By ANGELO PERSICHILLI
The Hill Times (Feb. 13, 2017 12:00 AM)
The 2016 census confirmed what we knew, that is the future of Canada is intimately tied to immigration. We need more people and they can only come from abroad. We all knew that, we all agree, and the only alternative is to become the 51st state of our friends to the south.
The question we should ask is what kind of Canada we are going to have 30 years down the road?
Just asking this question irks the sensitivity of many people because the first thought goes to the cultural changes Canada will face. We automatically raise barriers with terms like “intolerance” and “racism,” killing any constructive dialogue between all Canadians and future Canadians on this subject.
The cultural changes that Canada will face are inevitable and will be dictated by natural elements always prevailing in our society.
Let’s face it, the francophone community in Quebec and anglophones in the rest of the country have always played a leading role in our society because their numeric consistency has allowed them to do so.
I don’t believe in historic and traditional rights, otherwise aboriginal communities would be in a much different and more prominent position.
The founding cultures of modern Canada could afford the influence and power in every institution because of their numeric consistency. It takes a brief look at the phone list of the most important federal positions, the list of the ministers, and even the prime ministers of this country to understand where the power is.
I am not blaming them because that is the way it works in most democratic countries. Changes are dictated by numbers, while policies must comply accordingly. In fact, even if slowly, the balance of power is changing and numeric consistency can take credit for it.
Canada is way ahead of European countries in the redistribution of power according to ethnic backgrounds, but the changes are dictated by the new balance reflecting the numeric consistency; policies are only following suit. The resistance we see lately in Europe toward these changes is the same resistance we saw in Canada in the last century, with the head tax on many new immigrants from China and Japan, the discriminations against the Irish and Jews, and the internment of Canadians of Italian origin.
Going back to my original question, I am not concerned about the cultural changes because I am convinced that they will be fair and we will be able to handle them properly. After all, the basic culture of all Canadians is to feed the family, to have jobs for people, to sustain an education system for children, and to have an adequate health-care system, particularly for elders.
And this is the part of the question that concerns me. In order to do that, we need a sound economy, and I am not sure that our leaders have a clear plan and, if they do, they don’t have an idea about where the manpower will come from.
We must help refugees, but at the same time we must not confuse the refugees issue with immigration in general. We will accept refugees according to their needs, while traditional immigration is based on mutual interest.
Obviously, most refugees will integrate into our economic system, but we don’t know if they are enough to fulfil the economic needs, and we can’t make plans about our economy based of the future stability of foreign countries producing refugees.
My concerns about the future of this country are not related to our ability to properly handle cultural differences, but our capacity to properly plan for our economic future.
From what I have seen up to now, there is room for concerns. And it will be the same until we will no longer see engineers from Iran driving taxis in Montreal, medical doctors teaching foreign languages in Vancouver, or illegal workers building houses in Toronto.
This is not a refugee problem. This is lack of planning regarding our immigration needs. In the process, we damage our economy and humiliate foreign professionals lured into our country by offering a future when we have no idea where it will lead even us or our children.