Almost 7 in 10 Metro residents will be non-white in two decades: Todd

From the Statistics Canada 2036 projections:

Canada is experiencing the fastest rate of ethnic change of any country in the Western world, say international demographers.

Almost seven of 10 Metro Vancouver residents will be visible minorities, or non-whites, in less than two decades, says Eric Kaufmann, a professor at University of London, Birkbeck, citing Statistics Canada projections.

In addition, Kaufmann said, University of Laval professor Patrice Dion has worked with Statistics Canada officials to develop projections that suggest Canada as a whole, at the current rate of immigration, will be almost 80 per cent non-white in less than a century.

While the rapid pace of change likely will not  hurt Canada’s economy, Kaufmann said, it will continue to have great effect on the ethnic make-up of cities such as Greater Toronto and Metro Vancouver.

These two Canadian cities and others will, in just a few years, become “majority minority,” a term describing places in which one or more ethnic minority (relative to the country’s population) make up a majority of the local population.

 A 2017 Statistics Canada report, titled Immigration and Diversity: Population Projections, forecasts the number of Canadians with visible minority status will “increase more rapidly than the rest of the population” and “could more than double by 2036 to between 12.8 million and 16.3 million.”

The cities that will have the highest levels of visible minorities by 2036 will be Greater Toronto, Metro Vancouver, Calgary, Abbotsford-Mission, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

Non-whites already make up almost half the residents of Greater Toronto and Metro Vancouver.

…Meanwhile, Canada is undergoing “the fastest rate of ethnic change of any country in the Western world,” Kaufmann said, describing how 300,000 immigrants are arriving each year in a country of 35 million people, with four in five of those immigrants being visible minorities.

“The United States’ per capita immigration rate is only one-third to one-half as fast as Canada’s. … At the same time (U.S. President Donald) Trump has promised to reduce America’s inflows by half,” Kaufmann said.

“Europe is also generally tightening inflows and only 300,000 non-Europeans enter the European Union, population 510 million, each year. Most immigrant-receiving Western European states will be at least three-quarters European origin in 2050.”

In Canada, whites currently make up about 80 per cent of the population.

Kaufmann, however, drew attention to a study led by the University of Laval’s Patrice Dion and Statistics Canada official Eric Caron-Malenfant that projects that by 2106, the vast majority of Canada’s population will be descendants of immigrants who arrived after 2006.

Assuming that four in five immigrants during that time period will continue to be non-white, Kaufmann projected that by 2106 whites will account for between 12 to 38 per cent of the population.

“I think a reasonable middle conclusion is that Canada will be 20 per cent white, 65 per cent non-white and 15 per cent mixed race by 2106,” he said.

“Canada will probably become a ‘majority-minority’ country around 2060.”

Source: Almost 7 in 10 Metro residents will be non-white in two decades | Vancouver Sun

StatCan report: Immigration and Diversity: Population Projections for Canada and its Regions, 2011 to 2036 (91-551-X2017001)

Douglas Todd: Some immigrants’s values contrast with ‘Canadian’ values

The fallacy in Todd’s article and related analysis is his assumption that values are static, not dynamic. Values can and do change  over time and over generations.

The Canadian benchmark in the World Values Survey includes the 20 percent of the population which is foreign-born as well as the 17 percent who are second generation immigrants. In other words, the Canadian baseline is not “old-stock” white Canadians but a mix of “old” and “new” stock.

So what he presents as a duality is actually a more complex mix that emerges through the Hegelian integration dynamic between immigrants (first and second generation) and the increasingly diverse “host” society.

Todd’s analysis also assumes that first generation immigrants have completely identical values than the population of their country of origin, which may or may not be true given that Canada tends to select more highly educated immigrants.

That is not to say that there are no value differences among groups on any range of issues, but just caution against overly simplistic depictions and assumptions:

In his unscientific yet credible book, McGoogan considers how the nine million Canadians who claim Scottish or Irish heritage have strengthened certain values in Canada — such as “independence” (exemplified by rebel Michael Collins), pluralism (exemplified by gay writer Oscar Wilde and mixed-race B.C. governor Sir James Douglas) and “democracy” (exemplified by egalitarian poet Robbie Burns and prime minister Sir John A. McDonald).

“Did the ancestors of more than one-quarter of our population arrive (in Canada) without cultural baggage? No history, no values, no visions?” McGoogan asks. “Surely the idea is ridiculous.”

Indeed, it’s absurd many Canadians assume people arrive from Ireland, Egypt or China without both individual and ethno-cultural traits.

