Is There a Right Mix?By Alex Sangha - An effective immigration policy can lead to a renaissance of ideas, initiative, and investment throughout Canada.
The five pillars of an effective immigration policy can include strategies to fill labour shortages; attract investor immigrants; reunite children and families; provide humanitarian relief for people escaping persecution; and help populate and develop socially and economically depressed areas.
My principle of “sustainable immigration” basically means that Canada should aim for the right mix of the above five pillars to maximize the net benefit to the country while taking into consideration the needs of the global immigrant community.
The recent boatload of Tamil refugees leaves Canada in a delicate situation. The Canadian government needs to apply its immigration policy equally and fairly for all refugees without damaging its international reputation as a caring and compassionate nation.
The tone coming from the Harper government is playing on racist elements in society and is not helping the situation.
Canada after all is a country largely built by immigrants. The early European settlers all arrived here by boat just like the Tamil refugees.
In order to reduce public opposition to the arrival of the Tamil refugees, the South Asian and Tamil community in Canada can sponsor the refugees.
The upwards of $50,000 that was paid by the Tamils on the ship and their families, most likely from abroad, should have been paid to the Canadian government to process legitimate immigration applications and help with the transition of the refugees into Canadian society.
The root source of the problem is that there is an inequity of resources and opportunity in the developing world. People want to leave to find a better life.
The solution is to help the developing countries improve the quality of life of their citizens. Canada can play a role in improving systems of democracy, justice, human rights, multiculturalism, and social infrastructure such as universal health care and public education.
The basic needs and fundamental rights of people all over the world have to be protected, enshrined, and guaranteed in international treaties and enforced by local laws.
The idea of the sovereign nation state with the power to make or break any laws it wants opens the door to absolute corruption. Countries need to abide by a set of internationally agreed upon rules and regulations if we want to see some peace on this planet and stability on the immigration front.
Canada and Australia are a couple of the relatively wealthy and developed countries that have a huge territory and small population. They can absorb many more immigrants.
We need visionary leaders to come up with new ideas.
Canada can develop new well-planned, eco-friendly, hi-tech cities.
These cities can have no cars except hybrid taxis, electric buses, and emergency vehicles; support a vibrant local organic food market; implement extensive reduce, reuse, and recycling programs; and be located in beautiful, natural scenic settings with ample parkland, forest, mountains, beachfront, lakes, and harbour areas.
Vancouver is close to this ideal and it is not surprisingly one of the most livable and beautiful cities in the world. It is better to plan beautiful sustainable cities and let the people come settle instead of responding with piecemeal measures to control an expanding city with no overall or coherent design.
In other words, lets prepare for an influx of immigrants and population growth in Canada before social, economic, and political conditions in the world deteriorate and more and more people want to immigrate to Canada.
Where there is a will, there is a way. The immigrants will find one way or another to escape to better off lands whether legally or illegally!
The right mix of immigrants in Canada can lead to a larger domestic market and increased independence from the United States.
The added diversity to the population also helps Canada build social, cultural, economic, and political ties with the immigrants’ mother countries.
Immigration, helps, Canada be more globally competitive and be representative of the people of the Earth.
Alex Sangha is a Delta Resident and Registered Social Worker in BC. He is the Founder and President of Greenersteps.com For column ideas contact firstname.lastname@example.org