Mon | Jan 30, 2023

Letter of the Day | Is Canada gaslighting immigration numbers?

Published:Friday | December 2, 2022 | 12:08 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Gaslighting has been chosen as Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s word of the year. Defined as: “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage”, it is derived from a 1944 movie Gaslight, it seems to fit perfectly with how certain governments interact with the general population, and was quite evident on a radio talk show at the weekend.

The federal government of Canada announced on November 1 that immigration levels would be raised to 500,000 annually by 2025, to ease labour shortages. With current immigration in the 400,000 range, this plan brought responses from many sectors, questioning how new arrivals would manage with the homeless problem right across the country, with house prices and rents far beyond the reach of many. Then there’s a shortage of family doctors, and an overburdened healthcare system which appears to be coming apart at the seams, despite the wonderful medical personnel who strive to keep things operating. Media has expressed these concerns. One of my favourite radio talk-show host had a prominent immigration lawyer as his Sunday guest. The host’s opening remark was that 75 per cent of Canadians responding to a poll are somewhat or very concerned about the proposed rise in immigration levels, for the aforementioned reasons, along with the cost of living inflation, and other post-pandemic strains on our daily lives.

The lawyer replied that none of the concerns were warranted. He went on to explain that the 500,000 immigrants would consist of temporary workers, students and others already living in the country who would get their current status upgraded to permanent residency, so there would not be a huge influx of new people looking for housing, medical services, etc.

According to the lawyer, there are over two million people in Canada who are classified as temporary residents paying taxes, and living in various accommodations, so the concerns being raised simply will not apply. There will be an influx of a few thousand spouses and other family members when permanent residence is granted.

The talk-show host was gobsmacked, and asked why the public had not been notified of these facts now revealed. The lawyer said he had given some media interviews, which apparently they chosen not to publish. The radio interview podcast is easily accessible online at The Roy Green Show, and the lawyer, Richard Kurland, has a very lengthy media presence on his website.

By the government misleading the public about actual new immigration numbers, it sounds like a classic case of gaslighting.

BERNIE SMITH

Parksville, BC

Canada