So it’s especially worthwhile to learn about values widely held in Canada’s biggest immigrant-source countries.

The top sources of immigrants to Canada include China, India, South Korea, Iran and the Arabic-speaking countries of the Middle East, all of which have had their values measured by the WVS.

How do the values emphasized in these countries play out in Canada’s major cities, where the potential for inter-cultural exchange is high in schools, businesses and neighbourhoods?

We’ll start with Montreal, where one of five residents is foreign born, many from Arabic-speaking countries.

A particularly valuable question the WVS asks parents is: “What qualities would you most like to see in your children?”

As The Vancouver Sun and Province’s online interactive chart shows, it turns out more than 65 per cent of parents from Arabic-speaking countries, such as Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, strongly stress “obedience.”

However, only 30 per cent of Canadian parents name “obedience” as an important quality, suggesting the contrast could make for intriguing interactions in Montreal schools.

What do we discover when we turn to Metro Vancouver and Toronto, where foreign-born people make up almost half the population and two of the largest immigrant-source countries are China and India?

It turns out only 16 per cent of parents in China strongly emphasize obedience. But the stress on obedience rises to 56 per cent among mothers and fathers in India.

What about “hard work?” It can determine success in the competitive fields of education and business, not to mention in whether a potential friend goes skiing?

The WVS found 90 per cent of parents in China say hard work is a crucial value. That emphasis declines slightly among the parents of India. Meanwhile, the proportion of all Canadian parents who want their children to work hard is only 54 per cent.

However, Canadian parents are not too different from the parents of China and India in regards to “unselfishness.” While 47 per cent of Canadian parents emphasize unselfishness, so do 35 per cent of Chinese and Indian parents. That’s unlike South Korean parents, only 12 per cent of whom stress the virtue of self-sacrifice.

The lesson of the WVS is that values are all over the map, literally.

And it’s especially true when it comes to religion.

More than nine of 10 parents in the Muslim-majority countries of Egypt and Iraq, for instance, strongly emphasize “religious faith.”

But fewer than one in 10 parents in Germany and China — and just three in 10 in Canada ­— care if their children believe in God.

The World Values Survey, like all polls, is imperfect, missing subtleties and regional variations. But it’s a reminder the sooner we take ethnocultural differences seriously, the sooner we become knowledgeable about why people are the way they are.

The implications can be significant. We may start to recognize, for instance, why people with roots in China tend to vote for certain Canadian political parties, while those linked to India are inclined to vote for others.

And — unless we’re utter moral relativists — the sooner we understand ethnocultural differences, the sooner we might take seriously the values we ourselves are ready to stand for, reject or tolerate.

Source: Douglas Todd: Some immigrants’s values contrast with ‘Canadian’ values | Vancouver Sun

Douglas Todd: New approaches to the ‘astronaut’ phenomenon | Vancouver Sun

Todd covers the views of David Lesperance, a tax and immigration lawyer, on how best to ensure that ‘astronauts’ contribute their fair share in income taxes (they pay property tax and GST).

Although I agree on the need for measures to curb the abuse and “free-loading”, his ideas do not strike me as particularly realistic in terms of implementation if they are not resident in Canada:

It’s clear astronaut families have brought cultural diversity, international connections and foreign currency to Canada: They’ve fuelled not only real estate development, but also automobile sales and private schools.

While many astronaut families exhibit as much integrity as others, some taxation and immigration specialists believe Canada needs new ways to counter the downsides of circular migrants — particularly unaffordable housing and uncollected taxes.

An anti-corruption agency, Transparency International, recently released a report calling Metro Vancouver one of the hot spots for a globalized “corrupt elite” intent on making their dirty wealth look clean by laundering it through real estate; exploiting gaping tax loopholes.

What can be done? The short answer is better taxation and immigration policy — and rigorous enforcement.

David Lesperance, a tax and immigration lawyer with offices in Toronto and Europe, has striking ideas for reform.

They would bring fewer “ghost immigrants” to Canada, he said, and more of what he calls “Golden Geese,” well-off migrants who intend to pay their fair share of taxes.

“The problem is there is large-scale immigration of relatively wealthy people to Canada who are not contributing significantly, if at all, to the Canadian tax base,” says Lesperance.

“They have bid up the local housing market in Vancouver and Toronto. In addition, they are receiving the benefits of Canadian permanent residence, such as cheap and excellent schooling, free medical care and security.”

Unfortunately, Lesperance says, Canada is not obtaining its full measure of property or income taxes from these newcomers. There is both a real and perceived lack of enforcement of Canada’s tax laws.

