Tony Abbott repeats claim immigration cut will improve quality of life | Australia news | The Guardian

One could have a similar debate here without being xenophobic (“stagnant wages, unaffordable housing and clogged infrastructure”):

Tony Abbott has seized on Peter Dutton’s claim that Australia needs to cut its migration intake and signalled he will renew his push to do so by linking migrant numbers to quality of living issues.

On Monday the former prime minister said he would make the case for cutting migration to improve “stagnant wages, unaffordable housing and clogged infrastructure” in a speech in Sydney on Tuesday.

The speech coincides with Malcolm Turnbull’s trip to the US to meet Donald Trump and picks up on themes from Abbott’s “conservative manifesto” launched in 2017, viewed as a critique of Turnbull government policies.

Abbott told 2GB Radio that the “gossip” regarding Barnaby Joyce and politicians’ private lives was a “very serious distraction” to issues including power prices, wages, housing prices and traffic congestion that the government “should be attending to”.

Asked about Jim Molan’s first Senate speech in which the conservative Liberal called for a reassessment of migration levels, Abbott said the program must be run “in Australia’s national interest”.

“Just at the moment we’ve got stagnant wages, unaffordable housing, clogged infrastructure and there is no doubt the rate of immigration impacts on all of these things.”

Abbott said that immigration had averaged 110,000 a year for most of the life of the Howard government and since 2006 “it’s been running at double that rate”.

“That means every five years we are adding – by immigration alone – a city the size of Adelaide to our population.”

Abbott said the level of immigration was “very, very high”, “absolutely unprecedented by historical standards” and “on a per capita basis, vastly higher than any other developed country”.

According to the parliamentary library, an average of 107,000 permanent migrants and people on humanitarian visas entered Australia a year between 1996 and 2006 compared with 190,000 a year from 2006 to 2016.

However, the average in the Howard government was weighed down by low results in the early years. By 2006-07, 161,217 people came to Australia on permanent or humanitarian visas, almost as high as during the Rudd and Gillard Labor governments and Abbott and Turnbull Coalition governments, when it ranged up to 200,000.

The net overseas migration figures were 114,000 a year between 1996 and 2006, and 220,000 a year from 2007 to 2015.

However, from 2006 onwards, estimates for net overseas migration included people who stayed in Australia for 12 months or more, who were added to the population. This means the figures after 2006 are boosted by temporary migrants who later become permanent residents or citizens.

In his book Choosing Openness, Labor’s shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh noted that, according to an OECD survey of academic studies, migrants had minimal impact on housing prices.

Of the OECD’s 28 studies on immigration and wages, 13 reported no effect, seven a small positive effect, and eight a small negative effect, he said.

Abbott qualified his remarks by saying he was “all in favour of immigration but it has to be the right immigration, under the right circumstances, that’s right for our country, including the recent migrants”.

“I think the current rate of immigration does need to be looked at again – that’s what Peter Dutton seemed to be suggesting on Ray’s program last week.”

On Thursday Dutton said Australia must reduce its intake of migrants “where we believe it’s in our national interest”.

Dutton said it was a “perfectly legitimate argument” that Australia’s cities were “overcrowded” including “gridlocked traffic in the mornings”.

“We have to reduce the numbers where we believe it’s in our national interest,” he said. “It’s come back considerably and if we have to bring it back further, if that’s what required and that’s what’s in our country’s best interests … that is what we will do.”

After the Turnbull government recorded its 27th consecutive Newspoll loss on Monday, Abbott said it was “very dangerous and counterproductive” to get rid of a leader “on the basis of a poll, or the basis of 29 polls”.

“It was the prime minister who made the polls this kind of a test, and really it’s the prime minister who has elevated polling into the be-all and end-all,” he said.

via Tony Abbott repeats claim immigration cut will improve quality of life | Australia news | The Guardian

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What Can the U.S. Learn From How Other Countries Handle Immigration? – The New York Times

One of the better comparative analyses I have seen, with good charts. If Canada had the same allocation between classes, about 200,000 would be family-class compared to 40,000 economic class  compared to the actual number of 61,000 family and 156,000 economic (2011 data):

Every country regulates immigration in its own imperfect way. Some countries have populations that are 80 percent foreign-born but offer no pathway to permanency. Other countries put up huge barriers to citizenship except for people whose parents were born there.

In the United States, the Senate has struggled, unsuccessfully so far, to pass an immigration reform bill. But the debate has put nearly every category of immigration on the table, from smaller, targeted programs such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Temporary Protected Status and the Diversity Immigrant Visa, to big pillars of the immigration system like work-related and family-based migration.

President Trump has called for a shift from what currently makes the American immigration system distinct: its focus on family ties, a framework that accounts for two-thirds of all residency visas, more than any other country. Instead, he and many Republicans would like most visas to be distributed based on employability, with a preference for those who are highly skilled, like doctors, engineers or entrepreneurs.

“In many ways the U.S. immigration system is a relic of the past,” said Justin Gest, a professor at George Mason University who studies comparative immigration policy, referring to how public opinion has changed since 1965, when the family-based system was established. “It is far more generous than I think the spirit of the United States is today.”

The accompanying chart displays selected countries and the circumstances under which each one welcomes foreigners. It’s based on data from 2011, the latest year available for certain countries like China, and shows temporary migrants (like students and guest workers) and permanent migrants, broken down by the basis for their visa: family ties, employment, humanitarian purposes (as with refugees) or under a free-movement policy (as with the European Union).

Note that the data did not capture undocumented immigrants. Although the United States has good estimates on its undocumented population, data from other countries are spotty and harder to come by.

Simply put, the purpose of an immigration policy is to decide what types of people to allow inside the border. What would it look like if the United States adopted rules more like those of Canada, Japan or Qatar? Compare the policies below.

The Mix if We Looked More Like Canada

In 2011, Canada and Australia relied heavily on immigrants who were admitted based on employability, many of whom were allowed to stay permanently. Both countries used a merit-based point system to determine who qualified, assigning a number of points to criteria such as education, language skills and employment history.

Mr. Trump has said that he would like to emulate the Canadian and Australian systems. But Mr. Gest pointed to a blind spot the size of Ohio — the seventh-most populous state — that could be obscuring how similar the systems already are: undocumented immigrants, who are highly represented in the United States in many low-skill industries like farming and construction.

“If you think of the undocumented as 11 to 12 million temporary low-skilled laborers, then you have a system that looks a little bit more like Canada” in terms of temporary workers, he said. (In fact, Canada and Australia have a much greater proportion of temporary workers than the United States.)

