Transcript: Immigration and the Election | Oct 08, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and spotted blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Immigration and the election."

Steve says IMMIGRATION HAS BEEN A
WEDGE ISSUE IN ELECTIONS AROUND
THE WORLD.
HERE IN CANADA, LESS SO, BUT IT
STILL FACTORED INTO LAST NIGHT'S
DEBATE.
MARGARET EATON IS EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR OF THE TORONTO REGION
IMMIGRANT EMPLOYMENT COUNCIL AND
SHE JOINS US NOW ON WHY,
ECONOMICALLY SPEAKING, NEWCOMERS
MATTER.

Margaret is in her forties, with chin-length wavy blond hair. She's wearing glasses, a gray blazer, black shirt, and silver necklace.

Steve continues MARGARET, NICE TO MEET YOU.
THANKS FOR COMING IN TONIGHT.

Margaret says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Steve says THE ISSUE OF
IMMIGRATION OF COURSE DID COME
UP LAST NIGHT.
MAXIME BERNIER, THE LEADER OF
PEOPLE'S PARTY, DID MAKE SURE IT
DID COME UP.
LET'S PLAY A LITTLE BIT OF WHAT
HE HAD TO SAY AND WE'LL COME
BACK AND CHAT, OKAY?

Margaret says GREAT.

Steve says SHELDON, IF YOU WOULD?

A clip from the debate plays on screen with the caption "October 7, 2019."

In the clip, People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier says ACTUALLY, CANADA RECEIVED
MORE... MORE IMMIGRANTS PER
CAPITA THAN ANY OTHER WESTERN
COUNTRY.
THREE TIMES HIGHER THAN THE U.S.
THEY'RE ALL FOR MASS IMMIGRATION
AND A SYSTEM OF MASS IMMIGRATION
AND THAT'S WHY WE MUST HAVE
FEWER IMMIGRANTS, WELL UNDER
150,000 A YEAR, WITH MORE
ECONOMIC IMMIGRANTS FOR OUR COUNTRY.

The clip ends.

Steve says LET'S PICK THAT
APART A LITTLE BIT AND WE'LL
BROADEN THE DISCUSSION AS WELL.
YOU HEARD MAXIME BERNIER SAY
CANADA HAS EMBRACED, QUOTE,
UNQUOTE, MASS IMMIGRATION.
HOW ACCURATE IS THAT?

The caption changes to "Margaret Eaton. Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council."
Then, it changes again to "Debate reaction."

Margaret says I DON'T THINK THAT'S VERY
ACCURATE.
WE'RE BRINGING IN ABOUT 1 percent OF
OUR POPULATION EACH YEAR...

Steve says ABOUT 300,000 PEOPLE.

Margaret says ABOUT 300,000 PEOPLE.
AND MOST ECONOMISTS WOULD SAY
THAT'S ABOUT WHAT YOU NEED IN
ORDER TO REPLACE PEOPLE.
RIGHT NOW THE BIRTH RATE OF
CANADA IS ABOUT 1.6.
WE ACTUALLY NEED ABOUT 2.1
PEOPLE IN ORDER TO KEEP OUR
POPULATION LEVEL JUST AT A
STEADY LEVEL.
AND WE'RE NOT DOING THAT.
SO WE DON'T WANT TO BE LIKE
JAPAN WHERE THEY HAVE SUCH A
CRISIS AND DECLINING POPULATION
THAT THEY'RE RELYING ON ROBOTS.
WE REALLY NEED TO INCREASE THE
NUMBER OF PEOPLE COMING IN TO
CANADA TO MAKE SURE THAT WE
MAINTAIN OUR STANDARD OF LIVING.

Steve says IS THAT A MORAL CASE
YOU'RE MAKING OR A BUSINESS
CASE, OR WHAT CASE ARE YOU MAKING?

The caption changes to "Margaret Eaton, @TRIEC."