“Theoretically, each of these wealthy immigrants should be paying Canadian tax on their worldwide income and capital gains. But the reality is the Canada Revenue Agency has not been enforcing this regime and this news has spread through the immigrant community,” Lesperance says.

“Astronaut families are those who were granted permanent residence status for their families and, after buying homes and installing children in schools, the principal breadwinner then tries to claim no Canadian tax liability — often by relinquishing their immigration status (or by) claiming they’re non-residents of Canada for tax purposes.”

To change the global perception that it’s easy to get away with not paying taxes in Canada, Lesperance says there is a need for well-publicized tax audits of such “ghost” immigrants.

It wouldn’t be hard to catch cheaters, said Lesperance.

The first group to audit, Lesperance said, is the 40,000 would-be immigrants who have, in the past two years, renounced their permanent residence status in Canada, often to avoid taxes.

Renouncers and others should be subjected to “lifestyle audits,” Lesperance said. Tax auditors should dig into whether astronaut fathers, but also their spouses and children, continue to own Canadian properties and spend lavishly on cars and private schools.

Those who are caught evading taxes should be publicly exposed, he said.

“The impact of news of such an effort will resonate like a thunderbolt within the immigrant communities. The fallout will be that each family will have to determine whether (staying in Canada) is valuable enough for them to pay the proper (taxes).”

Lesperance offers another idea, which is more unorthodox.

There is nothing wrong with creative rich people travelling the world to work, invest and run businesses, argues Lesperance. Many are his clients, whom he calls the “Golden Geese.”

They would be satisfied, he says, holding two passports while still paying their share of income taxes to Canada, in return for “a stable and safe place for their global operations.”

Canada is losing out on these entrepreneurial newcomers, he says, because its “antiquated” immigration policy focuses on migrants proving a sustained “physical presence” in the country.

Lesperance turns things around by suggesting we not worry so much about whether such wealthy would-be immigrants are physically present in Canada.

Instead, Lesperance recommends rating them on whether they pay significant income taxes in Canada — regardless of which country they spend most of their time in.

It’s a counter-intuitive way to think about immigration policy, which has traditionally expected newcomers to show a physical loyalty to their new land. I’m not saying I necessarily endorse it. There are other ways to tax the properties of astronaut families.

But at least a new “tax-residence” approach to business immigrants would help Canada become less of a haven for those circular migrants who are determined to avoid or evade taxes the rest of us are expected to pay.

Source: Douglas Todd: New approaches to the ‘astronaut’ phenomenon | Vancouver Sun

Doug Todd: “Techno-immigrants” fuel Vancouver’s high-tech sector

Interesting study, which recalls an earlier Globe article, Microsoft reminds us that Canada is still a branch-plant economy, on how Microsoft (and likely others) strategically use Canadian immigration as a way to bring talent to their US headquarters:

In light of the political manoeuvring in B.C. over local high-tech jobs and training, the study by Froschauer and Wong quotes the president of a large B.C. high-tech association who says a key reason “Microsoft chose to open a Vancouver office was because of the easier immigration rules.”

The unidentified high-tech CEO told the researchers there’s a crucial reason Microsoft did not simply open its computer development “campus” in Redmond, Washington, which is headquarters for the global tech giant.

“It’s like two hours away, so why would they open up this campus in Vancouver?” said the CEO.

“It’s much easier to bring in (migrants from India) and others, and that’s the reason they came. And their intention is not to recruit people away from other companies in the Lower Mainland but to bring fresh people in, and that’s what the larger companies do. Small ones don’t have the means.”

High-tech companies in B.C. and Alberta also often cross the U.S. border to recruit Chinese and other foreign students, say the authors, because international students in the U.S. are generally not allowed to remain in the country after they graduate, whereas they can stay after graduation in Canada.

The sociologists do not estimate the proportion of Metro Vancouver’s high-tech sector that is made up of immigrants, international students or temporary foreign workers, but they quote the CEO in confirming migrants are “very, very useful. I don’t think we could evolve our sector without” them.

Many of the techno-migrants interviewed in the study say it’s often an advantage to be a migrant in Canada’s high-tech sector.

But others said being born outside the country can be a disadvantage, particularly because of difficulties with language.

Some people from China told the researchers that migrants from India don’t have as many problems with language, since many in the former British colony were educated in English from their childhoods.

Some high-tech executives in Metro Vancouver and Calgary favour temporary foreign workers over immigrants, add Froschauer and Wong, whose article appears in the new book, Trans-Pacific Mobilities: The Chinese and Canada(UBC Press), edited by Wong.

