Document à lire sur le site de l'Association canadienne d'étude sur les réfugiés et la migration forcée : The Need to Welcome Refugees and Immigrants - and Establishing Leadership by Welcoming More
By Olivia Chow, Distinguished visiting professor, Ryerson University
The following text is an edited version of the keynote address delivered on May 13, 2015, at the 8th Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS) at Ryerson University, Toronto.
Thank you all for your warm welcome. Today it is my job to welcome you, especially, the visitors to the City of Toronto, and to this annual conference. I want to talk about the concept and the notion of “welcome”. There is a necessity for all of us to welcome more refugees and migrants here in Canada. There is a desperate need of asylum that is faced by so many people around the world.
Canada has been at its best when we have welcomed waves of immigrants and refugees. There are many proud moments in our history. But, we have been at our worst, when we have closed the doors – and there are many shameful moments in our history. Our current federal Government has been taking us backward in this regard. Yet, with the current disparate needs in the world, Canada could and should be establishing its leadership on this issue by welcoming more people who are in need of asylum.
Not only will newcomers integrate quickly when we provide strong, comprehensive settlement services, they can become fully productive citizens of Canadian society.
Canada has been described as a “nation of immigrants.” That is what we are. That’s what I am, and what many others here are. We are all “new comers” to Canada. And, if not first generation, like me, then they are second or third or fourth or fifth or sixth generation immigrants. The majority of Canadians today descend from people who have immigrated to Canada in the past century.
And our history clearly demonstrates that we have experienced successive waves of immigrants from different parts of the world. In 1913, Canada admitted a phenomenal 400,870 people or an immigration rate of 52.5 (per 1,000). That is a number that has never been equalled since.
That was the culmination of a decade of welcoming millions here. In the ten year period, 1905 to 1915, Canada received more than 2.5 million immigrants or more than 250,000 immigrants per year.
That was when our total population was a fraction what it is today. A hundred years later, we should be doing much more. But this is about the net average annual immigration level that Canada has received over the last 25 years, for a total addition of about 6.2 million people to Canada’s population, spread over 25 years.
This is only about 18 percent of Canada’s current population of about 35 million people over the period. We can certainly do much more. We must do more.
Pour consulter le document : http://carfms.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/CARFMS-WPS-No2-Olivia-Chow.pdf