insulting,” he said in an interview.

Almost 109,000 Ukrainians arrived to Canada between Jan. 1 and Oct. 23 under special programs the government introduced to help unlimited numbers of Ukrainians and their family members flee the war in Ukraine to safety.

Meanwhile, Ottawa has committed to resettling a total of 40,000 Afghan refugees after the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August of last year, with fewer than 23,000 having arrived in Canada so far.

Immigration Department spokeswoman Isabelle Dubois said the program that has allowed Ukrainians to come to Canada is using the department’s existing temporary resident visa processes, networks and infrastructure to bring as many of them as quickly as possible.

“This is not a refugee program, as compared to our Afghanistan refugee resettlement program, since Ukrainians have indicated that they need temporary safe harbour,” she said.

“Many of them intend to return to their home country when it will be safe to do so.”

Dubois said the government provided 3,000 additional spaces for organizations wanting to sponsor Afghan refugees in addition to the 3,000 spaces under the new special program.

“We are also processing existing and new private sponsorship applications for up to 7,000 Afghan refugees,” she said.

Watt said the new program’s application system crashed shortly after the government opened it at midnight on Oct. 17 due to many people rushing to submit applications.

He said many will likely end up rejected on a technicality because the government said it will process only the first 3,000 applicants and thus sponsors had to raise funds and write their sponsorship applications quickly.

“It’s so disappointing,” he said.

“This announcement that whether (the applications) are good or bad, we’re still going to count them towards the total. So, what that did was create this condition where people were frantically rushing to put together applications.”

Dubois confirmed the government will count all completed applications towards the new program’s 3,000 limit and said the department is currently reviewing the received applications to determine whether it reached that cap.

“We understand some clients experienced issues when submitting an application. No applications were lost as files were automatically backed up,” Dubois said.

“Applications are reviewed on a first-in, first-out basis to determine their completeness. We will continue to send out acknowledgments of receipt for applications that are determined to be complete and accepted into processing.”

Watt said the government should remove the cap on how many Afghan refugees can be privately sponsored for one year to allow people to work on the sponsorship applications – which he said can take months to put together because the requirements are so stringent and excessive.

“If you had a family of seven that may be $70,000 you have to get together. You have to get all the sponsorship documents lined up. You have to write the application,” he said.

“Filling out PDFs perfectly in perfect English when you’reanew Canadian, and having to having to rise to the challenge of these applications which are very demanding even for people who are completely fluent in English and have great use of computer skills.”

Andrew Griffith, a former director at the federal Immigration Department, said he is not aware of any government immigration or refugee program that counted rejected application towards the target other than the new special program for Afghan refugees.

He said many have been criticizing the government for apparently prioritizing Ukrainian refugees over Afghan refugees.

“The situations for both sets of refugees are dire in many cases,” he said. “I’m not (trying to) apply any value statements on that, but it does highlight another discrepancy between the two groups of refugees in my view.”

Griffith said it’s true that the Ukrainians are formally coming to Canada on temporary visas, but many of them may end up staying here.

“Realistically, how many of the people accepted from Ukraine will go back?” he said. “I think most of them would probably like to go. I don’t deny that. But it depends on the situation.”

Source: Advocates urge Ottawa to remove quota on Afghan refugee sponsorship program

Once wary of immigrants, Canadian town sends out global labor SOS

After all the fuss over the code and the debates over reasonable accommodation, reality intrudes:

Herouxville, a small town in Canada’s Quebec, hit the headlines 15 years ago when it issued a code of conduct for would-be immigrants, warning them not to stone women or burn them alive, and to only cover their faces at Halloween.

Fast forward to 2022, and it’s actively courting new arrivals.

The town council’s once deep-seated fear over accommodating immigrants at the expense of its French-speaking identify has given way to a more pressing concern: a need for more families to help fill jobs, attend its schools and sustain its population.

Herouxville now wants to be known for its inclusion. It’s considering measures like subsidised housing to lure more immigrants.

“A new family, no matter where they are from, if we can welcome them here we are pleased to do it,” said Bernard Thompson, mayor of the town of 1,300 people in central Quebec. “The needs are huge in the rural areas.” 

Herouxville’s outreach is a response to a wider quandary facing Quebec, Canada and many other countries, to varying degrees, as governments from London and Washington to Canberra and Tokyo balance public and political pressure to curb immigration against crippling labour shortages.

Ageing populations, a surge in workers retiring and Covid travel and business chaos are among factors contributing to the sta! crunch hitting both low-paid and skilled occupations, from hospitality and manufacturing to transport and agriculture.

Canada has the worst labour shortages in the Western world, according to the latest OECD data from late 2021. Its plight has been exacerbated by a record wave of retirements this year. The problem is particularly dire in rural Quebec, o”en overlooked by a limited pool of newcomers who prefer to stay in Montreal.

The latest Canadian census data puts new numbers to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s drive to ramp up immigration to plug the sta! and skills gaps, which economists say are pushing up wages and threaten to drag down productivity.

