Canada's Tories Show How the GOP Can Win Immigrant Votes

Freebies are not the way to the heart of minorities.


The reason why Democrats favor immigration reform is also why Republicans don't: More Hispanic voters. With whites slated to lose their demographic dominance by 2042, the GOP fears that amnesty will hand the Democratic Party and its Big Government agenda an unbeatable electoral coalition into perpetuity. Republicans will be able to win national elections not by sticking to their limited government ideals — but promising free goodies to minorities.

But Republicans need simply look north to realize that such defeatist thinking represents a failure of imagination.

Canadian conservatives were in the exact same boat as the GOP in the 1990s.  Rapid immigration from Asia and elsewhere had allowed liberals to cobble together a seemingly invincible block of French-speaking Quebecers plus immigrants in Toronto and Vancouver for three consecutive electoral wins. Conservatives were viewed as a scary "anti-immigrant, rural white man's party." In 2000, 70 percent of all identifiable minorities voted for the Liberal Party.

That was then.

In the last three elections, Canada's conservatives have made rapid strides in wooing immigrants. By 2008, minorities were as likely to vote conservative as liberal. Three years later, of the 23 seats that Tories picked up in national elections, 20 were in the greater Toronto region where immigrants constitute over 30 percent of the population. In fact, so popular are conservatives with immigrants that Haroon Siddiqui, a liberal Toronto Star columnist (ironically, an Indian émigré), recently complained that Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants more immigrants because "'ethnic voters' helped him win his majority."

How did Canadian conservatives turn the tables?

The man credited with crafting the conservative charm offensive toward immigrants is Canada's minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney, an Irish white man with a reportedly a superhuman capacity for outreach — and wolfing down samosas and perogies.

But Kenney hasn't simply relied on his personal charisma with immigrants. He has also persuaded conservatives that immigrants' attachment to their native religions, customs and tongues enrich — not threaten — broader Canadian culture. Strong patriotism in Canada now correlates with strong pro-immigrant attitudes, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

But Kenney's party has also backed its words with policies — big and small.

On the small side, it has lowered arrival fees, showing that it sees immigrants not as an economic liability — but as an asset. Republicans, by contrast, are perfectly happy to raise visa fees, even on high-skilled foreigners.

Nothing is more conservative than combating bureaucracy. And Canada's Tories have made reform of Ottawa's red-tape-ridden immigration system their top priority. The GOP likewise could have made cutting the decades-long wait that, say, Chinese computer engineers endure to obtain their green cards its cause du jour, but it's been mostly AWOL on the issue.

Immigrants are not monolithic; each group has its own special issues and needs. So the Harper administration made it a point to listen and incorporate their concerns in its platform — not simply market its existing agenda in multiple languages, as Mitt Romney tried.

For example, it has promoted family tax cuts in part because suburban immigrants are deeply family-oriented and frugal. Asian Indians tend to own mom-and-pop stores and so the Harper administration has made small business tax cuts its key plank. Many Middle Eastern Christians flock to Canada because of religious persecution and to them the administration has emphasized its commitment to religious freedom.

In each case, Canadian conservatives have appealed to immigrants through its own principles of less government and more freedom — not by playing Santa Claus. Nor has the Harper administration shied away from cracking down on welfare use by immigrants. Kenney himself recently crafted new rules for sponsoring foreign parents to ensure that they don't end up on the dole. Immigrants, like natives, accept the need for reasonable border restrictions and stopping welfare abuse so long as such initiatives stem from a need to address specific problems, not broader anti-immigrant animus.

Canada's lesson is that the GOP can't win immigrants by being liberal lite and shouldn't try. Instead, it has to consult its own principles and offer a credible alternative package. And that's nothing to fear.

This column originally appeared in the Washington Examiner.

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  1. In each case, Canadian conservatives have appealed to immigrants through its own principles of less government and more freedom ? not by playing Santa Claus. Nor has the Harper administration shied away from cracking down on welfare use by immigrants.

    If that was being done, you’d probably see a lot of the Republican rank and file resistance evaporate.

    But that’s half the issue – absolutely no one with half a brain cell trusts or expects it to play out that way.

    1. Maybe the lesson here is we need to replace the Republican party with a Reform movement the way Canada got rid of the Progressive Conservatives.

      1. And as a result of all of that we got Harper and the Spawn of Trudeau. Yay!

        1. Still, it’s a mild improvement over the Prog Cons and Alpha-Trudeau, eh?

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      2. Or that our immigration policy should be geared towards high net worth or skilled immigrants, as in Canada, and not to ‘refugees’ and family reunification.