Margaret says I THINK I'M MAKING BOTH.
SO I BELIEVE THAT THERE IS A
STRONG ECONOMIC ARGUMENT TO BE
MADE.
WE KNOW THAT IMMIGRANTS BRING
GROWTH AND PROSPERITY TO OUR
COUNTRY.
THEY BRING INTERNATIONAL
CONNECTIONS, IDEAS, DIVERSITY OF
THOUGHT.
AND WE NEED THAT IN CANADA.
WE KNOW PLACES LIKE NEW
BRUNSWICK HAVE EXPERIENCED
NEGATIVE POPULATION GROWTH, AND
BUSINESSES ARE CRYING FOR PEOPLE
TO DO THE WORK.
QUEBEC RIGHT NOW HAS 120,000 JOB
VACANCIES THAT THEY CANNOT FILL.
AND SO WE ACTUALLY NEED PEOPLE
TO BE COMING INTO THE COUNTRY TO
TAKE THOSE JOBS.
BUT EVEN THERE IS THAT MORAL
ARGUMENT TO BE MADE AS WELL,
THAT WE HAVE INTERNATIONAL
AGREEMENTS THAT REQUIRE US TO
TAKE A CERTAIN LEVEL OF ASYLUM
SEEKERS AND REFUGEE CLAIMANTS,
SO THAT WE CAN ADDRESS THE HUGE
ISSUES THAT ARE GOING ON RIGHT
NOW IN MIGRATION, WHERE THERE
ARE MORE PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
RIGHT NOW THAN HAVE BEEN SINCE
THE SECOND WORLD WAR.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says MR. BERNIER SAYS IF
YOU WANT TO MAKE THE MORAL
POINT, TWO THINGS: NUMBER ONE,
CHARITY STARTS AT HOME AND HE
WOULD LIKE MORE FOCUS ON THE
PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY HERE, AND
NUMBER TWO, THE PEOPLE THAT ARE
COMING IN TO CANADA DON'T SHARE,
IN HIS VIEW, QUOTE, UNQUOTE,
CANADIAN VALUES.
AND THAT'S A CONCERN.
COULD YOU SPEAK TO THOSE ISSUES?

Margaret says RIGHT.
INTERESTINGLY, THE PEOPLE COMING
IN AS ASYLUM SEEKERS, EXCELLENT
ENGLISH FOR THE MOST PART, 70 TO
80 PERCENT SPEAK ENGLISH, THEY
HAVE POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION.
THEY ACTUALLY CAN CONTRIBUTE.
IN FACT, THERE WAS A PILOT
PROJECT IN CHATHAM WHERE THEY
BROUGHT IN SIX ASYLUM-SEEKING
FAMILIES.
THEY DIDN'T KNOW WHETHER THEY'D
BE STAYING IN THE COUNTRY.
THEY STILL HAD TO GO THROUGH THE
REFUGEE PROCESS TO BE APPROVED.
BUT THEY WERE DESPERATE IN
CHATHAM FOR PEOPLE TO WORK.
AND SO THEY ACTUALLY BROUGHT
THEM IN TO DO THAT WORK.
SO I THINK IT DOESN'T REALLY
MATTER HOW YOU COME INTO THE
COUNTRY, WHETHER YOU'RE AN
ASYLUM SEEKER, A REFUGEE, OR AN
IMMIGRANT, YOU CAN MAKE A
CONTRIBUTION AND YOU CAN FIT IN.

Steve says WHAT KINDS OF JOBS
WOULD THE PEOPLE IN SOUTHWESTERN
ONTARIO THAT YOU JUST REFERRED
TO BE DOING?

Margaret says IN SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO,
THERE'S CERTAINLY A TREMENDOUS
NEED FOR AGRICULTURAL WORKERS,
MUSHROOM... THE MUSHROOM
INDUSTRY IS DESPERATE FOR
WORKERS RIGHT NOW.
AND THEY'RE TURNING DOWN
BUSINESS, IN FACT, THE MUSHROOM
GROWERS IN ONTARIO, BECAUSE THEY
CAN'T FIND PEOPLE TO DO THE
WORK.

Steve says WE HEAR THIS
EXPRESSION, PEOPLE WITHOUT JOBS...
JOBS WITHOUT PEOPLE.

Margaret says ABSOLUTELY, YEAH.

