The leader of a Calgary-based group that holds controversial views on immigration and multiculturalism was in Red Deer Saturday where he spoke to a small crowd who came out to hear him talk.
While the event, called ‘Mass Immigration,’ was originally supposed to take place at the Sheraton Hotel, it was moved to 5233 54th Ave.
The theme of the National Citizens Alliance (NCA) talk presented by founder Stephen Garvey was that ‘mass immigration’ is having a ‘significant negative impact on Canada.’ Garvey said immigration policies are failing and Canada should stop accepting immigrants into the country.
“We believe it is harming the economy, the environment,” he told Red Deer Express before the event. “It is harming our culture in Canada, our society and it’s harming the countries where these people are coming from.”
He added, ”We are not against immigrants. We want responsible, balanced immigration, but this mass immigration, you know 200,000 to 300,000, it’s supporting certain interests. It’s not in the best interest of Canadians.”
He said he believes the largest negative impact is economic.
“There is a taxation negative of $40 billion,” he said. “That means immigrants are consuming more services than taxes paid. Also, the administration of immigration is costing over $24-billion a year on the federal level. We feel this should be a public discussion. We should have a national dialogue. It shouldn’t be dictated.”
The group, which is an unofficial political party, has spoken at venues across Canada. It is often met with pro-diversity group protesters. However, protesters did not show up at the location on Saturday.
At the beginning of his talk, Garvey said racism would not be tolerated. Individuals from the far-right extremist group, the Wolves of Odin, attended. One individual wearing a black leather jacket with the emblem ‘Wolves of Odin’ asked Garvey whether he meant the dictionary definition of racism or the ‘new definition.’
Garvey responded, “According to the Human Rights Act and the Canadian Criminal Code.”
Central Alberta Refugee Effort (C.A.R.E) Executive Director Frank Bauer told the Red Deer Express Friday that he thinks individuals have the right to be against Canadian policies such as immigration. But he said he is concerned about what the group considers to be facts about immigration in the country.
“The concern I have is there might be less tolerance for immigrants in general and minorities so people who are already vulnerable to discrimination. I’m not too happy with that.”
According to his statistics, Canada requires, “Around 300,000 new immigrants every year to keep the working population up and have enough people to pay for pensions and to keep the jobs filled,” he said.
The group also spreads the message that most immigrants use social assistance, he said, which is not true.
“Sixty per cent of immigrants are economic immigrants,” Bauer explained.
“These people have to prove they are able to look after themselves, so they are not relying on any special assistance. They will bring in their families, but still, they have to look after them.”
He said the second largest percentage of immigrants who come to Canada each year is called ‘family-class immigrants.’ They are often sponsored by individuals who have immigrated themselves.
But again, he said, the sponsoring family must provide evidence that they can look after the new immigrants. They do not have access to social assistance.
Bauer also pointed out that the NCA seems to conflate immigrants with refugees. He said that two-thirds of roughly 25,000 to 35,000 refugees coming to Canada each year are privately sponsored.
“Many of the big church groups and community groups, they also have to look after their sponsored immigrant. So they look after housing and all that.”
There is a small portion of government-sponsored refugees, he said.
“The Government of Canada will give special support in the first year and this special support is not more than anyone else would have. It helps with initial housing.”