  2. “The reason why Democrats favor immigration reform “

    – is purely cosmetic, and never actually comes to fruition, because they have no intention of actually reforming immigration, they’re simply aware of the fact that their voterbase is so domesticated by this point that all they need to do is pay lip service to demonstrate how “progressive’ they are, even while signing bills and passing acts that achieve the exact opposite.

    1. I wouldn’t say that is fair. They would “reform” it in their utopia, but they know that a lot of the white working class is against it. The only way for them to pass it is to convince republicans to vote for it as well, so that the white working class will have no where to go. That is why they didn’t pas it back in 2009 when they had a fillibuster-proof majority in the house and senate.

      1. Fuck the “white working class”. Unions turned this country into a shithole.

        1. uh isnt most of the white working class in the private sector non-unionized? maybe im wrong.

      2. You speak as if the white working class is some kinda monolith. And on a related note FOT!

  3. This article is like so last week. Oh, that’s because it ran last week.

    1. I’ve noticed a few articles getting rerun, and I wonder why.

  4. If Canada was importing Hispanic minorities rather than Asians, farm workers rather than computer programmers, do you really think it would be that easy? Hispanics vote for Democrats because they agree with their economic policies above all, in addition to favoring open borders. Hispanics aren’t “family oriented” either, half of their children are bastards.

    1. I wonder who this is? You all get 3 guesses.

      1. Someone who knows what goes on but is impolitic in pointing it out?

        1. Nope. Try again.

          1. Someone who thinks single mothers are the scourge of society?

            1. Well, they are sluts.

            2. Well, single motherhood does correlate strongly with several adverse social and economic indicators.

              1. easiest way to predict whether someone will end up in jail, on the dole, under achiev in school, abuse drugs, teen pregancy…yeah it does. But pointing that out pisses off the feminists-who think they are empowered so shut up with your rape culture patriarchy or ill have Gloria Alred launch a “disparate impact” lawsuit againt you

    2. Hispanics aren’t “family oriented” either, half of their children are bastards.

      And what of it, moron? If you weren’t such an ignorant twit, you’d know that Iceland’s rate of “bastardy” is 66%. Sweden’s rate is 55% and Norway’s is 54%.

      1. Yes, but those bastards are white as snow, and thus good bastards — obviously.

        1. Whether Snow bastards are “good” depends on whose house you support.

          1. Ramsey Bolton n?e Snow had better have a violent, bloody ending coming his way, or the entire series has wasted my time.

      2. Who ever said that Scandinavia was a family-oriented place?

        1. Nice try.

          Another point for me. What’s the total now? Me: 1,347 – You: 0? That sounds about right.

          1. What exactly is your point here? Dalmia is the one who said immigrants could be won with “family friendly” policies. What does Scandinavia have to do with it?

            1. Don’t play dumb. Or are you actually so dense as to not grasp the logical entailment in your response to Dalmia’s argument?


              1. No. Explain to me what I was saying.

          2. Go easy on him, HM. His neanderthal breeding isn’t up to the challenge of discussing this issue with the finesse that those of us with better genetics can muster.

            1. His neanderthal breeding

              Haven’t you heard? The belief that residual Neanderthal DNA in the Eurasian gene pool makes them superior to sub-Saharan Africans is all the rage in “Race (Ir)Realism/Human Bio Perversity” circles.

              But I acknowledge your point.

              1. The belief that residual Neanderthal DNA in the Eurasian gene pool makes them superior to sub-Saharan Africans is all the rage in “Race (Ir)Realism/Human Bio Perversity” circles.

                I read several “Race (Ir)Realism/Human Bio Perversity” blogs and I’ve never once seen this.

                1. I wonder how people’s attitudes would change regarding the toxic issue of race once pharma starts curing ethnically specific diseases:

                  “But we found a cure for sickle cell by analyzing the genes of those descended from west African Bantus”
                  “SIGN ME UP”!

              2. The only person that b brought race into this sub thread was you.

                And this pattern of instantly assuming that anyone you disagree with is ‘America’ or Mary, is really fucking lame.

                You’re coming across like a deranged psychotic bum.

      3. Both of these comments are misleading. Long-term cohabitation is more common among American Hispanics, and a lot more common among Scandinavians, than non-Hispanic white Americans.

