Did anyone miss the November 5th news release from the Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration? Minister Charles Sousa presented A New Direction: Ontario’s Immigration Strategy. Of course it lists all the right words, attracting highly skilled workers and their families, supporting diverse communities, growing a globally connected economy and ensures our prosperity. Perhaps we should work on a few things to ensure the prosperity of the people already here, but I digress.
According to this document, demographics show an aging population and worker shortages will occur. (I would think if conditions were improved for families to afford a spouse in the home, they would have more children to meet future need though.) Of course these new comers should have support to succeed as soon as possible, and this is addressed with an offer to look at barriers already in place.
So, how does Ontario achieve those goals? Working with the federal government to increase our ability to select immigrants, provide easier access for immigrants, and provide better promotion of immigration programs to business, foreign workers and international students. Oh, and increase Francophone immigration to 5%. Last year we had about 99,000 immigrants and the Ontario’s Expert Roundtable on Immigration suggest we have 135,000 per year. The roundtable belief includes ensuring that the Greater Toronto region remains a magnet for immigrants but also that other cities, rural, northern and remote communities, and Francophone communities all benefit from Ontario’s immigration strategy.
To me, it translates into a need for more government workers to deal with newcomers and more services for French speakers (read tax increase). And a translation for my translation is more jobs for bilingual only! A few of the Francophone groups have been pushing for and preparing for this by creating lists and networks to help French speakers. It is great to have people look after their own of course, however when all taxpayers are used to pay for the purpose, it seems to be less than for the whole public good isn’t it. Besides, will Quebec, New Brunswick and Manitoba not be fighting for the same immigrant French speakers?
Have you heard the word “Francoresponsable? WWW.trillys.net, a Francophone web and internet company proudly promotes the term which is to promote Francophone culture and language. They are the provider for http://francocornwall.ca. You can see a list of 16 co-sites and members to support there. The French Canadian Association of Ontario, Prescott & Russell among them, provides a downloadable PDF of organizations and businesses that provide services in French. What these groups do with their money is their business you may ask. Well, much of the money is via grants from all taxpayers that only help a few.
That AFO Prescott Russell 120 page PDF lists funding by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, SD&G Community Futures Development Corporation, Prescott/Russell Tourism, Economic & Social Council of Ottawa-Carleton, RDEE ( Network of Economic Development & Employability of Ontario) for example. There are hundreds of Francophone groups in Ontario that provide information and even which business you should use, I doubt there are any English groups supported by tax dollars in the first place, and second, would suggest where to spend your money. I only say this to show how well this group is entrenched and it continues to and from the experts on this roundtable. Why are we catering to single communities or groups, when we should be working for the whole community of Ontario?
Eric Little Ottawa
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