There is a major federal policy issue none of the major political parties are talking about in the election campaign so far: immigration.
That’s because the Liberals, Conservatives, and NDP agree that relatively high immigration numbers are necessary to grow our economy because without it, our population would decline and there would be fewer workers supporting those who have retired.
The economic argument drives the discussion, but there is also the benefit of enjoying cultural diversity to consider. For example, North Bay residents can enjoy the World Culture Fusion Fest event coming soon, September 17-18 at various locations. Full disclosure: Curry Immigration Consulting is one of the sponsors.
The only party that disagrees with high immigration numbers is the People’s Party of Canada. It has three per cent support across Canada at present. In our riding of Nipissing-Temiskaming Mark King garnered 5.3% of the vote for the party in the 2019 federal election. I read their policies on immigration and multiculturalism online and it was a tough read. The word “racist,” which I never use lightly, comes to mind.
Local MPs since I have lived in North Bay: Jean-Jacques Blais, Moe Mantha, Bob Wood, Anthony Rota, Jay Aspin, and then Anthony Rota again, have all been pro-immigration.
Our provincial MPP, Vic Fedeli, and North Bay Mayor Al McDonald are pro-immigration. The mayor’s social media campaign to encourage GTA residents to move here is aimed at a region with the highest proportion of immigrants in Canada.
All this is lovely. It appears that we are all on the same page and we can join hands for a rousing chorus of Kumbaya.
But it ignores the under-belly of our city, where people vent about immigration on Facebook and other social media, with no regard for factual information. I cancelled my Facebook account months ago because it wasn’t good for my blood pressure. I followed suit with Twitter, which isn’t much better.
Our city has its share of Fox News devotees. And I am sure there are those who follow Rebel News, Canada’s answer to the far-right lunatics in the U.S. Their venom and disinformation are widely shared on social media as though it was factual.
Meanwhile, the anti-vaxxer whackadoodles are enjoying themselves trying to disrupt campaign events by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In the U.S. these folks are overwhelmingly Republicans and I venture to guess that in Canada they are either People’s Party or Conservative supporters. The “don’t mess with my freedoms” crowd is always on the right of the political spectrum.
Their take on immigration is likely as misinformed as is their information on vaccines, so let’s hope they keep their focus on opposing vaccines so they can continue to show the vaccinated majority that stupidity knows no bounds. If they believe the anti-vaccine propaganda on social media they are likely to believe anything.
We have our share of anti-vaxxers in town too, and they are not afraid to show their un-masked faces at demonstrations.
The fact that immigration is a non-issue in the federal election campaign is good news. But we can’t be complacent. We have to confront misinformation, and yes, racism, when we see it. It is more prevalent than you think and we all need to do our part.
Don Curry is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant living in North Bay and a member of the Bay Today community advisory committee.