Immigrants now account for 23 per cent of Canada’s population, up from 21.9 per cent in 2016, with newcomers accounting for 80 per cent of the country’s labour force growth over the last five years, the census released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday showed.

The census also paints a portrait of urban landings, with more than 90 per cent of recent immigrants living in a city, leaving smaller towns and rural areas grappling to attract newcomers to replace aging factory workers, grocery clerks and doctors.


Quebec, a mostly French- speaking province with broad control over its own immigration policy, is resisting change more than elsewhere in Canada. Just 14.6 per cent of its 8.3 million people were born overseas, far below the national average, the new data showed.

The Coalition Avenir Quebec government was re-elected this month pledging to cap permanent arrivals at 50,000 a year to safeguard the region’s language and culture. Immigration has been kept flat at around that level for years, even as Canada’s has risen 49 per cent since Trudeau’s Liberals took o!ice in late 2015.

Reflecting torn local sentiment, Quebec Premier Francois Legault has described immigrants as a source of wealth, though has also said

that allowing more people in without ensuring they speak French would be “suicidal”.

But Legault extended an olive branch to immigrants last week, setting a cabinet that included a trilingual immigration minister and a Black anti-racism minister.


Quebec had 246,300 job vacancies as of July 2022 and just 185,100 unemployed people. The labour gap is particularly dire in manufacturing, where the region’s industry association estimating sta! shortages had cost them C$18 billion ($13 billion) in two years.

“Our labour force participation is under more pressure than elsewhere, because we are just not seeing the foreign workers to replace those that are retiring,” said Jimmy Jean, chief economist at financial services firm Desjardins Group in Montreal.

Jean said he expected the Quebec government to come under pressure from businesses to raise the immigration cap, adding that the province risked being le” behind economically by neighbouring Ontario and other large provinces Alberta and British Columbia.

It’s Quebec’s rural towns that are feeling the most acute pain as they have far less migrant pulling power than diverse Montreal, the province’s biggest city, which itself faces deep labour shortages.

That’s why local authorities are taking it upon themselves to roll out the red carpet to newcomers in places like Herouxville, which has long abandoned its code of conduct for immigrants.

Mayor Thompson said the code – unanimously approved by the town council in 2007 – was consigned to the town archives in 2010 by the council that he has run since 2009.

“It was never a legal document … and it is now a historical document,” he added. “It’s been a long time since the citizens and my town put this episode aside.”

Source: Once wary of immigrants, Canadian town sends out global labor SOS

Yakabuski: Le Canada, champion mondial d’immigration

Good observations on the contrast between Quebec and the rest of Canada:

Le ministre fédéral de l’Immigration, des Réfugiés et de la Citoyenneté, Sean Fraser, s’apprête à dévoiler de nouvelles cibles en matière d’immigration pour 2023, 2024 et 2025. Et tout indique que l’annonce que M. Fraser fera mardi prochain prévoira une nouvelle hausse du nombre de résidents permanents par rapport aux dernières cibles, celles-là annoncées il y a un an à peine. Alors que le Québec promet de plafonner ses seuils d’immigration autour de 50 000 nouveaux résidents permanents par année, le reste du Canada, lui, s’apprêterait à bientôt accueillir plus de huit fois ce nombre. Nul besoin d’être économiste ou démographe pour anticiper les conséquences à court et à long termes de ces positions discordantes.

Déjà, le Québec voit sa part d’immigrants fondre comme peau de chagrin d’année en année. Destination de 19,2 % des immigrants arrivés au Canada entre 2006 et 2011, le Québec n’accueillait plus que 15,3 % des immigrants entrés au pays entre 2016 et 2021. Les données provenant du dernier recensement publiées cette semaine par Statistique Canada témoignent de l’énorme transformation démographique que connaît le Canada anglais, et ce, même en dehors de ses plus grandes métropoles.

À Hamilton et à Winnipeg, deux villes ayant une population semblable à celle de Québec, la proportion d’immigrants s’élève maintenant à plus de 25 % ; dans la Vieille Capitale, à peine 6,7 % des résidents sont nés en dehors du Canada. Dans la ville de Saguenay, une proportion famélique de la population est issue de l’immigration, soit 1,3 %, alors qu’à Red Deer et à Lethbridge, des villes albertaines de tailles semblables, les proportions sont de 16,9 % et de 14,4 %, respectivement.

Les chiffres frappent encore davantage l’imagination lorsque l’on tient compte des enfants des immigrants. Dans la grande région de Toronto, par exemple, presque 80 % des résidents sont immigrants de première ou de deuxième générations, selon une analyse des données du recensement effectuée par le démographe Doug Norris, de la firme torontoise Environics. À Montréal, environ 46 % des résidents sont immigrants ou enfants d’immigrants. Bien qu’il s’agisse d’une proportion passablement élevée, c’est moins qu’à Vancouver (73 %), qu’à Calgary (55 %) ou qu’à Edmonton (50 %).

