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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This one is for Doctorpalooza

The cover of the issue in question-
you can buy this as a print too!
This is a side post for Doctorpalooza-just for them. I feel like I owe it to them. It however has nothing to do with kidney donation, awareness or healthcare.

A little background: the day after surgery I had a copy of  the June 2011 'The Walrus' magazine on my tray table and the cover story was "Why More Immigration Means Less Crime". Dr Y pointed to it and asked me about it but I hadn't read it yet. One doctor thought that more immigration might mean greater crime rates or the same but certainly not less. There were nods of agreement. They continued to ponder this thought and as they looked around at each other and the range of their ethnicities, they started to laugh. "You are in a room full of immigrants!" one chuckled at me. He was correct-I'm not sure that any of them were from the same country either.

Every time I saw any combination of them in the coming days, at least one would ask if I had read the article yet and what it said-it was right up there with the peeing and passing gas questions. So, better late than never, here is a summary:

The statistics & facts (references to sources can be found in the article)

  • 46% of Canadians believe immigration has a negative effect on the country yet 20% of Canadians themselves are foreign born.
  • Canada is one of the best nations in the world when it comes to integrating new residents with excellent educational and job opportunities as well as equality policies.
  • 50% of Canadians believe that immigrants drive up crime but:
  • In the last 30 years crime has dropped in parallel with the upsurge of non-European immigrants.
  • Half of Toronto's population were born outside of Canada-and crime has dropped 50%in the city since 1991
  • The higher a neighbourhood's proportion of recent immigrants is, the lower the violent crime rates (this has been looked at in both Montreal and Toronto but StatsCan)
  • Second generation immigrants are as likely to commit crimes as Canadians who are third generation (hey that's me!) and beyond.


Why immigrants are less likely to get involved in crime

  • Newcomers are more cautious.
  • They spend a lot of time focusing on starting a new life and keeping their faith, language and culture
  • Immigrant children are often kept very busy in off hours doing community and religious activities. Adult immigrants often are working long hours.
  • Strong family bonds
  • Commitment to education
  • More risk adverse than non-immigrants
  • The traits required to leave behind the "known" to start a new life-ambition, resilience, perseverance, imagination and optimism are conducive to rearing successful children who then in turn feel an obligation to their parents. I would also think those traits are not always the frontrunners in a criminals personality
So there you go. It was a decent article although nothing too shocking other than perhaps how negative the average Canadian is about immigration considering we see ourselves as being so diverse. It kind of reminded me of a paper I did for an economics class about the positive influence of immigration on the economy-very similar reasoning, attitudes and realities.

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