Canadians Are Smart About Immigration
A new comprehensive immigration study has left many liberal pundits and journalists in the mainstream media disillusioned about one of their favourite Canadian myths.
It turns out, Canadians support sensible immigration policies.
Or, as its spun in a University of Toronto and McGill Institute study, Canadians are not as “tolerant” and “open” as we like to think.
The study, based on public opinion polling of 1,522 people in late January, found Canadian attitudes towards immigration are mostly positive or neutral.
However, it also found there is pushback against open border policies.
For instance, most Canadians prefer that newcomers are educated, speak basic English or French and have a job offer before being accepted for immigration.
We prefer skilled immigrants to unskilled.
About 70% of Canadians surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that “people who come to Canada should change their behaviour to be more like Canadians.”
In other words, Canadians want immigration policies focused on selecting the best candidates and ensuring newcomers integrate into our economy and communities. That’s common sense.
When it comes to refugees, Canadians prefer private over government sponsorship (perfectly reasonable, given that private refugees fare much better) and most Canadians believe we should only admit bona fide refugees fleeing real persecution.
None of this should be controversial. Canadians want sound immigration policies, and are rightly skeptical of mass migration without proper screening and vetting.
And yet, many in the media and even the report’s author interpreted this as indicating Canadians are not open-minded enough.
The study concludes we do “not appear to be an exceptionally tolerant public.”
An article in Maclean’s goes further in disparaging Canadians for not being “enlightened” enough on immigration issues, simply because we want to select the best people to come to Canada.
But the study also shows Canadians have an “impressive” knowledge of our own immigration system.
Most Canadians could correctly identify the basic criteria that we use to select newcomers.
It isn’t out of naivety, bigotry or close-mindedness that Canadians are skeptical about mass migration.
It’s based on our experiences — both at home and around the world.
Even a casual observer of Europe’s hands-off approach to selection and integration of newcomers can see the problems with unchecked migration from a war zone.
It’s common sense to be wary when ISIS terrorists boast about infiltrating the crowds of migrants with jihadists, and Europe is then hit by a string of deadly ISIS-connected or inspired attacks.
Or, closer to home, when the Trudeau Liberals scrapped a portion of the language test for citizenship, Liberal MP Gary Anandasangaree justified the decision by saying, “many Canadians may not be able to pass that test.”
When we shrug our shoulders about isolated communities and second-generation Canadians without language skills, it doesn’t lend confidence to the idea that newcomers are integrating and adjusting to life in Canada.
Despite the handwringing, Canadians are a tolerant and welcoming bunch.
But there are limits to our generosity, and a rightly-held skepticism towards open border policies like those often championed by our prime minister.
Canadians are not naïve. We can tell the difference between good immigration policies — ones that focus on selecting skilled individuals who want to embrace the Canadian way of life — and reckless policies based on reactionary politicking and virtue signaling.
When it comes to sound immigration policies, Canadians are right; it’s elites in media and politics that are off base and misguided.