Immigration Minister Kenny got the Harper government some press today by raising the spectre that with rising unemployment, Canada may look at restricting immigration numbers in the new year. While this sort of announcement strikes fear into those who are seeking permanent residence in Canada, and elicits support in Canada from residents impacted by unemployment, there are a number of reasons why it's unlikely to happen anytime soon:
1. Immigration levels are at less than 1% of the Canadian population (0.78%)
2. Canada is aging - according to a study by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, population growth is expected to drop to 0.6% by 2030. Canada needs immigration to support its aging population
3. Aging populations require more personal and health care services - immigrants are significant providers to the services industry, and Canada isn't growing or retaining enough medical professionals to even take care of the current population. Additionally, a tax base is needed to support these programs. Immigrants represent opportunity for Canada - not a drain
Remember - as immigrants, you will always be an easy target for closed-border advocates and politicians looking to soothe their constituents. Don't panic. When the rubber hits the road, and those in charge of long term planning and economics have their say (which is boring, so it doesn't make the papers), cooler heads will prevail.
The quality of discourse in the Harper government is questionable at best, anyhow. Remember, this is the guy who appointed 18 senators in one day who had serious qualifications to lead such as being a former CBC broadcaster and having an Olympic medal for skiing...
Politics are local, but the decisions of a country have to be global. The Immigration Minister is helping Harper tell the people what they want to hear right now, but there will come a day, not too far away, when they'll also want to hear that there will be a doctor to care for them when they are sick.
These things tend to wrap tomorrow's fish and chips.
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