Prof Mansur and I are both immigrants, but we are both troubled by immigration patterns to Canada. We need to e more careful about who we allow into Canada. We need more skilled workers and less family class immigrants. We need to overhaul our refugee process as well.
The big issue in Canada, as in other western liberal democracies, next to the economy is immigration.
It is of concern to everyone, yet it is a conversation spoiler whenever the subject is raised in private or public gatherings.
But it demands attention, and we must learn to discuss immigration and its implications for our country as a liberal democracy without becoming insulting or abusive.
Canada is a country of immigrants, as is the United States, and this fact in itself poses a hurdle to overcome ahead of engaging in any critical discussion of immigration as a public policy issue.
The reason is simple, because it is taken for granted by many that the long-term net benefit of immigration far outweighs all costs in short or medium term.
To question this assumption goes against the view turned into an ideology by those who favour open and higher levels of immigration as a defining characteristic of Canada.
John McCallum, a former Liberal cabinet minister, in expressing this idea some time ago observed, “we are very good” in “attracting people from all over the world and creating a society that welcomes people of all races, religions and cultures.”
The implication of McCallum’s publicly stated opinion is obvious — those who question the existing immigration policy or advocate measures for some constraint in the levels of immigration would be hurting Canada’s image.