Immigration levels plan: Reactions

Have been following the various reactions to date regarding the government’s (overly) ambitious targets for the next three years. Relatively few op-eds and commentary, possibly due to the focus on COVID and the US presidential election which are taking up most of the oxygen.

And much of the commentary focusses overly on the administrative issues, not the more substantive issues related to economic integration of immigrants during an economic recession, one that is likely to linger for a few years.

Have grouped these by constituency:

Business-oriented

The plan was welcomed by the business sector.

“There is widespread agreement across party lines that immigration is essential to long-term economic growth,” said Goldy Hyder, president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, which represents some of the country’s largest businesses.

“Newcomers bring energy, skills, new ideas and entrepreneurial spirit. They start companies, fill skill shortages, buy houses and pay taxes, … The minister’s plan will allow Canada to make up lost ground as the pandemic eases. It will inject new dynamism into our economy.”

The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters even went one step further, saying Ottawa’s objectives were too modest and will not allow the country to catch up quickly enough over the coming months to compensate for the reduced number of immigrant admissions this year.

“Manufacturers are increasingly using immigration to supplement their workforce but there are not enough immigrants to meet the demand,” said Dennis Danby, its president and CEO, who represents 2,500 leading manufacturers in the country.

“If manufacturing is to be at the core of the economic recovery following the COVID-19 crisis, we must do more in prioritizing immigration from the economic stream.” (Toronto Star)

As Canada’s leading voice on smart population growth, Century Initiative continues to advocate not just for increasing our population, but for policies to support that growth through investments in education and in the national and urban infrastructure that will allow our communities to grow in a sustainable manner. We also need to prioritize supporting parents with a national childcare strategy, and our children with early education programs.

Now is the right time to invest in growing our population. Environics Institute’s recent Focus Canada survey shows that a record two-thirds (66%) of Canadians reject the idea that immigration levels are too high, and that Canadians recognize the critical contribution immigrants make to our economy and our social fabric. We have a tremendous opportunity before us and welcome the opportunity to continue working with gover(nment to seize it in the interest of future generations of Canadians. (Century Initiative)

Opposition critics

Opposition MPs took aim at the way the government has handled immigration throughout the pandemic and questioned how the new targets would be achieved.

Conservative immigration critic Raquel Dancho said the government is announcing new levels without a plan for how they will be safely implemented.

Jenny Kwan, immigration critic for the NDP, said she believes the numbers are “a bit of a hoax” because the backlog to process applications is so great that the targets will be hard to meet.

Christine Normandin, the Bloc Québécois immigration critic, said in French that Ottawa is taking the opposite approach to the Quebec system. She said the province takes only as many immigrants as it can process in one year, while Ottawa sets goals without taking into account its capacity to do the paperwork. (Globe)

That lower-end target is actually below the low end of the number of immigrants, pre-pandemic, the Liberals had planned to admit in 2021, pointed out NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan. 

“The Liberals demonstrate a lack of conviction in their targets and left the door wide open for immigration levels to decrease,” she said in a statement.

It’s also not clear how unused room is being carried over. 

For example: the Liberals had planned to admit 49,000 refugees this year. Next year, according to Friday’s plan, they are aiming for 59,500. 

While that looks like an increase of 10,000, the number of refugees who have actually arrived in the first eight months of this year was down nearly 60 per cent from 2019 arrivals. 

So it’s possible that the 2021 figures merely incorporate the shortfall from this year, as opposed to being an overall increase. Mendicino wasn’t clear when asked about that issue Friday.  (Canadian Press)

NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan said the government must not overlook the compassionate aspects of the immigration system, such as removing travel restrictions for asylum seekers and ensuring permanent residence status for migrant workers in recognition of their contributions during the pandemic.

“The immigration department’s processing abilities is still spotty at best and serious investment in staffing, far beyond what we’ve seen so far, is needed,” said Kwan.