But a merit-based system doesn’t necessarily result in economic payoff, because skills don’t always lead to a job. For example, Canada has struggled to keep its merit-based workers employed since 1967, when the policy was first established.

That’s because some of the very skills and credentials that ushered immigrants into the country were unrecognized once they arrived, so many ended up unemployed or underemployed.

Another reason President Trump might not want to rely too heavily on Canada or Australia as models: Both countries allow in far more immigrants as a percentage of their population. If the United States were to follow their lead, it would involve admitting millions more people.

Or More Like Europe

Historically, most immigrants in Europe have been other Europeans. The European Union allows people to relocate between countries with a level of freedom that is unmatched elsewhere in the world, greatly widening employment pools.

Middle Eastern conflict has created an exception in recent years, spurring a big influx of asylum seekers from war-torn countries. But humanitarian migrants typically make up only a small proportion of Europe’s foreign-born population.

Mercosur, a trade bloc in South America, functions like the E.U., though it allows people to live outside their home countries for only two years at a time, after which they must apply for permission to stay permanently.

It might help to imagine that these partnerships are like Nafta — the policy between the United States, Mexico and Canada that lowers barriers for trade, which President Trump has threatened to eliminate — but instead of goods, the agreements apply to people.

In a system like that, Americans looking for work would be able to expand their searches into Canada and Mexico, but they would also compete against Canadian and Mexican candidates for jobs in the United States.

Or Like Japan and South Korea

South Korea and Japan are so stringent with immigration that they make the United States look lenient. This is partly because of a desire to preserve their cultures, a goal echoed by some conservative groups in the United States.

For example, the Japanese government once offered thousands of dollars to immigrants of Japanese descent to leave the country. And very few people become South Korean citizens without family ties; doing so requires years of residence, an in-person language proficiency test and a written test on customs, history and culture.

On top of stoking racial tensions, these policies have created demographic problems for South Korea and Japan. Both countries’ populations are aging rapidly, social services are underfunded, and many industries face labor shortages.

Some unusual policies, such as Japan’s practice of granting citizenship based on a parent’s Japanese nationality instead of where babies are born, have created situations where three generations of a family may not be Japanese citizens despite having lived in the country all their lives.

Or Like the Gulf States

The Gulf states allow a huge immigrant influx to meet the demand for cheap, low-skilled labor, but almost all of the immigrants are temporary, and they have few rights or protections.

In Qatar, for example, roughly 80 percent of the population is foreign-born. Without them, the skyscrapers of Doha or the 2022 World Cup, for which the government has promised to build more than half a dozen new stadiums, would not be possible. And the Qatari government has been accused of human rights abuses against those workers.

The only way that governments can sustain these heavy immigrant populations is by withholding the generous resources that are granted to ordinary citizens, such as free health care, free college tuition and marriage allowances.

Most Americans would not be comfortable with this approach, said Morris Levy, a political scientist at the University of Southern California who studies public opinion on immigration. “People dislike the idea of a permanent second-class citizen,” he said. “It goes back to a core set of values that people think of as really elemental to being American.”

The Future Is Probably Somewhere in the Middle

Based on the current debate, any solution that Congress agrees on will probably fall somewhere between international models. It could follow some trends that are occurring worldwide.

For example, in many countries, including Canada and Australia, there has been a shift away from exclusively merit-based systems to ones that also consider whether someone has a job offer — something currently done in the United States.

For purposes of immigration, the United States could narrow its definition of family, which is wider than that of any other country, to exclude siblings or adult children who are married.

Although current American policies around family-based migration are the most generous in the world, the results look much different in practice because of limits on the number of visas that can be granted in each category.

“There is a certain mindlessness to family immigration when you take into account eligibility and time,” said Demetrios G. Papademetriou, co-founder of the Migration Policy Institute, a research organization. “Someone qualifies, but it may take 20 years before a visa is open to them.”

“There is a major undisputed advantage to family immigration, chain migration; it’s become apparently a dirty word,” he said. “You have someone here who will show you the ropes, who will take you in that can set up employment for you. When it comes to immigrant integration, family is very important.”

You could envision a merit-based system that incorporates characteristics of our current system. It could grant points to people who have family members in the United States, or who come from countries that are not highly represented in the current population.

In that case, it might be desirable to pay attention to the weight each category is given and to adjust based on economic and social outcomes.

“That is how you keep a point selection system,” Mr. Papademetriou said. “Everything else is just blind faith or politics. Our system that exists today is just politics.”

While the sputtering negotiations are frustrating for many people, especially for those caught up in the system, academics agree that, in general, these decisions should not be rushed.

“Immigration is social engineering,” said Mr. Gest, the George Mason University professor. “You’re building the population of the future.”

via What Can the U.S. Learn From How Other Countries Handle Immigration? – The New York Times

The Effect of Trump’s Immigration Crackdown, In 3 Maps – CityLab

Impressive detailed analysis:

As soon Donald Trump took office, his administration started on his primary promise: A crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

On his command, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) widened the dragnet—targeting, essentially, anyone without papers, even if they had not committed serious crimes. The emphasis shifted beyond the border region, with federal immigration authorities using workplace and other raids to round up undocumented immigrants. Young people who were previously exempt from deportation through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) also became vulnerable, after the Trump administration announced the end of the Obama-era program.

So, what has the impact of this aggressive approach been so far? Below are three maps that provide answers. The common theme: Local sanctuary policies that limit cooperation with federal authorities seem to be blunting the force of the administration’s actions. Areas with greater local limitations on federal immigration cooperation have seen, in general, smaller increases in arrests—even if they have large immigrant populations.

The first map comes from a recent Pew Research Center report, which analyzed the change in immigration arrests between 2016 and 2017. It finds that between January 20, when Trump took office, and September 30, when the fiscal year ended, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests went up by 42 percent compared to the same period in 2016. The total arrests in 2017 were also 30 percent higher than the previous year.

While these numbers represent significant increases from recent years, they are not nearly as high as in 2009, when twice as many people were arrested. That initial high number in Barack Obama’s first year in office declined over the duration of his presidency, after he shifted policy to focus on deporting particular categories of undocumented immigrants. It’s also important to note that while the Trump administration is arresting more people, it has not yet been able to deport them at Obama-era levels because of immigration court backlog.