Steve says I WONDER... WE
PLAYED A LITTLE BIT OF
MR. BERNIER'S COMMENTS FROM LAST NIGHT.
I WONDER IF YOU HEARD ANYTHING
ELSE FROM ANY OF THE OTHER
LEADERS LAST NIGHT ON THE ISSUE
OF IMMIGRATION THAT STUCK OUT FOR YOU?

The caption changes to "Wedge issue?"

Margaret says I WAS INTERESTED IN THE
DEBATE AROUND BILL 21 IN QUEBEC.
SO WE KNOW THAT THERE IS A
POLICY THERE THAT, IF YOU WEAR A
RELIGIOUS SYMBOL, YOU ARE NO
LONGER ELIGIBLE TO WORK IN
MUNICIPAL OR GOVERNMENT JOBS.
AND IT WAS REALLY ONLY TRUDEAU
THAT SAID HE WOULD DO SOMETHING
ABOUT THAT.
SO NONE OF THEM...

Steve says NOT QUITE.
HANG ON.
HANG ON.
NOT QUITE.

Margaret says YOU'RE RIGHT.

Steve says HE SAID I'M THE ONLY
ONE ON STAGE WHO HASN'T
FORESWORN THE POSSIBILITY OF
INTERVENING IF THE COURTS MAKE A
CERTAIN DECISION.
IT WASN'T EXACTLY JUMP IN WITH
ALL FEET RIGHT NOW.

Margaret says YOU'RE QUITE RIGHT.
AND THE RESPONSE HAS BEEN VERY
DISAPPOINTING.
HE MENTIONED HE HAD A WONDERFUL
PIECE... THE MAYOR OF CALGARY
TALKING ABOUT HOW WE NEED TO BE
STANDING UP FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IS A
CORNERSTONE OF WHAT WE EXPECT OF
CANADA AND CANADIANS.

Steve says THEY'RE AFRAID OF
LOSING SEATS IN QUEBEC.
THAT'S WHY NO ONE WANTS TO GO THERE.
YOU KNOW IT.

Margaret says THAT'S EXACTLY IT.

Steve says HAS IMMIGRATION, IN
YOUR VIEW, TURNED OUT TO BE THE
WEDGE ISSUE IN THIS CAMPAIGN
THAT SOME PEOPLE EITHER FEARED
OR HOPED IT WOULD BECOME?

Margaret says RIGHT.
IT HASN'T.
AND THAT HAS SURPRISED US.
IN THE IMMIGRATION SECTOR, WE'VE
BEEN PREPARING FOR THIS, AND
GETTING READY WITH OUR CHAMPIONS
AND SPOKESPEOPLE TO TALK ABOUT
THE ISSUE SHOULD IT TAKE AN UGLY TURN.
AND IT ACTUALLY HASN'T.
SO IT WAS GOOD NEWS IN A WAY
WHEN MAXIME BERNIER PUT UP THAT
BILLBOARD THAT SAID "NO TO MASS
MIGRATION."

Steve says HE DIDN'T PUT IT UP.
A THIRD PUT IT UP WITH HIS
PICTURE AND HIS PARTY'S NAME ON IT.

Margaret says RIGHT.
SO THE RESPONSE TO THAT WAS WONDERFUL.
IT VERY QUICKLY GOT TAKEN DOWN
BECAUSE OF THE REACTION OF
CANADIAN CITIZENS AND THE SIGN
COMPANY WHO SAID "WE MADE A MISTAKE."
SO THAT WAS VERY REASSURING TO
ALL OF US, THAT THIS WASN'T
GOING TO BE A NEGATIVE IN THIS CAMPAIGN.

Steve says THERE ARE DIFFERENT
WAYS, OF COURSE, TO GET INTO
THIS COUNTRY.
THERE IS THE TRADITIONAL
IMMIGRATION STREAM.
THERE IS ASYLUM SEEKERS WHO HAVE
GOT I GUESS A BIT OF ATTENTION
WHEN THEY TRIED TO WALK ACROSS
THE BORDER, AND THERE ARE
REFUGEES.
SO THERE ARE DIFFERENT LANES, IF
YOU LIKE, FOR COMING INTO
CANADA.
DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION MAKE A
DISTINCTION AMONG THOSE THREE
DIFFERENT LANES?

