A new poll offers evidence of the growing negative attitude towards immigration around the world – but Canada bucks the global trend.
Canadians consistently answer more positively than the global average when it comes to questions on immigration, according to the Ipsos survey.
It asked questions of more than 16,000 people across 22 countries on the impact immigration has had on society, whether immigration levels are too high and if immigrants place too much pressure on public services.
The responses support the long-held view that Canadians have a unique way of accepting different cultures and integrating them into society.
But it also displays how a world that once supported the breaking down of borders has swung towards protectionism, illustrated by the UK’s recent vote to leave the European Union and the gathering support for Donald Trump as president of the US.
At least this is not so in Canada, where Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party were elected on a pro-immigration platform.
Trudeau’s Immigration Minister, John McCallum, is soon to announce a raft of changes geared towards bringing in more immigrants to boost the Canadian economy.
The first question on the survey concerned whether people felt the amount of immigration had increased or decreased in their country.
Canada was with the world average on this one,with nearly 80 per cent saying they felt immigration had increased – not surprising given the high-profile acceptance of nearly 30,000 Syrian refugees by the federal government.
Canadians began to move away from the global average on the next question. Worldwide, only 20 per cent of people feel immigration has a positive impact on their country, but in Canada that figure is more than 35 per cent.
The next question asked whether the number of immigrants was acceptable. Nearly 50 per cent said there were too many in their country, but is Canada that number was nearer 40 per cent, meaning 60 per cent considered the level of immigration to be acceptable or too little.
The percentages were closer when respondents were asked if immigration was changing their country in a negative way. Some 46 per cent of the worldwide agreed population agreed with the statement, compared to 44 per cent of Canadians. This means 56 per cent were either neutral or disagreed.
The trend of Canadians giving generally favourable responses to immigrants and immigration continued throughout the poll questions.
With McCallum preparing to increase the numbers of new immigrants over the coming years, it seems the Canadian public are in favour of his plan.
McCallum is expected to introduce a number of changes in parliament in September, outlining how he plans, among other things, to:
1) Make it easier for international university students to stay in Canada on graduation.
2) Make it easier for business to hire skilled technology workers from overseas.
3) Expand the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in certain industries short of temporary labour.
4) Speed up the process for immigration applications that reunite families.
Further Results From the Ipsos Poll
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