You say pota-ato, I say potahto

For the past at least five years – more like ten – people have been talking about getting immigration in Canada to be more dispersed into places like New Brunswick and Saskatchewan. But little has been done – New Brunswick’s immigration #s for example are only up slightly and still way below the levels in the 1970s.

However, our friends to the south have indeed received increased inmigration to the ‘New Brunswicks’ of that country. A new Census report today states:

And increasingly, immigrants are bypassing the traditional gateway states like California and New York and settling directly in parts of the country that until recently saw little immigrant activity — regions like the Upper Midwest, New England and the Rocky Mountain states.

Now, the irony here is that while places like New Brunswick claim to want more immigration many of these areas in the US actually claim to not want immigration and many communities have passed “english only” legislation and other measures to make themselves less immigrant friendly.

So, we want immigrants but can’t attract them and South Dakota doesn’t want immigrants and is attracting more than some people want.

Go figure.

Of course, I actually heard about this while flipping through the TV channels on the Grand Xenophobe‘s show.

I would like to know what happened to Lou Dobbs. When I lived in Virginia, he hosted the Moneyline on CNN and was a rational pro-business kind of guy. Now he’s a posterboy for all that’s wrong in the US, in my humble opinion.

But I digress.

As for immigration, I still believe, as I have stated many times, that we need to have immigration in the mix when it comes to solving our people problems short and long term. But we need to find immigrants who actually want to live and work here (that’s why I like a ‘kick the tires’ period using the NBCC and universities as that vehicle) and want to work the jobs that are available. In addition, I’m wary of people who only want immigrants that have ‘shared values’ as that can be a euphemism for ‘just like us’ (you know Scotland only wanting to recruit people of Scottish heritage for example). I think a broader mix of backgrounds can enhance the cultural experience and benefit our quality of life. But, having said that, this is a delicate balance.

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0 Responses to You say pota-ato, I say potahto

  1. scott says:

    A quick rundown of urban demographics in NB (thx to Wiki):

    Moncton:
    Caucasian: 95.3%
    All others: 4.7%

    Saint John
    English (38,925) 32.08%
    Irish (36,410) 30.01%
    Scottish Canadian (29,610) 24.40%
    French (25,240) 20.80%
    German (5,630) 4.64%
    Dutch (Netherlands)(3,160) 2.60%
    First Nations (2,710) 2.23%
    Welsh (1,965) 1.62%

    Fredericton
    White: 45,555 or 97.4%
    mixed race: 640 or 0.8%
    Chinese: 440 or 0.5%
    Asian: 430 or 0.5%
    Black: 370 or 0.4%

    **Not exactly a large amount of diversity here, eh David. That’s why it is important to note the few successes of our immigration system. For instance, we received large waves of Lebanese immigration in 1948 and 1975 and, being a Maritimer where many settled, they are well integrated into the political and commerical civic life of exotic places like Charlottetown PEI and St. John NB. Joe Ghiz, the late PEI Premier, was Lebanese-Canadian as is his son and SJ MP Paul Zed. Most are Christian. You’re right David, we need more of this or as you said “a broader mix of backgrounds can enhance the cultural experience and benefit our quality of life”. So let’s get crackin before we lose more good immigrants to central Canada and the west. Maybe we should appoint a task force led by Paul Zed on how we can attract & retain hardworking visible minorities in this province.

  2. Anonymous says:

    How exactly are we to get cracking?

  3. David Campbell says:

    Leadership.

  4. Edward Thomas says:

    I wrote about this years ago when I was business editor at the Telegraph. New Brunswick has to compete with other jurisdictions if it wants immigrants — namely by offering a better deal than Central Canada does. N.B. could get an easy start by removing/lowering barriers for foreign-trained doctors, engineers and other professionals who want to work in Canada. Over a couple of years that could easily divert a few thousand skilled immigrants from Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. The jobs for doctors are already there, the jobs for engineers will be aided by Lepreau and expansion of home-grown consulting firms. The question is whether the professional interest groups can be brought on side to help make this happen.