      4. HM, with all due respect, this is a version of the same fallacy that leftists use about economics. “Sweden is more socialist than we are and it works, so why can’t we just be like Sweden?” The answer is that some non-optimum behaviors (socialism, single-parenthood) will sort of “work” in a small, homogeneous, educated population, but won’t work in a giant and diverse country and among the poor and uneducated.

        1. Single parents are very rare in Sweden. Cohabitation is legally almost the same as marriage and there isn’t strong cultural pressure to marry before giving birth, so they just get married whenever they feel like.

        2. HM, with all due respect, this is a version of the same fallacy that leftists use about economics.

          It was also the leftist tactic of shouting RACIST to shut up your opponent instead of debating his ideas.

    3. Hispanic out of wedlock birthrates are not outside the norm for their income group. Certainly, most Hispanic countries score much better on that issue than the US does. I will agree that it is dumb to give the right to vote to people who don’t understand American politics and customs, and who in many cases despise those things.

      1. I’m glad we can define people solely on their country of origin. Guess that rules out pretty much everyone, since very few countries’ general populations “understand American politics and customs”.

        1. Most Americans don’t understand American politics and customs, which is a fucking disgrace. I don’t see anything wrong with excluding someone who doesn’t understand the importance of, say, a jury trial or the 4th Am from the franchise.

          1. So, again, pretty much no more immigration. Understood.

            1. Um… no. I said “franchise”, not immigration. Or do you think that immigration requires that we give immigrants the right to vote, as well?

              Speaking for myself, I wasn’t to the standard that should be required to vote until 15-20 years ago, and my wife sure as hell didn’t understand enough about the American system to vote when she first came here.

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  6. Suppose I had a population, say, Nigerians. I then approach a bunch of Nigerians and then only select a group of them who are college-educated. I then use that sample to PROVE that Nigerians are college educated. THAT is essentially what Dalmia is doing. Canada selects its immigrants very differently from America. English-speaking, college educated, highly swilled immigrants are given preference, Mexican farm workers are not. Dalmia would, of course, oppose a policy like that for America. Yet, Dalmia hypocritically uses Canada as a model for America.

    1. Actually, Canada policy is less strict and we allow in plenty of farmworkers. Strawberry fields full of turbans. Please put a sock in it we’ve had enough your half-truths and misleading talking points.

      1. It is not a “half-truth.” I said that high-skill immigrants get a preference, not that there are NO farmworkers. The Demographics of their immigrants AREN’T THE SAME. It’s an apples and oranges comparison.

      2. Canada immigration policy is more strict than the US and Canada does indeed preference high-skilled workers.

        1. Canada immigration policy is more strict than the US

          NO IT ISN’T.

          1. Today, the goal of the immigration system is to encourage youthful, bilingual, high-skill immigration in order to build human capital within Canada’s aging labor force. In order to attract the right type of migrants, Canada has set in place certain education and skills provisions that work to advantage potential migrants who have work experience, higher education, and English or French language abilities.


          2. of course it is, I’m Canadian and we always joke about having the most educated taxi drivers in the world

            1. I think we’re pretty strict. Not sure if more so than the U.S., but strict enough.

    2. Argues the man who believes telephone polls are “scientific studies” (His comments were wiped by the Reason mods, but you can get a sense of his stupidity from our responses.)

      It’s time to face facts; you’re not our equal. Your intellect, knowledge, and rhetorical skills are vastly inferior to ours. Now, either approach us with humility, sit back, observe, and learn something or refrain from participating in this community. Any other action is impertinent.

      1. His comments were wiped by the Reason mods

        If you use the Wayback Machine, you can find versions of the page with his comments. Here.

    3. Canada largely follows the evil recommendations of the White Supremacist Neo-Nazi Jason Richwine, which gave enlightened socialist Shikha Dalmia a case of the vapors.

      From the Evil White Supremacist Neo-Nazi Thomas Sowell:
      “One of the many sad signs of our times is the way current immigration issues are discussed. A hundred years ago, the immigration controversies of that era were discussed in the context of innumerable facts about particular immigrant groups. Many of those facts were published in a huge, multi-volume 1911 study by a commission headed by Senator William P. Dillingham.

      That and other studies of the time presented hard data on such things as which groups’ children were doing well in school and which were not; which groups had high crime rates or high rates of alcoholism, and which groups were over-represented among people living on the dole.