The sociologists learned some corporations prefer “to bring employees to British Columbia on a temporary work permit” because they can be retained longer than immigrants, who have more freedom regarding where to work.

Provincial and federal immigration programs “do not tie employees to the company, whereas the temporary work permit does,” the authors say.

The number of high-tech migrants to Canada, especially from China, is likely to continue to grow in the future, say the authors.

Source: Doug Todd: “Techno-immigrants” fuel Vancouver’s high-tech sector | Vancouver Sun

Douglas Todd: Exaggerating extent of racism is all too easy

While polling data is important, I find blind cv tests (Applying for a job in Canada with an Asian name: Policy Options) and hate crime stats (StatsCan police reported as per the above charts) to be better indicators of racism and discrimination.

Under-estimating racism and discrimination is as much a risk as over-estimating:

It’s virtually impossible in a lifetime to avoid interaction with an extremist — including the activist that Hiebert says regularly shows up at Vancouver anti-racism events, where he eagerly hands out xenophobic leaflets.

When Hiebert conducted a survey years ago that tried to identify Canadians hostile to others, he found only two to three per cent fit the bill as out-and-out racists.

Even though the Vancity report tries to go further and advise British Columbians to “combat” their own “subconscious bias,” the credit union’s officials seem unaware the concept of “unconscious racism” has been criticized even by psychologist Mahzarin Banaji, who invented the term.

Former B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh is among those worried about the exaggeration of racism. Even though B.C. was home to some racism decades ago, Dosanjh said many now trot out the label to make themselves look good or to stifle debate.

Ethnic Chinese leaders in B.C., including Albert Lo, Justin Fung and Clarence Cheng, have also warned about the divisiveness of inaccurately claiming racism, particularly in a province struggling with unaffordable housing, foreign capital and unequal wealth.

Could the world really be so wrong about Canada and B. C.? A Gallup poll conducted in more than 50 countries discovered 84 per cent believe Canadians are “tolerant of others who are different,” the highest ranking of any country.

China, Russia and India were at the bottom of the list. Fewer than 34 per cent of global respondents rated residents of those major immigrant-source countries as tolerant.

Indeed, discrimination cuts unpredictably across cultures. A 2016 Angus Reid survey found recent immigrants to Canada were slightly less likely than native-born people to accept homosexuals, or approve of “marrying someone from a different cultural or religious background.”

So, are British Columbians accepting of diversity?

There is no simple answer. It appears the vast majority are highly respectful of difference, while a relative few are not.

Environics Institute pollster Keith Neuman answers the question about a region’s acceptance levels by quoting the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who has become known for warning of the “danger of a single story.”

And it’s hard to think of a more treacherous single story about B.C. than the one alleging racism is alive and well.

Source: Douglas Todd: Exaggerating extent of racism is all too easy | Vancouver Sun

Douglas Todd: How to ensure non-residents pay tax on Canadian real-estate profits

Hard to understand the blindness or unwillingness of the British Columbia Liberals on this issue. Too many donations from those who benefit from the this lack of regulation and appropriate policies?

It should be easy to ensure that offshore property speculators pay capital gains taxes on their Canadian sales, but the B.C. government has given no sign it’s prepared to make the fix.

Immigration lawyers and Opposition politicians are pressing the province to start an information-sharing system that would make it much harder for house sellers to evade capital gains taxes by claiming they are “residents of Canada for tax purposes,” when they are not. Some critics estimate the tax loss at hundreds of millions of dollars.

This tax avoidance was at the centre of a recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling. Justice Kenneth Affleck ordered notary Tony Liu to pay $600,000 to a house purchaser he had represented.

That was to cover the capital gains tax the Canadian Revenue Agency demanded from the buyer, which should have been paid by the non-resident seller of a $5.6-million Vancouver mansion.

A property seller who does not pay income taxes here is required to pay a capital gains tax on 25 per cent of their profit on a house sale. Theoretically, the law is designed to advantage domestic buyers and sellers over speculators, particularly from offshore.

In practice, the capital gains rule is rarely enforced, in large part, lawyers say, because B.C. doesn’t collect or share up-to-date information on whether property sellers pay income taxes in Canada.

That task is inexplicably left to a real-estate industry “honour system”involving buyers, sellers and their agents, says Vancouver immigration lawyer Sam Hyman, who is among several experts offering a simple solution.

“How complicated is it to require a seller to produce proof they paid their income taxes as a Canadian tax resident?” asked Richard Kurland, a lawyer who produces the immigration newsletter Lexbase.