Pew’s report breaks down 2017’s increases in arrests by geography, showing where ICE has been most effective. The agency operates out of field offices in some major cities that cover not just that particular city, but wider “areas of responsibility” that sometimes span multiple states. All of these areas saw increases in arrests in 2017, but the Miami field office, which covers all of Florida, saw the most—a striking 76 percent increase compared to 2016. Dallas and St. Paul were next on the list, with 71 and 61 percent increases, respectively. (Dallas had the highest absolute number of arrests of all field offices.) New Orleans, Atlanta, Boston, and Detroit followed with more than 50 percent increases.

Here’s Pew’s map that colors the areas of responsibility based on the increase in arrests between 2016 and 2017:

The darker the color, the higher the increase in arrests by ICE. (Pew Research Center)

While the concentration of undocumented immigrants certainly drives arrest numbers, it doesn’t completely explain why some areas have had much higher jumps in arrests than others. If it did, immigrant-rich areas near the border, like El Paso and Phoenix, and traditional immigration hubs like New York and Los Angeles, would have all seen much higher increases.

What this map suggests is that local policies matter.

Take Miami, for example. The city renounced its sanctuary city statusafter the Trump administration threatened to withdraw federal funding. (Courts have since blocked that threat.) Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised that decision in a visit last year. Via USA Today:

“We cannot continue giving taxpayer money to cities that actively undermine the safety and efficacy of federal law enforcement efforts,” Sessions said during the appearance at PortMiami. “So to all sanctuary jurisdictions across the country, I say: Miami-Dade is doing it, other cities are doing it, and so can you.”

Miami’s decision to get local law enforcement involved likely helped boost arrests in and around that area, which already has a high concentration of immigrants.

The Atlanta metro area has also seen high increases in 2017 for the same reason. Despite former Mayor Kasim Reed’s defense of sanctuary cities, Georgia state law requires cooperation with ICE—and some of the counties around Atlanta have been quite eager to help. The state also has high penalties for driving without a license, which make it more likely for folks without papers to enter the criminal justice system, and then, the deportation pipeline.There is at least some indication that the Trump administration is trying to have the opposite effect, instead targeting those jurisdictions that have more protective local laws. In September 2017, ICE, focused their raids in localities and cities that have sanctuary policies, saying that the agency was “forced to dedicate more resources to conduct at-large arrests in these communities,” because of these policies. Later, ICE’s director also suggested that the politicians from these cities should face criminal charges for harboring undocumented immigrants. But so far, the effect of that laser focus is unclear—it’s certainly not visible in the aggregate data used for the Pew map.

Local politics have also shifted in the last year, in response to the national immigration agenda. The second and third maps show the current county-level sanctuary policies—and how they have changed since Trump took office. Both come from a new report by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), an immigrants’ rights organization that has been tracking how involved localities have been in immigration enforcement.

The below map shows the strength of the sanctuary policies in 2017. The places in green are most protective of local immigrant populations—they disentangle policing from federal enforcement. In red are the places that provide the most assistance to federal efforts:
This map shows which counties have the least involvement in federal immigration enforcement (in green) and which have the most (red). (Immigrant Legal Resource Center)
ILRC legal researchers created these rankings based on a seven-point rubric that reflects the spectrum of existing sanctuary policies in 3,000-plus counties. They included policies that limit the use of municipal resources for immigration enforcement, that forbid police from collecting information about immigration status, that ask police to decline ICE’s warrantless requests to detain individuals for extra time, and others. They also looked at whether these localities had agreements with ICE (called 287(g) agreements) to deputize their police officers to do various immigration enforcement duties.ILRC also traced the changes in these policies. And what they noticed was that as the Trump administration doubled down on curbing illegal immigration, some local governments started joining the effort, while others started mounting resistance. According to ILRC’s analysis, 410 localities strengthened sanctuary policies in 2017 (in blue below). Many did so in more than one way. Denver County, Colorado, for example, enacted a law in 2017 that forbids city funds or resources going towards investigation or detention of undocumented immigrants—in the absence of a judicial warrant. It also rules out 287(g) contracts. A quarter of the counties have now put limits on how their police respond to ICE’s “detainer” requests, up from just a handful in 2013. These demands to detain individuals that the federal agency suspects are undocumented for longer than their sentence have been ruled illegal by severalcourts.

Fewer counties went the other way, the report notes (warm colors below). Only around 244 devoted more resources to helping out ICE in 2017. (Note: Local governments with 287(g) agreements have been increasing in the last two years, but in some cases, this move may have been balanced in some other way—by a stop in responding to detainer requests in fear of lawsuits. So counties that entered into new 287(g) agreements on this map below could appear as any color, depending on how weak or strong their original policies were in totality.)

Overall, though, around 74 percent of the counties continue to help ICE out in whatever way it asks, “often without even analyzing whether it is legal to do so,” the report notes.

“There is a great opportunity in 2018 to strengthen and establish new policies that actively protect our immigrant neighbors,” said LenaGraber, staff attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, in a statement. “And to not spend local resources detaining and deporting our community members.”

via The Effect of Trump’s Immigration Crackdown, In 3 Maps – CityLab

Businesses are floundering while Whitehall dithers on immigration

Interesting commentary from Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce:

You might not know it, but a crisis is looming on the business parks, industrial estates, construction projects and farms of Britain. As the Brexit process dominates politics – and diverts Westminster’s energy away from virtually every other issue – businesses are struggling to fill vacancies and to find the people they need in order to grow.

In some sectors firms report that labour shortages have reached critical levels. A combination of record employment levels for UK-born people, significant falls in immigration following the devaluation of sterling in 2016, and the total absence of job candidates in some areas is biting hard. British Chambers of Commerce surveys show nearly three-quarters of firms trying to recruit are experiencing difficulties – this is at or near the highest levels since our records began more than 25 years ago.

Pragmatic solutions are needed to this acute and immediate problem. Job vacancies at all levels in the workforce are being left unfilled, damaging not only individual businesses and their growth prospects but also supply chains and the wider economy. While many firms report they are investing long term in the training and development of their workforce, this will take years to have the desired impact, particularly for very highly skilled roles. We cannot afford any gap in the supply of skills and labour. Businesses that have not planned ahead for their future needs will be wishing they had.

Yet, with few exceptions, businesses tell us that breezy Whitehall assumptions about artificial intelligence and automation remain years away from fruition. While some jobs may change or disappear in future, businesses will always need people because they are more flexible and adaptable than robots to the fast pace of change in the workplace. There’s no doubt, in the here and now, that UK firms require continuing access to labour, from Europe and farther afield, to plug the gaps.

