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Who Gets in: What’s Wrong with Canada’s Immigration Program – and How to Fix It

by Daniel Stoffman

In Who Gets In Daniel Stoffman takes a big bite out of that most sacred of all Canadian cows – our immigration program. Deftly written and studiously substantiated, this book offers much to chew on, perhaps too much for many Canadians.

The facts alone, many previously unknown to this reader, are hard to swallow. Canada admits roughly twice as many immigrants per capita as both the U.S. and Australia, giving preference to unskilled immigrants (unlike any other nation). Many are relatives being sponsored by immigrants who are largely unskilled as well. Far from creating a more diverse nation, Canada’s policy on family sponsoring is resulting in a growing immigrant population from three predominant countries (China, India, Pakistan), a policy that ends up crowding out other single, perhaps skilled, potential immigrants.

But the refugees are the most problematic. Requests for refugee status are approved by the Immigration and Refugee Board at the astonishing rate of 90% (Stoffman argues that only 15% of applicants are actually fleeing persecution). Canada has standards so lax that known terrorists and criminals have been admitted.

Stoffman’s boldest argument is that, as it is now being handled, immigration is neither economically nor demographically advantageous for Canadians. The crucial question is: why is it allowed to continue? Money, for starters, and ideology. The latter, the entrenched orthodoxy that immigration is beneficial to Canada, is rhetoric with no basis in reality. Stoffman cites overcrowding, housing prices, lower wages, and unemployment as just a few of the many problems caused by the nearly 250,000 new Canadians annually.

As for who benefits financially, there are the many immigrant support programs that have sprung up (ESL classes, for example), the well-paid government and social service positions, immigrant legal services, and big business reliant on a steady supply of cheap labour supporting the status quo. Most importantly, immigration delivers votes to the political parties that support it, and Stoffman saves his toughest critiques for the reigning Liberals.

Stoffman’s assertions are shored up by studies and statistics that are rarely cited publicly. To criticize the current immigration system is to utter blasphemy – worse, to risk being labelled a “racist.” At the very least, Stoffman observes, it is considered to be in poor taste. This means an open, clear discussion on this most important of issues is nearly impossible.

This is an important, fascinating book written with an open mind (Stoffman is no racist, nor is he anti-immigration). But this is Canada. Political correctness is in our marrow and Stoffman is undoubtedly in for a rough ride.