- Posted October 11, 2012 by
Welcome Irish Immigrants!!
Jason Kenney, Canadian Immigration Minister, is like Daniel come to judgment. For once we, see the priorities of immigration that have been skewed so far, are being set right. He has evidently the ability to discern (a very rare quality in politicians) beyond the pale of being politically correct that t it's not racist to actually DO something about immigration? Undeniably he has been able to confront out 'most divisive issue'.
The scale of mass immigration in recent years is a subject virtually ignored despite having contributed, to the population growing by about three hundred thousand every year. It is second only to the economy among the problems facing Canada. For years, anyone who has dared to tread, however carefully, on this disputed territory risked accusations of racism and intolerance. The word `bigot' has been used by some politicians to describe anyone who questions the metropolitan consensus.
The country does need immigration, but it needs immigration of the proper people – people who can become an inalienable part of the fabric, and do not need to have a distinct culture; people who can contribute to the growth in a major way, people who can speak and not need interpreters and translators for daily needs. The recent talk inviting Irish to immigrate is a welcome sign
Pubs bursting at the seams are a reminder of the old saying that on St. Patrick's Day, everyone's a little bit Irish. But statistics show that immigration to Canada has become a lot more Irish.
By the end of 2011, there were more than 5,200 temporary foreign workers from Ireland in Canada, up almost 1,000 from the year before.
While the number pales besides statistics on workers from countries such as India, Pakistan, Philippines or Mexico, Canada has become a premier destination for Irish workers fleeing a soured economy in their home country and an unemployment rate hovering around 15 per cent. "The word over in Ireland for the last two to three years is that Canada is the place to go," said Eamonn O'Loghlin, who came to Canada from Ireland 36 years ago and is now involved in a number of Irish-Canadian organizations.
Canada wants to double the number of young Irish people arriving to live and work in the country through its International Experience Canada (IEC) program, it has been announced.
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said that from next year the number of spaced available for Irish young people on the program with increase by 1,000 to 6,350 and double to 10,000 by 2014. ‘Our government is focused on creating a proactive, nimble immigration system that helps us grow Canada’s economy,’ he said after returning from a visit to Ireland
Beginning in 2013, Irish people will be eligible to participate in the IEC only once but for a period of up to two years. Kenney said that the change will eliminate the need for people, who are already residing and working in Canada, to disrupt their employment and leave the country in order to apply again. ‘Relations between Ireland and Canada are already close, based on family ties, historically rooted cultural affinities, and shared democratic political traditions,’ he explained. ‘The expansion of the Canada-Ireland working holiday agreement will not only help build a stronger Canada but will also strengthen the ties between the two countries,’ he added
Kenney also said that the significant expansion of the Canada-Ireland IEC program complements the transformational changes the government of Canada has announced to Canada’s immigration system in recent months. These changes will lead to a fast and flexible system that is focused on economic growth and creating jobs in Canada.
Among the recent changes are regulatory reforms proposed for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), which is Canada’s fastest growing economic immigration program. The proposed changes would make the program more flexible for applicants who are working in Canada under international agreements, such as the IEC.
‘The proposed changes to the CEC will make the programme more flexible and give many people who are temporarily working in Canada with a more realistic chance of staying as permanent residents and eventually citizens, if they so choose. That includes many young people who are in Canada as part of their working holiday, who may have found a good job and want to stay and build a new life here,’ concluded Kenney.
Looking at the history, we find that the Great Irish Famine of 1846 to 1852 was a truly horrific human disaster. The potato crop fell to the blight and the Irish starved, waiting for a miracle. Poorhouses were overwhelmed, soup kitchens could not feed the hungry, hundreds of thousands died, orphans wandered motherless, and then cholera and typhus pulled the half-living into the fever pits - the mass graves. Emigration was the only hope. As many as two million Irish fled their homeland and another million are believed to have died trying. Hundreds of thousands century
1.2 million Irish immigrants arrived, 1825 to 1970, at least half of those in the period from 1831–1850. By 1867, they were the second largest ethnic group (after the French), and comprised 24% of Canada's population. The 1931 national census counted 1,230,000 Canadians of Irish descent, half of whom lived in Ontario. About one-third were Catholic in 1931 and two-thirds Protestants. The Irish immigrants were largely Protestant before the famine years of the 1840s, when the Catholics arrived in large numbers. However, most Catholic Irish after 1850 usually headed to the U.S., England and Australia.