Amid all the uncertainty our businesses and communities face, the UK government must act swiftly to define an open and responsive immigration policy. Businesses accept that, in future, there will be some form of registration for European workers, but they are equally clear that they must be able to access skills and talent from the European mainland with minimal costs, barriers and delay after Brexit – irrespective of the final settlement between the UK and the EU.

Taking back control of immigration should not mean pulling up the drawbridge. It means knowing who’s coming in and out, and ensuring that only those who are entitled to work in the UK can do so. Tighter enforcement of the law, with individuals and with rogue employers, alike, is much more important to addressing legitimate public concerns over immigration levels than an expensive, draconian and damaging visa or work permit regime. At the same time, firms across the country must demonstrate, day in and day out, real civic commitment to train and invest in staff here at home. We in business must hold up our side of the deal, too.

Civic-minded businesses aren’t making the case for immigration because they’re seeking cheap labour from abroad. Despite the oft-repeated myths, our research clearly shows that a tiny percentage of businesses consciously recruit outside the UK for reasons of cost. Businesses in the communities I represent are far more likely to try to address skills shortages locally, by investing in their workforce or seeking new employees through word-of-mouth advertising or UK recruitment agencies. Firms in a small number of areas, such as agriculture and personal care, do advertise overseas – but only because they fail to recruit local workers to do the jobs on offer.

These skills gaps won’t disappear after Brexit, but many firms’ production targets will be scaled back, and expansion plans shelved, if the loathed and expensive system used for non-EU recruiting is expanded across the board. The current rationing of non-EU work permits is already a clear and present threat to investment in our business communities, and extending that cumbersome system to European workers would make a difficult situation even worse.

A brave government would either unilaterally keep a preferential approach, or adopt a level playing field that radically reduces costs and administrative burdens across the board, rather than put them up.

In recent months, the Home Office under Amber Rudd has made welcome efforts to open up after years of defensiveness, and talk more to businesses about the UK’s future immigration rules. The migration advisory committee is also taking a clear-eyed look around the country at different communities’ future workforce needs. This enhanced engagement, rather than dictation, is a major step forward. Ministers must now avoid an unwelcome and untimely step backwards to an expensive and bureaucratic immigration system – and make a bold commitment to meet the needs of the economy.

The simple fact is that many businesses can’t afford to wait much longer for a clear UK immigration policy to emerge. This makes it all the more troubling that the planned immigration white paper, meant to cover the short to medium term, is now delayed. As the prime minister herself has repeatedly noted, workers of all skill levels from Europe play a huge role in the success of British businesses and communities. Now it is up to the cabinet as a whole – including Theresa May – to send a clear and swift signal that businesses can access the people and skills needed to remain competitive in a global market.

A failure to act swiftly would hamstring UK firms’ competitiveness, and even send some to the wall. It’s not just about “the best and the brightest” coming to work in the City, our universities and the creative industries. If ministers wish to avoid the sight of unfinished urban buildings, fruit rotting in Herefordshire fields, and care homes and hotels from Bournemouth to Inverness shutting their doors, as well as manufacturers investing in their overseas operations instead of here at home, the time to act is now.

Source: Businesses are floundering while Whitehall dithers on immigration

As Abdoul Abdi’s parent, Canada is guilty of child neglect: Balkissoon

One of the better articles on the failures involved in looking after Abdi:

Before last year, an immigrant child could not apply for Canadian citizenship. Their legal guardian had to do it for them. Abdoul Abdi has been here since 2000, but his citizenship paperwork was never filled out by his parents. Since he was 7, that role has been filled by the Nova Scotia government.

In January, Mr. Abdi, now 24, completed a five-year sentence on multiple charges including aggravated assault. As a non-citizen convicted of serious crimes, he’s facing deportation. Having forcibly assumed the responsibility of raising him, the government is now trying to shrug off the repercussions of its own negligence.

Mr. Abdi fled Somalia at the age of 3 along with his five-year-old-sister, his two aunts and his mother. They spent three years in Saudi Arabia where Mr. Abdi’s mother died while waiting to see if they would be accepted as refugees to Canada. The children’s aunt, Asha Ali, became their legal guardian.

The family arrived in Nova Scotia as survivors of a brutal war; all had witnessed family members being killed. They didn’t speak English, and Ms. Abdi says she and her brother experienced harsh, racist bullying. So Ms. Ali – who grew up in a country where only 30 per cent of children are enrolled in primary school – took them out of class.

Soon, instead of providing the vulnerable refugee family with assistance getting settled, the Department of Community Services put both children in foster care.

At first, the Abdi children were kept together, in a home both say was emotionally and physically abusive. Ms. Abdi was eventually moved after her teachers saw her bruises, but her little brother stayed. He spent his youth moving between 31 different foster and group homes.

Mr. Abdi experienced the worst of Canadian foster care. Though the importance of schooling was given as the reason for his apprehension, in the province’s care, he only achieved a grade six education. He was first arrested as a teenager, which is unsurprising. Interacting with the criminal justice system is twice as likely for foster kids as other youth, which is particularly upsetting since black and Indigenous children are also overrepresented in the system throughout Canada.

“Once in state care, instead of mediating issues, black children see police called in for typical conflict situations,” says Robyn Maynard, author of Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present. She says that normal stuff that other adolescents get parental guidance on – like being intoxicated, or petty theft – become a reason black foster children interact with police.

On Twitter, social work professor Idil Abdillahi used the hashtag #PoliceAsParent to discuss Mr. Abdi’s case and the care-to-prison pipeline. “A young person is late for curfew – call the police. A young person doesn’t do chores – call the police,” wrote Ms. Abdillahi, who works at Ryerson University.”The police were his co-parents, how could he not have involvement with them?”

Her hashtag brought to mind the Toronto police officer who, last August, bought a shirt and tie for a teen caught stealing one before an interview. The teen then got the job. Imagine if Mr. Abdi’s state-appointed parents had been loving, not punitive.

Foster children without citizenship are not uncommon. Mr. Abdi’s lawyer, Benjamin Perryman, says that Nova Scotia doesn’t attempt to make its children Canadian until they turn 18. And since a finding of guilt on a youth criminal charge makes them ineligible for citizenship, convicted children endure a double punishment – first their sentence, then being kicked out of the country that pledged to take care of them.

Mr. Abdi’s aunt, Ms. Ali, tried to apply for the children’s citizenship when she got her own, but couldn’t since she was no longer their legal parent. So, while in prison, 16 years after he got to Canada, Mr. Abdi was deemed inadmissible to the country by the Canadian Border Services Agency, ordered “back” to a place he hasn’t been since he was a toddler, one so dangerous Canada advises its citizens not to travel there.

