Thursday, December 2, 2010


I think they understood the basic problem: those who cannot speak one of the official languages cannot find a job, which results in unhappiness, poverty, underemployment and lack of integration into society. We need workers who move at the same rate of speed as the economy...and that is very fast these days!!!! This economy is not stuck in why should immigration and citizenship policy be stuck?

National Post editorial board: On immigration testing, more failure is good Full Comment National Post

National Post editorial board: On immigration testing, more failure is good
December 2, 2010 – 8:54 am

Becoming a Canadian citizen should not be a rubber-stamp process. That’s why we like the federal government’s new citizenship guide and test for newcomers.

Several immigration activists have complained that since last spring, when the Tories toughened the questions and raised the pass grade on the citizenship test from 60% to 75%, too many new Canadians have failed. Where only 4% to 8% of immigrants failed the old test, now as many as one-third fail the 20-question, 30-minute quiz.

Since mid-October, Ottawa has made the test slightly easier, and now permits failed applicants to rewrite the exam that determines whether or not they qualify to take the Oath of Citizenship. These are both reasonable accommodations.
Still, we agree with federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney when he says that “We reject completely the condescending notion that new Canadians aren’t smart enough to learn some basic facts about the country’s history and values.” Mr. Kenney also believes that new Canadians should demonstrate some competence in one or the other of our official languages, as the new tests require.

Immigrants shouldn’t have to explain the finer points of curling, or defend three-down football over the four-down kind. But it is only right that they have at least a passing understanding of the structure of our political system, a basic grasp of English or French and an appreciation of the history that has brought us our shared values.

The language requirement isn’t a form of bigotry. It’s a matter of simple economics. The unemployment and poverty rates for newcomers without a basic understanding of one of Canada’s two official tongues is more than double that of immigrants who can speak one or both. Permitting people to come here without sufficient language skills too often consigns them to a life of underemployment and cultural ghettoization, not to mention the burden it places on taxpayers.

But the new citizenship guide and test, while fine reforms, bypass the larger problem with our immigration policy: the high number of family-class newcomers.

Since the mid-1980s, economic-class immigrants — those granted entry because of the employable skills they possess — slowly have been outnumbered by the family members they bring with them. Fewer than half of immigrants now are skilled workers and their immediate families. Elderly parents, uncles, aunts and cousins now account for over one-third of our total intake.

While we laud Mr. Kenney and his new test, we also recognize that it will be insufficient to solve the main problems afflicting our immigration system. Only a top-to-bottom overhaul can achieve that.

National Post

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