Arată versiune întreagă : JOE VOLPE - INCREASING IMMIGRATION

28.04.2005, 06:58

We're moving to increase immigration, says Joe Volpe, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, because that's the way of Canada's future.

Thursday, April 28, 2005 Updated at 1:38 AM EST

Special to Globe and Mail Update
Canada's future is dependent on immigration in a way unseen since the days of Clifford Sifton and Wilfrid Laurier a century ago.

The evidence for this is clear: Our birth rate is among the lowest in the western world, our participation rate is the highest among countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and our unemployment rate continues to fall. Indeed, even smaller centres and rural communities across this country are now entering the competition for new Canadians as they seek to keep the critical mass of people needed for their long-term survival
There are those who resist acceptance of our demographic challenge, who deny that new Canadians must be welcomed to fill our economic and social need for more people. That view - while perhaps once defendable - is obsolete.

Our challenge, as a country, is to move beyond the view of immigration as an administrative problem to a recognition that we need to launch a recruiting drive to build our future. Let me promise you, we will not be alone in this recruiting drive. Former emigrant-generating countries, mostly in Europe, are now net immigrant receivers and seekers; their economies are every bit as vibrant as ours, with birth rates every bit as low.

For immigrants, opportunities knock in many places. We must ensure they hear a louder knock from Canada. We have the track record - our current success has been built on the strength of those who chose to build their hopes, dreams and ambitions in this country.

Today, some 40 per cent of Canadians were born abroad or are the children of new Canadians.

Our immigration system is a story of tremendous successes, notwithstanding the exceptions that test the rule. Last year, for example, Citizenship and Immigration Canada issued some 1.1 million permits: 236,000 permanent-resident visas, and more than 800,000 other decisions for temporary workers, visitors visas, student visas, etc. About 170,000 new citizens are approved every year, joining the 18 per cent of Canadian citizens who were born elsewhere.

The exceptions, however, are the stories that tear away at public support for the system, and distract us all from our main goal: attracting the right people, keeping them here and helping them make positive and lasting contributions to this country.

Some of these distractions are solvable: Having attracted some bright and talented people, we must now help them use their training and skills. That's why, this week, we launched an effort to help internationally-trained engineers, doctors, pharmacists and others who are currently prevented from working in their field because their credentials aren't recognized. We will put financial resources in place - in partnership with provinces, licensing bodies, academic institutions, employers and local communities - to begin bridging that gap.

A further challenge is to fill the labour void created by a booming economy in cities and resource-based centres across this country. One of the ways to fill that void is to use universities and community colleges to recruit young people to regional centres and keep them there. At the same time, we need to recognize the best support structure for integration is the family that many left behind. Canada must be a welcoming place for families if we are to continue the economic generation that comes from new Canadians.

Let's remember that we make a commitment as a country to new Canadians when they arrive that they will be able to reunite their families with them in this country.

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