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VOL. 79 PART 1 JANUARY 2021
that theory, the collective would have to have some obligations to all human
beings in the world. There are circumstances in which states are morally
required to admit prospective immigrants, such as in the case of refugees
fleeing violence and persecution. However, her argument is that there is no
moral requirement to admit prospective migrants who are not at risk of serious
I am troubled by the moral justification for the conventional view and by
the justification offered by Professor Song. In my view, both of these theories
create artificial boundaries for basic concepts such as freedom of movement
and the freedom to be free from discrimination. In the end, they are
both forms of nationalism or compassionate nationalism. From a moral perspective,
my view is that the justification for open borders is most compelling,
recognizing that there are serious practical issues and concerns.
In the end, one’s perspectives on immigration policy will be based on the
principles and values one considers important. If democratic freedom, freedom
of movement and freedom from discrimination are important, then
what naturally flows from these principles and values is open borders.
However, that can be practically problematic because large numbers of
immigrants flowing to Canada could and would likely have a negative economic
and social impact on the citizens of Canada. It takes time to absorb
immigrants flowing into Canada, from both a social perspective and an economic
perspective. It is not realistic to believe that change can occur
quickly, and therefore there has to be consideration of the effects of a large
influx at any one time.
But I have two key criticisms of Canadian immigration policy. First, it
would seem that Canada can absorb many more than about 300,000 immigrants
annually. That amount is barely one per cent of the overall population.
Although I am not aware of any studies on what may be a reasonable
rate of absorption, I would think it is significantly greater than one per cent
Second, Canada permits more economic immigrants than any other category.
I refer to this as “immigration skimming”. This is problematic. Those
who qualify through a points system and are economically attractive to
Canada are likely persons whom other societies have spent significant
resources educating. Canada is taking the best from poor countries so that
they can succeed here in Canada. Canada is taking away valuable resources
from countries that have spent significant time and money educating those
persons. Those countries need their skills and abilities. For example, giving