Prime Minister Paul Martin called for Canada to bring in more immigrants as he delivered a wide-ranging speech that sought to outline a broad rationale for his government's actions and its future direction.
The 70-minute speech was intended to counter criticisms that the government drifts from crisis to crisis. He asserted that Ottawa's past policies and future plans are part of a coherent strategy to cope with major "new forces" such as the aging population and the rise of new powers in China and India.
Although it included no specific policy announcements, the speech hinted at plans for the fall, the crucial period before an expected spring vote, including efforts to improve aboriginal education, a promise to achieve early progress on the environment -- and more immigration.
Martin's claims that cities now compete with cities, and not countries with countries, should be given closer attention.
When he says that Montreal and Toronto have to compete with Shanghai and Bangalore, he's signalling to the rest of the country that his vision is firmly fixed on the cities, and the cities alone.
Paul Martin's so-called global vision of massive immigration and competitive cities is actually quite parochial. The Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor and immigrants keep him in office; their concerns will be paramount, and the rest of the country can go hang.
But he's also made the usual nod to the aboriginals, who will hopefully vote the Liberal party line as long as their leadership keeps them cynically trapped in the failed Indian Act and reserve systems with promises of money from treaty rights and land claims that never actually makes it past the band chiefs' offices. ( Dust My Broom could tell you more about this.)
So now we have a vision, of sorts, from Paul Martin. Too bad most Canadians aren't in it.
Source: Globe and Mail