Immigration is not a municipal issue!

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Immigration is not a municipal issue!

At the CP24 debate in Toronto on August 17th at the former home of the Masonic Temple, the "top" five mayoral candidates entertained several questions from the audience on the subject of immigration. I suppose neither the moderators, presenters, candidates, or political commentators knew or ought to have known, that Immigration as it pertains to citizenship is a federal issue, not a municipal one. A good handbook rule for all Canadians and aspiring holders of our constitution, is to remember that the distribution of powers and the issues that each tier may govern under, are consistent with upholding the laws dealt within that jurisdiction. Last time I read, there is no "Toronto court of Immigration". The constitution clearly sets out the jurisdictional areas of power and governance by each tier of government. This is another example of why Canadians' political literacy plummets during and after each election and to the next one, and forever there as long, politicians forget to do their homework.

We must remain critical of why these "top 5" candidates are top 5 to begin with. They are certainly not the top 5 well versed in distribution of powers as set out in our constitution. My guess is, that at least for those candidates that have not activly particpated in decision making at any tier, the rest, including deputy mayor Joe Pantalone, Former Health Minister George Smitherman, and councillor Rob Ford, should have known better than to entertain Canadians on a gross misrepresentation of powers they do not and can never exercise in their capacity as mayor.

I can not be any less forgiving of the mainstream media. They are responsible for delivering a message of fact. This negligent nature has been tolerated for far too long.

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Maysie Maysie's picture

Welcome to babble, Rodriguez-Larrain.

Moving to "central canada".


I agree!  Too often people who comment on jurisdiction, law (international or domestic) don't know what the hell they're talking about.

I think the real role for cities is to create and maintain some form of help for people who arrive in the city so that they can make the best of it and have access to the resources they need.


Not a municipal issue funny you would say that especially when I just finished reading an article about the serious problems ahead for cities and their health care systems and their schools and everything else as Canada's mass immigration is said to be a very serious problem as housing bubble is about to burst and economy is in the crapper and many immigrants find themselves out on the street.  Mass immigrant ion and baby boomers to boot will bury the health care system and leave many better off dead or treat and street for sure.

What do the feds have to say but more cuts to services while government keeps packing them into cities like sardines and you don't think their is anything fishy about that as Canada's big cities are hurting big time and is why Ford is a mayor contender in Toronto because people are fed up?

Milo wants cities to help others when cities can't even help themselves as major cities have a homeless problem and the costs associated with that are immense but unfortunately are only a band aid solution at that as resources are real limited and soon to be depleted at best.




Indeed, immigration in Canada is constitutionally a federal matter.  Also municipalities are merely creatures of the provincial legislatures however those are technicalities.  In Burnaby we have a very high immigrant population and the city and other groups partner with the feds and province to provide various services.  Municipal politicians are not merely city managers they are also advocates for needed resources from the senior levels of government.  Citizens need to know what kinds of services the candidates can envision to help immigrants.

In BC schools have been closing supposedly because of falling enrollment.  In Burnaby they haven't partly because our population is close to 50% immigrants.  I love Burnaby and don't see any problems with new immigrants.  I will admit don't like their nasty capitalists any more than I like the home grown variety.


What do the feds have to say about the failing health care system as provinces who knew the health care system was going to be all maxed out because of the mass immigration to its cities because soon it is going to be Cash or the Street something many of Canada's elderly are not prepared to deal with and there is a real tragedy in that as with the war vets who where willing to give up their lives now must also give away their futures leaves much to be desired. 

And I wasn't talking the legalities of it all but the day to day as issues that we all have to deal with as was never questioning the power of the feds just what the feds think they are doing to the cities and the people is just important you would think as it is the cities that pay the biggest price as most in Toronto will agree.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Perhaps immigration ought to be a municipal issue. The question needs to be asked, what is the role of migration in the industrial, consuner capitalist model?


While immigration per se is not a municipal issue, a lot of its implications are, especially in Toronto. Infrastructure, transit, schools, services … these are all issues for municipalities. And we shouldn't think of immigration as coming from just outside Canada. A person who moved to Toronto from BC, Oakville or Oshawa is one more person living here, just as someone from Sri Lanka, Germany or the UK is.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

True. And migration must be recognized as a policy choice in pursuing the economic objectives of globalism. As the global economic system moves indigenous and rural peoples out of their communities and into cities, the best and brightest will migrate to even larger regional or national centers, while the cream of the cream, the elites, social and intellectual, will migrate to global centers.And, of course, there is the other side of the coin, Arizona, as one current example.

So it beconmes this Catch-22 whereby cities must accomodate an federal immigration policy overwhich they have no direct policy influence as a city (as a loose collection of voters, it is a different reality), but must plan to house to provide services to them. And soon, to add to the burden, without the guidance even of a long form census.





edmundoconnor wrote:

While immigration per se is not a municipal issue, a lot of its implications are, especially in Toronto. Infrastructure, transit, schools, services … these are all issues for municipalities. And we shouldn't think of immigration as coming from just outside Canada. A person who moved to Toronto from BC, Oakville or Oshawa is one more person living here, just as someone from Sri Lanka, Germany or the UK is.

Immigration within provinces is hot as the young are the first to pack up and move on along as with construction and other seasonal workers but the young are also the first to head back home.  Provinces win some and they lose some with mobility within Canada but is not the same strain on the country as immigration from others countries especially in recessionary times.  Governments keep pumping the people in and cutting services just as quickly and it is a fact.  Education has also faced major cuts as government moves to fund those in private schools also so as public schools are now only for the downtrodded instead.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

That is because immigration is critical to maintaining a consumer economy of debt strapped households. They provide both cheap labour and consumers of everything required to create and build a new home.


Municipalities are going to be sites of citizenship issues because cities are where people exercise and claim their economic, political, social and cultural rights. If we are going to only talk about citizenship as membership to the nation-state, which is still important, then we run the risk of dislocating the everyday experience of being included or excluded from membership. Exclusion cannot be summarized as CIC policy. Yes, citizenship can be talked about at the level of the municipality, and it should be. Municipalities can be sites of citizenship battles as edmundoconnor suggests for infrastructure and social services, and they can also be sites of recognition (or illegitimacy) when they react to the claiming of public spaces of the city such as the cases in Toronto of the Tamil protest in 2009, or OCAP's Safe Park in 1999.