“This really spotlights B.C.’s unchanging position, which is that it refuses to include on government (property-transfer) forms the question: ‘Are you a tax resident of Canada?’” Kurland said.

“B.C. fails to create data that can be checked by Canada Revenue Agency, by not asking the right question. Instead, the B.C. government has begun asking, ‘What is your citizenship?’ But that’s irrelevant.”

In a city in which 45 per cent of the population is foreign-born, Kurland said, it would be straightforward for CRA to run a data match on people who claim they are tax residents of Canada to see if they are really paying income taxes.

“But if B.C. doesn’t go after the data, CRA can’t do its job.”

When B.C. Finance Ministry spokesman Jamie Edwardson was asked Friday if he thought there were problems associated with B.C. buyers being unable to prove sellers pay income taxes, he declined to answer and said the question should be directed to the Canada Revenue Agency.

Source: How to ensure non-residents pay tax on Canadian real-estate profits | Vancouver Sun

Douglas Todd: The narrow view from the migration sector bubble

Todd on his experience at Metropolis (I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with him, as I always find his columns of interest).

His critique about the Metropolis bubble could of course be repeated with respect to most conferences. As could his critique of attendees being dependent of government cheques. Being dependent on private sector funding doesn’t make one more objective.

However, all that being said, it is a valid critique that Metropolis does not include a wide range of perspectives in both the plenaries and workshops, something that the conference organizers, as well as individuals like me who organize workshops, should keep in mind.

As well as the general point that one should be mindful of one’s bubble, and make efforts to get outside it, whether as Todd did by coming to Metropolis or ensuring that one’s media includes a range of perspectives (the main lesson that I learnt working under former Minister Jason Kenney as recounted in Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism):

I just spent a few days with Canadians who work with immigrants, refugees, international students and other migrants.

The almost 1,000 people at the 2017 Metropolis Conference in Montreal are on the front lines of an effort central to a country with arguably the world’s highest per capita in-migration.

Each year, Canada spends roughly $1.2 billion on the so-called “settlement sector.” Its mission is to assist more than 300,000 new immigrants and refugees a year while supporting 325,000 foreign students and more than 300,000 temporary foreign workers.

Migration is a mass phenomenon in Canada, unlike in most nations. Many settlement workers live in the cities that draw most migrants: Foreign-born people make up 23 per cent of Montreal’s population, 45 per cent of Metro Vancouver’s and half of Greater Toronto.

Workers in the settlement-sector form an influential Canadian subculture. One person at Metropolis affectionately referred to them as “activists with pensions.” Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen spoke twice and told them they greatly influence public policy.

I began wondering, however, how much these upstanding people represent the Canadian population. Do their values correspond at all to opinion poll results or with the issues Canadians follow through the media?

The vast majority at the taxpayer-funded Metropolis conferences live on government paycheques or grants. They are in the Immigration Department, the Heritage Department, public research universities and taxpayer-financed non-profit organizations.

Their theme is humanitarianism. Metropolis participants repeatedly said Canada should bring in more immigrants, refugees and foreign students, migrants are a “vulnerable population” and taxpayers should spend more on them.

Borrowing from Canadian scholars Keith Banting and Will Kymlicka, it’s fair to say almost all at the 19th national Metropolis event would be among the one-third of Canadians who unconditionally support multicultural, refugee and immigration policy. I did not hear disapproval.

They would definitely not be among the slightly smaller proportion of people that Banting and Kymlicka found at the opposite end; those opposed to Canadian-style immigration and multiculturalism.

It’s also not likely many attendees would be in the middle group of Canadians — the roughly 40 per cent (domestic and foreign-born) who generally support official multiculturalism, but with conditions.

Given what I witnessed, and the titles of hundreds of Metropolis presentations, critical discussion was muted. Orthodoxy seemed to reign.

It’s understandable. A lot of livelihoods, research grants and vested interests are at stake.

And, anyways, most attendees seemed keen on what they do. A few, indeed, seemed boastful.

There were basically only two things attendees would criticize.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen told Metropolis delegates they greatly influence public policy. But to what extent do they reflect a cross-section of Canadians?

One was the alleged shortage of funding for settlement organizations, refugee agencies and foreign students. As a keynote speaker said, “We always have to do more.”

The second thing subject to criticism was the “media” and, by extension, Canadians themselves. Each was occasionally referred to as “tolerant” but more often chastised for being xenophobic.

