Op-Ed

PrintPrint EmailEmail ShareShare CiteCite
Style:MLAAPAChicagoClose

loading...

What Canada Can Teach GOP on Immigration

Author: Edward Alden, Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow
May 8, 2013
cnn.com

Share

The Republican Party is in the midst of a historic debate over what role it will play in immigration reform.

Should the GOP change course and support a path to citizenship for some 11 million unauthorized immigrants, hoping this will reverse the party's declining fortunes among Hispanics, the fast-growing group of voters?

Or should it double down on its opposition to reform, kill the legislation and hope to hang on by strengthening loyalty among a declining share of white voters?

While all the attention has been focused on what to do about the southern border with Mexico, Republicans would be well-advised to take a careful look north. In Canada, the Conservative Party, which lost two of every three elections to the Liberals during the 20th century, has turned the tables by embracing immigration and reaching out to Canada's immigrant communities.

There is no reason Republicans cannot do the same.

I lived in Canada for many years, as an immigrant from the United States growing up in Vancouver and then as a newspaper reporter for several publications. Throughout my time in Canada, the Liberal Party was the party supported by most immigrants.

Under a series of leaders, most notably Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien, the Liberals formed an unbeatable coalition based on French-speaking voters from Quebec and the rapidly growing immigrant population in the big cities of Toronto and Vancouver. Mostly white Conservative voters from the heartland grumbled and called for more provincial autonomy, but their party was usually relegated to the opposition benches in Ottawa.

View full text of article.

More on This Topic

Audio

U.S. Immigration Policy

Speaker: Edward Alden

Edward Alden, CFR’s Bernard L. Schwartz senior fellow, elucidates President Obama’s executive order for undocumented immigrants in the United...