The 2006 census by Statistics Canada revealed that the Irish were the 4th largest ethnic group with 4,354,000 Canadians with full or partial Irish descent or 14% of the country's total population. This was a large and significant increase of 531,495 since the 2001 census, which counted 3,823,000 respondents quoting Irish ethnicity.
Irish Canadians are immigrants and descendants of immigrants who originated in Ireland. 1.2 million Irish immigrants arrived, 1825 to 1970, at least half of those in the period from 1831–1850. By 1867, they were the second largest ethnic group (after the French), and comprised 24% of Canada's population. The 1931 national census counted 1,230,000 Canadians of Irish descent, half of whom lived in Ontario. About one-third were Catholic in 1931 and two-thirds Protestants. The Irish immigrants were largely Protestant before the famine years of the 1840s, when the Catholics arrived in large numbers. However, most Catholic Irish after 1850 usually headed to the U.S., England and Australia.
Irish have a long and rich history in Canada dating back centuries. The first recorded Irish presence in the area of present day Canada dates from 1536, when Irish fishermen from Cork travelled to Newfoundland.
After the permanent settlement in Newfoundland by Irish in early 19th century, overwhelmingly from Waterford, increased immigration of the Irish elsewhere in Canada began in the decades following the War of 1812. Between the years 1825 to 1845, 60% of all immigrants to Canada were Irish; in 1831 alone, some 34,000 arrived in Montreal.But the peak period of entry of the Irish to Canada in terms of sheer numbers occurred in the 1830–50 period when 624,000 arrived, or 31,000 a year; smaller numbers arrived in Newfoundland. Besides Upper Canada (Ontario), the Maritime colonies of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, especially Saint John, were popular destinations.
During this time, Canada was the destination of the most destitute Irish Catholics cleared from land estates and leaving the crowded docks of Liverpool, numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Passage fares to Canada were much lower than those to the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, due to such factors as distance and the use of empty, returning timber ships to transport the masses
The Irish were instrumental in the building of the Rideau Canal. Alongside French-Canadians, thousands of Irish labored tirelessly in difficult terrain. Hundreds, if not thousands, died because of malaria
Now Canada needs good workers, and it is time to catch the Irish one. Irish youth are increasingly looking abroad to secure their future employment and prosperity. According to the most recent emigration data, 87,000 people have left Ireland in the year to April 2012, 7,000 more than the year before. Some have likened this to the mass emigration which took place during the potato famine in the 1840s, when hundreds of thousands of Irish families left for the US and Canada in search of a new life.
Young people aged between 21 and 35 are worst affected by unemployment and 182,900 in this age group have moved abroad since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008.
Almost a third of 18-24 years olds who grew up during Ireland’s Celtic tiger boom are now out of work and many of those with jobs have seen their wages cut, while those in the 25-40 age bracket are suffering with huge mortgages and negative equity, a legacy of Ireland’s spectacular property crash.
Canada is seeking tens of thousands of Irish worker to fill a wide range of jobs, the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland announced last week. The country is seeking to fill a labor shortage caused by a strong economy, massive infrastructure projects and booming fisheries, mining, oil and natural gas industries."I'm hearing numbers like between 30,000 and 40,000 in construction alone," Ambassador Loyola Hearn told the Irish Independent.
This year, all 5,000 holiday work visas open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 35, were quickly snapped up. Immigration officials have increased the quota to 5,350 for 2012
“We are trying to raise the profile of Canada because we have seen huge numbers of highly educated young Irish going to Australia,” Kenney said before leaving on the four-day visit. “So this is a test drive on our effort to have a more proactive recruitment-based immigration system.” Kenney said he only has to look around the parliament buildings in Ottawa to see the contributions the Irish made to Canada. “There are shamrocks (engraved in the stone) that is a reminder that the Irish are one of the founding peoples,” he said.
Canada will increase the length of work visas for young Irish and double the quota of those who may arrive through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. Now this is in a major contrast to so called family reunion that south Asians want- that only encourages immigration of non-contributing people who shall be a burden to the economy.
