Immigrants, refugees not the enemy

There are a lot of people, especially those who subscribe to a radical right-wing ideology, who believe immigration is the problem.
I would argue it’s not immigration, rather it’s we, the baby boomers, who are the problem.
We are the problem because we are retiring and leaving a shortage of qualified replacement workers.
We are the problem because as we age, government-funded health care, drug benefits, long-term care facilities, Old Age Security and dementia will cost younger taxpayers exponentially more each year until we die.
We are the problem as we stash our dough in tax free savings accounts and spend much of our income propping up other economies with winter homes and world travel.
Baby boomers are also the problem because we didn’t produce enough children to replace ourselves.
Of course, we baby boomers like to think we are self-made, hard workers and completely deserving of our soft retirement years and huge government-funded social programs.
I would argue, however, Canadian-born baby boomers are instead the luckiest generation in the history of mankind.
Our grandparents did the hard job of immigrating to a country with an unforgiving climate, usually arriving penniless, travelling by oxen, living in mud homes and often not able to speak a word of English.
Our grandparents and parents worked hard and suffered much to give us all the advantages. They fought the World Wars, survived the depression, suffered the heartbreak of losing children and mothers because doctors were unaffordable, grew their own food, were lucky to get a grade 8 education and worked every day without a vacation.
Throughout history, immigrants do the menial jobs and work the hardest. Their one goal is to make a better life for their children.
That was the attitude of baby-boomer grandparents and that’s the attitude of today’s new Canadians, whether immigrants or refugees.
Immigrant families on average start more small businesses; achieve higher grades in school and within a generation are often the ones filling high tech and professional jobs. But whose fault is that, certainly not the immigrant!
There’s a good reason why Silicon Valley tech companies recruit immigrants. First of all, North America doesn’t produce enough graduates. The trend for many decades has been for Canadian-born students to overwhelmingly choose careers in finance and law—big bucks, takers not contributors.
Too many of our students moved away from the sciences, math and engineering which are the careers with skill sets that lead to innovation and economic growth.
At the same time, students in emerging societies were studying long and hard to earn exceptionally high marks and snag one of the limited numbers of coveted spots in their universities.
The economy grows based on how much we produce in goods and services. What we produce increases through innovation, exports and population growth. The export of raw materials is not enough to explain the growth of cities like Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton or Calgary.
We also need immigrants to do those jobs that we won’t do because we don’t work for minimum wages or the jobs are beneath us (fast food, agriculture, janitorial, construction, service industries).
I just can’t wait for the United States to deport all their illegal immigrants and see how many angry white men and woman step up to pick vegetables by hand and clean the toilets.
Japan went the other way and has no immigration. Today they are building robots to take care of their seniors, effectively eliminating humanity to ensure racial purity.
So next time you feel inclined to run down our immigration or refugee policy or participate in actions of hatred towards immigrants—whether through word or deed—don’t forget we, the baby boomers, are, in fact, a large part of Canada’s financial problem today and will be a significant part of its problem tomorrow.

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