ECON 3775–FIRST ASSIGNMENT
Your first assignment is to read my article here below and write a five page essay, single or double spaced, on “The Contributions of Immigration to the Contemporary Canadian Economy”.
Your essay should include a complete bibliography of all the books, articles and web sites used in the completion of your assignment as well as footnoted references for quotations and other forms of academic attribution. This is an individual assignment and cannot be done as a group project.
Recently I was asked to compare immigration policies in Canada and the U.S.A. This exercise gave me an opportunity to reflect upon an appropriate template for a made in New Brunswick immigration strategy.
Our province will soon face the perfect demographic storm. This takes the form of declining birth rates, a shrinking and aging provincial population, the retirement of the baby boomers, labour shortages in specific occupations and the exodus of our young men and women for employment opportunities in Western Canada and overseas.
New Brunswick’s demographic deficit will increasingly rely on immigration in order to alleviate the economic consequences of a shrinking population. In this regard, the best practices from the Canadian and U.S.A. experiences can serve in developing an innovative population strategy that avoids demographic dead ends and embraces successful immigration programs.
The North American immigration panorama reveals distinct similarities and differences as well as unique challenges and opportunities. At the outset, both the U.S.A. and Canada share a common demographic heritage. Apart from their native peoples, both countries have been populated predominantly by immigrants and the descendants of immigrants.
Canada and the U.S.A. share the longest undefended border in the world. This has resulted in a strong record of bilateral co-operation with respect to immigration and refugee issues.
Both countries face a disproportionate threat with respect to illegal immigration. Canada has little reason to worry about illegal immigration. Its geographical location with the USA in the south, two oceans in the east and the west and the vast wilderness of the Arctic in the north serve as a natural buffer against illegal immigrants. In sharp contrast, the USA’s southern border with Mexico has become very porous with respect to illegal immigration.
Unlike the U.S.A., Canada is positioned to face major demographic challenges. Indeed, Canada’s declining birth rate, a shrinking and ageing population and a contracting work force spell a major demographic catastrophe. On the other hand, the U.S.A. has a healthy birth rate which is driving population growth through natural increase and does not require immigration in order to grow its domestic population.
In my opinion, the role of immigration as a contributor to economic growth is more direct and pervasive in Canada than it is in the U.S.A. Indeed, Canada’s immigration policy places considerable importance on economic integration and employability through its selection process known as the “points system” and actively recruits immigrant entrepreneurs and investors. That is not the case in the USA.
During the last few decades, immigrant arrivals to both the U.S.A. and Canada have had a pronounced multi-ethnic composition. This has endowed both countries with a unique and strategic economic resource. In the context of the new global economy, this pool of multicultural human talent positions both countries for competitive advantage in terms of building economic bridges with the rest of the world.
The U.S.A. and Canada have a unique economic opportunity in their multicultural human resources in order to successfully navigate the new global economy of the 21st century. Their multicultural assets empower both countries with an economic advantage and a gateway to the world. Heritage languages and the intimate knowledge of customs, traditions and religions can contribute to the successful navigation of the international socioeconomic and geopolitical landscape, as well as affirm the U.S.A.’s and Canada’s purposeful engagement with the rest of the world.
Public opinion in Canada is more favourably disposed towards immigration than it is in the U.S.A. There are three reasons for this sharp divide. First, Canadians are convinced of the positive economic benefits of immigration. Second, Canadians see multiculturalism as an important component of their national identity. Third, the irritant in Canada of illegal immigration is miniscule.
All of this leads us to the conclusion that an effective immigration strategy for New Brunswick must meet five foundational conditions. First, it must not displace New Brunswickers from jobs they currently hold. Second, it must attract new financial investment and entrepreneurial initiatives. Third, it must create new employment opportunities in New Brunswick. Fourth, it must enhance our Provincial economic, social, cultural and linguistic ambitions. Fifth, it must partner with New Brunswick’s multicultural communities in order to build demographic bridges with contemporary source countries of emigration.
New Brunswick’s immigration strategy must meet all of those conditions simultaneously in order to alleviate our demographic challenges and to promote our economic prosperity.
Constantine Passaris is a Professor of Economics at the University of New Brunswick. He was recently conferred the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his exceptional contributions to New Brunswick and Canada.
© 2012 Telegraph-Journal (New Brunswick)
ECON 3775–FIRST ASSIGNMENT