Saturday, January 28, 2012
My friend Prof Mansur has been writing of immigration of late. We are both immigrants but we both think Canada needs to be far more careful about its immigration policies. The main argument of the pro-immigration lobby, as I pointed out last week, is the net economic benefits from immigration outweigh social costs over time. This argument has been turned into an axiom — self-evident truth — by the pro-immigration lobby, and is broadcast by the mainstream media. Anyone or any group who dare question this axiom are intimidated, silenced and marginalized by the pro-immigration lobby, through the media, as reactionaries, or worse, as bigots. That was the lesson taught to Enoch Powell, the British MP who warned of the negative consequences of open immigration in his April 1968 speech to a Conservative party gathering in Birmingham, England. He was branded as a mad hatter and a bigot, and his destroyed political career stands as a warning by the pro-immigration lobby to politicians questioning its agenda and what it can do to them. But the axiom needs to be examined, since an economy such as Canada’s is complex and social costs are real. Moreover, long before Powell’s Birmingham speech, western societies had begun to change as the blueprint for a social welfare state was adopted. This meant net social costs — universal health care or old-age pension — in the short and medium term would outweigh economic benefits from immigration in the long term.