Selon les résultats d’un sondage publié cette semaine par Environics, et effectué pour le compte de L’Initiative du siècle, les Canadiens sont plus favorables que jamais à l’immigration. Ceci n’est pas surprenant ; plus de 40 % des Canadiens sont immigrants ou enfants d’immigrants. On peut s’attendre à ce que ces gens aient un parti pris en faveur de l’immigration.

Mais le consensus canadien en matière d’immigration s’étend bien au-delà des communautés culturelles du pays. « Alors même que le pays accueille plus de 400 000 nouveaux arrivants par année, sept Canadiens sur dix soutiennent les seuils actuels d’immigration — la plus forte majorité en 45 ans de sondages Environics, a fait remarquer Lisa Lalande, présidente de L’Initiative du siècle, un organisme qui prône une politique d’immigration ayant pour but d’augmenter la population canadienne à 100 millions de personnes en l’an 2100. Malgré la rhétorique chargée sur l’immigration durant la campagne électorale provinciale, les Québécois appuient tout autant l’accueil des immigrants et des réfugiés que les Canadiens ailleurs au pays. »

Or, le sondage d’Environics fut mené en septembre, alors que la Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) promettait de maintenir les seuils d’immigration à 50 000 dans la province. Donc, l’expression « les seuils actuels d’immigration » n’a pas le même sens ici qu’ailleurs au Canada. Au Québec, ces seuils sont plutôt modestes ; dans le reste du Canada, ils sont très élevés.

Les 50 000 résidents permanents que le Québec s’engage à accueillir chaque année équivalent à environ 0,6 % de la population, et cette proportion est appelée à diminuer au fur et à mesure que la population augmentera. Les seuils d’immigration ailleurs au Canada s’élèvent à environ 1,2 % de la population par année, alors que cette population augmente à un rythme beaucoup plus rapide qu’au Québec. Au lieu de 400 000 nouveaux arrivants par an, c’est près de 500 000 immigrants que le reste du Canada pourrait bientôt en accueillir. Et des voix s’élèvent pour qu’Ottawa fasse preuve d’encore plus d’ambition en matière d’immigration.

« Bien que les chiffres absolus semblent élevés, ils doivent en fait être plus élevés encore en raison des défis démographiques du Canada, ont insisté pour dire l’ex-ministre libéral de l’Innovation, Navdeep Bains, et son ancien chef de cabinet, Elder Marques, dans un article publié la semaine dernière dans le National Post. Au début du XXe siècle, un Canada beaucoup plus petit accueillait autant d’immigrants que le Canada le fait aujourd’hui… Un Canada plus grand, plus riche et plus outillé nous attend si nous sommes prêts à faire le saut. »

Source: Le Canada, champion mondial d’immigration

Japan has taken in hundreds of Ukrainians. The welcome for others has been less warm

Of note:

A dozen Ukrainian students sit in a classroom, studying basic Japanese to help them navigate life in a new country. Among them is Sergei Litvinov, a 29-year-old trained chef, who arrived in June. He says he’s been listening to Japanese rock music since his teen years.

Coming to Japan is “a dream come true,” he says with a laugh. “But I’m not happy, because it’s a terrible story in Ukraine.”

Litvinov is one of nearly 2,000 Ukrainians admitted to Japan on a temporary basis since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, according to Japan’s justice ministry.

The Ukrainians have been met with an outpouring of sympathy and hospitality in the country. “It was the first time I’ve gotten so many phone calls and emails from society, wanting to assist the refugees from Ukraine,” says Kazuko Fushimi, who handles public relations at the Tokyo-based Japan Association for Refugees.

But the warm welcome Japan has given the Ukrainians contrasts with how it has treated other foreigners fleeing conflict and persecution over the years, say human rights groups. Of 169 Afghans who fled to Japan after the Taliban took over in August 2021, 58 went back to Afghanistan “due to what they say was pressure and a lack of support from the Japanese Foreign Ministry,” Japan’s Kyodo news service reported last month.

For now, the Japanese government has given the Ukrainians residency and work permits lasting up to a year. But for those from other countries, it’s often a years-long struggle to attain similar benefits and privileges.

The central government has provided visas and work permits. Local governments have provided food, housing and living allowances.

Litvinov is one of a group of 70 Ukrainians sent to the port city of Yokohama – 17 miles from the Japanese capital Tokyo — where local authorities are providing for temporary accommodation, food and living expenses.

Significantly, Japan is not calling the Ukrainians refugees, but “evacuees.” That is because Tokyo expects them all to go home eventually.

Historically, Japan accepts very few refugees. Last year, it granted just 74 applicants refugee status — the highest number ever, but less than 1% of the total who applied, according to the Japan Association for Refugees.

Some in Japan see their country as mono-ethnic — not a nation of immigrants. But the idea is a matter of debate.

Human rights groups and refugee advocates say the system is deliberately designed to set a high bar for successful refugee applications. Refugees applying for asylum in Japan must demonstrate they face life-threatening persecution at home.

