Canada’s Minister of Immigration says the country wants to become China.
Immigration Minister John McCallum says the Liberal government is trying to make it easier for Chinese tourists, students and temporary workers to get visas to come to Canada — but not to the overheated housing markets of Vancouver and Toronto.
McCallum said he had “very positive and open” discussions with Chinese officials last week, seeking permission to double or triple the number of visa application centres where Chinese people can apply to come to Canada. There are currently five, including Hong Kong.
“They didn’t say yes, but they certainly didn’t say no,” McCallum told reporters in Vancouver after a roundtable discussion on immigration.
The federal strategy to attract Chinese workers and others comes at a time when debate about the role of foreign money in Vancouver’s skyrocketing house prices has reached a fever pitch.
McCallum said the government’s intention is to encourage immigrants to settle outside of Vancouver and Toronto.
“We would like to spread the immigrants across the country relatively evenly,” said McCallum.
“The last thing we want is every immigrant goes to either Toronto or Vancouver.”
McCallum said he’s hearing appetite for more immigration at his consultation sessions across Canada, especially in the Maritimes with an aging population.
“There’s a significant feeling that Canada does need more immigrants, partly because we have an aging population, and so we need more young blood to keep our economies going.”
But McCallum admitted the government can’t require immigrants to live in certain places, as Quebec’s immigrant investor program has shown.
“That is against the Constitution of Canada. If they are permanent residents, we cannot require them to stay anywhere. They have the right to live anywhere in Canada they wish to live.”
If this were about economics, then white immigrants from South Africa and Europe would be welcome. As would their wealth they could bring to Canada.
But there is a race replacement agenda that the Minister won’t admit to.