Last fall, a federal court overturned the original deportation order, but another soon followed. On Thursday, a federal judge presided over an emergency hearing to temporarily halt the current order. Mr. Perryman hopes a ruling in his favour will come before Mr. Abdi’s Immigration and Refugee Board hearing on March 7.

Otherwise, he’s certain to receive an official deportation order, stripping him of his landed immigrant status. That would mean Mr. Abdi won’t be allowed to work, a condition of his release: he’s currently in a halfway house in Toronto, where his family now lives, but CBSA first put him in solitary confinement, and he might have to return there.

Mr. Perryman is also attempting to launch a full constitutional challenge, arguing that denying Mr. Abdi his citizenship while he was in government care was a violation of his human rights.

That’s clearly true, and just one of many ways Canada has mistreated this prodigal son.

via As Abdoul Abdi’s parent, Canada is guilty of child neglect – The Globe and Mail

Andy Yan, the analyst who exposed Vancouver’s real estate disaster: Terry Glavin

Nowadays he’s the director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, and while he’s too modest to boast about it, along the way he’s picked up a couple of exceedingly rare civic distinctions.

The first is the enduring enmity of all the politicians, real estate speculators, white-collar currency pirates and money launderers who have turned Vancouver into a global swindler’s paradise for real estate racketeering, a city that is now also one of the world’s most hopelessly pathetic urban landscapes of housing affordability. The second thing Yan has earned is an unfettered and unimpeachable right to say “I told you so.”

Three years ago, Yan was anxious to get a handle on the role foreign capital was playing in Vancouver’s weirdly convulsing real estate market. At the time, Yan’s main gig was his work as an urban planner with Bing Thom Architects, on contract as an urban planner. When Yan published the results of his research in November, 2015, it came as a shock, for two main reasons. It seemed to conclusively prove what everybody knew but nobody was supposed to say out loud. And it broke a taboo that was enforced so absurdly that Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson resorted to dismissing Yan’s research as racist.

Yan found that buyers with “non-Anglicised Chinese names” had picked up two-thirds of 172 houses sold over a six-month period beginning in September 2014 in Vancouver’s posh west side neighbourhoods. Contrary to public perception, however, the buyers weren’t just showing up with “bags of cash” to make their buys. Some of Canada’s biggest banks were in on it. Roughly 80 per cent of the deals involved a mortgage, and half of the mortgages were held by two banks – CIBC and HSBC.

Canada’s banks have mastered the manipulation of clandestine back channels around China’s currency control regulations—the same routes that well-connected Chinese multi-millionaires have been using to shift up to a trillion dollars’ worth of yuan out of China every year. What wasn’t clear about what was happening on Vancouver’ s west side, however, was who the real buyers were, exactly. The new homeowners’ most commonly stated occupation: housewife or homemaker.

Fast forward three years. The weirdness that Yan documented in Point Grey, Dunbar, Kerrisdale and Shaughnessy has rapidly spread southward and eastward, decoupling the bonds linking incomes with housing values across Burnaby, Richmond, Coquitlam, all the way out to Surrey and White Rock on the Canada-U.S. border. Metro Vancouver’s real estate market is now a dystopian tableau of panic buying, tax fraud, property flipping, overseas pre-construction condominium sales, stone cold speculation and elaborate, multiple-account money transfer rigmaroles that are the conduit of choice for drug cartel tycoons. Not even the heaviest regulatory hands at the controls of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state seem capable of shutting the networks down.

It’s not just about shady Chinese money—not by a long shot. Vancouver’s old establishment property developers and real-estate companies fed the frenzies and made a killing. Along the way, they greased the skids by pouring buckets of money into Gregor Robertson’s now-dying Vision Vancouver civic party and Christy Clark’s Liberal Party. Robertson is now a sad figure, his legacy a shambles, his term up in October, and even his celebrated relationship with his glamorous girlfriend, the Chinese pop star Wanting Qu, fell apart last year. Qu’s mother, a Communist Party official in Harbin, remains on trial on charges of embezzling $70 million in a land swindle. Christy Clark is history, too. Her government was toppled last year by John Horgan’s New Democrats. With at least 60,000 Chinese immigrant investors sloshing their money around Metro Vancouver real estate over the past few years, federal politicians, too—Liberals, mainly—have been more than happy to rake it in at cash-for-access soirees and in generous donations to election campaign war chests.

In these ways, in Vancouver’s political circles, and in polite company, one simply didn’t mention the way the city’s housing market was being restructured to serve as an offshore investment bolthole for billions of dollars’ worth of shadow currency being spirited out of China, Iran, Russia and other such kleptocracies. But back in 2015, when the profoundly caucasian Mayor Robertson attempted to dismiss Yan’s findings—“I’m very concerned with the racist tones that are implied here,” Robertson said—it was a smear too far.

Yan’s great-grandfather was allowed into Canada only after being obliged to pay the infamously racist head tax Ottawa put in effect to keep out working-class Chinese immigrants. Students, merchants and diplomats were exempt. The head tax was in place until 1923. Yan wasn’t going to put up with Robertson’s backchat, and by that time, Vancouver’s ethnic Chinese community leaders had similarly lost their patience. White real estate moguls and politicians like Robertson persisted in proclaiming their anti-racist bona fides and purporting to be the champions of Vancouver’s Chinese community by shutting down public debates about the region’s housing catastrophe. Brandon Yan, a civic activist and volunteer on Vancouver’s planning commission, put it best: “Let’s leave it to the rich white dudes to decide what’s racist, right?”

Vancouver’s “condo king” Bob Rennie—a primary financial backer of Robertson’s NDP-tilting Vision Vancouver team and also the chief fundraiser for the NDP’s adversaries in Christy Clark’s Liberals—had cultivated a particularly brazen habit of it. “So you had these whispers about racism being used to shut down a dialogue about affordability and the kind of city we want to build here,” Andy Yan explained. “It’s a kind of moral signalling to camouflage immoral actions. It’s opportunism, and it’s a cover for the tremendous injustices that are emerging in the City of Vancouver and across the region. It’s a weird Vancouver thing. It’s very annoying. It’s kale in the smoothies or something.”

While the politicians and their friends in the property industry were making speeches about diversity and the importance of having sensitive feelings, foreign ownership grew to account for more than $45 billion dollars’ worth of Metro Vancouver residential property. Within Vancouver city limits, 7.6 per cent of all residential properties are now owned directly by individuals “whose principal residence is outside of Canada,” by the definition of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Roughly one in ten Vancouver condos are owned by non-residents. And that’s just the owners we know about.