      Such data and such differences still exist today. Immigrants from some countries are seldom on welfare but immigrants from other countries often are. Immigrants from some countries are typically people with high levels of education and skills, while immigrants from other countries seldom have much schooling or skills.

      1. [Sowell, continued]
        “Nevertheless, many of our current discussions of immigration issues talk about immigrants in general, as if they were abstract people in an abstract world. But the concrete differences between immigrants from different countries affect whether their coming here is good or bad for the American people.”

        1. Yes, it’s amazing how the worshippers of “diversity” refuse to see that all cultures are not the same.


          1. Or when they say “diversity is strength” the “reality based” community says this somehow completely ignoring the fact that “diversity” is related to the word “division” for a reason-ask those peeps in the former yugoslavia, northern ireland, sri lanka, kashmir, and rwanda…yeah liberals “diversity” works like a fucking charm.

            1. My brother is a liberal and even he rejects the ‘all cultures are the same and just as good as any’ bull shit.

              There’s hope among some I reckon.

  7. How many times can Dalmia write this column?

    1. This one’s a literal rerun from last week, isn’t it? So I’ll rerun my comment:

      The difference between Canada & USA re immigration isn’t between “conservatives'” policies, it’s in the immigrant popul’ns that differ between the countries: Asian vs. Latin American & African.

  8. All I am saying is that most Democrat voters support Democrat policies. Immigration AND socialism. Look up the polling yourself.

    1. No, you’re saying that non-whites are more likely to vote Dem than whites and Asians. Bring some Europeans over here and watch how they vote. To be consistent you pretty much have to be against immigration in general, not simply hispanic immigration. And you’re not, you only care if their country of origin is south of us.

      1. Who said I was against immigration? I’m simply saying that Hispanics are going to support socialism, at least for the next generation, unlike Asian and middle-eastern immigrants. They aren’t going to vote for Republicans if they promise to “cut red tape” and support “family policies.” Europeans would probably also vote democrat if they immigrated in large numbers.

        1. I’m simply saying that Hispanics are going to support socialism

          WTF are ‘Hispanics’? Are these the people who voted for market-oriented governments in Chile, Peru, and Mexico?

          1. It’s impossible to ignore the fact that the average Hispanic voter, however you define the term, is pretty much anti-libertarian when they vote: they tend to be socially conservative, big government Democrats.

            1. Not really, Papaya: the issue is that (as was the case with Jewish, Southern/Eastern European, and Irish immigrants) the poorer the immigrant, the more likely he or she is to a) have little to no knowledge, education, and conceptualization of political processes, b) subsequently support re-distributive politics as a matter of course, and c) not care about politics nearly as much as other factors (jobs, schools, etc). Chileans and the Hispanics who understand such things aren’t the ones who are immigrating, because they already live in good countries — the average Hispanic immigrant is not the same as the average Hispanic voter in those countries.

              1. How long before the descendants of Irish immigrants stop supporting socialist policies?

                1. how much wealthier are jews gunna have to get to stop voting dem?

              2. I meant the average Hispanic voter here, now, or illegals here now who might become voters.

                You are right that we tend to get the poorest Hispanics. The trouble with comparisons with past immigrant groups is that the public schools (and the rest of our official culture, especially the welfare state apparatus) are thoroughly in the grip of left-wing multi-culti types. Flooding the country with Hispanic immigrants can only work against libertarian goals.

          2. Eh, Mexico was owned by PRI lock, stock, and barrel for 70ish years and reverted to PRI control quite recently after having elected a vaguely pro-market PAN into office in the prior elections. Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Panama, and Uruguay have good governments on those issues but are also not where most Hispanic immigrants originate from.

            That said, the recent Honduran legislature is pretty damn good on a variety of economic issues, and we have a fair bit of Honduran immigrants by way of Mexico.

  9. Arguing with an asshole on FB that letting Mexicans into the country would mean a permanent Democrat majority. That’s not a reason to abandon your principles, but a reason to fix the Republican Party. But he doesn’t want the party fixed, he just wants to avoid having to move into the 21st century.

    He kept using the word “immigrants” WITHOUT any “illegal” prefix. He wants to halt ALL immigration, especially from Mexico. What a fucking douchebag.

    1. That’s not a reason to abandon your principles

      It depends on your priorities. If your highest priority is open borders, OK. If your highest priority to moving the USA in a more libertarian direction when it comes to economics and government policy in general, it’s self defeating to support the importation of more anti-libertarian voters.

