46 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 79 PART 1 JANUARY 2021
preference to the best engineers or physicians from poor countries deprives
those countries of the skill of those persons. Additionally, persons of superior
training are the least in need. They are the cream of the crop in their
In order to lower global disparity, the just and moral standard is to prefer
those who are disadvantaged or refugees (who may well have significant
skills) to give them a better life of liberty and opportunity. There are many
skilled persons in refugee camps all over the world. Canada should get its
skilled labour from the pool of refugees rather than skimming the best from
These judgments are difficult, as there is always a political component
and a need for skilled labour in a country like Canada. Thus, while there is
a recognition that there must be a category for economic migrants, we
should permit a larger number of refugees rather than focusing on the economic
migration. Certainly, there have been many examples of refugees
who have contributed to this country who would not have qualified under
the points system.
Canada’s future plan seeks to grow the number and percentage of economic
immigrants over other categories such as refugees, asylum seekers
and family reunification. My view is that the plan should be the opposite—
the plan should be to increase other categories and reduce the economic
category. If Canada is going to permit immigration skimming and permit
foreigners to win the lottery, it should allow those in need to win the lottery
in preference to those who already have resources. The moral basis for this
normative improvement is that while states have a right to self-determine,
this does not extend to harming other states or foreigners.
Each time I see or hear of migrants fleeing persecution or danger, I recall
the fear and helplessness I felt in 1972. I could just as easily be the persecuted
Rohingya Muslim, the fleeing Syrian refugee or the Sudanese asylum
seeker. Canada came to the rescue of myself and my family. It can and
should come to the rescue of many more.
1. John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (London:
Awnsham Churchill, 1689).
2. I learned this in 2015 at a conference where the
bureaucrat who was present in 1972 spoke and
relayed this story.
3. Amelia Hill, “Migration: How Many People Are on
the Move Around the World?”, The Guardian (10
September 2018), online: <www.theguardian.com/
4. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
“Population Facts” (No. 2017/5) at 1, online:
6. International Organization for Migration, World
Migration Report 2018 (Geneva: 2017) at 2.
7. Hill, supra note 3.