Friday, January 25, 2008


Writing about this subject was, until a day or so ago, the farthest thing from my mind. But the time has come, the issue being forced by one Kevin Michael Grace, who took a poke at me at his place yesterday after (presumably) doing an ego-search and coming up with some chance comments made by Antonia Zerbisias and myself here.

He's being a little rough on Antonia, who said nothing about him other than that she likes his writing, but no good deed ever goes unpunished. I'll take my lumps, though, and I'll repeat my position for the regulars here: anyone associated with the white supremacist site VDARE and one of its most prolific racial propagandists, Steve Sailer, is simply not worth taking seriously in a debate about immigration. Add to that Grace's hand-wringing over the expulsion of neo-Nazis from the Conservative Party in 2000 (does the name Marc Lemire jump out at you? Paul Fromm? Doug Christie?) and--I guess we have a pattern here, ladies and gentlemen.

After I sent him a note helping him to correct a bad link that would have seriously confused his readers, Grace was kind enough to email me to ask what my own views on immigration are. I happen to think that there is a debate, a bona fide socioeconomic one, and this is part of what I said to him:

Canada’s population growth rate is moving into a steady decline; even unprecedented levels of immigration aren't likely to turn things around. There are serious skill shortages already in manufacturing, construction, information technology, healthcare, financial services and government.

By 2015, there won't be enough qualified people to replace retiring workers. By 2020, 40% of Canada’s population will be 55 or over, up from about one-third of the population in 2001. A labour shortfall of 950,000 workers is predicted by that time.

By 2025, more than 20% of Canada’s population will be over 65; by 2031, there could be twice as many seniors as children.

Immigration is part of a mixed strategy to avoid the effects of an ageing population on national productivity.I suspect you know this, and wouldn't have a problem if the immigrants were of the, ah, Nordic persuasion. But feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken on this point.

At this point, two friends weighed in--Meaghan Walker-Williams, who feels a personal loyalty to Grace, and Jay Currie, with whom I agree on next to nothing, but who tried, in that earlier thread, to put the debate on a reasonable footing (and for that, kudos).

I shall reproduce some of Jay's comments here, because they are, I think, worthy of discussion:

[T]here are means other than immigration (of whatever hue, nationality or religion) to address a declining birth rate - pro-natalist policies being a good start; the shortages you quite correctly identify are, to a degree, driven by the sort of economy Canada has grown accustomed to - one in which labour is relatively cheap; there are alternatives to a constant growth, cheap labour, economy which might turn out to be quite pleasant; the projection of seniors vs kids in 2025 is worrying if those seniors are infirm, medically expensive and dependent upon the state - there are alternatives to that as well.

Finally, and this is my own rather than Kevin's position, it has never been clear to me why we should have the right to strip less developed nations of their educated middle classes so as to provide tax serfs and taxidrivers to Canadians.

Immigration is a conversation I think needs to happen minus the nastiness. I'll leave you with this thought, France is worried that its 300,000 legal and 100,000 illegal immigrants per year may be a bad thing; Canada with less than half France's population has 250,000 immigrants a year. It might be time to consider our own capacity to absorb this stream.

I have already questioned some of this on that other thread, but I think there are enough talking points here to have a reasonable debate--and I stress that word "reasonable," folks--about Canadian immigration policy. I invite that debate, but with one caveat: comments about society, assimilation, multiculturalism, etc., are more than welcome, but I will not permit racist or hateful ethnocentric comments here. So, hérouxvillistes, neo-Nazis, Islamophobes, go back where you came from--as it were.

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