LETTER: Denying work to qualified immigrants is ‘stupid’

From reader Elsje de Boer

Re: “Anti-immigrant backlash confounds economic development leader,” July 11

I am an immigrant. I can assure you that I have never felt any urge to kill, shoot, or throw acid.

I came to Canada 58 years ago from Holland. I spoke English fluently, also Dutch, German, and French. I had a law degree from Leiden, Holland. I found a job cleaning bathrooms in a motel at 95 cents an hour.

Later, I found a job as a legal secretary: $400 a month. Over the next 10 or 12 years, I worked my way up to $800 a month. I did things no other secretary did: drafting a share purchase option agreement for a company, collections, conveyancing, wills and estates.

I was doing a lawyer’s work for a secretary’s wage.

According to the Universities Co-ordinating Council, I would never get into university for a Canadian law degree because I was an immigrant, I was a woman, and besides, I would not be able to follow the classes because they were all in English. On the ALSAT, I scored in the 96th percentile in English.

With low paying jobs, I paid little or no income tax. For the last 17 years, the Canadian government has supported me with Guaranteed Income Supplement. Had they allowed me to go to law school here, I would have been able to practise for 20 or 25 years before retirement age. I would have paid taxes and would not have required GIS. To deny work to qualified immigrants is, in a word, stupid. It doesn’t benefit anyone.

Not the employers who need workers, not the government which doesn’t get the income tax, and certainly not the immigrant who needs a job.

I think the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program is a great way to solve all these problems in one fell swoop! To those who don’t like it: quitcher bellyaching and MYOB.

Elsje de Boer


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