Immigration emotions and economics

For us Canadians immigration is a difficult, personal and emotional issue.  Most of us have parents, grandparents or great grandparents who were immigrants. Even the native Indians are believed to have ancestors who came from Asia.

Immigrants enrich our lives by showing us there are different ways of doing things.  There is also the humanitarian aspect of immigration.  Canada is a large country with a relatively small population.  We should be welcoming people from parts of the world where conditions make life miserable.

A frequent argument is that we need immigrants to keep our economy growing and to support a growing number of retirees.;  It is also the argument used by people who worry our population is not increasing fast enough. This argument assumes unlimited resources and a potential for continuing economic growth.

Those of you who have read other posts on this blog will know I have problems with this line of thought.

It is possible that relative to other parts of the world we are well off.  It is also possible that with most of our economic history based and resource exploitation we have cherry-picked the easiest accessible resources

If this is correct more immigrants will mean more people wanting a piece of a pie which is getting smaller.  It will probably mean a better standard of living for the those immigrants from the poorer parts of the world but a lesser standard of living for those already here.

I sometimes ask why are we entitled to a better standard of living than others.  Surely everyone on  this planet should be equally  entitled to a North American middle class lifestyle.

This writer lives 15 miles from town in a valley with a  moderate climate, adequate rainfall and good neighbors.  We are far from the problems of large cities.  Shortly after we moved out here I started saying: “Now that we are here I don’t want any more people moving out here.”

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