Margaret says YEAH.
SO MY ORGANIZATION, TRIAC,
WORKED WITH SKILLED IMMIGRANTS.
SO PEOPLE WHO HAVE INTERNATIONAL
EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION.
AND IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW YOU
WALKED IN.
IT COULD BE THROUGH FAMILY
REUNIFICATION OR A SPOUSE OF AN
APPLICANT, A REFUGEE.
AS LONG AS YOU'RE A PERMANENT
RESIDENT, WE'RE HAPPY TO HELP.

Steve says LET'S GO BACK TO
QUEBEC.
YOU KNOW THAT THERE WAS SOME
CONSTERNATION ABOUT PEOPLE
WALKING ACROSS THE AMERICAN
BORDER INTO QUEBEC, QUEBEC PART
OF CANADA.
DID YOU FIND THAT CONTROVERSIAL?

Margaret says WE WERE CONCERNED THAT IT
WOULD START TO CREATE A
NARRATIVE OF THE GOOD IMMIGRANT
AND THE BAD IMMIGRANT.
WE DON'T WANT THAT.
AND SO IT WAS... IT WAS
CONCERNING THAT THAT COULD HAVE
BEEN THE WEDGE ISSUE IN THIS
ELECTION, PERHAPS.
BUT PART OF THE PROBLEM IS THE
FACT THAT WE STILL HAVE THIS
SAFE THIRD COUNTRY AGREEMENT,
WHICH MEANS THAT OUR
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNITED
STATES, BACK IN THE DAY, WAS
SUCH THAT IT WAS A FAIR OPTION
TO SAY, IF YOU ARRIVE THROUGH A
REGULAR BORDER BUT YOU HAVE
FIRST ARRIVED IN AMERICA, WE
WANT YOU TO GO BACK TO AMERICA
AND CLAIM YOUR ASYLUM STATUS
THERE.
THAT WAS WHEN AMERICA WAS A SAFE
PLACE.
IT'S NOT SO SAFE ANYMORE FOR
ASYLUM SEEKERS AND REFUGEES.
SO NOW WE HAVE THIS
UNCOMFORTABLE SITUATION OF
PEOPLE TRYING TO FIND A WAY TO
GET INTO THE COUNTRY, NOT
THROUGH THOSE REGULAR BORDER
STOPS BUT IN A REGULAR LANDING.
SO WE DO NEED TO CHANGE THAT
AGREEMENT WITH THE U.S. SO THAT
PEOPLE CAN CLAIM AT THE REGULAR
INTERSECTIONS WHERE WE'VE ALWAYS
WELCOMED ASYLUM SEEKERS.

Steve says BUT I GUESS IT
DIDN'T BECOME THAT BIG A DEAL
COMPARED TO THE UNITED STATES
BECAUSE WE DID NOT HAVE TENS OF
THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FROM MEXICO,
FOR EXAMPLE, TRYING TO CROSS OUR
BORDER...

Margaret says RIGHT.

Steve says WE HAD A COUPLE OF
THOUSAND PEOPLE OR A FEW
THOUSAND PEOPLE TRY TO CROSS THE
BORDER IN THAT WAY.
DID THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THIS
BEING KIND OF A NON-STORY IN THE
WAY THAT IT HAS NOT BEEN IN THE
STATES?

Margaret says PERHAPS.
WE JUST DON'T HAVE THE NUMBERS.
IT CAN BE JUST THAT NUMBERS
GAME.
I THINK SOME PEOPLE TRIED TO
INFLATE IT.
IT WAS ONLY ABOUT 45,000 PEOPLE
OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS.
IT'S NOT THAT MANY IN A COUNTRY
OF OUR SIZE.