Source: Douglas Todd: The narrow view from the migration sector bubble | Vancouver Sun

Growing number of migrants renouncing Canadian immigrant status | Vancouver Sun

Solid rationale for many of these permanent residents doing so, but does beg the broader question of how this benefits Canada, beyond more pressure on the housing market and increased school and university enrolment.

To give context, the total number of Permanent Residents for the period 2006-15 is:

  • India: 323,785
  • China: 290,933
  • South Korea: 53,785

Thousands of permanent residents are renouncing their opportunity to immigrate to Canada — for reasons ranging from a dislike of the cold to a desire to avoid Canadian taxes.

More than 21,000 people with permanent resident cards who had the opportunity to become Canadian citizens have turned their back on the quest in the past two years. The highest number of  “renunciations” are from citizens of China, India and South Korea.

People who renounce their permanent resident status no longer have to prove they’re spending significant time in Canada when they cross the borders or fly into an airport, say immigration lawyers in Vancouver.

Nor do Canadian immigration process dropouts have to give up the passport of their homelands, where many continue to work or run businesses. And they are not expected to declare their foreign assets to Canada Revenue Agency.

“Renunciations are growing in number and will likely remain high,” says an internal report from Canada’s immigration office in Shanghai, China, the largest source country for immigrants to B.C.

“Many people are renouncing five years after landing (in Canada), rather than renewing their permanent cards, as they are working in China and do not meet residency requirements,” says the internal report, published in the Vancouver newsletter Lexbase.

“Their children often remain in Canada to complete school and to begin their careers.”

According to three Vancouver immigration lawyers, many people who renounce their permanent resident cards continue to return to gateway cities such as Vancouver and Toronto to visit their families as temporary visitors, especially on the increasingly popular 10-year visas.

“They were getting picked off at Vancouver airport for failure to meet residency requirements. This way they can avoid that problem and still come here,” said B.C. immigration lawyer Sam Hyman, noting the strong majority of migrants to Metro Vancouver are from Asia.

People with permanent resident status in Canada are required to spend two years out of every five in the country.

Vancouver immigration lawyer Jeffrey Lowe said many people who renounce their permanent status are breadwinners who cannot meet Canada’s two-year-residency requirement because they hold down jobs elsewhere, typically earning more money in their homeland than they believe they could in Canada.

A large number of these are so-called astronaut parents, who work offshore while their spouses and school-attending children remain in Canada, usually in urban centres, and own residential property, say the immigration lawyers.
The rapid rise in renunciations began in 2015 after then-immigration minister Chris Alexander, of the Conservatives, changed the rules to make it easier to voluntarily withdraw from the immigration process.

In the two years up to September of 2016, Citizenship and Immigration Canada figures show there were 5,407 renunciations by citizens of China, 2,431 by citizens of India, 1,681 by South Koreans, 1,416 by Britons and 1,129 by Taiwanese.

“A lot of people with permanent resident status have wanted to get their family and wealth transferred into Canada,” said Hyman.

“Some have bought multiple properties. By renouncing their permanent resident status they can stay below the radar and avoid Canadian taxes,” he said.

“They can visit Canada whenever they want on a 10-year visa. Why would they want anything else?”

Another reason foreigners renounce the Canadian immigration process, according to Hyman, is so family breadwinners won’t have to give up their passport and citizenship privileges in economically vibrant homelands like China and South Korea.

China and India do not allow their citizens to hold two passports, and South Korea only in rare cases.

Lowe says he expects renunciations to jump even more since the federal government in November began requiring a new customs document for some travellers, called ETA, or electronic travel authorization.

Foreign nationals from certain countries can’t obtain an ETA if they are a permanent resident or if they are non-compliant with the terms of their residency card, Lowe said. As a result they’re not allowed to board a plane to come to Canada.

Given that problem, Lowe said many would-be immigrants choose to renounce their residency status and instead simply apply for temporary visas to Canada.

Richard Kurland, author of the Lexbase newsletter, said it’s become common for breadwinners to bring their entire family to B.C. as permanent residents and then to decide “either it’s too cold or there’s no way I’m going to file an income tax return and report my global interests and property and pay taxes in Canada on that. I’m returning to my country of origin.”

In many cases, Kurland said, just the spouse and children who physically stay in Canada for five years end up being the ones who become Canadian citizens.

Source: Growing number of migrants renouncing Canadian immigrant status | Vancouver Sun

Douglas Todd: Canada needs strong dose of ‘cultural curiosity | Vancouver Sun

Interesting conversation between Douglas Todd and Ara Norenzayan, a UBC social psychologist and the need to understand difference better rather than assuming no difference. Their discussion turns more challenging when it comes to considering what differences are acceptable and what is not:

We started our conversation with Norenzayan describing three of the benefits social psychologists and anthropologists have discovered about diversity.