Transparency International reckons that perhaps half of Vancouver’s most expensive properties are owned by shell companies or trusts, with the nominal owners commonly listed as student, housewife, or homemaker. Roughly 99 per cent of the single detached houses within Vancouver’s city limits are now valued in excess of $1 million. More than 20,000 Vancouver homes are vacant, year round. Vancouver’s rental vacancy rate is hovering just below one per cent.

“I’m always careful about using biomedical analogies,” Yan told me the other day, “but what was like a little skin ailment, if you will, over the last 10 or 15 years, has become a full fledged cancer.” Over just the past four years, throughout Metro Vancouver, homes worth $1 million or more have risen from 23 per cent of the housing market in 2014 to 73 per cent of the market now. Yan has been putting together a series of maps that show how the $1 million “red line” has been moving inexorably across the region, deep into the suburbs. “But what those maps don’t do is they don’t factor in transportation costs,” Yan said. “The top two expenditures of any Canadian household is shelter and transportation. God help you if you factor in child care. The whole map might as well be red. A number of factors have all come together to produce this catastrophic situation, but what was a small concentrated pattern in the west side of Vancouver has now metastasized to hit every single part of the region, and it’s similarly metastasized into the rest of the economy.”

As for where things are headed, Horgan’s NDP government has raised expectations, mainly because of Attorney-General David Eby’s avowed determination to chase dirty money out of Vancouver’s housing market and bust up the gangland playground B.C.’s provincially-licenced casinos have become—money laundered through casinos has also been pouring into residential property acquisitions. In Tuesday’s throne speech,  delivered by Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon, Horgan’s government directly addressed tax fraud, tax evasion and money laundering in the real estate market, hinting that a speculation tax is in the works. Next week, the New Democrats release their first full budget. The housing file, however, falls mainly to the more timid Carole James, former NDP leader and now deputy premier and finance minister. Preliminary indications aren’t particularly promising.

With short-term AirBnB rentals swallowing up long-term rental inventory, Yan was less than impressed with James’ solution, announced last week: short-term rental outfits will now pay the eight per cent provincial sales tax, and two or three per cent in municipal taxes. “That’s like taxing cigarettes to pay for lung cancer treatments,” Yan said.

Developing appropriately punitive taxes to discourage property-flipping and offshore pre-construction sales – those are obvious fixes. But knowing how to fix things requires a clear understanding of what’s wrong, Yan says, and closing the “bare trust loophole” that allows property owners to hide their holdings is a must-do. Ontario closed the loophole back in the 1980s. Clark’s Liberals promised to close it, but they never did.

In the meantime, Yan is focusing on converting hidden-away data into publicly comprehensible information. Some key information Yan has drawn from a trove recently released by Statistics Canada’s Canadian Housing Statistics Program, for instance, shows that simply building more condominiums won’t do. A condo building boom in Metro Vancouver has kept the property developers happy, but there’s no evidence that the boost in supply has lessened demand or beaten back prices. Nearly one in five condos built in Vancouver since 2016 were snapped up by non-residents.

To a certain extent, there’s nothing new here,” Yan said, pointing to the Guinness family’s financing of the Lion’s Gate Bridge in the 1920s, and the opening up of the British Properties on Burrard Inlet’s north shore. “But what is new is the hyper-commodification of residential real estate, mixed in with an intensification of global flows of people and capital. It’s just a statement in fact. We’re talking about the globalization of the Chinese economy and its impacts.”

Yan says there may be some solution—a mix of remedies, new laws, purpose-built rental housing, tax adjustments and so on—that does not mean a collapse in Metro Vancouver’s real estate prices. Channelling foreign investment in such a way as to serve the public interest might be possible. “But whether this comes out as a bubble-popping isn’t the point. That’s a secondary concern to the kind of society we want to build. “We need to go back to civic virtues.

“We need to talk about the sacrifices we are willing and we need to make for the greater good of the community. We need to have a discussion about what the public good is, and what we are willing to sacrifice to make it happen.”

Source: Andy Yan, the analyst who exposed Vancouver’s real estate disaster

Get ready: A massive automation shift is coming for your job

Still waiting for some of the entities proposing increased immigration (e.g., Barton Commission, Century Initiative) to factor this into their thinking. The Conference Board has at least acknowledged the issue:

The robots are coming to take our jobs and Canada must do a lot more to deal with it.

That’s not the prediction of a doomsday prophet, but of the world’s leading business consultant, the managing director of global firm McKinsey & Co. and chair of the Canadian government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth, Dominic Barton.

Okay, admittedly Mr. Barton didn’t exactly say the robots are taking over the planet. But he is warning that automation – robots, driverless cars, artificial intelligence, technological transformation – will disrupt millions of Canadian jobs, not far in the future, but in the next dozen years.

Put another way: If you are 30 or 35 now, there’s a good chance that not just your job, but the kind of job you do, will be eliminated – at the most inopportune time of life, when you are 40 to 55, perhaps with a mortgage and kids.

The council that Mr. Barton heads is calling for a national “re-skilling” effort that would cost $15-billion a year – per year – to help Canadians cope. He doesn’t think all that money can come from government, but he thinks it’s going to have to come from somewhere.

“The scale of the change is so significant. What are we doing to really get at that?” Mr. Barton said over the phone from Melbourne, Australia. “We’re talking a really big issue.”

This issue is a massive sleeper test for the government. It’s a test for all governments, really, but in this country it’s a test of ambition for Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government. It could well be the biggest societal issue of our time. Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s next budget will be delivered in less than two weeks. Will it even begin to reflect the scope of the issue?

To be fair, Mr. Morneau’s last budget talked a lot about job training, and it put some modest sums into it. Mr. Morneau, who ran a human-resources firm, was talking about these issues before he was elected as an MP. But there isn’t yet a government response from Ottawa that hints at the scale of Mr. Barton’s warning.

He is talking about vast change, soon. There are driverless cars now, he noted. That makes it easy to see the prospect of truck drivers thrown out of work en masse. (The courier firm FedEx has hinted its driverless vehicle plans aren’t so far away; the company has 400,000 employees.)

It’s not just truck drivers or factory workers who could see their jobs washed away by technological change. It includes knowledge workers, such as well-paid wealth managers who could find their current jobs automated. The Advisory Council estimated 10 to 12 per cent of Canadian workers could see their jobs disrupted by technology by 2030. “That’s two million people,” he noted. Mr. Barton thinks the estimate is conservative.

