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Immigration Minister John McCallum sits with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he co-hosts the Leaders Summit on Refugees at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Immigration Minister John McCallum sits with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he co-hosts the Leaders Summit on Refugees at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

WHAT READERS THINK

Sept. 22: More immigrants? Plus other letters to the editor Add to ...

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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More immigrants?

Re Does Canada Need More Immigrants? (Sept. 21): Your editorial posed an interesting perspective on Canadian immigration, citing recent poll numbers for and against. I wonder about the “recent” poll numbers – 13 per cent say we take too few immigrants, 41 per cent say it’s about right, 38 per cent say we take too many – versus those same numbers “pre-Trump.” If we think we are immune to the anti-immigration rhetoric from the Republican candidate, we should think again. There are many here whose opinions are aligned with Mr. Trump’s sentiments, and I would bet that their numbers are growing.

Let us hope, for the sake of our own identity, that we do not bow to the oratory of fear and blame.

Carol Victor, Burlington, Ont.

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You ask: Does Canada need more immigrants? If Canadians are to enjoy our current privileged lifestyle, social services and standard of living, the answer can only be yes. Canada’s population of workers under age 35 is 18 per cent, compared to the global average of 33 per cent. Statistics Canada, along with several other government departments and demographic forecasters, predicts that all growth in Canada’s work force over the next decade will come about from immigration.

This cannot be a discussion about the merits of immigration, but a discussion about the right type of immigrants needed to drive Canada’s innovation agenda. Canada will face a shortfall of some two million skilled workers in the next decade. While other countries speak of erecting walls, the time for us to act is now.

Stephen Cryne, CEO, Canadian Employee Relocation Council

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More immigrants? No way. Not until we do a better job of looking after the ones we’ve already encouraged to come here. Your story on increased food bank use says it all (Syrian Refugee Influx Drives Up Number Of Visits To Food Banks – Sept. 19).

Welcome to Canada, where you can afford rent, or food – but not both.

Lauren Daniels, Calgary

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Talk left, act right

Re Why Liberals Risk A Drop In Public Trust (Sept. 21): That the Liberals would lose public trust is no surprise. A history of the party shows it loves to campaign from the left but govern from the right.

At the start of the campaign last year, I kept saying that Justin Trudeau was Stephen Harper Lite. Events are proving this to be true.

Bernie Koenig, London, Ont.

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Maple leaf diplomacy

Re A Time To Nurture Co-operation (Sept. 21): Chinese Premier Li Keqiang writes, “This is the season for the fiery maple in Canada, symbolizing the prosperity of China-Canada all-round co-operation.”

Since when did the Canadian maple leaf symbolize “the prosperity of China-Canada all-round co-operation?” The maple leaf on our flag symbolizes Canada, a country with a charter that guarantees freedom of speech and equal rights. Mr. Li should not co-opt our symbol of freedom when the Chinese people cannot trust due process in China.

Perhaps Ai Weiwei’s next art project should be ten thousand maple leaves flying over Beijing.

Ai Ke Lin, former English teacher in China, Toronto

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Down on the farm

Re Migrant Farm Workers Deserve Better (Sept. 19): A program that’s lasted 60 years must have something going for it. Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) lets Canadian farmers get the workers they need when they are needed and lets foreign workers earn cash they could never hope to earn in their country. It is not to be confused with Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program, which has rightly been criticized because it is out of control and open to abuse by foreign recruiters.

SAWP is a government program negotiated between Canada and the governments of the Caribbean and Mexico. The workers are chosen by their own governments, whose diplomatic representatives in Canada play a role in ensuring that wages meet the prevailing rate and that working and living conditions are suitable.

The program is meant for temporary workers – and to ensure they leave at the end of their contract, a sizable portion of their wages is paid only after their return to their home country.

Activists for migrant workers demand that the workers be given permanent residence status upon arrival. Does anyone really believe the workers would then want to pick mushrooms?

Almost all the workers are unskilled and poorly educated; few, if any, would meet Canada’s immigration criteria. For the sake of the workers and the farmers, let’s hope SAWP survives those who wish to reform it.

James Bissett, executive director of Canada’s immigration service (1985-1990), Ottawa

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I live in a community surrounded by greenhouses. The streets are full of workers from Mexico, some are from Jamaica. I speak Spanish. Nearly all of them are decent guys. They talk of family, wives, daughters and sons who want to be engineers and nurses.

These men are painfully lonely.

Rick Taves, Wheatley, Ont.

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Bullying the bully

Re Is Your Child A Bully Magnet? (Sept. 16): I greatly appreciated seeing a variation on the perpetual theme of bullying and the typical, knee-jerk reaction schools and society tend to favour – bullying the bully.

As a teacher and school counsellor for more than 25 years (and more recently a farmer), I have come to believe that seeking power and status is normal mammal behaviour – that is, bullying is really a status game. We need to shift our attention from the exertion of power over bullies toward prevention: teaching kids how not to be victims.

Group dynamics that emphasize insiders and outsiders and the need to conform can leave any child who is different in any way vulnerable to the taunts of (powerful) bullies, especially those in the “popular” group.

While we need to do a better job of teaching and demonstrating responsible assertiveness and a whole range of other social-emotional skills, assertiveness, spoken from a feeling of inadequacy, does not work. Parents and teachers need to help kids, whatever their strengths and challenges, to feel “okay” about themselves.

I fear our current response to bullying – essentially, eliminate the bullies – only serves to perpetuate the outdated notion that “might is right.”

Let’s move on to better responses to this perennial problem. Adriana Barton’s comments are a good start.

Carol Battaglio, Powell River, B.C.

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Shoeless in the sky

Re Author Found Fame With Shoeless Joe (Obituaries, Sept. 21): I was saddened to hear of the passing of W.P. Kinsella, and in particular by the timing of his death.

It would have been nice if he could have seen his Blue Jays win one more World Series, before the end. But perhaps he will be watching their progress, from those upper bleachers in the sky.

Peter Love, Toronto

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