Heydar Safari Diman has been trying to do just that for more than 30 years, since fleeing from Iran to Japan, which he became interested in through watching TV dramas and movies, including the films of director Akira Kurosawa. He does not want to say exactly what persecution he faced in Iran, because he fears it could jeopardize family members still in the country.

But authorities have repeatedly rejected his bids for refugee status. They detained him for a total of more than four years without any explanation, he says, in what he calls hellish conditions.

“I like Japan and Japanese people, but I hate the ones in the detention center,” he says, speaking fluent Japanese. “How could they bully us like that? What did we do? We are refugees. I have no criminal record.”

In 2019, Safari Diman was one of about 100 detainees who went on hunger strikes to protest their detention. Safari Diman says he sank into deep depression and thought about ending his own life.

“You need a lot of courage to commit suicide. It’s very difficult to kill yourself in there. And I did not have that courage,” he says.

Tokyo-based attorney Chie Komai, who represents Safari Diman and others seeking to stay in Japan, took his case to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in 2019. She argued that her client’s detention was arbitrary because Japanese immigration authorities can detain foreigners indefinitely, without any judicial review.

The U.N. working group agreed with her. “They made it clear that the Japanese immigration detention system is in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

The Japanese government objected to the U.N. working group’s findings, saying they were “based on factual errors” and disputing that its detentions were arbitrary. But it did not dispute the details of Safari Diman’s case. He is now out on what is called “provisional release,” and has not been detained since the ruling.

Safari Diman, who’s subsisted in Japan on donations from friends and supporters, says he does not expect the sort of benefits the Ukrainians are getting.

“I’m not asking for Japanese taxpayers to support me,” he says. “If authorities recognize me as a refugee, I will work and pay taxes.”

Other cases have also fueled debate over Japan’s treatment of refugees. They include the death in an immigration detention center last year of 33-year-old Sri Lankan Ratnayake Liyanage Wishma Sandamali, detained for overstaying her visa.

Prosecutors dropped charges against immigration officials accused of responsibility for her death.

In another case, last month a Japanese court ordered the government to compensate the family of a 43-year-old Cameroonian man who died in an immigration detention center in 2014.

The public outcry over deaths in immigration detention centers appears to have prompted the government to drop controversial amendments to immigration laws. The amendments would have made it easier for the government to deportforeigners whose bids for refugee status had failed.

Japan’s government says it will extend financial assistance to the Ukrainians for an additional six months. The double standard is not lost on officials like Kazuhiro Suzuki, a Yokohama city official who is involved in running the program for Ukrainians.

“We’ve only been supporting the Ukrainian evacuees,” he says, observing the students from a corner of the classroom. “While the situation of refugees from other countries hasn’t changed.”

He adds: “Every day we keep working, but this discrepancy bothers us.”

Source: Japan has taken in hundreds of Ukrainians. The welcome for others has been less warm

One in Five Canadians Is Now an Immigrant, and the Nation Approves

NYT on Canada being an exception:

Immigrants now make up a record portion of Canada’s population.

It’s bigger than the one that resulted from the aggressive promotion of European settlement on Indigenous land on the prairies during the early 20th century and bigger than the one that took place after World War II when a wave of immigrants reshaped urban Canada.

And according to polling data, most Canadians like it that way, though more tension over immigration could be on the horizon. At a time when immigration has become an increasingly divisive political issue in many Western countries, particularly the United States, indications are that most Canadians are welcoming newcomers even as their numbers rise.

“There is growing recognition that immigration is important in terms of the economy and that immigrants, the country kind of needs them,” Keith Neuman, a senior associate at the Environics Institute for Survey Research, a nonprofit polling firm, told me.

Census data released this week, revealed by Statistics Canada, said that immigrants made up 23 percent of Canada’s population this year, the highest proportion since Confederation in 1867.

If current patterns in immigration remain and Canada’s birthrate continues to be lower than what is necessary to maintain current population, the census agency estimates that immigrants may form 29 to 34 percent of the population 19 years from now.

To accompany the Statistics Canada announcement, the Environics Institute released a survey of Canadians’ attitude toward immigration. The survey, which dates back in various forms to the 1970s, found a record level of support: 69 percent of people it contacted disagreed when asked if Canada was taking in too many immigrants. Fifty-eight percent said they wanted more immigration to increase Canada’s population.

That positive view of immigration, the survey found, even extended to Quebec despite its adoption of a law banning the wearing of religious symbols by public employees and officials at work, a move that many have seen as targeting Muslim immigrants.

Mr. Neuman and Amyn B. Sajoo, a lecturer at Simon Fraser University School for International Studies who writes extensively about immigration and citizenship, shared some thoughts about the source of the country’s good will toward immigration.

Perhaps at the top of their lists is that geographic isolation from places experiencing high levels of emigration means that the country can be selective about who comes here. There has never been a period when most refugee claimants walked into the country, despite all of the attention once paid to asylum seekers coming into Quebec from New York State. On the whole, Canada chooses who can come.

