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11/02/2005 Archived Entry: "Go North Young Man....and Woman!"

Interesting news article:
'Desperate' Canada to lift immigration
. It states, Immigration Minister Joe Volpe said Ottawa was "desperate for immigration" and had "to start thinking about the immigration department as a recruiting vehicle for Canada's demographic and labour market needs". Mr Volpe said Canada intended to accept 255,000 new immigrants next year and would be prepared to accept 300,000 immigrants a year within five years.

Its pro-immigrant attitude is one of the things I like best about Canada. [Please click on 'more' to continue]

I went to a neighbor's birthday party last week and almost half of the gals sitting around the table had immigrated to Canada as young adults. Two from Germany, one from the Czech Republic, one from Denmark. The birthday girl herself was born in Canada but her parents had immigrated from Japan shortly before her arrival. I love to walk the streets of Toronto and hear five different languages being spoken in as many minutes. The restaurants, the small exotic shops, the bookstores that stock Russian newspapers, the German delis, the Chinese grocers, women walking by in hijabs, Hassidic Jews... You could stand in one place and be fascinated by the passing traffic or receive a cultural education by just wandering.

The embrace of immigrants stands in such sharp contrast with the general attitude I encounter in the U.S.; most of my family lives there and, with frequent trips 'down under', I am familiar with the "man on the street" attitude as well the views broadcast by the likes of CNN and FOX. There often seems to be a disconnect between the street and the media but on the issue of immigration there seems to be accord. Namely, that immigration is a danger to the American people and the process must be tightly regulated to protect them. Such attitudes are protecting America into an insular closed society, and harming its economy to boot.

One reason Canada has a booming economy is immigration. The Canadian dollar just keeps rising against the greenback despite the fact that U.S. serially raises interest rates and the Canadian government is trying to push its own dollar back down. Canada is reaping the benefits of decades of aggressively open immigration policies -- at least, open compared to virtually any other G8 nation. When the Berlin Wall fell, Canada literally sent people over to the Eastern Block to recruit skilled laborers...welders, machinists, etc...because those skills had been widely taught in European apprentice programs and were in short supply here. When Hong Kong was teetering on the cusp of a Chinese take-over, myhusband and I used to joke that the country (as a land mass) just tipped to the right and half the people rolled into Vancouver. Which is merely an exaggeration of what actually happened.

The United States used to be the preferred destination of the best and brightest that the world had to offer. Now visas are so difficult and anti-immigrant attitudes/policies so toxic that the best and brightest are going elsewhere. I hate to see what the U.S. is doing to itself.

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