“Diversity concentrates talent,” Norenzayan said. Cities, universities and businesses can advance when talented people gather together from diverse cultures.

In addition “diverse groups are more creative at problem solving,” Norenzayan said. Laboratory experiments show groups of varied people can imagine many novel uses for an object that a more homogeneous group sees in a limited way.

Thirdly, people in diverse contexts can learn the skill of interacting without polarizing. Norenzayan cited summer camps in which young Jews and Palestinians become friends, the prime route to cross-cultural understanding.

But there are potential downsides to diversity, which should not be denied.

The most obvious is that diversity can lead to self-segregation.

I have written about the startling degree to which ethnic Chinese, South Asians, Caucasians and others are forming ethnic enclaves in Metro Vancouver, a region that demographers call “hyper-diverse” since 45 per cent of the population is foreign born.

“People are less likely to get to know their neighbours if they live in diverse neighbourhoods. Contact diminishes,” Norenzayan said.

It’s happening at UBC, which is a predominantly ethnic Asian campus. “Asian students and non-Asian students self-segregate.”

Diversity “can unravel very fast”

….Canada is not on the verge of becoming like divided Lebanon. But that strife-torn country is a chilling example of how diversity can suddenly turn to polarization.

“People used to think of Lebanon as a model of a society that was very diverse,” Norenzayan said. Muslims, Christians, Lebanese, Palestinians and others tended to get along.

“But, in 1975, it unravelled very fast. So I don’t have any illusions.”

Although few can explain why Lebanon boiled over, Norenzayan said it “doesn’t take much to poison the well.” Certain events in Lebanon incited groups that once tolerated each other to turn to identity politics, inducing “a spiral of negativity” that continues to this day.

Even though most countries of the world don’t accept any immigrants, some that do, like the U.S., Britain, France and the Netherlands, have in recent years experienced a rapid rise of immigration-skeptical nativism.

Despite decades of official multiculturalism, Norenzayan worries many Canadians still think that being honest about cultural differences is the same as stereotyping. And the last thing any Canadian wants to be called is racist or xenophobic, however unfairly.

“The first thing to do is tell people difference is OK. It’s not prejudice to recognize people have different beliefs,” Norenzayan said.

Social psychologists, for instance, have found through experiments that most people in the West value independence, choice and self-realization.

But in Chinese and Korean cultures, research shows group cohesion and obedience are tied into morality.

“My Chinese students are extremely respectful of authority,” Norenzayan said. When he asks Chinese students to call him “Ara,” he says most “just can’t do it. They think it’s immoral. They believe deference to authority is a moral value.”

Another Asian value that Westerners don’t get, said Norenzayan, is purity.

While Hindu temple priests expect visitors to take their shoes off before entering as an act of purity, he said many Westerners think it’s just etiquette. But purity codes have powerful consequences throughout Asia.

“Cultural curiosity” recognizes differences

The more we explore diversity, the more we may find some cultural differences morally disturbing, depending on whether we’re liberal, conservative or in-between.

Even though we should avoid a rush to judgment, Norenzayan said a diverse society like Canada “has to make some choices” about how far to go in accepting some cultural differences.

I asked Norenzayan what he thought about Toronto Muslim Zunera Ishaq’s successful fight in 2015 to wear a face-covering niqab during her citizenship ceremony.

“I personally don’t agree with niqabs, but I don’t think there should be a law that bans them,” he said. “There are lot of things I don’t like that other people do. Where do you stop? If (polls show most of) the Canadian population doesn’t like something, do we ban it?”

When I responded that European courts appear to be making reasonable decisions to ban women wearing niqabs while working with young people in daycare centres or public schools, Norenzayan added he believed RCMP officers should likely not be permitted to wear niqabs.

He also felt strongly about polygamy. His former UBC colleague, Joe Heinrich, discovered that polygamist societies tend to be “more violent and more gender unequal.”

If Canada were to legalize polygamy, Norenzayan said, it would make the country “a magnet for polygamous immigrants,” which he thinks would be harmful.

Compared to many countries, Canadian multiculturalism is maintaining a certain calm. We’re often ranked as one of the world’s most “tolerant” nations.

“But we don’t really know why,” Norenzayan said. He emphasized we need to figure it out.

We speculated the country’s relative peace and good order could have something to do with our protected borders and general Canadian “civility,” which has long historical roots.

