Even if You're Pro-Immigration...

Written by David Frum on Tuesday September 13, 2011

... what's now being proposed in Ontario, Canada, should shock you.

Canada's largest province votes in a provincial election early next month. Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty is seeking a third term.

It's a tough re-elect for McGuinty. Once effortlessly economically dominant, Ontario is underperforming the rest of Canada's strong economy.  Ontarians are paying sharply increased electricity prices driven in large part by McGuinty's green energy gimmicks. Plus McGuinty spectacularly violated a promise not to raise taxes.

Back against the wall, McGuinty has rolled out a new election-season offer: a $10,000 credit for employers who take a new employee - provided that the employee is an immigrant. Native-born Ontarians are not eligible.

The credit is not as economically generous as it looks: it's estimated that only some 1,200 people meet the conditions that define eligiblity. But the principle behind it remains shocking even if the total cost is $12 million, a comparatively paltry sum for the free-spending McGuinty.

And the issue has ingeniously managed to polarize a province and a city that has otherwise absorbed large immigration impressively harmoniously.

Over at HuffingtonPost.ca, Mrs Frum has invited three well-known Ontario politicos to debate the merit and politics of this issue and others as they arise. You can follow their Ontario election blog here.