“Say No to Mass Immigration.” This statement is, apparently, beyond the pale.
It’s hard to imagine the bubble-wrapped, politically correct world one has to live in to consider these five words to be “very racist.”
Is a country allowed to set its own immigration policy? Do citizens have a say in the ever growing levels of newcomers being admitted into their country?
Given the hysteric reaction over a mundane election billboard from a third party group supporting Maxime Bernier and the People’s Party of Canada, the answer to these questions is a resounding no.
The billboards were pulled down, due to the angry mob of activists who demand that Canada not have debates about immigration.
The billboard had a simple message: “say no to mass immigration,” and reflects Bernier’s policy position. In contrast to the other major parties, Bernier wants to lower immigration levels. Not drastically, but down to 250,000 new permanent residents per year.
For reference, Canada admitted 240,000 newcomers in 2015. Prime Minister Trudeau has ramped up immigration levels, with plans to increase the number to 350,000 new permanent residents per year next year. In its 2018 immigration proposal, the Trudeau government admitted these were “the most ambitious immigration levels in recent history.”
Keep in mind that Canada also admits hundreds of thousands of other newcomers each year: students, temporary workers, asylum seekers and long-term visitors. The real number of immigrants coming to Canada each year is closer to one million.
Bernier’s proposal, like the supposedly controversial billboards, is modest. He says, “we propose less immigration, better integration of immigrants in our society, and a sharper focus on Canada’s economic needs.”
This is a policy statement that the overwhelming majority of Canadians agree with.
Last summer, pollsters from Angus Reid found that Canadians by and large wanted lower immigration levels. One poll found that only 6% of Canadians wanted increased immigration numbers, while more than half wanted lower numbers. Another poll found that two-thirds of Canadians believe that we accept too many asylum seekers.
These public opinion findings represent the lowest approval ratings of Canada’s immigration program since they started tracking public opinion in the 1970s.
Canada has always prided itself on being an open and welcoming place, and we have a strong record of successful immigration and integration. Newcomers learn our language, embrace our values and join the Canadian family.
But when we have over a million people joining a country of 35 million each and every year, some newcomers will choose not to integrate. They will seek out members of their diaspora, live in self-segregated neighborhoods, and never learn English, meet other Canadians or get involved in the broader community.
These closed immigrant communities are common in Europe. They are the product of mass immigration coupled with failed integration.
Any successful immigration program must have a front and centre focus on integration. But as the Trudeau government opened up Canada’s borders, they quietly dismantled important integration measures like language and residency requirements for citizenship.
It is Trudeau, not Bernier, who is the radical when it comes to immigration and integration.
You could argue that the Bernier billboards were brash, rude, or even a little mean-spirited, and that’d be a fair observation. But to call them “racist” and then ban their very existence won’t make Canadians any happier with mass immigration without integration.