“Without these investments, applicants are to expect significant increases in processing times for years to come, which were already long before the pandemic.” (Toronto Star)

Tweets from CPC critic Dancho:

The Liberals have failed to layout a plan to  bring in newcomers to Canada safely. No widespread access to rapid tests and the 14 day quarantine is not a financial option for many people. #cdnpoli https://twitter.com/RaquelDancho/status/1322270115921055746?s=20

They have no plan to better resource immigration department to fulfil the levels promised.  Liberals are simply adding to their massive, years-long immigration backlogs that fail to provide potential newcomers with certainty, dignity or respect. #cdnpoli https://twitter.com/RaquelDancho/status/1322270117384851456?s=20

The ministers announcement did not acknowledge the economic devastation caused by COVID-19 or the hundreds of thousands of Canadians facing unemployment since the pandemic hit and how these new ambitious immigration numbers will impact them. #cdnpoli https://twitter.com/RaquelDancho/status/1322270118290903040?s=20

International organizations

Either way, that Canada even continues to open its arms is welcome, said Rema Jamous Imseis, the UN refugee agency’s Canadian representative. 

“In an era of travel restrictions and closed borders, refugees continue to be welcomed by Canadians,” she said in a statement.

“The significance of this lifeline and the deep generosity of Canadians cannot be overstated.” (Canadian Press)

Academics

While experts had expected Ottawa to stay the course with its immigration goals — given the government had publicly stated immigration would be key to restarting the post-COVID-19 economy, they were surprised the Liberals would decide to take it up a notch.

Although critics have raised concerns about high immigration given that the country’s jobless rate hovered at nine per cent in September — after peaking at 13.4 per cent in May — from 5.6 per cent before the pandemic, some experts say the government is on the right track.

“The timing for expanding the program now is good. But I’m surprised how high the targets are they have set. I don’t know how realistic it is from a bureaucratic administrative perspective,” said Carleton University economist Chris Worswick, who specializes in the economics of immigration.

“I commend the government for thinking about immigration again. I was worried that it wouldn’t happen. I wonder if they’re being too ambitious. I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll end up at a good place.” (Toronto Star)

Immigration lawyers and advocates

Immigration and refugee experts welcomed the move to grant permanent residency to those already in the country.

“I’ve always thought, even before COVID, that it makes a lot more sense to target people who are already educated here, or have work experience here, or at least have lived here. … These are people who are already demonstrating their genuine interest in Canada,” immigration lawyer Chantal Desloges said.

Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees, said her organization has urged the government to give permanent residency to those in Canada.

“What we need to see is that realization actually reflected in actual operations, actual policies, because at this point, the way the Immigration Department is working is running in completely the opposite direction,” she said. (Globe)

We need #StatusforAll and Fairness.
Today’s Canada’s Immigration Plan does neither. pic.twitter.com/xhsJtrZBtj— Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (@MWACCanada) October 30, 2020

Contrary to what the government is saying, there is NO INCREASE in IMMIGRATION LEVELS. Instead, there was a 150,000 shortfall in immigrants in 2020, and the government is trying to catch up for it by increasing 50,000 each year for the next three years. But as COVID-19 continues, these promises are unlikely to be kept.+

The overall proportion of new immigrants remain the same, with the primary focus on “high waged” immigrants. However, to qualify for these immigration programs, migrants must show 12-24 months of high-waged work. With COVID-19-related job losses disproportionately impacting racialized people, many migrants don’t have access to these jobs and won’t qualify. No plan has been announced to ensure full and permanent immigration status for all migrant and undocumented people right now.+ Many migrants — including care workers and former international students — were not able to complete requirements for permanent residency in 2020 due to COVID-19. However, there is no meaningful increase in numbers on fixing of rules for these migrants in today’s announcement. (Migrant Workers Alliance)

On the right

Recent polls have shown that Canadians are weary about increasing immigration levels in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

A poll commissioned by True North found that an overwhelming 76% of Canadians strongly agreed with the idea of a temporary pause until a coronavirus vaccine is developed and unemployment drops to pre-coronavirus levels. Note: Polling firm unknown and thus is not credible

The poll results show a surprising consensus among political parties as well with 67% of Liberals wanting to impose a temporary pause, 66% of NDP voters and 89% of Conservatives. 

“Given today’s global circumstances of a public health pandemic and severe economic crisis, now is the perfect opportunity to revert back to our successful historic immigration model, listen to the majority of Canadians, and take another pause,” True North’s founder Candice Malcolm wrote when the poll was released. 