Beginning in 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will increase the number of spaces available for Irish, aged 18 to 35, by 1,000 to 6,350 and will seek to nearly double the current IEC quota to 10,000, beginning in 2014. The IEC allows young Irish to travel and work in Canada for up to one year; they get an open work permit, which allows them to work for any Canadian employer. In exchange, young Canadians can likewise travel and work in Ireland. Currently, Irish youth can participate twice in the IEC for a maximum of 12 months each time. Beginning in 2013, however, they will be eligible to take part in the IEC only once but for a period of up to two years, the department said. With the profound changes in Canada over the last twenty-five years, many in the Irish population, especially the young, now feel distanced from their heritage, a feeling reinforced by their lack of knowledge of the degree to which their ancestors helped build the Country.
How Extensive is the Irish Involvement in Canadian Life?
Although names such as Eaton, O'Keefe and Drummond, as well as individuals such as D'Arcy McGee, Paul Kane, King Clancy, Marshall McLuhan, Morley Callaghan, Max Fergusson, Maureen Forrester and John Crosbie are familiar to most Canadians, detailed formal knowledge of the history of the Irish in Canada is neither readily available nor taught at Canadian universities.
The Irish have been part of the fabric of Canadian society since John Cabot arrived in Newfoundland at the end of the fifteenth century. It is estimated that up to four million Canadians can trace some Irish ancestry, including a high percentage of French-speaking Quebecers. There were significant Irish settlements in Atlantic Canada and Quebec before the Famines of the 1840s sent many more to our shores.
In the 1780s, Corkman Richard John Uniacke became Attorney General of the Colony of Nova Scotia and facilitated the settlement there of many of his countrymen. When Â Donegal-born Captain Walter Patterson became first Governor of Prince Edward Island in 1781, he renamed the colony New Ireland. This name was also associated with New Brunswick where, by 1871, the Irish constituted a third of the population and wielded significant economic and political power.
When successive waves of Irish immigrants arrived in Quebec in the nineteenth century, many of them orphans whose parents died of typhoid on the transatlantic voyage, they were adopted by French families. Some, such as the families of Claude Ryan, Louis O'Neill, Daniel Johnson and Brian Mulroney kept their surnames, while others such as Louis St. Laurent and Jean Charest remained proud of their Irish heritage. In 1871, Quebec had a higher proportion of Irish-born residents than anywhere else in North America.
Down through the years, the Irish served as an important bridge between the French and English, sharing religion and culture with one, and history and language with the other. Upper Canada Premier, Robert Baldwin forged a liberal alliance with Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, thereby securing French-Canadian support for responsible government. Francis Hincks, a native of County Cork, was instrumental in the evolution of the Macdonald-Cartier partnership which would extend a railway from sea to sea, under the direction of another Irish-Canadian, Lord Shaughnessy.
Other notable Irish-Canadians include:
Thomas D'Arcy McGee (1825-1868), an Irish-born politician, accomplished poet and Father of Confederation, who lobbied for responsible government with full protection for the French and the Irish.
Timothy Eaton (1834-1907), born in Co. Antrim, who emigrated to Canada at the age of 20 with total assets of a hundred pounds. His little dry goods store on the corner of Yonge and Queen became the foundation of a great retail organization serving all of Canada.
Robert Samuel McLaughlin (1871-1972), founder of the McLaughlin Carriage Company, the forerunner of General Motors of Canada, was a prominent industrialist and philanthropist who made significant contributions to the advancement of Canadian culture and society.
Nelly McClung (1872-1951) was a social activist in Manitoba and Alberta, the only woman at the Canadian War Conference of 1918, the first woman member of the CBC's Board of Governors, and in 1938 a Canadian delegate to the League of Nations. While raising a family of five, she was a novelist, temperance advocate, suffragist, lecturer and member of the Alberta Legislature.
The life of Cardinal J. C. McGuigan (1894-1974) might be seen to reflect the pervasive presence of the Irish in Canada: born and educated in Prince Edward Island, he completed his post-graduate work at Quebec City's Grand Seminaire and UniversitÃ© Laval. He served as priest in Edmonton, Archbishop of Regina, Archbishop of Toronto, and later still as first Cardinal from English Canada.
