EDITORIAL – The plain fact is, the numbers tell us we need immigration

Canada Census map 2016.

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THERE’S A WAY to look at the immigration issue logically, to remain compassionate about it but to set aside the distrust and suspicion.

The fact is, we need immigration. Let’s start by acknowledging that. A look at data from the recently released 2016 census leaves no doubt. Between 2011 and 2016, Canada’s population increased by 1.7 million people or five per cent. B.C.’s numbers went up 5.6 per cent; Kamloops increased by 5.4 per cent (reaching 90,280 people) and the Thompson Nicola Regional District including the city by 3.3 per cent (reaching 132,663 people).

Well, you say, what’s wrong with that? Steady but not overwhelming growth. Sounds good.

But only a third of the increase was natural, that is, the difference between the number of births and deaths. The other two-thirds came from migratory increase, which is the difference between the number of immigrants and emigrants.

Low fertility and an aging population are expected to increase this trend in coming years. In other words, if we shut down the borders today, our population would start declining.

Even if we wanted to simply maintain our current population of roughly 36.5 million people, we would need to encourage people from other countries to come join us in this great Canadian mosaic.

Therefore, the only thing left to debate is how to manage the influx. Where are the gaps that need filling? For example, we need more doctors. We also need more modest-paying service industry employees, more skilled labour.

The Venture Kamloops labour market study two years ago found that in our region, about half the new employees we’ll need over the next decade will have to have some form of post-secondary education. More than 34,000 new hires will be required. Of those, a quarter will be low-skilled, roughly another quarter semi-skilled and about the same number professional or technical.

There will be a shortfall of more than 10,000 workers in the next 10 years. So, clearly, here at home, we face some very specific challenges, and we will need immigrants.

The other part of managing immigration, of course, is whether we bring people in based on what they look like, who they worship, what kind of food they eat, or what colour their skin is. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Canada to be a place that discriminates on that basis. And I hope we’ll always have room for refugees of war, famine and disaster.

We can and should, of course, vet new folks for safety and security. We don’t want criminals or terrorists but we want a fair system of vetting.

And that’s where all sides of the debate should focus their energies — on reaching agreement on a fair and targeted approach to welcoming the people we need to sustain ourselves, and set aside fear-mongering and recrimination.

About Mel Rothenburger (5873 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on EDITORIAL – The plain fact is, the numbers tell us we need immigration

  1. R A George // March 18, 2017 at 9:47 AM // Reply

    A short addendum here David and J,? Have a gander at Scott Gilmore,s column on immigration in the latest McLean,s. I,m sure it will also be on the computer.

  2. R A George // March 17, 2017 at 5:52 PM // Reply

    David; and J,? You two folks,especially J,? are obviously well read,intelligent people that truly believe that the Utopian ideal may possibly one day exist in Canada. High IQ,s and above average intelligence have absolutely nothing to do with smarts and reality.Perhaps our latest philosopher king in Ottawa will make us all of one mind.I don,t think so.
    Your assumptions David old boy,about me are almost all entirely wrong. I do not discriminate against any person because of their race or,colour.My mom and dad were of the old school and did. I have made a point not to. I have been a great admirer of Gandhi , Mandela .Obama and King and others like them.They are the peace makers and extremely brave people,but too often pay the price.JFK and his brother Robert did as well.The older brother paid the price fighting the Japanese.
    There is unfortunately no answer to the problems of religion, politics and hatred.

  3. Mel, I’ve been saying this exact thing for a long time now. We need immigrants numbers wise, and the skills they bring with them. History shows (Vietnam refugees, Sikh immigrants and the myriad of times Canada has opened it’s doors to peoples in need), that if supported for a short period of time, these individuals and their descendants become valued, tax paying contributors of society and integrate seamlessly into the Canadian identity.

    We must not be deferred from continuing to be a diverse and intercultural society, by the close minded rhetoric from the US, or from people like R.A George here who are quick to align immigration policy with crime and blame immigrants and refugees as the overwhelming cause of problems in Canada. This tunnel visioned, single minded perspective is not only incorrect by every metric statistically, it is a bigoted ideology based from discriminative, prejudicial beliefs based on skin colour or religious beliefs, and speaks to a fear of some kind of ‘watering down’ of the identity of what a Canadian is.

    Basically what this person has said is; ‘We may not have this problem now in Kamloops … but their coming to get us too’. I reject this notion, and reject allowing this ideology from changing our immigration policy.

    We are Canadian, and we don’t do that, move south and join your red hat brethren.

  4. -As concerning declining populations : Since the change to the Canadian Constitution came into effect (1982, ff.) the level playing field for men and women was unduly upset -and remained that way for families, as women took on advanced education vis a vis Section 15 of the Constitution, as a means of advancement in employment related fields.

    This caused the fracture in Canadian society of regular growth rates amongst existing second and third generation Canadians was due in part because the income levels of gender re-distribution under employment equity gained traction and subsequently offset population growth considerations, hence, the increased need of immigration statistics becoming paramount for Canada’s bottom line, in terms of economic growth and ‘natural’ growth as a nation overall. -It is a factor of importance.

    Immigration from many places in the world is always good and has never been an overt consideration in the Canadian make-up, yet because we have enabled the ‘natural’ increase to be predisposed to wealth-employment gains, per se, vis a vis, the Constitution (et al, funds), we are deemed to need the new population growth as a necessary function to forming wealth throughout the provinces and territories. Note, as well: These new employment advances (since 1982) were paid for by federal assistance through programs related to gender equity ‘amelioration’ identification and 2,/ some granted funds are never paid back -as in the 4th year in completion of programs.


    “The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that the purpose of section 15 is to protect those groups who suffer social, political and legal disadvantage in society. Discrimination occurs where, for example, a person, because of a personal characteristic, suffers disadvantages or is denied opportunities available to other members of society.
    “At the same time as it protects equality, the Charter also allows for certain laws or programs that favour disadvantaged individuals or groups. For example, programs aimed at improving employment opportunities for women…under section 15(2).”

    15. 1. Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
    2. Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. ]

  5. Mel; We,ve had no problem here in beautiful British Columbia so far,you know the place,Vancouver, with thousands of empty houses and Surrey with a targeted shooting every other day,even a few in Vancouver and Burnaby and then there,s Abbotsford of course. We musn,t leave out Ottawa and Toronto. Almost all of these troubles are by immigrants from South Asia,China,The west Indies or the middle east or their second generation offspring.Not too many Timothy McVies,or Bacon Bros out there .
    I would venture that to say that these good folks that will form the vast majority in Canada itself In the near future at the rate we,re going. If a few Arab lads had flown a hijacked airliner full of innocent passengers into the Ottawa Parliament buildings or someone walked into Costco on a busy day with a bomb strapped to them, or machine gunned the unsuspecting people at the market on Victoria street,I
    think Canadians would not be as critical of the USA as we too often are.

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