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'You will stay in Saskatoon, you will stay in Moose Jaw': Plan would force newcomers to agree to live outside biggest cities for three to five years
June 23, 2002 2:34 PM   Subscribe

'You will stay in Saskatoon, you will stay in Moose Jaw': Plan would force newcomers to agree to live outside biggest cities for three to five years A new idea would have immigrants forced to live in rural Canadian communities for the first 3-5 years to offset the fact that young Canadians are fleeing them for the opportunities in the big cities. I sympathize with the loss that rural Canada is facing, I just don't see this working out the way proponents expect.
posted by Salmonberry (13 comments total)

 
Hasn't it been normal immigration policy in Canada to help people from specific countries settle among others from the same place? I can recall a Canadian history course in college where the professor described it as one of the reasons Toronto is such an interesting and diverse city, with strong pockets of different ethnicities all over the place.
posted by rcade at 5:11 PM on June 23, 2002


The Post article draws parallels to a similar policy in the latter 19th century that raises some interesting questions. The elder rule allowed for immigrants to buy 60 hectares of land for $10, thus quickly and easily giving them a personal stake in the area they moved into and simultaneously enabling them to be sucessful relatively quickly. The new proposal simply makes it a condition of immigration, coercing people into staying put rather than giving them a tangible, personal, productive reason to stay. Herein lie its shortcomings. Couldn't geographically-specific permits or land shares be given to immigrants to keep them in rural areas? This kind of thing instills in people the need to interact with, embrace, and support their new communities instead of ghettoizing themselves. It could also be a positive move for better cross-cultural understanding in the more . . . pastoral areas of the country.
posted by poorhaus at 7:17 PM on June 23, 2002


I can hear the critics now screaming about how this cross-cultural invasion will stip rural Canada of all it's rightfully earned ignorance and redneckness.
posted by boost ventilator at 8:54 PM on June 23, 2002


Couldn't geographically-specific permits or land shares be given to immigrants to keep them in rural areas?

The difference in cost of land in rural and urban Canada could seem like an incentive for people to stay, and that fails too.

...this cross-cultural invasion will strip rural Canada of all it's rightfully earned ignorance and redneckness.

Heheh. Good one.
posted by Bearman at 10:56 PM on June 23, 2002


Maybe take a defunct mining town and fill it with immigrants from two dozen countries? Live here. Enjoy yourselves. The supply plane will be back in the spring. Welcome to Canada.
posted by pracowity at 11:25 PM on June 23, 2002


Certainly wouldn't be a bad thing for there to be a little more ethnic diversity in the boonies, but I could see a family of new Canadians from (fill in country here) feeling a little chagrined at landing in my tiny, northern BC hometown, for example, and being forced for their economic survival to choose between working at a sawmill or...working at a sawmill.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:59 AM on June 24, 2002


Medicine Hat sounds intriguing to me. Is there anything interesting there?
posted by planetkyoto at 1:44 AM on June 24, 2002


> choose between working at a sawmill or...working
> at a sawmill.

Or mining. Welcome to Tungsten, Ragiv.

> Medicine Hat sounds intriguing to me. Is there anything
> interesting there?

I've only seen it from the train, but it sounds like a nice place to live.
posted by pracowity at 2:48 AM on June 24, 2002


i understand that they try to do something like this in australia. successful new immigrants are sent off to the back of beyond for at least 5 years, with a cash incentive.
they stay for the minimum time, then join the larger communities in the cities. it doesn't seem to work in the way that coderre seems to think it will.
posted by asok at 4:02 AM on June 24, 2002


I think that both rural and economically depressed communities and new immigrants could benefit from a more even settlement pattern, but i think the proposed changes are unimaginative and stand in opposition to Canada's long-standing open immigration policy. as poorhaus said, why not accomplish the same thing using incentives? Rural land may not hold the same value that it did 100 years ago, but the government could provide real benefits and remove barriers to rural settlement for individuals and families who agree to live in these areas. Some possibilities:
- shorter waiting periods for permanent resident / citizenship statuses
- waiver of foreign student fees at rural universities
- short-term moving/living allowances to offset the costs of finding work and accommodations in rural areas (which otherwise might be avoided by staying with friends and relatives in urban centers)
posted by astirling at 5:04 AM on June 24, 2002


I'm from the Northwest Territories, Canada. I'm a university student in New Brunswick. The Territorial government has a great grant/loan system set up for us since there's no University in the NWT. The primary loan is forgiven if we move back to the NWT and live there for a time after we graduate. Not a bad way of getting educated youngsters rooted back in small communities.
posted by ODiV at 6:30 AM on June 24, 2002


Distinction should be made between sponsored and unsponsored immigrants. You don't want to waste five years of a highly-educated technician or engineer out in the boonies. Conversely, why put a person from an agrarian society in an urban setting? Put them in a labor intensive, high value organic farm that produces valuable produce. That way, both will be doing what they know, profiting handsomely from it, and providing a useful function to the economy as a whole.
In a way, it can be compared to foreign aid, whose value to the people it was supposed to help increased markedly when the givers realized that they just wanted the *next* step up, not the whole staircase. For example, not an electric pottery-making machine, but just a better pottery wheel.
posted by kablam at 11:41 AM on June 24, 2002


As the Government is busy debating this issue, more young Canadians will pack their bags and freely drive away from their rural homes in search of the attention and investment that was lacking from the community around them.
posted by boost ventilator at 8:13 PM on June 24, 2002


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