  10. This article is quite a bit disingenuous. I’d love to adopt Canada’s immigration policy, which favors high-skilled immigrants over low-skilled immigrants. But to do that the US would have to stop the vast amount of illegal immigrants pouring across the border, Or alternately we cut our welfare policies and in that case even low-skilled immigrants are a net positive.

    But the US can’t maintain an expensive welfare state, allow 1-2 million immigrants per year (most low-skilled) and extend those welfare benefits to them. The math doesn’t work.

    1. This. Allowing their children to vote ain’t such a great idea, either. When your only ties to American institutions come from the odious K-12 education system, you’re not going to be a good voter.

      1. but you will believe fdr got us out of the depression, so you will be an excellent voter-for the democrats

    2. Those immigrants use welfare at a lower rate than natives. We tire of the same debunked talking points you people spew.

      1. Those immigrants use welfare at a lower rate than natives.

        No they don’t. They use less welfare than “similarly situated” (ie poor) natives.

        1. Exactly. And that is only because they are illegal.

          1. It’s true for legals also.

            1. As a libertarian, I’d like to see an end to welfare and the beginning of open borders. Labor, just like capital, should be free to move in a free market. But labor is necessarily paid. It makes no sense for someone to come to a different country, legally or illegally, and just go on the dole. A job is different, skilled or unskilled. Whether it’s picking strawberries, writing computer code, or designing space vehicles, the person is going somewhere where he or she is needed. But if you just want a handout not provided in your home country, then I hope you are refugee fleeing for your life and needing only temporary help to get established (i.e., employed) in your new home. Otherwise, you need to go back home until you acquire a work ethic. Now, that said, an immigrant (or a native) who works and then suffers a severe brain injury or gets his limbs blown off would deserve some special consideration and some kind of “safety net,” but I don’t think that would involve any great number of people.

        2. That must explain why CA’s welfare rates are more than double the national average.

          1. …and TX?

            1. Check back in 20 years when the demographics are the same.

              1. Seriously? In terms of hispanic populations, the demographics are EXACTLY the same at 37%.


                1. I’m not a big believer in “Hispanic” demographics. For one thing, the term itself is applied to them by outsiders. If you are a Mexican, you think of yourself as Mexican. If you are Chilean, you think of yourself as Chilean, or so I’ve been told by people actually from Spanish-speaking countries.

                  Besides that, you can look back in history at “concerns” about the influx of Irish, or Italians, or Poles, in earlier times. Guess what? They all assimilated within a couple of generations. Why should today’s immigrants prove to be any different, especially given how common cross-cultural relationships and marriages have become compared to past decades?

                  1. Because the US closed the border from 1924-1965 thus allowing to “digest” them?

            2. Using the 1st chart here, I calculate the SNAP usage rate [(# eligible)*(% participating)/(population)] in California at 8.44% and Texas at 12.77%.

              (# eligible)*(% participating)/(population)

              1. Sidd, TX spends less than 1/3 (%-wise) of what CA spends on welfare.


  11. Bear in mind, Canadian immigrants are almost entirely middle class people from Asia and other wealthy regions, and almost all speak English.

    People act like Canada is so open, but it’s far more restricted, because people can only get there by plane or boat.

    When you have so many people unemployed, adding millions of low skilled people people(and their families) who don’t even speak English and won’t learn is not a good idea.

    How is a family of 6 with 2 people working at minimum wages going to generate enough economic to support the other 4? They can barely support themselves.

    1. Yeah thats exactly right if we would have 3rd world muslims lighting our cars on fire and decapitating people in broad daylight i’m sure we would become less welcoming

      1. Yeah, I don’t know how the French and British are going to handle this. It’s fucking INSANE what happened. I really hope they find their inner-brass balls – fast.

  12. And there is also the fact that sweden was wealthy BEFORE socialism. You need to create the wealth prior to redistributing it. And Sweden is also liberalizing more and more, they’ve been cutting taxes and slowing down on spending-the country is moving right. And there is also the whole “social capital” thing, those intangible cultural advantages-Lutheran work ethic, less “diversity” and so on that make the effects of socialism easier to bear.

    1. You’ll never convince me socialism is what made Sweden wealthy. How did the industrial revolution come to Sweden? I doubt it was via a socialist crown or government.

      1. I wouldnt try to convince you. Im saying that they were wealthy enough before socialism that its effects were less terrible than the third world. It’s still shit though

  13. I don’t check reason for one afternoon and I miss an immigration throwdown where someone’s comments get removed. Bad luck I guess

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