Faced with a massive skills shortage and a surge of job openings, Western Canadian employers are looking to an old source for new workers: hard-up Ireland. Two delegations of employers – one from Saskatchewan led by Premier Brad Wall, the other headed by British Columbia and Alberta construction industry representatives – are making a push to entice Irish citizens to leave their economically devastated country and come to Canada, as the ancestors of more than one in eight Canadians did generations earlier.
We have a construction boom; they have a bust,” said Abigail Fulton, vice-president of the British Columbia Construction Association, whose 11-member delegation is meeting with Irish government, industry and union representatives in Dublin this week. The meetings, she said, are intended “to lay groundwork and develop an inventory of people who are looking for work” – then match the names to companies looking to fill more than 100,000 construction jobs expected to open up in B.C. and Alberta in the next five years.
The Saskatchewan government has set up a website that greets potential Irish emigrants with the message “Welcome to your future” and hundreds of job postings. The province is even sending immigration officials to help applicants speed the process of moving to Saskatchewan. With its steady economy, common language, similar training and work standards – not to mention shared history – Canada is one of a handful a popular destinations for Irish workers.
The 2006 census by Statistics Canada, Canada's Official Statistical office revealed that the Irish were the 4th largest ethnic group with 4,354,000 Canadians with full or partial Irish descent or 14% of the country's total population. This was a large and significant increase of 531,495 since the 2001 census, which counted 3,823,000 respondents quoting Irish ethnicity.
The survey also explored attitudes to the Irish resident abroad. It found many are positive towards the Irish workers in their country as 61% of Canadians, 59% of Australians, 57% of Americans and 47% of Britons agreed that Irish people who live in their country make a positive contribution there. This viewpoint is backed by just 4% feeling that the Irish who live in their country are a drain on their country’s resources.
I support all measures under consideration that modern technology provides for in securing our borders, monitoring those who seek to gain entry into Canada, and those in legions outside of Canada who want to come here as immigrants. I believe it is a no brainer to work towards a more secure and economically better Canada, and to keep Canada and Canadians secure from those who would do us harm, as John A. Macdonald put it, “peace, order and good government” is not a suicide-pact.
Needless to remark that Canada is an immigrant country, and our history tells us as we should know it has been immigrants from Europe over the past several centuries that built this country. On the whole they built it well and, indeed, so well that Canada has come to be an eagerly sought country for people from around the world. But, and here is the point, at some stage of Canada’s historical development since at least 1867 those who built Canada in the early years of its history could have reached an agreement to close the door to further immigration. They did not. They believed the strength of their country would be maintained through a judicious policy of accepting new immigrants from Europe. But the key point here I want to emphasize, and I have written about this at length in the public media, is they all believed that immigration judiciously and carefully managed (I emphasize manage) in terms of numbers and source origin of immigrants should be such that the nature of Canada as a liberal democracy is not undermined.
It is numbers and the nature of numbers that matters and, given the nature of things, determines how existing arrangements are secured or undermined. Since the open door immigration policy was instituted around the time of Canada’s centennial year, the nature of immigration into Canada started to change from what had been the pattern since before 1867 to around 1960. During the past fifty years immigration from outside of Europe, from what is generally designated the Third World, has rapidly increased in proportion to those immigrants originating in Europe. Furthermore, given the revolution in transportation with the introduction of wide body trans-continental jetliner that has made mass travel economical and easy the distinction between immigrant and migrant workers has been eliminated. This means, and it is not simply in reference to ethnicity, that Canada is rapidly changing culturally in ways our political elite, media elite and academic elite do not want to discuss. But the fact that this is not discussed, or driven under the carpet, does not mean the public is not keenly aware of how much the country has changed in great measure in a relatively short period, and if this pattern continues for another few decades there is the likelihood that Canada will have changed irrevocably, and not necessarily for the better in terms of its political tradition as a liberal democracy.
So in terms of first principle, we need our governing institutions and those individuals we, as Canadians, send to them to represent us, to boldly re-examine our existing immigration policy and re-think it in terms of what it represents and how it will affect the well-being of Canada in the years to come.