Steve says HOW UNDERSTANDING
ARE YOU, THOUGH, AND
ORGANIZATIONS THAT DO WHAT YOU
DO, HOW UNDERSTANDING ARE YOU OF
THE... OF THE FACT THAT WHETHER
WE LIKE IT OR NOT, QUEBEC IS A
DISTINCT SOCIETY AND THEY HAVE A
DIFFERENT VIEW ABOUT WHO SHOULD
BE AN IMMIGRANT TO THE PROVINCE
AND WHAT KINDS OF SKILLS AND
QUALITIES THEY NEED TO BRING?

Margaret says MM-HMM.
WELL, I LIKE TO THINK THEY'RE
STILL A PART OF CANADA AND SHARE
CANADIAN VALUES.
AND THOSE CANADIAN VALUES ARE OF
TOLERANCE, OF RESPECT FOR
DIFFERENCE, OF RESPECT FOR
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.
SO IT'S HUGELY DISAPPOINTING TO
SEE THEM CHART A VERY DIFFERENT
PATH FROM THAT.
AND THEN THERE WAS ALSO SOME
POLLING DONE TO SHOW THAT SOME
CANADIANS IN OTHER PARTS OF
CANADA ACTUALLY AGREE WITH THAT.
SO THERE HAS BEEN A RISE OF
INTOLERANCE, I WOULD SAY, OVER
THE LAST FEW YEARS, AND IT IS
ENABLED BY THAT... THE ENABLING
FORCES IN THE U.S., WHERE THEY
SPEAK QUITE OPENLY AND CANDIDLY
ABOUT THEIR RACIAL AND RELIGIOUS
INTOLERANCE.
SO I DO FEAR THAT THAT SPREADS.

Steve says NEW IMMIGRANTS I
THINK USUALLY ARRIVE AT A MAJOR
PORT OF ENTRY, LIKE MONTREAL OR
TORONTO OR VANCOUVER.
SMALLER CITIES OUTSIDE THOSE
THREE MAJOR URBAN AGGLOMERATIONS
HAVE SHRINKING POPULATIONS AND I
THINK THEY MIGHT VERY WELL LIKE
TO SEE SOME OF THE IMMIGRANTS
INSTEAD OF SETTLING IN THOSE
PLACES.
HAS THERE BEEN IN YOUR JUDGMENT
ANY MAJOR UPTAKE BY ANY
GOVERNMENT TO SEE TO IT THAT
THAT HAPPENS?

The caption changes to "Room to grow?"

Margaret says YES.
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS
CREATED THE ATLANTIC IMMIGRATION
PILOT PROJECT.
SO THAT'S A PROJECT TO BRING
2,000 IMMIGRANTS TO THE ATLANTIC
REGION, AND THE INTERESTING PART
ABOUT THE PROJECT IS THAT IT
ENGAGES EMPLOYERS.
SO EMPLOYERS CHOOSE THE NEW
IMMIGRANTS TO COME IN, BUT THEY
ALSO HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY FOR
SETTLEMENT.
NOT JUST FOR THE PRINCIPAL
APPLICANT BUT FOR THE WHOLE
FAMILY.
BECAUSE WE KNOW, IF THE FAMILY
ISN'T HAPPY, THEY'LL END UP
MOVING.
THEY WON'T STAY.
AND THAT'S BEEN A HUGE ISSUE IN
THE ATLANTIC REGION WHERE PEOPLE
SETTLE, THEY STAY THERE A COUPLE
OF YEARS, AND THEN THEY WANT TO
BE WITH THEIR FAMILIES IN
MISSISSAUGA.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says WHICH IS UNDERSTANDABLE.

Margaret says IT IS UNDERSTANDABLE.
AND IF YOU DON'T FIND THAT THE
CULTURE IS WELCOMING, IF THERE
ISN'T A MOSQUE, IF YOU CAN'T BUY
THE FOOD THAT YOU WANT, THEN
YOU'RE GOING TO GO SOMEWHERE
ELSE.
SO THAT'S BEEN A HUGE ISSUE.
SO EARLY RESULTS FOR THAT
PROJECT HAVE BEEN QUITE STRONG,
AND IN FACT, THEY ARE GOING TO
BE REPRODUCING THAT IN NORTHERN
AND RURAL COMMUNITIES.
SO WE WILL SEE THAT PROGRAM
ROLLED OUT SHORTLY, DEPENDING I
GUESS ON THE OUTCOME OF THE
ELECTION, IN NORTHERN ONTARIO.