We also agreed Canadians’ overall acceptance of diversity flows from a highly selective migration policy. Most countries don’t allow any immigration, but those that do constantly adjust intake criteria, and levels, in search of the sweet spot that encourages integration.

Since Norenzayan has experienced how easily a hyper-diverse region can descend to tribalism, he feels more urgency than most about enhancing Canada’s relative harmony,

Instead of being “culture blind” and pretending no differences exist, Norenzayan says society needs to offer more Canadians a chance to experience positive contact across cultures.

I couldn’t agree more when he suggests the attitude necessary to make that happen is the genuine practise of cultural curiosity.

Source: Douglas Todd: Canada needs strong dose of ‘cultural curiosity | Vancouver Sun

Douglas Todd: The hidden cost of foreign-student policy

Some valid points regarding the rise of international students and their impact although the healthcare costs are likely grossly inflated: using the provincial average is not appropriate for young age cohort that tend to have fewer healthcare needs.

And the concern about slipping standards is more anecdote based without hard data to back this up:

Although unheeded by politicians, Knight and Altbach say Western foreign-student programs have lost their humanitarian ideals, grown into a giant business and now largely draw second-tier students, many of whom struggle with new languages.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University political science professor Shinder Purewal and Patrick Feeney, a B.C.-based education professor now at Chiang Mai University in Thailand, add to such warnings about the hidden costs of Canada’s foreign student policy.

While both scholars support foreign student programs, they fear they’ve mushroomed out of control. Canadians, the scholars say, need to be aware of the disguised burden on taxpayers. Purewal and Feeney also say academic standards are declining in many classrooms.

Working independently, Purewal and Feeney reveal there have been significant repercussions as the ratio of foreign students at B.C.’s two leading universities, UBC and SFU, has grown to one in four, with by far the largest cohort from Mainland China.

Even though the portion of foreign students at suburban Vancouver’s Kwantlen Polytechnic University is one in eight (almost half the foreign students are South Asian), internal documents show that Kwantlen recently paid more than $300,000 to student-recruiting agents in India.

To further illustrate how massive the industry has become, Purewal said Metro Vancouver is home to more than 150 private colleges and universities that cater almost exclusively to foreign students. He calls them “drive-thru institutions, basically two-room colleges.”

What are the hidden financial costs of Canada’s foreign-student policies?

Purewal, who is also a registered immigration consultant, says Canadians are not aware that the more than 300,000 foreign students in the country at any one time receive provincial taxpayer-funded health care.

The foreign students — as well as their spouses and children — have their doctor and hospital visits paid for by Canadian taxpayers, even though they have not contributed to the universal health care program.

With B.C. home to 110,000 foreign students, and the average resident using up almost $6,000 a year in medical expenses, Purewal calculated “the cost could be up $635 million” to the province’s health care system, not including spouses and children (who are also allowed free public-school educations).

“While the post-secondary institutions earn more tuition money, the Canadian taxpayers foot the bill for their health costs,” said Purewal, who has served as a citizenship court judge, where he’s seen how Canadian policy also favours foreign students as future immigrants.

Many foreign students and especially their spouses also seize on the option to work while in Canada, often full-time, says Purewal, echoing a new trend discovered by Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland.

In many cases, Purewal believes, Canadian bosses prefer to hire foreign students or their spouses. “You can exploit them to bone. They are not going to talk about labour standards. They can’t complain. Employers are happy with this system.”

What’s happening in higher education itself?

Purewal and Feeney are skeptical about the mantra from administrators and politicians that foreign students do not take the seats of domestic students.

The two academics maintain that, since government funding for higher education is declining, the money available to create seats for domestic students is also, in effect, declining. Domestic student enrolment in classrooms is capped.

Former UBC president Stephen Toope is among those who have said B.C. government funding for university students has been cut almost in half from its high in the 1970s, when it covered 70 per cent of per capita costs.

Purewal says the competition between domestic and foreign students becomes particularly keen in winning coveted spots in masters or PhD programs, which are small, with varied selection criteria.

Purewal also maintains universities are not asking most foreign students in Canada, who typically pay anywhere from $12,000 to $18,000 a year in fees, to pay their own way in full.

Their fees do not finance infrastructure, he said. If foreign students had to completely make up for the taxpayer money that has gone into constructing UBC, SFU or Kwantlen, Purewal estimated their fees would have to double or triple.

The quality of education is also declining in many university and college classrooms, says Feeney.

Source: Douglas Todd: The hidden cost of foreign-student policy | Vancouver Sun