Then 60 percent of the 431,645 immigrants who became permanent residents of Canada last year fell into the “economic” category. They qualify for that status by being either highly educated, willing and financially able to start a business, possessing a needed job skill or committing to make a substantial investment in an existing business in Canada.

“We filter who can come in as refugees and immigrants,” Dr. Sajoo said. “Therefore, the public has more confidence in the system.”

On top of that, Dr. Sajoo noted the strong approval for Canada’s official multiculturalism policy. In the Environics Institute survey, an overwhelming 90 percent of the respondents said that it was an important part of the Canadian identity.

“More than ever, Canadians are accepting the idea that we’re better off in a pluralist, democratic space,” he said. “That we’re not just an Anglo-French demographic.” The growing awareness of Indigenous issues since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Dr. Sajoo added, has also increased this sentiment.

While the Environics Institute survey found that Conservative voters make up the largest number of people who think there is too much immigration, Pierre Poilievre, the leader of the Conservative Party, has focused on wooing immigrants and regularly reminds voters that his wife, Anaida, emigrated to Canada from Venezuela with her family at the age of 8.

But before Canadians become too self-satisfied about their openness to immigration, Dr. Sajoo said that one finding in the survey suggests the country is not fully immune to some of the political sentiment growing in other nations.

Respondents were almost evenly divided when asked if there are too many immigrants “not adopting Canadian values.” Forty-nine percent rejected that statement, 46 percent agreed with it.

“There is a flattering, fairy tale narrative that we’re wonderful and all is good,” Dr. Sajoo said. “But there is not at all enough attention to that 50/50 split on Canadian values,” he added, saying it “suggests that populism and populist rhetoric, supremacist rhetoric is coming across the border and also developing locally.” 

Source: One in Five Canadians Is Now an Immigrant, and the Nation Approves

Yakabuski: We cannot take Canadians’ positive views on immigration for granted 

Rare mainstream media commentary questioning the current orthodoxy regarding increased immigration and public support. Have wondered for some time whether housing, healthcare and other pressures will lead to a tipping point but as the latest Environics survey, no sign yet:

Canadians are global outliers in holding almost unfailingly positive attitudes about immigration.

Across the world, particularly in countries that have seen large and sudden waves of migrants in recent years, public opinion has turned harshly negative toward newcomers. The opposite has happened here, even in Quebec. Despite big increases in the number of immigrants this country accepts annually, fewer and fewer Canadians think our immigration levels are too high.

That is the finding made by the Environics Institute for Survey Research, which has been polling Canadians on this issue since 1977. Back then, more than 60 per cent of respondents thought the country was accepting too many immigrants. Now, only 27 per cent feel that way.

This should not come as a surprise to anyone. Canada has had the luxury of selecting immigrants in an orderly fashion. We even “choose” most of our refugees based on applications made outside Canada. And the Canada-U.S. border is an oasis of calm compared to the U.S.-Mexico border, notwithstanding the steady stream of asylum seekers arriving via Roxham Road in Quebec in recent years.

There is another, perhaps even more salient, explanation for why Canadians are so bullish on immigration. Fully 44 per cent of us are first- or second-generation immigrants, according to 2021 census data compiled by Environics chief demographer Doug Norris.

In the Greater Toronto Area, the proportion of first- and second-generation newcomers is 79.6 per cent. In Vancouver, it is 72.5 per cent. Even in most of the country’s smaller urban centres, outside of Quebec, about half of residents are now immigrants or the children of immigrants.

You are much more likely to view immigration positively if you are an immigrant yourself or the child of one. Immigrants account for more – much more – of the population here than in any other developed country except for Australia. And the proportion is set to rise sharply – to as much as 34 per cent of Canada’s population in 2041, from 2021′s record level of 23 per cent, according to Statscan’s projections.

What’s not to like? Well, for a country that is already experiencing a severe housing-affordability crisis and a major infrastructure deficit, welcoming around 450,000 new permanent residents on an annual basis, on top of tens of thousands of temporary foreign workers and international students, involves significant challenges.

Unfortunately, there are few signs that policymakers in Ottawa have thought through how the country can accommodate this influx without further straining our already strained health-care and education systems. While immigration can offer a partial solution to severe shortages of nurses and teachers – if provinces move more rapidly to recognize their credentials – overall it creates more consumers than providers of health-care and education services.

In a study prepared last year for Quebec’s immigration ministry, economist Pierre Fortin threw cold water on the idea – advanced in 2016 by Ottawa’s Advisory Committee on Economic Growth – that higher immigration levels could help resolve intractable labour shortages that have only grown worse since then.

“Resorting to immigration can relieve worker shortages at the individual firm level, though the great administrative complexity and the long wait times often render this process ineffective; but, unfortunately, at the macroeconomic level, the [council’s] idea that immigration can reduce labour shortages because it increases the working-age population is nothing more than a big fallacy of composition,” Prof. Fortin wrote. “This idea is based on incomplete logic that ‘forgets’ that immigration ends up increasing the demand for labour and not only the supply of labour.”