That’s different from when a company goes bankrupt or a plant closes, and laid-off workers go look for the same job at another company. Technological change will wipe out occupations. People will need to do new kinds of work, and they will need new skills. Technology might also create millions of jobs, but if Canadians don’t have the skills, a lot of those jobs might go to the United States or China or Sweden.

If you’ve watched the way voters in the United States and elsewhere have responded to disruptions of well-paying manufacturing jobs and good job opportunities, how it has fuelled divisive politics, an anti-trade backlash, and anti-immigrant nativism, just imagine how society could be roiled by two million middle-aged Canadians looking for work without much idea how they’re going to start over.

The Advisory Council argued that it has to be met with a major revamp of job training and lifelong education and a $15-billion injection of resources.

It’s an enormous sum, about three-quarters of the cost of the military. It’s too much for federal and provincial governments to pay alone, he argues, but business will have to be given incentives to do more education and training. Individuals, even those who feel squeezed saving for retirement, will have to save for lifelong learning, perhaps with tax-sheltered learning accounts. They won’t have a choice, he believes, “because it’s coming.”

The advisory council was appointed by the Liberals, and Mr. Barton has the ear of Mr. Trudeau and his inner circle. The Liberal government has adopted a lot of the council’s recommendations, to varying degrees, in its strategy to foster economic growth. But Mr. Barton noted the one with the biggest estimate impact is that massive re-skilling initiative. So far, governments are working on the same scale to face up to the impact of automation, but they will have to face it sooner or later. It’s coming.

via Get ready: A massive automation shift is coming for your job – The Globe and Mail

Immigration Department makes major headway on spousal sponsorship backlog | Toronto Star

Cute timing but the reduction in backlogs welcome:

Immigration Canada has worked hard to play Cupid in the past year by reuniting Canadians with their significant others abroad.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen hosted a news conference at a Mississauga dessert shop to update his department’s dramatic reduction of the spousal sponsorship backlog.

According to Hussen, the number of spousal immigration applications in the queue has dropped to 15,000 from 74,900 a year ago, and the average processing time has also been sharply reduced to 12 months from 26 months.

“The Government of Canada is committed to family reunification. We understand how important it is to reunite couples. It also makes for a stronger Canada,” said Hussen.

“Canadians who marry someone from abroad shouldn’t have to wait for years to have them immigrate or be left with uncertainty in terms of their ability to stay.”

The minister attributed the success to a focused working group, dubbed the “Family Class Tiger Team,” that was created in spring 2016 to develop innovative mechanisms and redesign application kits and workflow to reduce processing times.

The special team reviewed spouse and partner related forms, guides, websites, tools and processes in order to improve the client experience and achieve faster processing times for most applicants. The team wrapped up in December 2016.

Since then, the Immigration Department’s spousal application package has been revised. At the time Hussen’s predecessor, John McCallum, announced the government intended to reduce the backlog of spousal sponsorship cases by 80 per cent and shorten processing times to 12 months.

Changes to the application kit were made following the announcement, condensing the previous 14 checklists down to four new ones.

On Wednesday, the department said the process will be streamlined further next month.

Starting on March 15, officials said spousal applicants will be asked to submit their background form and police certificates as part of their initial paper application package, instead of later in the application process to help move the process “quickly and efficiently and avoid unnecessary delays.”

The government’s spousal backlog reduction has surprised many, including veteran immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman.

“In my experience, there has been some reduction but it has not been as noticeable as the numbers suggest,” he told the Star. “I do not doubt the numbers but simply note that there are still cases that are taking a long time and it depends a lot on the offices.”

Spousal applications from countries such as Haiti, Mexico, Pakistan, Qatar and Sri Lanka still face wait times ranging from 14 to 19 months, above the 12-month global average, according to the Immigration Department website.

Vancouver immigration lawyer Steven Meurrens said one important reason the backlog was reduced was the increased annual quota for sponsored spouses and children coming into the country, allowing more applications to be processed.

Ottawa increased its annual target for spousal reunification by one-third to 64,000 last year from 48,000 in 2014. The quota is even higher for this year and through 2020, at 70,000 a year.

“The Liberals increased targets, which would increase the number of applications that they process in a year, meaning faster processing,” Meurrens noted.

Waldman pointed out that the government’s time frames for processing do not take into account the delays associated with applications that are returned because they are deemed incomplete.

“If my clients sends in a sponsorship and some officer wrongly decides it is incomplete and sends it back, this adds three or more months to the processing but is not included (in the backlog),” he said. “We have had lots of files wrongfully returned and this has caused a lot of hardship to our clients.”

via Immigration Department makes major headway on spousal sponsorship backlog | Toronto Star

L’internet joue un rôle crucial dans l’intégration des immigrants, selon une étude

Not much new here but nevertheless useful to have the study. Recommendations relate to reduced cost of internet (considered expensive) and more public access points (I had thought that libraries were filling that gap):

L’internet joue un rôle crucial dans l’intégration des immigrants au pays, autant pour se trouver un emploi que pour comprendre la culture de leur terre d’accueil, révèle une étude.

Celle-ci a été entreprise par des chercheurs de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), qui voulaient comprendre si et comment l’internet favorisait l’intégration.

Rien ou quasiment rien n’existait sur le sujet, a expliqué en entrevue téléphonique l’un des auteurs, le professeur Christian Agbobli, du département des communications sociales et publiques. L’étude a aussi été rédigée par Magda Fusaro, professeure au Département de management et technologie de l’UQAM et titulaire de la Chaire de l’UNESCO en communication et technologies pour le développement.

Leur conclusion? L’internet joue un rôle majeur pour les immigrants.

«Ils nous ont dit: “on a besoin d’internet” et “on ne peut pas fonctionner ici sans internet”», rapporte le professeur Agbobli, aussi cotitulaire de la Chaire de l’UNESCO.

Ils s’en servent même plus depuis leur arrivée au Canada que dans leur pays d’origine, a fait remarquer M. Agbobli.

Plus de la moitié des répondants ont inscrit que leur consommation d’internet avait augmenté de plus de 51% depuis qu’ils ont posé leurs valises au Canada.

Et cela parce que leurs réseaux existants dans leur ancien pays les aidaient à se trouver un emploi, par exemple, alors qu’ici, dépourvus de contacts, ils se fient beaucoup à l’internet pour la recherche d’un boulot. C’est le cas pour plus de 75% d’entre eux, est-il indiqué dans l’étude.

Les immigrants qui ont participé à l’étude résident au Canada depuis moins de 10 ans, et un sous-groupe évalué y était depuis moins de trois ans.

