By BRIAN LILLEY, PARLIAMENTARY BUREAU
OTTAWA – Canadians think there are too many immigrants coming to this country and the government should cut the numbers, according to a poll by Ottawa’s Abacus Data.
The survey found that 49% of Canadians think there are too many immigrants coming to Canada each year compared to 32% who think we hit the right number annually, 7% who think there are too few and 13% who don’t know.
When asked if Canada should increase or decrease the number of immigrants each year, 50% said decrease while only 8% said increase.
Residents of Ontario and Quebec were most likely to say we have too many immigrants, while those in Atlantic Canada were least likely to agree with that statement.
“The findings demonstrate that Canadians are becoming worried about the effects of immigration on the country,” said Abacus CEO David Coletto.
Canada currently accepts 250,000 immigrants each year plus a similar number of foreign students and workers.
Last month the Conservative government announced that it will change the mix but not the number of immigrants it accepts each year.
The target of new permanent residents for next year is 240,000 to 265,000 with a greater emphasis on family class immigrants rather than skilled workers.
The Abacus poll also showed that Canadians have strong opinions on the question of integrating immigrants. A majority of those born in Canada (71%) and those born outside of the country (65%) agree with the statement: “Too many recent immigrants don’t want to fit into Canadian society.”
“One reason Canadians want fewer immigrants entering Canada is a perception that immigrants don’t want to fit in. These attitudes extend to those born in and outside of Canada and are consistent across the country,” said Coletto.
“At the end of the day, with a weaker economy, few job prospects and the heightened fear of homegrown terrorism, immigrants are easy targets for the blame.”
The online poll of 1,361 Canadian adults was conducted Dec. 3-6. The participants were chosen from an online panel of more than 100,000 Canadians. The margin of error, which measures sampling variability, is comparable to plus or minus 2.7%, 19 times out of 20.