Former Reform Party MP turned Fraser Institute fellow and Vancouver economist Herb Grubel has taken to the pages of the Globe & Mail to drum up support for a new edition of his Fraser Institute “study” purporting to show that immigrants soak up an average of $6000 extra in government handouts every year.
I didn’t like last year’s report, not least because of its draconian proposal for a privatized Big Brother-style surveillance network that would monitor immigrants’ employment, sick time, etc. I also speculated that the numbers they were using were a little bit flimsy, and a little while later, some SFU academics said I was right. In fact, they said, immigrants only cost an extra $450 per head. Ah, statistics. You can prove anything with statistics.
Which is why I’m so happy to see that Mr. Grubel has published a new study, revising his old results and updating them with a new, sophisticated methodology. Right?
In 2011, we estimated that in 2005 Canada’s immigrant selection policies resulted in an average fiscal burden on taxpayers of $6,000 for each immigrant. Later that year, Mohsen Javdani and Krishna Pendakur from the economics department at Simon Fraser University (J&P hereafter) presented an alternative estimate of this fiscal burden of $450…
After taking into account some new data and some issues raised by J&P, this study presents new estimates that show that the fiscal burden imposed by the average recent immigrants is $6,000.
Well, I’m sold!
The authors have a new policy proposal, one a little bit less offensive than the Privatized Big Brother Network: a new special fast-track process for immigrants holding job offers. Since the Fraser Institute’s last charitable tax return reported that they did not engage in political activity, and since the government is currently engaging in open warfare against the charitable tax sector for being overly political, now might be a good time to remind the Fraser Institute of the Canada Revenue Agency’s guidelines on charities and political activities:
We presume an activity to be political if a charity… explicitly communicates to the public that the law, policy, or decision of any level of government in Canada or a foreign country should be retained…, opposed, or changed.
I would hate for the Fraser Institute to get caught in that net, too.*
* For the record, I don’t particularly care whether nonprofits get tax deductions for engaging in political activity. Neither do the Conservatives, by the way — they’re a nonprofit, and they soak up more tax deductions, credits, and refunds than anybody. I do, however, want to make sure everybody is playing by the same rules.Tweet