Steve says IS IT KNOWN... I
DON'T KNOW IF YOU HAVE STUDIES
THAT INDICATE THIS... THAT IF A
NEWCOMER STAYS X NUMBER OF YEARS
IN A PARTICULAR LOCALITY,
CHANCES ARE THEY'RE GOING TO STAY THERE?

Margaret says THAT'S INTERESTING.
I DON'T THINK I'VE EVER SEEN
THAT STATISTIC BUT LET'S PUT
THAT DOWN AS SOMETHING TO LOOK FOR.

Steve says I'M GOING TO WRITE
IT DOWN RIGHT NOW.
IF, FOR EXAMPLE, YOU TALKED
ABOUT THE FACT THAT IF THERE'S
NOT A MOSQUE THERE, IT'S GOING
TO BE DIFFICULT FOR A MUSLIM
FAMILY TO POTENTIALLY STAY IN A
PLACE WHERE RELIGION IS
IMPORTANT BUT THEY DON'T FEEL
THAT.
HOW MUCH ACCOMMODATION DO YOU
THINK AN EXISTING LOCALITY OUGHT
TO MAKE TO ACCOMMODATE THE
DIFFERENT CUSTOMS OF NEWCOMERS
WHO ARE COMING IN?

Margaret says WELL, I THINK WE PRIDE
OURSELVES ON BEING A WELCOMING
NATION.
BUT SOME PLACES IN THE COUNTRY
ARE NOT AS WELCOMING, AND I
THINK WHAT THEY'RE FINDING IS,
THEY'RE NOT GETTING THE BENEFIT
OF IMMIGRATION.
I KNOW ONE GREAT EXAMPLE, A
STORY I HEARD, I BELIEVE IT WAS
ABOUT HALIFAX, WHERE THERE WAS A
SKATING CLUB, AND THE SKATING
CLUB WAS GOING TO BE SHUTTING
DOWN BECAUSE THERE JUST WASN'T
ENOUGH INTEREST IN TAKING
LESSONS ANYMORE.
SOMEONE FROM THE CHINESE
COMMUNITY FOUND OUT ABOUT THAT,
AND SATURDAY MORNING CAME, TIME
TO SIGN UP FOR LESSONS, AND
THERE WAS A LINEUP AROUND THE
BLOCK OF CHINESE IMMIGRANTS WHO
WANTED TO LEARN HOW TO SKATE.
SO ONE INTERESTING THOUGHT ON
THIS IS, IF YOU WANT TO STAY THE
SAME, IF YOU WANT YOUR COMMUNITY
TO STAY THE SAME, YOU MIGHT HAVE
TO CHANGE A LITTLE BIT.
YOU MIGHT HAVE TO WELCOME
OTHERS.
IN THAT WAY, IMMIGRANTS WILL
HELP YOU IN TERMS OF MAINTAINING
YOUR SKATING CLUB.
IT'S BECOME A SUCCESSION
STRATEGY FOR PEOPLE ON THE EAST
COAST.
YOUR KIDS DON'T WANT TO TAKE
OVER YOUR BUSINESS.
MAYBE A NEW IMMIGRANT WOULD LIKE
TO TAKE OVER THAT BUSINESS WITH
YOU.

Steve says I WONDERED, NAZEM
KADRI WHEN HE PLAYED FOR THE
LEAFS, I WONDER HOW MANY MUSLIM
KIDS WANTED TO SKATE BECAUSE OF HIM?

Margaret says ABSOLUTELY.
REPRESENTATION IS SO IMPORTANT.

The caption changes to "Producer: Meredith Martin, @MeredithMartin."

Steve says MARGARET, GOOD OF
YOU TO COME IN TO TVO TONIGHT
AND SHARE YOUR VIEWS WITH US.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Margaret says THANK YOU.

Steve says MARGARET EATON, THE EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR OF THE TORONTO REGION
IMMIGRANT EMPLOYMENT COUNCIL.

Watch: Immigration and the Election