“It’s time for our leaders to listen to the people and do what’s best for our country.” (“True” North)

While the government touted the need for migrants to strengthen the economy, the unemployment rate in Canada, the unemployment rate currently stands at 9%, from an all-time high of 14% in May. Over 8 million Canadians applied for emergency COVID relief benefits in the form of the CERB. Canada’s unemployment rate was around 5% prior the pandemic. (Rebel Media)

Links:

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2020/10/30/canada-raises-immigration-targets-to-record-level-eyeing-covid-19-recovery.html

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-canada-aims-to-accept-far-more-immigrants-in-next-three-years/

https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2020/10/30/open-arms-in-an-era-of-closed-borders-pandemic-era-immigration-plan-to-be-released/

https://www.centuryinitiative.ca/2020/10/30/statement-by-century-initiative-in-response-to-todays-announcement-on-canadas-new-immigration-levels-plan/

https://www.rebelnews.com/canada_to_increase_immigration_targets_after_covid_disruption

https://www.facebook.com/notes/migrant-workers-alliance-for-change/immigration-announcement-fails-to-ensure-fairness-status-for-all/10101179406532842/

@TrueNorthCentre 76% of Canadians want a total pause on immigration: Fake poll or fake news?

With her usual sensationalist style, Candice Malcom reports on the findings of a poll commissioned by the True North Centre.

However, first of all, the company “ONE” does not appear to have a website according to a Google search and is not known by industry professionals I consulted.

So is the company named “ONE” just one person and if so, who?

Secondly, the poll question was with respect to a temporary pause not a total pause, two very different questions. For Malcolm to mischaracterize as a total pause is irresponsible and unethical at best.

Hard not to think of this as just clickbait to solicit donations to True North ongoing overly simplistic conservative commentary on immigration and related issues:

The majority of Canadians want to close the borders and pause immigration into the country until the coronavirus threat has passed and until Canada’s economy has fully recovered, according to a recent scientific poll commissioned by True North.

Three quarters (76%) of Canadians polled by ONE, a research company based out of Toronto, strongly agree or moderately agree with the statement: Canada should temporarily pause immigration until a vaccine is developed for coronavirus and the unemployment rate drops down to pre-coronavirus levels.

The survey shows a vast consensus to the immigration pause among all regions, age groups, education levels, income levels, political party preference and in both official languages.

Two-thirds of Canadians who voted Liberal (67%) in the 2019 federal election support the statement, as do two-thirds of NDP voters (66%). The consensus is even stronger among Conservative voters, as 67% strongly agree and another 22% moderately agree. Likewise, 48% of Bloc voters strongly agree and 39% moderately agree with the immigration pause.

Canadians similarly agree that Canada’s temporary immigration programs should also be suspended during this time.

Nearly two-thirds (61%) of Canadians surveyed agree that “Canada should temporarily pause the Temporary Foreign Workers program until a vaccine is developed for coronavirus and the unemployment rate drops down to pre-coronavirus levels.”

Back in April, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted that life in Canada will not go back to normal until a vaccine is developed. “Normality as it was before will not come back full-on until we get a vaccine for this… that will be a very long way off,” said the prime minister during his daily COVID-19 media performance. “We will have to remain vigilant for at least a year.”

While a vaccine may be years away, Canada’s economy may need even more time to recover. The unemployment rate in February 2020, prior to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdowns, was 5.6%. According to the May 2020 jobs report, Canada’s unemployment rate is at an all-time high of 13.7%.

With millions of Canadians out of work and looking for jobs, the rationale for bringing in temporary foreign workers to fill gaps in the labour market is wearing thin for Canadians. Rather than importing cheap labour from developing countries and risking that those travellers may bring coronavirus with them, this survey shows Canadians would broadly prefer hiring domestically.

There is also confusion around the state of Canada’s immigration system and the policies introduced during the coronavirus lockdown.

Many Canadians wrongly believe that our borders are currently closed and that Canada’s immigration system has been shut down. Trudeau announced border and airport closures and travel restrictions in mid-March, and the mainstream media largely reported that the borders were closed.

Official numbers from the Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA), however, paint a different picture.

