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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Immigration: an election non-issue

Why is immigration a non-issue in this election?

The economic doom and gloom forecast by Jack Layton and Stéphane Dion stands in contrast to their silence on how they expect we'll be able to absorb another 260,000 plus new immigrants in the next year. And remember, this is over and above the 200,000 or so temporary foreign workers in Canada in any given year.

If things are as bad as these two claim, where will the jobs come from for these new folks?

Immigration is, of course, one of our taboo subjects—not to be touched with a ten foot pole. And especially not when you are in ethnic communities pandering for votes. And since attempts to open a debate on this subject are often answered with charges of racism, we should not be surprised that politicians shy away.

Jack Layton said yesterday, “Pensions are at risk, your savings are at risk, even your mortgages and housing are at risk and your jobs are risk.”

Yet into this environment he wants to invite 260,000 new Canadians. In fact, Jack Layton wants immigration to rise to over 300,000. How responsible is this?

Given the outlook of economies around the world for the next couple of years, isn’t this a good time to have some sober second thought about the levels of immigration we are experiencing?

According to the abstract from a study by professor Herbert Grubel of Simon Fraser University:

“…immigrants on average have lower incomes than comparable Canadians even after 10 years’ residence in Canada. As a result of the low income, the progressive income tax structure of the Canadian welfare state and the universal availability of government benefits results in substantial transfers from other Canadians to these immigrants. A tentative estimate of these transfers to immigrants who arrived between 1990 and 2002 values them at $18.3 billion in 2002.”

As Prof. Grubel points out, this amount is more than the federal government spent on health care and twice what it spent on defence in the 2000/2001 fiscal year.

This staggering figure is even more than one year of Stéphane Dion’s proposed Carbon Tax.

I suspect there are a lot of things Stéphane Dion and Jack Layton are not telling us.

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