Les immigrants du Canada avaient presque tous (70,9 %) une connexion internet à leur maison et le téléphone cellulaire intelligent est l’équipement qu’ils utilisent le plus pour naviguer sur la toile.

Ils s’en servent aussi pour obtenir une foule de services, comme ouvrir un compte bancaire, se trouver un logement, des ressources dans leur quartier, et aussi pour comprendre les coutumes locales, comme savoir comment les gens se saluent. Ils vont aussi y lire les journaux canadiens, ajoute le professeur.

«Ça m’a beaucoup aidée, a déclaré une répondante. Vous pouvez trouver de l’information sur les sites internet du gouvernement et trouver les bénéfices pour enfants, et actuellement j’applique pour la citoyenneté et vous pouvez y trouver toute l’information.»

L’un des sites internet les plus sollicités par ces nouveaux arrivants est Google map, a souligné M. Agbobli.

Beaucoup de femmes immigrantes ont indiqué que cela les aidait à se déplacer d’elles-mêmes et ainsi être plus autonomes sans craindre de se perdre dans la ville.

«Par exemple, si mon mari prend la voiture, je peux facilement me déplacer parce que j’ai l’internet et je peux vérifier quel autobus passe près de ma maison, alors je ne suis pas tout le temps dépendante de mon mari, pour qu’il m’amène d’une place à l’autre. C’est l’une des choses les plus importantes pour moi», a relaté une autre répondante, dont le témoignage est retranscrit dans l’étude.

L’internet brise l’isolement, a fait valoir le professeur. «Et il devient »un lieu«, un »mode de vie«».

Évidemment, les immigrants se servent aussi de l’internet pour rester en contact avec leur famille et leurs amis dans leur pays d’origine.

La plus grande majorité des répondants étaient âgés de 30 à 39 ans, plus de 65% ont un diplôme universitaire et près de 80% d’entre eux sont des femmes. «Ce qui crée un biais dans l’interprétation des données, mais répond au biais qui avait été généré par la recherche elle-même», peut-on y lire. Car les femmes faisaient partie de l’un des trois groupes (avec les jeunes et les nouveaux arrivants) sur lesquels la recherche voulait plus spécifiquement se pencher. «Car les femmes sont souvent plus vulnérables dans le processus migratoire», fait valoir le professeur.

Les auteurs de la recherche formulent aussi des recommandations. D’abord, ils suggèrent au gouvernement de rendre l’internet plus accessible: les coûts sont élevés au Canada, ont constaté bon nombre d’immigrants. Un plus grand accès au wifi dans des lieux publics serait apprécié, disent-ils.

Aux organismes d’aide aux immigrants, ils suggèrent des cours sur l’usage d’internet, pour mieux les outiller et qu’ils puissent en faire un usage plus précis et efficace.

La collecte de données de l’étude a été faite en 2016. L’équipe a choisi de mener cette recherche dans les quatre provinces qui accueillent le plus d’immigration, soit l’Ontario, le Québec, l’Alberta et la Colombie-Britannique. Elle a été menée à l’aide d’entretiens en personne et de questionnaires.

via L’internet joue un rôle crucial dans l’intégration des immigrants, selon une étude | Stéphanie Marin | National

What’s driving populism? It isn’t the economy, stupid – Bricker and Ibbitson

Bricker and Ibbitson further develop their 2013 thesis in The Big Shift: The Seismic Change In Canadian Politics, Business, And Culture And What It Means For Our Future in which they argued that there was a permanent shift towards more conservative politics, particularly among immigrant groups. Two years later, the 2015 election largely proved them wrong, as immigrant-rich ridings largely shifted to the Liberals.

Even so, they still maintain Conservatives have an advantage over progressives.

However, while their diagnostic relies overly on Putman and Kaufman, along with US and European examples, and less on understanding the significant differences with Canada (see Michael Adams, Could It Happen Here?: Canada in the Age of Trump and Brexit), their key policy prescriptions – need for respect for immigration-related concerns, downplay grand theories about immigration advantages (Barton Commission and Century Initiative to note) – are sound.

The current Ontario PC leadership convention and subsequent June election will provide an early test in Canada’s largest and most diverse province:

…So what is a better approach than simply dismissing the cultural insecurities of voters? First, leaders in politics and journalism and the academy and other fields need to respect where people are coming from – even when they profoundly disagree with where people are coming from.

“If people have concerns, and their concerns are being expressed in anti-immigration sentiment, then you’ve got to ask: Are these people just straight-out opposed to immigrants or do they have something else they’re fearful of or concerned about?” Prof. Loewen said. “And you’ve got to speak to those concerns in an even-handed and honest fashion.”

Second, play down the grand theories about the advantages of immigration, globalization and economic diversification. It’ll all be labelled fake news. And do not appeal to people’s compassion. There is little of it about. Instead, show – don’t tell, show – how immigration is making things better on your street, in your neighbourhood. Make it positive and make it personal. Micromessage.

In these conversations, conservatives have one advantage over progressives. Conservatives share the same attitude toward economic issues as most middle-class immigrants from places such as the Philippines, India and China, Canada’s three top source countries.

Conservatives and many immigrants favour business over government, the private sector over the public sector. They want fewer regulations and less bureaucracy, more freedom and greater personal responsibility, including responsibility for protecting the family and community.

Stephen Harper’s decade-long tenure as a Conservative prime minister depended in part on his party’s ability to coalesce immigrant voters in suburban ridings in greater Toronto and Vancouver with traditional rural and Prairie conservatives.

Not only can that coalition be politically advantageous, it creates a space where people who might be tempted to embrace nativist sentiments can find themselves talking and agreeing with like-minded new arrivals. For social cohesion, such conversations are precious.

Some would say the best way to address concerns over immigration would be to scale back the number of people coming in, especially from countries whose cultures are far removed from Canada’s Christian, European settler heritage. We can’t endorse that view. We know how important immigration is to smoothing the curve of an aging society with low fertility rates. And personally, we adore the multicultural ferment of our big cities.

But we must understand and accept that cultural insecurity affects millions of our fellow citizens. We must address those concerns by celebrating the best of what they cherish and by showing how immigrants cherish the same things – perhaps even more than some of the more progressive of their fellow citizens.

We need to remind ourselves that we are all in this together, old stock as well as new, and we all need to listen to each other with respect.

Otherwise, the next Donald Trump, the next noxious referendum, the next wall of exclusion await us all.

via What’s driving populism? It isn’t the economy, stupid – The Globe and Mail