According to the most recent CBSA Traveller Statistics released on June 3, more than one million travellers entered Canada at land border crossings between the period of March 21 and June 2. An additional 763,000 travellers arrived at our international airport during that same week.

CBSA does not release the immigration status of land travellers, but it does for air travellers. Of the 763,000 people who landed at Canadian international airports since Trudeau’s March announcement, only 283,000 were Canadian citizens and 21,000 were Permanent Residents. More than half of the people arriving in Canada — 459,000 — were new immigrants.

This is because the Trudeau government’s travel ban includes wide exemptions for new immigrants, including students, agricultural workers and others who come to Canada through the Temporary Foreign Workers Program.

A recent employment report compiled by the federal government likewise revealed that 13,000 foreign workers were approved to come to Canada between March 15 to May 8, or approximately 1,625 per week.

According to ONE’s research, most Canadians would prefer no immigration for the time being.

ONE surveyed 1,000 Canadians using a national representative sample between June 3 and June 6 in both official languages. The survey was commissioned by True North Centre for Public Policy and the margin of error is +/- 4.3%.

Source: READ MORE

Shameful: @TrueNorthCentre using the two Michaels to raise funds

Speaks for itself – petition and involvement more to raise funds than substance – see highlighted text:

Two Canadians arrested by Chinese authorities on trumped-up charges have been in prison for exactly one year on December 10th.
Enough is enough.
We’re tired of the Chinese communist regime bullying Canada.
To anyone paying attention to China, both its grotesque human rights record and its increasingly belligerent foreign affairs, it’s clear that China is no friend to Canada.
It’s time the Trudeau government stand up to China and demand the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
One can only imagine what conditions they’re being detained in.
We created a petition to help the two Canadians.
If 10,000 Canadians sign this petition, we’re going to table it in the House of Commons.
Can you sign this petition and share it with your friends and family?
We want as many Canadians as possible to sign this petition. We know the majority of Canadians understand the threat communist China poses to Canada.
If you’re able to, chip in a few dollars to help us promote this petition on social media.
Thank you for standing up for Canada,
True North

Award-winning professor Salim Mansur disqualified from seeking Conservative nomination

A sign of who the vetting process of the CPC is catching (the right wing press, Rebel, Clarion, True North have been critical of this decision, will be interesting to see if Mansur is picked up by the PPC):

Professor, author and columnist Salim Mansur has been disqualified from seeking the Conservative nomination.

Mansur, a recently retired Western University professor, announced his candidacy last September in his home riding, London North Centre.

Despite being told by the Conservative Party of Canada’s regional organizer last November that he was allowed to launch his campaign and begin campaigning, Mansur received notice from the party’s executive director Monday morning that his nomination candidacy was “disallowed.”

“The (National Candidate Selection Committee of the Conservative Party of Canada) has disallowed your candidacy as a candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada,” said an email from Dustin Van Vugt.

No reason was provided in the email, but Mansur told me in a brief interview that Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s campaign manager, Hamish Marshall, advised him last week of the party’s concerns with Mansur’s past writing and public speaking on Islamism and the politics of radical Muslims, which Marshall said will likely be portrayed by Liberals and others as Islamophobic, and become disruptive to the party’s national campaign.

It’s Mansur’s academic career that has held him in such high esteem by the Conservatives in the past, however. Mansur has testified before parliament on numerous occasions at the invitation of the Conservatives. In 2017, he was awarded the Canadian Senate’s 150th Anniversary Medal for his work promoting interfaith understanding, presented by Conservative senator Linda Frum.

Mansur, a devout Muslim, has been a stalwart opponent of radical Islamism and the groups advancing it within Canada. He’s chronicled this fight as a Muslim and as an academic in his bestselling book Islam’s Predicament: Perspectives of a dissident Muslim.

The retired professor said in an open letter on his website that his mission is to “elect a Conservative government in Ottawa with Andrew Scheer as our next Prime Minister.” On his platform page, Mansur cites economic growth, strengthening Canada’s security, and vigorously protecting individual freedoms as his priorities.

In the interests of disclosure, I have introduced Mansur to a number of political activists in London as a personal favour, and have served as a sounding board for some ideas he had about his campaign. I have received no compensation for these or any other efforts related to his candidacy.

Source: READ MORE