The Fraser Institute has, you may have heard, weighed into Canada’s immigration debate with the release of a new report claiming to calculate the “true cost” of immigration. Unsurprisingly, they think that immigrants are a burden on Canada’s social welfare system (to the tune of $23 billion a year), and despite the fact that they can usually be found arguing for the wholesale dismantling of that system, in this report they come out as its defenders. As usual, the cheerful coverage in the media is a strong indication that nobody has actually bothered to read the report. Even the National Post shied away from actually endorsing the report’s conclusions, although that didn’t stop them from publishing a positive article about the report.
Now, as usual, I need to begin my coverage of the Fraser Institute with a few disclaimers. Before you crack open a Fraser Institute report, it’s important to remember that this is a group funded by the same wealthy American backers as the American Tea Party, which has taken tobacco industry money to claim that cigarettes don’t cause lung cancer, and which has an editorial advisory board which supposedly vets papers like this week’s Immigration and the Canadian Welfare State, even though six of its members are dead (one of whom the Fraser Institute appears to believe is still alive, zombie-like), and a seventh just happens to be the co-author of this paper. I have warned the anti-immigration movement about jumping into bed with the Fraser Institute before.