Next week, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser is expected to announce Ottawa’s revised immigration targets for 2023, 2024 and 2025. That announcement needs to be followed by a more elaborate strategy than Canada has seen to date to enhance the country’s capacity to integrate ever-increasing numbers of newcomers. Otherwise, we are only asking for trouble down the road.

Canada has been spared the backlash against immigration experienced in other countries, in part because few politicians see any mileage in stoking resentment toward newcomers. That is likely to remain true as long as our multicultural suburbs continue to determine electoral outcomes. But no one should take it for granted.

With the country’s emergency rooms running beyond capacity, its housing shortage leaving too many people on the sidelines and its public infrastructure in a steady state of disrepair, it would be a mistake to assume that attitudes here toward immigration will always remain so positive.

Source: We cannot take Canadians’ positive views on immigration for granted

Stephens: Thank Ye Very Much

Good column:

Dear Kanye West, or “Ye”:

We’ve never met and I hope we never will.

Still, I’d like to express a sort of gratitude. With a few outbursts in a few days — you threatened in a tweet this month to go “death con 3” on “JEWISH PEOPLE” and it’s been downhill from there — you’ve probably done more to raise public awareness about the persistence, prevalence and nature of antisemitism than any other recent event.

It’s remarkable how long it took us to get here. For 2020, the F.B.I. reports that Jews, who constitute about 2.4 percent of the total adult population in the United States, were on the receiving end of 54.9 percent of all religiously motivated hate crimes. On many nights in New York City, Hasidic or Orthodox Jews are being shoved, harangued and beaten.

So far, this has been one of the most underreported stories in the country — itself a telling indicator in an era that is otherwise hyper-attuned to prejudice and hate.

At times, the reporting has all but accused Jews of bringing the violence on themselves, with lengthy stories about allegedly pushy Jewish neighbors or rapacious Jewish landlords. At other times — such as after the attack in January on a Texas synagogue by a British Muslim man who had traveled 4,800 miles to get there — reporters seem to have gone out of their way to find non-antisemitic motives for nakedly antisemitic attacks.

More often, attacks on Jews are treated as regrettable yet somehow understandable expressions of anger at Israel. In May 2021, Jewish diners at a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles were physically assaulted by a member of a group that, according to a witness, was chanting “Death to Jews” and “Free Palestine.” A KABC report of the event was headlined, in part: “Mideast tensions lead to L.A. fight.”

To suggest that “Mideast tensions” led to a “fight” is to obscure both the nature and motive of the assault. Imagine the absurdity of a headline that read: “High Levels of Crime in Minority Neighborhood Lead Police Officer to Kneel on Man’s Neck for Eight Minutes.”

Actually, Ye, you probably can imagine it, since you’ve also blamed George Floyd for his own death. But it’s worth pondering the extent to which, in American culture today, Jews are excluded from inclusion and included in the excluded. That is, the Jewish people’s status as an oft-persecuted minority goes increasingly unrecognized, while the Jewish people’s position as a legitimate target for contempt and ostracism is becoming increasingly accepted.

Take Hollywood, where the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opened its doors last year with a panel dedicated to “Creating a More Inclusive Museum.” Yet, as The Times’s Adam Nagourney reported in March, “Through dozens of exhibits and rooms, there is barely a mention of Harry and Jack Warner, Adolph Zukor, Samuel Goldwyn or Louis B. Mayer” — the Jews who essentially founded the modern movie industry. (After an outcry, the museum now plans a permanent exhibition for them.)

Or take the law school of the University of California, Berkeley, where nine student groups announced in August that they would not host any speakers who support Zionism, a move that is tantamount to the exclusion of most Jews. In an astonishing defense, law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky noted that the bylaw, which he acknowledged was “discriminatory,” had been adopted by only “a handful of student groups” and had not yet been acted upon — as if Berkeley or any other public law school would tolerate for one instant a single student group that announced its intention to exclude, say, a speaker who believes in trans rights.

Or take Israel itself. Is the Jewish state so uniquely evil that, alone among 193 U.N. member states, it has no moral right to exist? Or is it the unique evil of antisemitism that directs this kind of obsessive hatred at one state only — while generally ignoring or downplaying the endless depredations of regimes in, say, Caracas, Ankara, Havana and Tehran?

These are surely not the things you had in mind when you decided to go “death con 3” on my people. Nor were they necessarily top-of-mind for many of the celebrities who denounced you in tweets and Instagram posts. But your bigotry is as good a place as any to begin to have an honest conversation about antisemitism — one that will hopefully last longer than your own career’s self-destruction.

Honest would be to acknowledge that antisemitism is as much a left-wing phenomenon as it is a right-wing one. Honest would be coming to grips with the fact — as Henry Louis Gates Jr. did in these pages in 1992 — that antisemitism infects corners of Black politics as much as it infects the politics of white supremacy. Honest would be holding to account people who were complicit in your antisemitism — such as Tucker Carlson, who praised your “bold” beliefs while editing out your antisemitic remarks from his interview with you. Honest would be coming to terms with the extent to which anti-Zionism has become the antisemitism of our day, echoing the same sordid conspiratorial tropes about Jews as swindlers and impostors.

