1. cut immigration to 100,000 per year
2. have half come from Europe
3. end the Asiatic fatalistic belief that high immigration levels are inevitable
4. don't let anyone call you racist if you want to discuss immigration, this is policy, not religious dogma and it can be changed by human decisions
Immigration has been something of a taboo issue for the country for some decades, it is time to bring a discussion of this issue more into the open. What was started 20 years years can be adjusted. especially we are getting homegrown terrorists like the Toronto 18-if that's not a wake up call, I don't know what is. There are too many ethnic enclaves that prevent assimilation of immigrants which exist because of high immigration numbers.
In the Sun paper the headline called this a "thorny" issue. Time to defang it.
1,000 experts in Vancouver to weigh if immigration working - The Search
1,000 experts in Vancouver to weigh if immigration working (external - login to view)
By Douglas Todd (external - login to view) 23 Mar 2011
How can Canada stop immigrant groups from turning out religious radicals, with some bent on terrorism in the name of God?
Given that many newcomers arrive from countries where homosexuality is illegal, how can Canada support immigrants who feel forced to hide that they are gay or lesbian?
Are Canadians being too laissez-faire about whether fresh arrivals know English or French? Some believe the limited expectations Canada places upon new arrivals lead to ethnic enclaves.
These are some of the long-disputed topics that will be debated at a massive Vancouver conference on immigration sponsored by Metropolis B.C., one of five Canadian think-tanks financed by governments to research and create dialogue on multicultural issues.
Only 400 people attended the first national Metropolis conference 15 years ago. This time, however, more than 1,000 people are expected to take part in the scores of presentations and workshops planned for Metropolis 2011, which runs Wednesday to Saturday at the Sheraton Wall Centre (right).
"The government of Canada started to raise immigration numbers in the late 1980s and, by the early 1990s, there were many questions raised about the outcome of the new policy," says University of B.C. geographer Daniel Hiebert (below left), who is a co-director of Metropolis B.C.
The five regional Metropolis centres were created to answer some of those difficult questions, which come with Canada having the highest immigration rate per capita in the world -roughly 250,000 arrivals a year, the vast majority from Asia.
There may be no more important topic to Canadians, especially Metro Vancouver and other urban residents, than immigration and its impacts -on culture, housing, schools, business and our collective values.
Even though the vast majority of new immigrants flock to Canada's major cities, the entire country is being dramatically shaped by immigration. Statistics Canada projects that, by 2031, almost one-half of the population over the age of 15 will be foreign-born or have at least one foreign-born parent.
Already in Metro Vancouver today, more than two out of five residents were born outside the country, a statistic that experts say makes the West Coast metropolis one of the most "cosmopolitan" in the world, along with Toronto and London, England.
The British Council, which monitors immigration policy around the globe, recently ranked Canada third best in the world for its ability to integrate immigrants, behind Sweden and Portugal.
But signs of discomfort are rising to the surface across the nation.
For instance, many observers believe the newly elected mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, topped the polls in part because he had suggested Toronto had no more room for immigrants.
In recent years the Canadian public, says Hiebert, has developed three competing responses to immigration.
One message the media give out is that high immigration is "necessary" and "inevitable," because Canada's low fertility rate will lead to a labour shortage, Hiebert wrote in a recent paper with Nadine Schuurman and Heather Smith.
A second argument often aired by academics and commentators is that immigration patterns are failing because newcomers and migrant workers aren't doing well, are eating up tax dollars and are lowering wages for those who already live here, Hiebert et al. observe in their paper, titled Multiculturalism on the Ground.
The third key response of Canadians, say the authors, is that too many immigrants are "choosing" to live in ethnic enclaves - and that Canadians' famous tolerance is leading to racial isolation and mutual indifference.
Even though the researchers say it's too early to tell which analysis will prove to be the most accurate in the long run, Hiebert and his fellow researchers say one thing is true: "Multiculturalism isn't working that well for visible-minority newcomers."
Even though Canadians fear of growing ethnic "ghettos" and "race riots" are exaggerated, the researchers maintain the jury is out on whether full economic and social integration of visible-minority immigrants will ever occur.
Roughly one-third of those trying to shed some light on these burning immigration issues at Metropolis 2011 this week will be academic researchers, another third are government officials and the rest come from nonprofit organizations that work with immigrants and refugees.
Some of the more significant plenaries and workshops at Metropolis 2011 will delve into:
. Whether religions may be radicalizing some immigrants.
Canadian investigators, including the University of Victoria's Paul Bramadat, have been looking into how some Sikh, Tamil, Muslim and other groups may be fuelling extremist attitudes, especially among young people.
. The pros and cons of building multiple religious edifices along Richmond's "Highway to Heaven."
UBC's Justin Tse and David Ley will be among those explaining how planners can work with religious groups to raise the likelihood spirituality will aid integration, not division or hate.
. Gay and lesbian immigrants fear discrimination by their own communities. B.C. researchers are uncovering evidence that homosexual immigrants live in terror of rejection by their own ethnic group, as well as by the nonprofit service agencies set up to help newcomers.
. Comparing Canadian attitudes to Sweden's generous approach.
Despite receiving the world's highest ranking for the way they welcome immigrants and refugees, Swedes are increasingly worried newcomers are settling into self-imposed ghettos, characterized by poverty and illiteracy. Could the same thing be happening here?
. Is it useful to collect race-based criminal justice statistics?
Some Canadian researchers are looking into the ethnic breakdown among prison populations, while others are developing strategies to work with young immigrants who are tempted to join gangs.
. Marriages of convenience.
These sham unions are a growing scourge among immigrant communities and for immigration officials - with many supposedly "married" newcomers arriving safely in Canada only to immediately betray, abuse or leave their partners.
In addition to creating a forum for these significant discussions, Metropolis B.C. has funded a series of its own fascinating research projects. They include: studying the consequences of 40 per cent of Simon Fraser University's students coming from homes where English is not the first language; researching whether B.C. employers discriminate against people based on their foreign-sounding names; and finding ways to encourage immigrant participation in the wider West Coast culture.
All of these issues and more deserve proper study.
They need to be better understood and responded to if Canada's grand experiment in mass immigration is to really succeed.
There is no point pretending, as do many politicians and others, that everything is going smoothly in regards to integrating hundreds of thousands of newcomers each year.
Although these and other immigration issues are strongly significant, Hiebert says the country's five Metropolis research and education centres are being wound down in 2012.
With government funding drying up, this will be the last Metropolis conference held in Vancouver.