Speaking in West Vancouver, federal Minister of Employment Jason Kenney was happy to discuss the admittance of skilled immigrants into Canada in the face of the United States’ raging debate over immigration. If Americans can’t decide on policy and are going to refuse visas to people, it’s Canada’s right, nay duty, to scoop those smart people up and bring them into the fold.
If only that was an exaggeration of what Kenney said. “We’re seeking very deliberately to benefit from the dysfunctional American immigration system. I make no bones about it,” he said at a news conference. He may have created a paradox for himself. If Americans hear that and see us scooping up their talented immigrants, they may spur to action and fix their immigration problems! Congress isn’t nearly that spontaneous or effective, but Kenney does risk getting some glares from his friends to the south.
Either way, there’s a question as to whether or not what Mr. Kenney is saying even makes sense. While Canada does have a startup visa program and a fast-track program designed to poach students from top American schools who are having trouble getting American green cards, if these individuals went to American schools, are they really likely to shift loyalty so fast? Maybe not wanting to swear allegiance to the Queen is the reason they didn’t go to McGill or University of Toronto in the first place!
Realistically, foreign students go to top American schools because they want the skills that will get them top American jobs. They want to work at Google, not at Bell. They want to work in Silicon Valley, not in Vancouver. Bell is quite profitable and Vancouver is fantastic in every way (other than the weather), but international immigrants don’t always see that. Maybe what Kenney is doing is about more than immigration and employment. Maybe he’s trying to shift the public face of Canada so that the world’s most brilliant minds want to come here once they’ve been educated at the top schools (most of which happen to be in the United States).
At least we can be happy about one thing: the Canadian government is actively taking advantage of all the stupidity going on in Washington. If they keep capitalizing on each and every Congressional gridlock, we’re going to be a global superpower in no time.