The recent publication of Statics Canada, Projections of the Diversity of the Canadian Population: 2006 to 2031. This projection affects me now, but more importantly affects my children, my students, my friends and neighbors in their life time. The salient points raised here are:
1. Given the nature of our immigration policy since the 1960s, the foreign born population is growing about 4 times faster than the rest of the population; consequently, in 2031 there will be between 9.8 million and 12.5 million foreign-born persons compared to 6.5 million in 2006, and the corresponding number in 1981 was 3.8 million.
2. According to Statistics Canada projection, the population estimated for 2031 will be around 45 million of which 32 per cent, or around 14.5 million people will be foreign-born.
3. One more interesting, and yet critical, figure is the cultural/religious make up of Canada in 2031. The fastest growth, according to the report, is “the Muslim population… with its numbers tripling during this period. This increase is mainly due to two factors: the composition of immigration… and higher fertility than for other groups.” The figures are for Muslims in 2006 at around 900,000 constituting 2.7 per cent of the population, and rising to in 2031 to around 3.3 million constituting 7.3 per cent of the population. This is followed by other South Asians.
At the risk of being politically incorrect, I would say that it can be instrumental dividing the country in a subtle manner. These groups desire their separate entity and identity. I have no issue with identity, but when the desire even to subvert the civil order and desire their cultural group’s centuries old traditions or supposed traditions to override even the civil law; that’s a dangerous ground.
The Irish do not have such a wish. They are a part of the cultural landscape. If the levels of immigration in Canada is to be maintained, and defended, on the basis of the needs to deal with the problems of Canadian society in terms of an aging population, fertility rates among Canadian women, skilled labor requirement and maintaining a growth-level for the population consistent with the growth of the economy, then this policy to encourage the Irish is a valuable one.
We cannot fix the social problems of the Canadian society by an open immigration policy that adds to the numbers at a rate that puts into question the absorptive capacity of the country not only in economic terms but also, if not more importantly, in cultural and social terms and what this does to our political arrangements as a liberal democracy.
The March 2012 Herbert Grubel and Patrick Grady study for the Fraser Institute on Immigration and Refugee Policy should end once and for all the naivety that immigrants add in the short and medium term to economic gains for the country. Indeed, the cost-benefit analysis the Grubel-Grady study provides, based on government sources and revenue Canada numbers, indicates immigrants are a net cost to the rest of the society. “The fiscal burden imposed by the average recent immigrants,” Grubel and Grady write, “is $6,000, which for all immigrants is a total between $16 billion and $23 billion per year.” This is unfair, unsustainable, and disruptive to the Canadian society when set against the demands of Canadians for their needs, especially in distressing economic times as we have been witnessing since 2008.
The flow of immigration into Canada from around the world, and in particular the flow of Non English speaking people from different cultures that want to assert their separateness as distinct from Canadian one, means a pouring in of numbers into a liberal society of people from cultures at best non-liberal and belonging to dark ages. . But we know through our studies and observations that the illiberal mix of cultures poses one of the greatest dilemmas and an unprecedented challenge to liberal societies, such as ours, when there is no demand placed on immigrants any longer to assimilate into the founding liberal values of the country to which they have immigrated to and, instead, by a misguided and thoroughly wrong-headed policy of multiculturalism encourage the opposite. It is no wonder that recently the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the British Prime Minister David Cameron, among other European leaders and a growing body of intellectuals, have spoken out in public against multiculturalism and the need to push it back, even repeal it.
Canada is well advised to continue with a level of immigration into Canada annually that is about the same as it is at present; i.e. somewhere in the vicinity of 300,000 immigrants, refugee claimants, and students and workers under visa provision entering Canada.
We must not persist with such an in-flow of immigrants under the present arrangement of the official policy of multiculturalism based on the premise all cultures are equal when this is untrue, and that this policy is a severe, perhaps even a lethal, test for a liberal democracy such as ours.
This means we cannot simultaneously continue with both, the existing level of immigration and official multiculturalism, as they together endanger greatly our liberal democratic traditions. The advent of Catholic Irish shall set the balance right. Hard-working, English-speaking, with cultural synergy, the Irish immigrants shall be a blessing. Hats, or shall I say turbans, off to Jason Kenney for doing right.
Dr. Bikram Lamba, a political and business strategist can be contacted at 905 848 4205. Email:email@example.com