Recent Polls, Comments Suggest Canada’s Welcoming Attitude Not So Warm
Is Canada truly an immigrant-friendly country? Recent polls and statements from politicians suggest otherwise.
As reported by Global News, the Leger poll suggests a majority of Canadians believe the federal government should limit immigration numbers. 63 percent of the randomly selected 1,528 respondents, randomly selected from Leger’s online panel were in favour of limiting immigration.
Meanwhile, the Ipsos poll shows that nearly 50 percent of Canadians will admit to having racist thoughts, with more Canadians feeling comfortable expressing those thoughts than in past years. Again reported by Global News, the poll suggests a shocking amount of normalization of these behaviours, even as it finds that 1 in 4 Canadians have been victims of racism.
Muslims and Arabs are, according to this poll, the group most likely to be the targets or victims of racism.
The Ipsos poll also finds that 37 percent of Canadians feel immigration “threatens” white Canadians.
These findings are extremely concerning, to put it mildly.
Sean Simpson, vice-president of Ipsos Public Affairs, commented on the findings to Global News, saying that the “threat” could mean any number of common fears some Canadians may hold about immigration, adding, “For some people, it could mean an erosion of Canadian values—whatever those are.”
The concept of “Canadian values” being shared amongst all citizens is inherently flawed and seems predicated on outdated concepts about assimilating newcomers into some ill-defined concept of Canadian culture.
One of the perceived “threats” to white Canadians could be job loss, given the big focus on economic immigration. This theory does not stand up to scrutiny, given Canada’s labour shortage and the need for immigration to support economic growth.
Another could be the idea of the “criminal” immigrant or refugee—people who apparently “jump the queue” and get access to the country instead of a more deserving, “legitimate” immigrant, despite the fact that irregular border crossers are not jumping the queue or breaking the law. Conservative party leader Andrew Scheer stated, “There is absolutely nothing fair or compassionate about real victims of persecution having to fight the government to be reunited with their families, or forcing the oppressed to wait longer for Canada’s help while others jump the queue, exploit loopholes and cross the border illegally from places like upstate New York.”
Yet another “threat” is the so-called “replacement theory,” the idea that white majorities will be overcome by non-white people, leading to a clash between cultures. This theory is espoused by far-right politicians and white supremacists alike, not to mention leaders like Maxime Bernier of the People’s Party of Canada, who has spoken out against multiculturalism, commenting, “Our immigration policy should not aim to forcibly change the cultural character and social fabric of Canada, as radical proponents of multiculturalism want. Of course, society is transformed by immigration. But this has to be done organically and gradually.”
Immigrants and refugees are not stealing “Canadian” jobs. They work hard to make a living and establish lives for themselves and their families in Canada. Nor are immigrants and refugees criminals. They undergo extensive screenings and background checks, and they do not jump the queue by using a loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement. Finally, immigrants and refugees are not replacing white Canadians; they come to Canada for the opportunities and freedoms offered, not to overthrow the majority population.
As a nation, we cannot allow ourselves to be divided by unfounded fears about newcomers to our country. We are a nation of immigrants, living on indigenous land, and we must never forget how our country was built: with helping hands from around the world and through acceptance of all cultures and values. Canadians stand for diversity and for protecting the most vulnerable individuals fleeing from persecution. We are a strong nation precisely because of our firm opposition to racism and divisive policies that are not based on facts and realities but misinformation and stereotypes. We are stronger together and must continue to stand united for human rights.