Honest would also be admitting that you speak for more people than many Americans would have cared to admit. For that, but only that, you deserve thanks.

Source: Thank Ye Very Much

Ibbitson: Immigrants are the great insulators against the worst economic and political threats we face

Consistent with his various earlier columns with no recognition of the externalities and costs of further increases:

According to census data released Wednesday, almost one-quarter – 23 per cent – of the people living in this country were not born here, the highest percentage since Confederation. That is the best possible news.

Along with helping ease labour shortages and soften the impact of an aging population, this latest generation of pioneers will help insulate our democracy from the demagogic threats that confront other Western nations. Immigrants will help save us from the worst of ourselves.

Almost every region of the country is taking in newcomers. According to Statistics Canada, more and more immigrants are settling in Atlantic Canada, which is helping to prevent population decline while bolstering the regional economy.

The worrying exception is Quebec. Resistance to immigration in French Canada, where preserving the language and the culture matters more for many than growth and renewal, is showing up in the census data.

Immigrants make up 15 per cent of the province’s population. The figure for Ontario is 30 per cent; for British Columbia 29 per cent; for Alberta 23 per cent.

Quebec will pay a price for partially closing its doors. Immigration can’t reverse the effects of an aging society, but it can help smooth the transition, providing workers to fill gaps in the labour market and to pay taxes that sustain social services.

But immigration’s greatest impact might be intangible. Many Western nations are grappling with populist, nativist movements that threaten democracy.

Put bluntly, some white people resent non-white newcomers and vote for politicians who promise to keep them out. Those politicians, in turn, often seek to corrupt democratic norms. For their supporters, social cohesion matters more than democracy.

slew of Republican candidates in the Nov. 8 midterm elections refuse to accept the outcome of the 2020 presidential vote. Donald Trump clearly hopes to return as president. The republic might not survive that return.

Italy’s new prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, leads the most far-right government since Mussolini was deposed. In parts of Eastern Europe, democracies are fading away. The far right is on the rise in SwedenSpainBelgium and elsewhere.

Nothing like that is happening here. Yes, the so-called freedom convoy produced a great deal of sound and fury when it occupied downtown Ottawa in the winter. But Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party, the only party that flirts with the white protest movement, received 5 per cent of the vote in the 2021 federal election.

High levels of immigration help insulate us from the worst of the far right. For one thing, people who are most opposed to immigrants – the sort who harbour false notions that newcomers take away jobs, end up on welfare and fail to integrate – tend to live in communities where they never see immigrants. But there aren’t many of those places left.

Nine per cent of the people in Moncton are immigrants. Thunder Bay is at 8 per cent. The figure is 14 per cent in Lethbridge, Alta. No wonder a recent poll showed seven in 10 Canadians are comfortable with the current immigration levels. The more people become used to living in diverse communities, the more at ease they are with diversity.

As well, it’s hard for a white nativist to win an election in a country where almost a quarter of the population is not native-born. Immigrants and their children are not going to vote for a political party that wants to limit their numbers and rights. The ballot box is a weapon that immigrants use to protect their interests, as they should.

The new census predicts that if present trends continue, within a couple of decades immigrants will make up about a third of the country. I predict the share will be higher. The Liberal government will be releasing its immigration targets shortly; we should expect a steady increase in intake even above the 451,000 planned for 2024. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says he is committed to high levels of immigration. He’d better mean it, if he ever wants to become prime minister.

Governments and the markets will be challenged to find places to put all these newcomers. It’s worth the challenge. Immigrants are the great insulators against the worst economic and political threats we face. The more we can bring in, the better.

Source: Immigrants are the great insulators against the worst economic and political threats we face

Conservative Policies Linked to Higher Death Rates for Americans, Study Finds

Not that surprising. Not exactly pro-life policies:

November’s midterms will serve as a political referendum on a number of issues, from gas prices to gun safety legislation and more. “At the end of the day, it’s just politics,” you might think. But according to new research, social and economic policies are life-or-death matters for working-age Americans. Changing state policies to become more liberal will save hundreds of thousands of lives while shifting to conservative policies will cost them, a study published Wednesday in PLoS ONE finds.

The new study is one of a recent spate to look at the link between policy and an unexpected increase in deaths among working-age Americans. Compared to European countries and other Western peers, the rise in deaths among this population in the U.S. has been “alarming,” Jennifer Karas Montez, a sociology researcher at Syracuse University and the first author of the new research, told The Daily Beast. She and her co-authors looked at mortality rates for the leading causes of death over a period of 20 years, at a time when “dramatic changes in state policies” were occuring.

The link between more conservative or liberal state policies and events like cardiovascular deaths or suicides are clearer for some policies, like regulations around tobacco. More liberal environmental policies are linked to lower levels of air pollution and decreased rates of asthma and other respiratory problems that can increase one’s chances of dying, Montez said. Liberal labor policies, like an increased minimum wage, may put more money in workers’ pockets that they can spend on healthier food or medical care.

