Canada is a nation of immigrants, starting with our indigenous people, who immigrated here over the former land bridge connecting present day Alaska and Russia.
Our country's other founding races were the French and the British. Since this time, we have welcomed people from many countries - usually people looking for sanctuary and a better life. We have immigrants from Italy, Spain, Ireland, Poland, Russia, African countries, China, Japan, Vietnam, the islands of the Caribbean, the Philippines, India, and now we are taking people from place like Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Sierra Leone.
This is not a complete list by any means, but if you go to our big cities you will find China Town, Little Italy and so on.
There was a story published in one of our major newspapers that said a poll had been taken and more than 50 per cent of us thought we were taking in too many immigrants. I read the question and the replies and it seemed to me what people said was that government was not doing a good job integrating new non-English or French speaking people into our society. They want government to spend more and move these people through faster. They also stated that the best way to do this and the fastest was to have people in this country sponsor a family.
It is certainly well known that sponsored families do integrate faster and become productive faster as well. I think that the government can do better in this regard. Just bringing in people and dumping them on the provinces is not the way to go and not helping to speed up sponsored people is not the best way forward.
Fact is we need immigrants. There are companies looking for workers and they can't fill the jobs. Also, immigrants traditionally fill jobs that people born here don't want to do. The most compelling reason is that we need five workers to every retired person to support our pension plan and we don't have them. Germany took in one million people in one year, so I would suggest we have a lot of catching up to do.
also was an article that our citizens want more immigrants that are trained to take over high skilled jobs and to stop taking people looking who are seeking refuge. I hope this is not true. I am old enough to remember the ship of Jews looking for refuge in 1939 that was turned away by us and the Americans. They returned to Germany and most died in the Nazis concentration camps.
Walter Jones is a freelance writer living in Amherst. His column appears weekly in the Amherst News.