Welcome to our glorious and tolerant cultural mosaic. Earlier this week in this space, there was an editorial about how this province’s aging population is building a burgeoning health and tax crisis; as a province, we’re getting older, and as a larger and larger proportion of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians reach retirement, there are going to be both higher health-care costs and fewer tax dollars to pay for them. Simply put, we need more people — more young people, more working people, more tax-paying people.
If we don’t get them, we’ll all have to pay plenty more — and there certainly aren’t enough babies being born to take up the slack.
That pretty much leaves immigration as this province’s best bet to bolster its population.
A reader sent an email talking about a story on last year’s immigration numbers, and we’re not doing that well. In fact, this province has the second-lowest
immigration numbers in the country.
Last year, 751 immigrants came to this province, just .29 per cent of the nation’s total. The story also cited an Angus Reid poll that said 41 per cent of Canadians thought immigration rates should actually decrease, with only 15 per cent saying it should increase.
But a more interesting part of the email — which included a link to a Yahoo News story on the numbers — was the writer’s penultimate comment: “don’t read the comments unless you want to really, really hate everyone.”
Well, for sure, the comments on the story have more than enough hate for everyone. (The spelling mistakes and bad grammar have been left intact.)
Here’s a sampling of the barely printable: “The upside is that if you can’t afford a trip to China or India, just hop on over to Hongcouver or Brampcutta.”
“Great! Thanks to totally irresponsible government we’re right on track to totally squander the heritage of our youth and achieve our own cultural genocide.”
“What per cent of the new arrivals that will actually contribute to Canada … and what per cent will leach of our system?”
“Give us your weak your poor your terrorists and all your criminals welcome to Canada. Do not worry we have the best laws in canada for criminals. If you do something wrong and they say you will be sent back claim discrimination and then taxpayers will pay for your lawyers and acomidations.”
There are far, far worse. Some are blindingly offensive. The simple fact is that we are a big, spread-out country with not enough people to continue to sustain our existing social programs.
As a Globe and Mail editorial put it last year: “Canada needs more immigrants. In some regions and industries, Canada is already short of educated, skilled workers. With birth rates low and lifespans ever longer, those problems will deepen in the future. Worse, our social safety system could become unsustainable.”
We are one of the regions where those problems are almost certain to worsen.
The bottom line? We should have open arms, not open and offensive mouths. It’s simple math.
Too bad it doesn’t solve bigotry.