“We often don’t talk about economic policies as if they’re health policies, but the reality is they are,” she said.

Some of these policies took a few years to immediately affect mortality rates. Criminal justice reform, for instance, took at least three years to have significant effects on rates of death—Montez said this may be due to the fact that these policies may have a downstream impact on people’s lives and livelihoods, and not one immediately felt. Liberal firearm safety laws, on the other hand, resulted in a near-immediate decrease in suicide deaths.

Of the policies studied, only more liberal marijuana policies were associated with a decrease in life expectancy. Even so, other studies on the overall health effects of marijuana policies have been inconclusive, identifying benefits such as treatment for chronic pain but an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents.

If states had adopted liberal policies across the board, Montez and her co-authors calculated that 171,030 lives would have been saved in 2019 alone; on the flip side, conservative policies in all states would have led to an additional 217,635 working-age deaths.

Americans should realize that the decisions being made in state houses are becoming increasingly important to their own lives, Montez said.

“We’ve pointed the finger at opioid manufacturers, we pointed the finger at multinational corporations, but state policymakers have been given a free pass, and that’s a really critical oversight,” she said. “We need to make sure that we’re holding them accountable for the decisions that they’re making that affect how healthy and long we live.”

Source: Conservative Policies Linked to Higher Death Rates for Americans, Study Finds

Police can’t pull over a driver without cause, Quebec Superior Court rules in racial profiling case

Of note. Significant:

Police motor vehicle stops without cause are a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Quebec Superior Court ruled Tuesday.

The decision won’t put an end to racial profiling overnight, Judge Michel Yergeau wrote in his ruling, but the court is allowing a six-month delay until the rules allowing random stops are officially invalid.

“Racial profiling does exist. It is not a laboratory-constructed abstraction. It is not a view of the mind. It is a reality that weighs heavily on Black communities. It manifests itself in particular among Black drivers of motor vehicles,” Yergeau said.

“Charter rights can no longer be left in thrall to an unlikely moment of epiphany by the police. Ethics and justice must go hand in hand to turn this page.”

The time has come for the judicial system to recognize and declare that this “unbounded power” violates some right guaranteed to the community, the court said.

Montrealer leads charge for change

This decision comes after Montrealer Joseph-Christopher Luamba, a 22-year-old Black man, told the court he gets ready to pull over whenever he sees a police cruiser.

In the 18 months after he got his driver’s licence in March 2018, Luamba said he was stopped by police around 10 times for no specific reason. He said he was driving a car during about half the stops and was a passenger in another person’s car during the other police stops.

Those traffic stops were at the heart of the lawsuit that he filed against the Canadian and Quebec governments. The case began in May of this year.

Luamba said he believes he was racially profiled during the traffic stops — none of which resulted in a ticket. Common law has long allowed Canadian police to stop people for no reason, but Luamba has been fighting for the practice to be declared unconstitutional.

“I was frustrated,” he told the court. “Why was I stopped? I followed the rules. I didn’t commit any infractions.”

Lawyers for Luamba and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which has intervener status in the case, told the court that the power of police to randomly stop drivers, outside of drunk driving checkpoints, is unconstitutional and enables racial profiling.

The court ruled on Tuesday that this practice violates the rights guaranteed by Sections 7 and 9 and paragraph 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“The preponderant evidence shows that over time, the arbitrary power granted to the police to carry out roadside stops without cause has become for some of them a vector, even a safe conduit for racial profiling against the Black community,” wrote Yergeau in his ruling.

Challenging Supreme Court ruling

Yergeau’s ruling challenges the rules established by a 1990 Supreme Court decision, R. v. Ladouceur, where the high court ruled that police were justified when they issued a summons to an Ontario driver who had been stopped randomly and who had been driving with a suspended licence.

The high court ruled that random stops were the only way to determine whether drivers are properly licensed, whether a vehicle’s seatbelts work and whether a driver is impaired.

But Yergeau wrote it was time for the justice system to declare this power, which violates certain constitutional rights, obsolete and inoperable, as well as the article of Quebec’s provincial Highway Safety Code that allows it.

Still, Yergeau wrote that the ruling applies specifically to the random stops. He said the ruling is not meant to be an inquiry report on systemic racism involving racialized or Indigenous peoples.

The judge also said the ruling is not about racism within police forces, saying the court heard no evidence in this regard, nor did it draw a conclusion.

But he noted that “racial profiling can sneakily creep into police practice without police officers in general being driven by racist values.”

Lawyers for the Canadian and Quebec governments argued that the Supreme Court was right to uphold the rule allowing random stops, which they say is an important tool for fighting drunk driving.

Police forces testified about the different efforts made to curb racial profiling and diversify their rank and file.

There was no immediate word on a possible appeal.

At the federal level, a spokesperson for Minister of Justice David Lametti said in an email that the ministry is aware of the decision and “will take the time to study it before commenting further.”

Source: Police can’t pull over a driver without cause, Quebec Superior Court rules in racial profiling case