The View from The Niagara Guide

General observations and musings on how we can make Niagara a better place.

Without Immigration, There Would Be No Canada

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Canada is a country of immigrants. Everyone born here is the descendant of an immigrant. Every. Single. Person. In. Canada.

This is a fact. Not fake news. It's true. Try disproving it. Go ahead. I'm waiting.

If I seem a bit snippy today, it's because I'm concerned about my fellow Canadian citizens who are anti-immigration. I don't get it. What the heck are they thinking?

It's a bit of a guess, but the folks making the most noise and posturing as anti-immigration on social media seem to have a conservative political bent. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm going to point out something those folks seem to have forgotten. Canada's former Conservative government proudly boasted about how they took steps to support immigration, welcoming more immigrants per year than the previous Liberal government, cutting the right of landing fee in half, and tripling funding for settlement services, among other measures. Why? Because it was what they felt was best for Canada's economy.

Let me say that again, in case it was missed. Conservative MP Phil McColeman in the Brant News said this: "Our government believes in the power of immigration to contribute to our prosperity." This was the Conservative point of view during the Harper years.

So, I'm confused. What exactly are people up in arms about when the Canadian government (now Liberal) announces it will welcome one million new immigrants by the year 2020? I think being against immigration is distinctly anti-Canadian.

I have a buddy who was born in the United Kingdom and moved to Canada with his son to be with his Canadian wife. He speaks English fluently (albeit with an accent), has found gainful employment, and contributes greatly to his community. He's an immigrant.

A friend's wife emigrated from Japan. While she worked when she first came to Canada, she became a stay-at-home mother when she and her husband chose to start a family. She speaks English very well (albeit with an accent). She's an active volunteer at her child's school and in other community organizations. She's an immigrant.

Another friend moved here from Pakistan to be with his Canadian wife. He speaks English fluently (albeit with an accent), has found gainful employment in the financial industry, and has recently purchased a new home, and is active in the community through service clubs and serving on the board(s) of local organizations. He's an immigrant.

My wife's friend came to Canada over a decade ago from Sudan with her husband. Now divorced, she supports her two daughters as a single-parent, working hard to provide as her children make their way through high school and university. She and her family are all Canadian citizens, and she pays taxes and supports the economy as a consumer. They're all immigrants.

These are our next door neighbours. These are the people buying homes, cars, groceries, clothes for their children, and so much more. They're Canadians, and they're immigrants. Just like all of our ancestors without whom we wouldn't be Canadians now.

I hear some of my fellow Canadians describing immigrants as "freeloaders", "criminals", "deadbeats" and worse. It doesn't make any sense, unless it means something else. I'm not going to go into those thoughts, but I urge my fellow citizens to think seriously about what they're saying when badmouthing all immigrants with slurs and smears, and more importantly, why they're saying it.

Our former Conservative government supported immigration. Our current Liberal government is carrying on. The immigrants I know are making positive contributions to the Canadian economy and to our communities, and I for one am proud to welcome them to Canada. For those concerned about how quickly immigrants integrate into Canadian society, I suggest that being more welcoming and supportive would be beneficial.



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