Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Canada's Image at Risk!"

<image from google>

The pandemic of “global economic recession” is a reality which is adversely affecting almost all nations. Similarly, Canada despite its natural resources, a sound socio-economic set up, and a good ‘political system’ also is vulnerable as the sitting government is not efficient enough to deal with it appropriately.

The fear is if the untreated economic “ailment” is allowed to continue, Canada could be facing a social “derailment” faster than thought previously. Furthermore, the rising Canadian dollar, slowing economic activity, a large number of retiring baby boomers, high cost of local manufacturing, sky-rocketing prices especially those of the real estate and inflationary prices of daily use items are only a few of the challenges. What if deflation too takes over! God forbid - that will be too deadlier.

On top of all this, the poor grades, as recently evaluated by the CBC (Conference Board of Canada),
indicate that the country has performed way below the general expectation. This means a poor performance automatically adds further fuel to the dangerous quagmire of the ongoing failures as a consequence.  Hence, Canada has failed to maintain its traditional high score among its competitors.

Struggling to stay afloat between grade “A” to grade ”D” when compared with other developing countries is not a pleasant sign at all. Apparently, a “D” grade on the poverty rate for working age people, and a grade “C” on child poverty-income inequality & gender equity - does indicate a deep trouble ahead for wealthy Canada, yet there is a lot of room to play for improvement.

Naturally, the economic slowdown has a significant negative impact on the score cards.  For example, Ireland fell from the top of the class in last year’s report to the bottom this year. Other countries suffered a significant loss as well including Finland which has a ‘nine spots drop’ in the assessment.
But on the contrary, Austria gained nine spots, while Australia and France rose by “six places” each.
Clearly, six countries still rank above Canada.

Frustrating of course is the wealthy Canada’s “D” gradation regarding the working-age poverty and “C” gradation on child poverty & income inequality. Indeed, this has triggered a major disappointment among nervous Canadians.
Historically speaking, Canada used to be an amazing place to live for the majority of Canadians, but now it is only good for mostly those who work for the government, banks, the law field, and education and health industries.
Most probably, the Canadians face a major job loss due to extensive outsourcing of manufacturing industry to third world countries.

Consequently, the unemployment is on the rise so is the inflation: Yet, It’s believed, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. However, Canada does stand a fair chance, as there is a ray of hope because many immigrants with valuable expertise and higher education are interested to land in Canada. The trend is good for self generation of socio-economic betterment.

Good news is when it comes to “acceptance of diversity,” Canada still hangs on to the top position among the group of 17 (used by the CBC). Surely, it’s a good example for other countries to follow.

Nevertheless, the sad part is there exists a difficult condition of unproductive immigrants/refugees who are bilking the system through fake claims. And, thousands of unskilled immigrants/refugees (fake or genuine) tend to settle in major cities. This has overburdened the limited availability of subsidised public housing facilities, as there is no room left in our social housing projects for the Canadian born who are genuinely in need of such facility. Though, the Canadian residents are entitled to a number of economic and social benefits, they should sincerely focus on contributing economically at least. Maybe, it’s a social fabric that needs to be strong enough to promote social justice leading to sustainable economic results.

With regard to future employment growth, the CBC has made several recommendations to ensure an “employment friendly” environment:
Keep older workers in the labour force by reducing early retirement incentives, ending age discrimination by eliminating legislative and structural barriers for those who choose to work beyond age 65 in case of the currently retiring  baby boomers, adopting more flexible working conditions, and improving attitudes toward older workers.
Education funding should receive higher national priority ensuring that universities and colleges have the sufficient financial resources to go ahead with their respective programs. Focus should be on continuing education and training.
Get only good immigrants through improved immigrant selection criterion: That should include proper processing, reforming credentials recognition, and strengthening intergovernmental and “public and private sector” coordination within the minimum time frame.

Other problem is with current regime’s narrow minded approach and its naive right-wing ideology which keeps pushing Canada to bend backwards. Canada can’t afford to be a loser due to wasting precious time and resources. The government and the official opposition must work hand in hand to find a viable solution best suited to the nation.

Since the immigrants have proved to create import and export investment opportunities to and from other lands quite successfully, they should be applauded and the ones with extra ordinary talents are the precious assets for Canada. Unfortunately, the employers due to lack of “recognition-ability” usually fail to take full advantage of such brilliant immigrants.
Furthermore, the employers and their public sector partners in government are actually obligated to address the issues of immigration through improved policies and practices. But without an effective action plan, our economic performance is bound to fail as our global competitiveness falls below an acceptable level.

Thus, there is no doubt in my mind as facilitating opportunities for immigrants is imperative for an overall good of Canada.
Improving the processes to create new products and services, would essentially lead to the desired growth for any gainful business.
Since the foreign workers with high skills bring with them extensive experience, and most of them perform well as creators, innovators, so it’s important for the Canadians to sincerely welcome the new immigrants as well as recognise the existing ones as valuable assets.
Moreover, through the provincial nominee and guest worker programs, employers have a great opportunity to play a vital role in hiring immigrants as well as the potential immigrants.

It’s up to the employers to offer hand in settling workers and their families, and help them with the language skills needed to perform jobs. It’s a good idea to go ahead with implementing “integration programs” within the workplace enabling immigrants to fully adapt to fit into Canadian workplaces.  Hopefully, a combined team work consisting of the public and private sector will help revive the real image of Canada  (famous for  always welcoming immigrants). 
At the end of the day, Canada’s competitiveness will significantly go back up to the previous level or even higher.


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guman said...

I think Canada is still the best.

sunny said...

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Palomasea said...

Brilliant post, dear Tariq...
I am embarrassed to say that I did not know the exact situation in Canada right now...
Thank you for yet another enlightening perspective.
As a child of successful, productive immigrants, (I was in tow, of course), I wholeheartedly agree with your argument.
Have a wonderful day!
- Irina

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